Academy of Our Lady of Peace
(San Diego, CA)
Title: Assistant Head of School
Founded and rooted in the Gospel values of the Catholic church and the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace empowers young women in an innovative learning environment that honors the individual while fostering community, and develops faith-filled leaders dedicated to the “love of God and the dear neighbor without distinction.” Read our Philosophy Statement here.
OVERVIEW OF SCHOOL
As the oldest high school and only all-girls’ Catholic high school in San Diego, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) is committed to providing young women unparalleled leadership opportunities in an innovative learning environment, amongst a community that celebrates a diverse culture of sisterhood. Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ), the school continues to preserve their legacy, in which girls become “women of heart, women of faith, and women of courage.” Although the Sisters are no longer on campus, the OLP tradition has thrived for 138 years as the school’s leadership has responded to the needs of the times, ensuring that young women are provided an education rooted in excellence. This is what sets OLP apart!
OUR SCHOOL AT A GLANCE:
Our historic campus was built in the early 1920’s and features a library, event center, amphitheater, weight & conditioning spaces, athletic facilities, dance studio, and an expansive North Terrace Lawn. Newly renovated for the 2020-21 school year are Esther Sanfilippo Navarra Hall and Shiley Center for Science and Innovation. Navarra Hall has been modernized with additional ADA-accessible classrooms, collaborative work spaces, TV production studio, student commons, and critical infrastructure improvements. Shiley Hall is now equipped with state-of-the-art engineering and science labs that are ADA-accessible and prepared to educate students in high-caliber STEM courses. The school intends to break ground by October 2021 on a new 20,000-square-foot state of the art Academic Building with a 5,000-square-foot Library and Learning Center, and a Performing Arts Complex, with an anticipated completion of Winter 2022. Added in 2015, the campus also has two dining options: Pilot Café and Common Grounds, both managed by local restaurateur and alumna parent, The French Gourmet.
The Lasting Legacy of the CSJ Sisters
The sponsorship of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet guides and contributes to all aspects of academic, spiritual and social life at OLP. Central to this foundation is the school’s dedication to the CSJ charism of “Unifying Love,” a focus on service to the “dear neighbor without distinction,” and commitment to the furthering social justice in our world through the cultivation of leadership skills. The Sisters’ mission comes from the Gospel of John, “that all may be one.” A desire to bring more fully all peoples together into a place of unity, peace and love.
The CSJ charism and mission directly influence the school’s work to build an inclusive, diverse community where all belong. This is central to the OLP mission, our philosophy, and our integral student outcomes. It informs our admissions and hiring practices, our curriculum, student programs, and is truly the lens through which all decisions are made.
The Sisters of St. Joseph in the 21st century continue to respond to the unmet and critical needs of contemporary society and the world. Their mission and vision, informed by a deep and pervasive love of God and neighbor without distinction, move them (and us) always toward ways to respond, in a spirit of unifying, reconciling love, to the needs of our local communities, the call of the Church, the people of God, and the challenges of the global community within which we live.
The All-Girls’ School Difference
OLP is dedicated to the philosophy that academic excellence, leadership skills, and confidence flourish best in an environment with a sole focus on empowering young women. After all, current research shows that women who attended single-sex schools tended to outperform their coeducational counterparts.
Still, it’s not a matter of separating boys from girls. It’s simply about giving girls everything they need to shine. An all-girls’ education offers something essential for today’s young women. It’s an environment that gives every girl an opportunity to showcase her emerging intellect and talents. The experience allows girls to explore and nurture their passions and potential. At OLP, girls are encouraged to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow.
Annually, OLP hosts leading experts for parents and students in the areas of girls’ research. Internationally recognized guest speakers have included Dr. Lisa Damour, Jessica Lahey and Rachel Simmons. In addition, OLP is a member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, with Dr. Lauren Lek serving on the Board of Trustees, and Bridgette Ouimette, the Strategic Initiatives and Research Director, on the Global Action Research Collaborative with all girls’ schools Internationally.
