Principal/Program Leader at The Primary School


We are hiring a Principal to take on the leadership of our flagship East Palo Alto site as we grow to 200 school-aged children (grades PreK-3 - 1st) in size and enter our third year of operations. We will grow an additional grade in each subsequent school year until 8th grade.

The Primary School was created on the belief that the current model of school is too narrow to support the needs of our highest risk children. Our model expands the boundaries of school to 1) start earlier (we admit children at birth), 2) integration with socio-emotional and health supports, and 3) deep engagement with parents. Our leadership structure reflects this expanded vision; the expectation of all school leaders is that they both oversee the academic program and play a key role in incorporating these broader supports. As such, for the Principal role, we are looking for an individual who both brings deep expertise in managing teachers and schools and a sincere desire to innovate and stretch themselves beyond the traditional school model and principal role.

Our philosophy balances high expectations for all children with a trauma-sensitive approach that addresses holistic child outcomes (academic, health, and “soul”). Our curriculum is inquiry-based and data-driven, and we believe that student voice and choice are driven by rigorous planning and intellectual preparation. We celebrate joy in the classroom and take into account the needs of the whole child, ensuring children are emotionally and cognitively ready to access learning. The Principal will work closely with our medical director and parent program lead to augment the classroom experience with health and parent supports that are both integrated within the school day and expand beyond the classroom. Our model is still in the early stages, and the Principal will have an outsized opportunity to shape the design of the program and organization.


Refine and lead our expanded model of achieving child outcomes

  • Lead the management of our integrated supports team, working with teachers, parent coaches, and health partners to ensure all children have a holistic support system.
    • Collaborate with health, parent and student supports teams to identify unique student needs and develop interdisciplinary plans (“Success Plans”) to support the whole child.
    • Partner with the data team to continue the development of our proprietary data and communication system (“Atlas”), which draws on multiple sources of information to understand and address student needs.
    • Lead the execution of “Children’s Circles” (the TPS version of parent-teacher conferences which include the full interdisciplinary team).
  • Collaborate with parent program to build parent capacity to support child health, academic, and socio-emotional outcomes at home.
  • Develop and ensure the implementation of trauma-informed practices to bring into our classrooms and family interactions.
  • Coordinate with early childhood lead on developing a school readiness program for our infant and toddler cohorts to ensure an optimal transition to school.
  • Work with central office design and evaluation staff to refine and evaluate the broader TPS model.

 Leading high-quality instruction

  • Coach and manage assistant principals to ensure teachers are prepare to deliver exceptional instruction and build positive classroom environments.
  • Develop and promote common instructional practices.
  • Identify and tailor appropriate curriculum for each component of the day.
  • Build arc of professional development to enrich organizational learning and deepen the practices of our instructional team.
  • Develop and ensure the implementation of consistent, efficient, and safe practices and routines across all classrooms.
  • Drive instructional excellence by ensuring teachers receive appropriate and targeted coaching.
  • Oversee a teacher performance management system that includes regular classroom observation and feedback, goal setting and tracking, and formal evaluations.
  • Identify and reward strong performance, drive retention of high performers, and create opportunities for professional growth.

Build a powerful and positive culture across students, staff, and families

  • Build and sustain a culture of joy, inquiry, high expectations, collaboration, and continuous improvement for children, parents, and community partners.
  • Communicate regularly with families regarding student performance and academic achievement, coordinating with parent support team.
  • Collaborate with operations team to design and execute on schoolwide events and rituals.
  • Ensure efficient school site operations
  • Ensure compliance with all program policies and procedures and state preschool, state licensing, CACFP/NSLP, and other regulations.
  • Coordinate with school operations team to ensure a safe and consistent school environment for students.
  • Manage staff, student, and classroom schedules to ensure efficient and consistent day-to-day operations.
  • Oversee usage of space and facilities for student programming, and manage related district and city relationships as needed.
  • Represent school in annual budget setting process; manage ongoing school finances and ensure school upholds all fiscal policies and procedures.



  • Exceptional grasp of best practices in instruction and curriculum, ideally for both early childhood and elementary school.
  • Deep understanding of how to build trauma-sensitive classroom cultures and systems that work for all children.
  • Has an appetite for new approaches and the patience and skill to implement change.
  • Is highly collaborative and excited to work with an interdisciplinary team.
  • Excels in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and innovative organization.
  • Able to inspire direct reports, colleagues, and teams to be their best.


  • Has previously managed a school and is able to run the day-to-day of a school while also pushing forward the design of our integrated work.
  • Has a track record of managing towards and achieving exceptional outcomes for children, families, or others.
  • Experience coaching and training teachers at all levels; excels at motivating diverse individuals to be their best.
  • Has worked extensively with high-poverty, communities of color.

Mindset and attitude

  • Believes that we need a new model of school and has a deep commitment to re-defining systems and the way we care for our children.
  • Is deeply kind, humble, and courageous.
  • Has the courage to take bold bets, make mistakes, and try again.
  • Believes in the mission of The Primary School and that all children and families are capable of extraordinary things.


The Primary School (TPS) is a new non-profit organization dedicated to dramatically improving health and educational outcomes for children. Fueled by the belief that the current model of school is too limited to close the achievement gap for our nation’s most at risk children, TPS is designing a new model of primary education and primary care which braids together education, health, and family support services starting at birth. We pair high expectations and joy, in a powerful community of supports to care for the whole child. With this innovative new model, we aim to expand the traditional definition of “school” in order to prepare all children to succeed in college, career, and life.

The Primary School approach has three defining characteristics:

  • Provide integrated supports: We partner with existing health care organizations to address the needs of the whole child. Educators, parent coaches and healthcare professionals come together as a team to provide integrated academic and health (physical, mental, and socio-emotional) supports to students and families.
  • Start early: We admit students at or before birth, and provide parent-driven, early childhood supports alongside medical care during the critical years of child development, ensuring that students are ready for school at age 3. Our infant-toddler program consists of regular parent-child playgroups to support the goals of attachment, language development and resilience.
  • Offer two-generation supports: We put families at the center of this work and focus on building parent capacity to support the health and education of their children. Families receive support, including group-based coaching, individual supports, and connection to other social services, to help them better support their children and become healthier themselves.

We opened our first site in East Palo Alto in 2016, and in 2018 will serve 300 children (ages 0 to 6) and their families. TPS was seeded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a major national philanthropy.

TPS is committed to designing a model that is replicable in other communities and redefines what is possible for our highest need children and families. We are investing in design, research, evaluation, and dissemination that will allow us to replicate our model and transfer our learnings to others.


Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

The Primary School values diversity. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should please send resume and cover letter to Please put the name of the job title in the email subject line.