Assistant Head of School
  • Administrative

The Fessenden School, West Newton, MA

Accredited by AISNE

Assistant Head of School
for July 2019

Fessenden ( is a Pre-K to Grade 9 boarding and day school for boys, enrolling more than 500 students, including 100 boarders in the upper grades from 13 countries and many states. A faculty and staff of close to 200 provide a challenging educational program with a unique level of support for maturing boys. The school is committed to its core values of honesty, compassion, and respect, and to educating boys to become responsible young men of character. 

The school was founded in 1903 by Frederick and Emma Fessenden "to train a boy along right lines, to teach him how to study and form correct habits of work, and to inculcate principles which are to regulate his daily conduct and guide his future life.” The Founders’ vision continues to resonate today through a strong commitment to a program where intellectual, physical, artistic, and character education are all important. The School has developed a distinctly 21st Century approach to education, including a commitment to student engagement, collaborative learning opportunities, technology integration, and an active, state-of-the-art Center for Innovation.

Just 10 minutes west of Boston, The Fessenden School is located on 41 acres in Newton, a small city with a suburban feel with quick access to Boston and all it has to offer. Fessenden is a school of three divisions: Lower School (PreK–Grade 4), Middle School (Grades 5–6), and Upper School (Grades 7–9). Under the leadership of new Head of School, Steve Armstrong, this is a great time for a new Assistant Head to join the leadership team.

The Position

Fessenden seeks a confident, innovative, energetic educator and leader who will enthusiastically embrace and advance the school’s mission, lead and support a dedicated, thoughtful faculty, and joyfully interact with students. Focusing on day-to-day academic operations, the Assistant Head of School is charged with carrying out the mission of the school, collaborating with other senior administrators to ensure a positive comprehensive and cohesive experience for students, supporting faculty in their their various roles with students, and communicating with parents. The successful candidate will find joy in his/her interactions with students and adults, be happily present throughout the school, and be a strong supporter and advocate for faculty.

Fessenden is a school that has successfully blended its traditional roots and today’s educational best practices. An individual who appreciates school traditions while being highly knowledgeable of 21st Century educational pedagogy and the education of boys will be a good match for this position. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to educational excellence that incorporates critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, character, and cross-cultural competency. Additionally, they will possess an understanding of student-centered approaches to learning as seen in Fessenden’s commitments to project based learning, innovation, entrepreneurialism, and design thinking.


The Assistant Head focuses on the day-to-day academic leadership of the School, meeting regularly with the Head of School and chairing the PK-9 Team, (composition detailed below). The Assistant Head focuses on the educational direction of the school and charts that course through overseeing the hiring, evaluation, and professional development of faculty. The Assistant Head serves on the Senior Administrative Team and the Administrative Council, attends Board of Trustee meetings and select Board committee meetings. The Assistant Head of School’s responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing the faculty recruitment process including the hiring, retention, and assignment of faculty
  • Establishing programs for the orientation of new teachers, professional development workshops, and for in-service training of all teachers
  • Initiating diversity and inclusion efforts at the faculty and staff level
  • Chairing the Academic PK-9 Team (Division Heads, Director of Teaching and Learning, and Director of Residential Life), PK-9 Extended (PK-9 plus Deans of Students), the Calendar & Communications Committee, and co-chairing the Student Support Team
  • Providing leadership for faculty in the utilization of the Ciongoli Center for Innovation and in implementing project-based learning and design thinking
  • Providing leadership in matters of classroom management, teaching methods, and general school procedures
  • Modeling and building high morale while maintaining a visible presence in all areas of school life
  • Being attuned to the educational, physical, social, and wellness needs of the members of the school community and developing plans for meeting these needs

Leadership Qualities

The Assistant Head of School will be a strong relationship builder and a person of good humor, diligence, and integrity who enjoys being a visible, accessible, and active presence in a school community. The successful candidate will have a track record of strong teaching experience ideally at the elementary or middle school level, be technologically adept, and be an engaged student of today’s educational best practices. She/he will have a track record as a successful, positive leader and manager. Fessenden’s next Assistant Head of School will:

  • Have excellent communications skills as a listener, speaker, and writer 
  • Connect genuinely with others in a diverse school community, building strong relationships and valuing connection and community
  • Engender trust, and nurture a faculty culture of professionalism and growth
  • Be highly knowledgeable about best teaching practices and energized by opportunities to be present in classrooms
  • Possess the skills to balance collaboration and decisiveness, adeptly and gracefully manage difficult conversations, and coalesce faculty to ensure continuity and consistency between and throughout divisions
  • Be responsive, highly organized and efficient
  • Demonstrate vision, good humor, imagination, leadership, and open-mindedness, while modeling honesty, compassion, and respect

Candidates should have classroom teaching experience, a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, an appreciation and understanding of adolescent boys and their development, and knowledge of curriculum development. The opportunity to serve as Fessenden’s next Assistant Head of School is a tremendous opportunity for a school leader who is excited to join an active, dynamic school community and lead a committed, engaged faculty.

For Consideration

The Fessenden School offers a dynamic and supportive work environment, competitive salaries and a generous benefits package. All inquiries will be treated confidentially. Please send electronically a resume, letter of interest and a personal statement and/or statement of educational philosophy to:

Jane Armstrong and Bill Lyons, Managing Partners, Independent ThinkinG 

617-332-3131 (p)

The Fessenden School believes that each individual is entitled to equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sender, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, ancestry, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws. The school’s equal employment opportunity practices extent to recruitment, hiring, selection, compensation, benefits, transfer, conditions, and privileges of employment.

  • Full-time
  • Leadership