Students of Color: 69%
Total Faculty: 66
Faculty of color: 36%
Faculty with advanced degrees: 78%
OLP Alumna Faculty: 19%
Faculty Average Years of Service at OLP: 8 years
Student/teacher ratio: 14 to 1
Financial aid budget: $3 million
The Primitive Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet states that the Congregation is dedicated to “the practice of all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy of which a woman is capable and which will benefit the … dear neighbor.” Those works of mercy were brought to San Diego in 1882 when four Sisters of St. Joseph arrived on board the steamship Ancon and founded the Academy of Our Lady of Peace. The Sisters arrived at the behest of Father Antonio Dominic Ubach, who had been petitioning the Sisters since 1870 to establish a school in San Diego. The new school was designated as the Academy of Our Lady of Peace by Reverend Mother Agatha Guthrie and it was opened on May 10, 1882. Within two years of opening the school, the Sisters purchased property in the southwest corner of Third and A in an area known as Horton’s Addition, and in 1887, when a new school building was erected, the Academy moved to that location.
The expansion of San Diego at the beginning of the early 20th century prompted the Sisters to seek new property. The Sisters, under the leadership of Sister St. Catherine Beavers, who had returned in 1923 as the Superior, began a search for property to appropriately accommodate the growing school. The present-day campus facility was once in the hands of the Van Druff family who began construction in May 1916, with the preliminary construction being completed in 1917.
After a night spent in prayer, the Sisters were able to obtain the Oregon Street property on January 25, 1924. The current location at 4860 Oregon Street has been the home of OLP ever since and sits on an expansive 22 acre parcel with, at present, 4 buildable acres. The OLP property is also referred to as Villa Montemar or “House on a Hill by the Sea,” for as you look out from the most western spot on campus, Vista Point, you can see the sea. Although for many years it offered a boarding school for grades K-12, by the 1970’s it shifted to a day school and to offering only high school courses to girls in grades 9-12.
In 2012, with the retirement of Sister Dolores Anchondo, OLP saw the last Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet at the helm. In 2013, Dr. Lauren Lek became the first lay leader to assume the position of Head of School. This has occurred at all of the schools sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet both in the Los Angeles Province, and across the United States. As the numbers of CSJ have decreased, the Sisters have moved the responsibility of the management of their ministries to lay partners.
The school continues to work closely with the Sisters, and the spirit of the CSJ is alive and well on the campus. It has become the responsibility of all faculty, staff, students, and alumnae to carry on the traditions, mission, and charism (spirit), of the Sisters.
SIGNATURE PROGRAMS AND ACADEMICS
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects are integrated throughout our rigorous curriculum, giving our girls the opportunity to learn and create across a variety of disciplines. STEM at OLP focuses on courses like robotics, engineering, computer science, and biotechnology in an effort to prepare students for meeting the needs of tomorrow’s society.
The opportunities to engage with technology for learning are limitless at OLP. OLP’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program allows teachers and students to collaborate and communicate digitally. This program also allows families to select the optimal device for their daughter, based on her learning style.
The OLP Robotics Team competes during the spring semester and has received accolades and awards for its robotic builds and presentation skills. A STEM Certificate Program exists to acknowledge students for their achievements and involvement in STEM-related activities. Students completing the requirements to earn a STEM Certificate receive special recognition at their commencement ceremony, as well as a seal of completion on their graduation diploma. The program has grown to include more than 70 students.
OLP Women’s Symposium
In partnership with students, faculty, alumnae and community partners, under the leadership of Dr. Lek, OLP reinvisioned the traditional career day, to provide students with a real-world experience akin to a professional conference. This spring of 2021 we celebrated the 7th Annual OLP Women’s Symposium with the theme “Watch Her Rise: Lessons in Perseverance and Reinvention.” This event took an in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities, as well as life stages, of today’s woman. Open to the public, the OLP Women’s Symposium featured a series of workshops, lectures, and highly curated panels with 71 panelists who are prominent leaders in their industries. The half-day event left the 1,900+ attendees with tangible advice, lessons learned, and inspiration for what’s next in their lives. This year’s keynote speaker featured the first Latina ever to go in space, Dr. Ellen Ochoa. She’s also only the second female Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center—where she led the human space flight enterprise for the nation from 2013 to 2018. This innovative experience is just one example of how OLP, in partnership with students and faculty, has created something powerful and relevant for students today!
Architects of Change
Pilot Television Program
Pilot Productions (PTV), is a multi-year program that allows students to gain hands-on experience using the latest broadcasting technology to produce daily, 100% student-led, all-school broadcasts. The program began over a decade ago and has grown into an award winning, live daily broadcast that is at the core of all school communications. The PTV program offers students four different levels and an advanced course to explore a deep dive into broadcasting, production, documentary filmmaking and creating original storyboards. Student projects include both school directed and original works.
