Head of School | Childpeace Montessori School

Carney, Sandoe & Associates
December 22, 2022
Job Type
Street Address
200 High St


Head of School

Childpeace Montessori School

Appointment: July 2023

1516 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97209

Position Overview

The commitment to excellence in Montessori education is central to the community of Childpeace Montessori School. The students’ joyful and productive interaction with each other, the curriculum, their environment, and their guides is palpable. Childpeace has long enjoyed a reputation for being one of the best Montessori Schools anywhere. The School currently enrolls 273 students from toddlers through middle School.

Childpeace’s main campus building is remarkable; high ceilings, excellent natural lighting, beauty, order, and simplicity abound. A recent Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) observation report said: “The buildings and environments are the embodiment of Montessori principles.” The main campus is located in an urban neighborhood in northwest Portland, Oregon. The school also has a children’s house satellite campus, the Terrace, in southeast Portland.

As spectacular as the facilities may be, they are exceeded by the dedication, commitment, knowledge and caring of the faculty. Their level of certification meets the highest AMI standards, and many have very long tenures with Childpeace. It is a second home for the wonderful faculty and staff.

Childpeace is looking to the next chapter of its natural evolution post-pandemic. While enrollment has declined in the past few years, there is confidence that post-pandemic it can be rebuilt. Fortunately, the school’s financial position allows it to weather the storm while making decisions to adapt to current realities. With the stability and continuity of dedicated AMI certified guides, and the energy of the new administrative team, the School is ripe with opportunity.

Childpeace has a wise and committed Board of Trustees and an administration led by a highly-regarded interim Head, a former longtime Program Director. The School seeks a new permanent Head to start in July of 2023.

Strengths of the School

Among the many strengths, the new Head will find:

  • The unwavering commitment to Montessori values that built the school’s substantial reputation. Childpeace is the embodiment of AMI Montessori principles and practices.
  • Outstanding faculty, passionate about and committed to the AMI Montessori principles and pedagogy.
  • Excellent student outcomes, student experiences, and student preparation for the numerous high schools they attend after leaving Childpeace.
  • Wonderful facilities ideally suited to the program of the school.
  • A middle school with a clearly defined separate identity including its own building and its own branding (Metro Montessori Middle School). The Metro program combines the best of Montessori with thoughtful preparation for success in high school and beyond.
  • Portland, Oregon, is routinely listed among the best places to live in the U.S. Portlanders enjoy a casual lifestyle, proximity to nature, a relatively mild climate that makes it possible to enjoy the neighborhoods and outdoors year-around, abundant cultural institutions, a world-class culinary scene, and a vibrant economy.
  • The Board of Trustees is committed to good governance practices and provides thoughtful leadership, oversight, and support.
  • Childpeace exudes an aura of joy. The sounds of children engaged in their work, the physical buzz, and the enthusiasm of children and adults; all make Childpeace a profoundly happy place.

Opportunities and Areas of Growth

While there is a solid foundation of student success, every school has opportunities for continued growth, including:

  • The departure of a 30+ year Head in 2020, the pandemic, and recent administrative staff hires has left Childpeace craving stability and a continued commitment to foster the sense of community that is at the core of the Childpeace culture.
  • Childpeace’s long-term identity has been an urban school serving the needs of downtown working families. Changes in post-pandemic work patterns and socio-economic factors have contributed to the school’s current engagement in mission and identity work.
  • The school has seen recent enrollment drops due to low new enrollment and some retention issues which need to be reversed. In particular, it will be important to expand its marketing and outreach efforts to deliver compelling messages that celebrate the school’s amazing graduates as evidence of the program’s strength.
  • Childpeace has always been a beacon and exemplar of Montessori. Internally, the school desires to continue to be a source of ultimate Montessori knowledge. Externally, it is building its outreach and partnerships to drive its reputation as a model Montessori institution.
  • The School’s DEI initiatives are a strategic plan and continued implementation priority. There is a clear desire for greater diversity in the adult and student populations.
  • There has been turnover in administrative positions. The school has talented, but new, individuals in the administration. The Head will have the opportunity to assess the talents and structure of the administrative team to assure that job responsibilities maximize the use of each administrator’s talents and provide clear direction and support.
  • The school would benefit from strategic internal and external communication to ensure that everyone has timely, accurate, and complete information. From high level concepts like a common vision, to daily operations, communication should unify, inform, and inspire.

Desired Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • A collaborator and culturally responsive leader that always puts the children at the center of decisions.
  • Demonstrated success as a leader of sizeable numbers of classroom and administrative staff.
  • High emotional intelligence; a genuine people-person, a connector, accessible, a seeker of diverse input, an excellent listener; the ability to be both inclusive whenever possible and decisive when necessary.
  • While ideally AMI-Montessori certified, familiarity with Montessori and an eagerness to learn more is essential.
  • Both a big picture leader who can coalesce the community around an inspiring vision for the future; and a skilled manager able to create, direct, empower and hold accountable the administrative and teaching teams.
  • An excellent communicator to both internal and external audiences. A compelling spokesperson for the outcomes of the program of the school.
  • Familiarity with building enrollment, marketing, and admissions work.
  • A commitment to and experience with building diverse school communities, including DEI initiatives.
  • The ability to put in place the development of a culture of philanthropy and a consistent fundraising strategy.
  • A warm and joyful presence, highly visible in all aspects of the daily life of the school.
  • Experience working in a best-practices relationship with a Board of Trustees.
  • Ability to partner with the Board to set, track, and measure goals for organizational outcomes and strategic initiatives.
  • Sufficient financial literacy to work with the Board and administrative staff on developing future balanced budgets and investing resources where they will most benefit the children and the school.

To Apply

Interested and qualified candidates are invited to contact the consultants in confidence. Candidates will ultimately need to submit the following materials as separate PDF documents:

  • A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
  • A current résumé;
  • A statement of experience and/or familiarity with the principles, values, and practices of Montessori education in a PK-8 environment;
  • A list of five professional references with name, relationship, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to:

Skip Kotkins

Senior Consultant


Heather Flewelling

Search Consultant


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