Representing the ultimate musical extravaganza, no school can come close to the OLP Spring Sing school wide production written, produced, choreographed, and designed all by students. Annually, over 60% of the student body participates in some level of Spring Sing through the leadership, management of the financials, script writing, creation of the music score, training the dancers or chorus, set design, costumes, backstage management, and much more. The 2020 production represented the 50th anniversary of Spring Sing and was performed at the San Diego Civic Theater before a sold-out audience of 2,900 patrons! Throughout the process, our students are challenged to take on real world roles of the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, all while managing their peers. It allows them to apply their learnings in tangible ways, all while experiencing the joys of sisterhood, bonding as a class. As graduates leave, Spring Sing remains one of their most cherished memories.
Serving our “dear neighbor without distinction” is the heart of the CSJ mission and, therefore, also a cornerstone of the OLP call to action. Throughout their educational experience, students are challenged to be loving disciples, serving our neighbor in the Salesian tradition through gentleness, peace, and joy. As a member of the OLP community, each student is required to complete 85 hours of volunteer service as part of their graduation requirements, with many students far exceeding that. Service at OLP is grounded in the understanding that every person is created with innate worth and dignity. Through our Christian Service Learning program, students at OLP live the CSJ call to be women of heart, women of faith, women of courage, and women of excellence.
The OLP retreat program celebrates and is rooted in the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and helps ensure a strong understanding of the history and pillars of our sponsoring order. Each year following Christmas Break, individual grade levels come together in community to explore a unique piece of the CSJ charism. The purpose of OLP Retreat Week is threefold:
- We value the faith formation experience of each student and want to prioritize it with time and attention.
- All faculty and staff are able to support the faith experience of our students.
- Students are not required to miss valuable instructional class time to participate in OLP retreats and, because retreats occur prior to the start of the second semester of classes, students will be able to focus solely on their retreat and faith experience.
At OLP, we believe in providing students a well-balanced, holistic approach to learning. We celebrate the uniqueness of each girl while providing the time and space for the cultivation of healthy relationships over shared passions. One of the many ways we foster social and emotional well-being is by encouraging students to participate in any of the 75 student clubs and organizations available on our campus. Central to social and emotional well-being is the sense of belonging. With such a diverse array of clubs and activities, there truly is a place for every single student on our campus beyond the classroom. In connecting with their peers through passion projects and stress-relieving activities, students are developing social bonds that positively impact their mental health and pave the way for productive community building. Through faculty moderators overseeing clubs and organizations, it is yet another way to develop lasting relationships between students and faculty, which is uniquely characteristic of an OLP education.
Quick Facts from the Class of 2021:
- 100% of OLP graduates go on to pursue higher education.
- Received a total of 1,125 offers of admission to universities across the United States and the world
- In a class of 194 students, 60% received at least one merit-based scholarship.
- The graduating class was awarded by colleges and universities more than $24 million in merit-based scholarships.
- 15% are first generation college students
- 44% plan to major in a STEM field
OLP remains at the forefront of athletic recognition through our dedicated coaching staff and by fielding 33 teams in 17 sports. Student athletes make up more than 65% of our student population and the majority of these students maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher while participating in competitive sports.
Sports by Season:
Fall: Cross Country; Golf; Tennis; Volleyball
Winter: Basketball; Soccer; Water Polo
Spring: Lacrosse; Track & Field; Swim & Dive; Sand Volleyball; Softball; Archery
Year Round: Cheer; Equestrian; Dance; Surf
Visual and Performing Arts
At OLP, we believe education in the arts is an important and necessary endeavor that nurtures the spiritual, moral, psychological, and social growth of all students. OLP offers a variety of visual and performing arts options, including student organizations, theatrical performances, competitions, community displays, and a variety of classes.
The Theatre Program produces two shows per academic year. Students are recognized annually by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) for their talents through LAMDA’s examinations in Musical Theatre, Acting and Public Speaking.
The Instrumental Ensemble and Honor Choir programs offer students the opportunity to share their gifts with the community through performances and formal competitions. The Dance program blends the arts with physical education and competitions. OLP’s Dance Team is a competitive and performance team, focusing on the styles of Jazz, Hip Hop, and Lyrical. The Dance Team represents OLP year-round with school spirit through the art of dance, recognized both as Student Athletes and as artists. The OLP Visual Arts curriculum not only provides opportunities for students to break the mold and think outside the box, but also the chance to earn college credit. Over the past 20 years, 95% of OLP’s AP Art students have passed the College Board’s AP Art Student Performance Portfolio evaluation. Courses in photography, graphic design and video production prepare students to communicate creatively in an ever-changing technological world.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
At OLP, we are committed to intentional work around diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of the academic curriculum, student clubs, student leadership retreats, investment in professional development, and more. OLP strives to cultivate an inclusive environment that welcomes people of any color, race, ethnicity, or faith. Inclusivity is deeply rooted in our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet mission and their calls to action. We invite you to dive deeper into the history of the CSJ.
OLP seeks a dynamic leader as its next Assistant Head of School starting July 2022. The successful candidate will be a highly skilled educational leader with experience in an all-girls’ environment, and devoted to the school’s mission. The Assistant Head of School works in collaboration with the Head of School to embody the spirit of the CSJ, fostering a culture of belonging, innovation and excellence among students, faculty and staff. This is an exceptional leadership opportunity in a highly regarded, nationally recognized independent all-girls’ Catholic high school committed to empowering the next generation of female leaders.
The primary responsibility of the Assistant Head of School is to foster a school environment compatible with the philosophy and spirit of the sponsoring Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ). The AHOS supports philosophically and actionably the integrative practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion ensuring open pathways of opportunity in all processes and procedures. In addition, the Assistant Head of School upholds the highest academic standards through curricular and instructional leadership, supports all learners, and promotes the positive image of the school to local schools, parishes and the community at large. Overseeing the admissions program, the Assistant Head of School works in collaboration with the Head of School and the Director of Marketing and Communications to establish a robust recruitment plan for prospective students that is in alignment with the enrollment strategies established. The Assistant Head of School directly supervises all school faculty, the three Assistant Principals, and other school employees as appropriate.
Mission and Philosophy:
- As a practicing Catholic, actively fosters the Catholic, CSJ identity of the school by promoting Catholic values and service, and by nurturing faith formation and spirituality of faculty, staff and students;
- Promotes the integration of the history, values and philosophy of the CSJ charism into the curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities and the culture of OLP;
- Ensures the importance of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace’s Catholic identity, its sponsorship by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and communicates them effectively through school publications and gatherings;
- Oversees the school’s Campus Ministry program, including the oversight and supervision of liturgical planning, service learning and retreats;
- Operates with a growth mindset and servant leadership approach.
- Serves as a staff liaison for the Board of Trustees and other committees as requested by the Head of School;
- Serves as a liaison between the faculty and staff and the Office of the Head of School, meeting regularly with the Head of School;
- Implements and encourages collaborative planning and leadership at all levels of the school organization;
- Collaboratively leads others through long-term, strategic planning;
- Oversees the WCEA/WASC ongoing accreditation process and where appropriate, delegates tasks to team members;
- Supports fostering an organizational structure through which working relationships, lines of accountability and responsibility, and clear communication channels are clearly defined;
- Contributes to the building of positive morale among faculty, staff and students;
- Manages and resolves conflicts and crises promptly and effectively;
- Supports the school’s advancement efforts as needed;
- Models integrity and promotes high ethical and professional standards in all interactions with the stakeholders in the school;
- Presents on best practices at national conferences including the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the annual conference for schools sponsored by the CSJ.
- Works with the Head of School in approving the overall policies and practices for recruitment and hiring of faculty and staff and, where appropriate, delegates to Assistant Principals;
- Provides and directs resources for the hiring, supervision and retention of qualified personnel;
- Establishes among faculty and staff a clear protocol for professional accountability;
- Ensures that a program of orientation for new teachers and staff is implemented annually which includes an orientation to the values and philosophy of CSJ;
- Ensures regular in-service programs for faculty including annual faculty/staff retreats and ongoing professional development;
- Encourages and enables faculty to pursue professional development opportunities;
- Guides the development and implementation of the curriculum, exploring opportunities for innovation based on best practices and emerging research;
- Encourages effective teaching based on current educational research and improved student learning results;
- Oversees classroom observation and student course evaluation protocols;
- Oversees the creation of the Master Teaching Schedule, classroom assignments, special teacher assignments, school calendar, and the scheduling of special events;
- Oversees the school registrar including policies as relates to the retention of school records, transcripts, vaccinations, the Student Information System, and applicable department software systems;
- Hires, manages and oversees long-term and short-term substitute teachers, including the school’s daily substitute teaching needs;
- In coordination with the Assistant Principal of Curriculum & Innovation, oversees the leadership of the Curriculum Council comprised of all department chairs;
- Oversees the delegation of academic summer school and middle school summer school camps to school leaders in partnership with the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Innovation.
- Oversees enrollment management for grades 9-12;
- Provides quarterly updates to the Board of Directors on the progress of admissions, admissions activities, and data to support sustained improvements;
- Works with admissions support personnel to provide eighth grade visits, presentations at local elementary schools and admissions fairs, and coordinates registration, honors and acceptance and spring welcome night events;
- Collaborates with Marketing and Communications to effectively communicate the school’s value proposition to stakeholders;
- Oversees enrollment retention initiatives;
- Manages merit-based scholarship programs for incoming and current students.
- Engages actively with parents, students and, as appropriate, with faculty and staff in serious disciplinary and dismissal actions;
- Monitors student progress in the academic program as well as in extracurricular and athletic activities;
- Stays abreast of current CIF and section rules and regulations that impact student athletic programs;
- Recognizes and honors exemplary student achievement in a variety of ways;
- Maintains a visible presence at school and school related events and activities.
Finance and Facilities:
- Works closely with the Director of Finance to ensure that the school’s operational budget is within the planning guidelines set forth by the Board of Directors to fund school operations;
- Partners with the Head of School and the Director of Finance in the allocation of Tuition Assistance Funds for incoming and returning students;
- Works in collaboration with the Head of School and the Director of Finance to evaluate and prepare the proposed budget for academic departments in advance of its submittal to the Board of Directors for approval;
- Plans regularly and realistically to meet the present and future financial and space utilization needs of OLP.
- Promotes the image and reputation of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego and elsewhere;
- In coordination with the Head of School, participates in annual activities coordinated and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet;
- Fosters cooperation and communications with local schools and agencies, especially Catholic schools, parishes and the community;
- Communicates as appropriate with the Director of Schools of the Diocese of San Diego and his representatives, with the Diocesan Office for Schools, with the offices of the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) in collaboration with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) offices, with the California Department of Education, and with other offices and agencies;
- Maintains collegial relationships with the Principals and Assistant Principals of the other CSJ sponsored high schools, as well as the other Catholic high schools in the Diocese of San Diego.
TRAITS & CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED
The Assistant Head of School will be a practicing Roman Catholic whose faith is visible and inspiring in daily life and work. The candidate will be a collaborative leader with an accessible and approachable style which demonstrates a willingness to listen to new ideas while offering creative solutions to challenges. The successful candidate will be a coalition builder who creates an inclusive environment, conducive to sincere and open communication. The Assistant Head of School must also demonstrate the following:
- Excellent oral and written communication skills, including public speaking skills;
- Excellent interpersonal skills;
- Financial acumen;
- Strong commitment to Catholic education and, in particular, knowledge of young women’s secondary education;
- Some knowledge of the historical role of women’s religious communities in American education and a willingness to learn and share the history and particular mission and philosophy of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet;
- Commitment to ongoing professional growth through reading, classes, workshops, conferences, etc.;
- Knowledge of and a willingness to learn more about the multicultural demographics of greater San Diego and Baja California, and of the student body of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace;
- Strong commitment to social justice as integral to the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the teachings of the Church.
CAREER TRACK LEADING TO THIS POSITION
The successful candidate will be a leader who is an experienced teacher and successful educational administrator, preferably in a Catholic secondary school. Candidates should show evidence of accomplishment in the following activities: curriculum development, innovation and implementation; teacher/staff evaluation; faculty/staff development; student recruitment and retention; planning and strategic development; parent, board and alumnae relations; and student activities management. Experience as a student, teacher, or administrator in a high school serving young women would be desirable. Since faculty supervision experience is required, most candidates would probably have titles including Principal, Assistant Principal, Vice Principal, Academic Dean, or Division Director (in a K-12 environment).
- A bachelor's degree is required; an advanced degree is highly desirable. An Administrative Credential is expected. Some proficiency in the Spanish language would be a plus.
- $125,000 - $150,000. Annual compensation will be competitive and relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable. A comprehensive benefits package will be provided.
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