Associate Director for The Little School in San Francisco, CA

Associate Director

The Little School - San Francisco, CA - Full time

Little School

Associate Director Position


The Little School is a nationally recognized, relationship-based, inclusive preschool program committed to providing individualized, quality education to young children. The San Francisco-based school is seeking an outstanding Associate Director, who will be responsible for the quality program experience of children and families and the quality of performance and experience of teachers in their professional capacities. The Associate Director ensures that the experience of children, families and teachers aligns with the stated mission, philosophy and approach of The Little School.



At The Little School, we focus on the development of the whole child. We celebrate an individual’s strengths, encourage interests and support challenges. We believe that strong positive relationships and a robust, supportive community, where everyone feels respected and included, are the keys to a successful learning environment.

The pillars responsible for bringing our philosophy to life include:

Quality Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Education principles and best practices are the foundation of The Little School. Upon this foundation, the school has created its own inclusive, relationship-based approach. This approach has received local and national attention; has been taught in local and national conferences, workshops and consulting engagements; and has been documented in a training film: “Relationships: The Key to Teaching and Learning in the Early Years” and a book “Including One, Including All: A Relationship-Based Guide to Inclusion”.

Inclusion. The Little School is committed to serving children with diverse developmental profiles including children with identified special needs. A range of children with unique strengths, challenges and interests both strengthens the social competence and empathy of every child in the school and encourages teachers to develop teaching strategies and learning tools that benefit every child.

Diversity. The Little School strives to create a community with racial, ethnic, socio-economic and family-structure diversity as well as a range of life experiences and abilities. This rich assortment of families creates the potential for each individual member to stretch their cultural competence and communicate in new ways.

Excellent Teachers. The school is fortunate to have an outstanding and tenured team of teachers. The success and long tenure of our teachers (approximately one-third have tenure of greater than 15 years and one-third 6-15 years) is due to the individuals themselves, to the school’s commitment to professional development and guidance, to teacher involvement in the program’s development, and to the structure of the teacher work week (e.g. 5-7 hours per week off the floor to support the program, children and families).

Parent – Teacher – School Partnership. Parents at The Little School are actively engaged in the school community. Parents, teachers and administrators collaborate to support each child and the community as a whole. It is a culture of caring and contribution. Each member of the community assists where possible, whether chaperoning a field trip, attending a family share day, participating on a volunteer committee or serving as a Trustee. Parents also come together for Parent Education events focused on topics central to early childhood and The Little School’s core tenets.


The fundamental tools which support our educational approach include:

  • The Sensory Lens. The Little School uses a sensory-processing lens as a basic tool for understanding a developmental profile, for regulating and organizing children, and for helping children understand themselves and others.
  • Social-Emotional Curriculum. Social-emotional curricula (e.g. identification, processing and validation of feelings, as well as conflict-resolution) and regulation curricula (e.g. identifying our internal state and what tools help calm and organize us, such as those outlined in Zones of Regulation and The Engine Curriculum) are embedded in daily classroom life and conversation.
  • Emergent Curriculum. Teachers are intentional in providing experiences that reflect the emerging interests of individuals and groups of children. The goal is to support overall development, be it cognitive, social, emotional, symbolic, physical or creative.

Other Key Facts

The Program. There are 110-115 students enrolled with small class sizes and teacher ratios ranging from 1:4 to 1:8. Current individual programs or classes include: two 2-3 year-old programs with classes on two half-days per week; two 3-4 year-old programs with classes on three half-days per week; two 4-5 year-old programs with half-day daily classes; one transitional kindergarten with half-day daily classes; four intertwined extended day programs; and a summer program.


Be passionate about children and early childhood education

Embrace The Little School’s core values: relationship-based education, inclusion, diversity, commitment to teacher excellence and strong parent / school partnership

Be a strong teacher-leader, who can inspire, manage, mentor and partner with a highly knowledgeable and passionate staff

Be an ambassador, team player and consensus-builder who is comfortable working with and balancing the needs of multiple constituents including professional colleagues, parents and prospective families

Be a strategic thinker and thoughtful problem solver who can listen attentively and consider many points of view, develop an action plan, execute on the plan, and reflect on lessons learned

Help to facilitate Parent Education events central to the educational philosophy of The Little School


Early childhood education expertise: both on-the-floor early childhood teaching experience and strong knowledge of early childhood education practices

Demonstrated success as a leader and manager, including experience leading a team

Genuine enthusiasm for The Little School’s philosophy, especially the tenets of inclusion, diversity, relationship-based learning, and individualized education

Strong interpersonal skills: a capable listener and communicator with high emotional intelligence and empathy

Ability to understand and empathize with the needs of a diverse community

Strong communication skills – organized, mindful & articulate communicator with high attention to detail & interpersonal relationships

Organized, self-starter, high attention to detail, ability to both multi-task and focus deeply, can work in a fast-paced environment, can prioritize with lots of incoming data, calm under pressure, ability to model appropriate self-help skills

Strong knowledge of inclusion work & best practices, ability to advocate for underrepresented populations

Integrity, humility and a natural inclination for reflection and growth

Strong technology skills – proficiency in G Suite (Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides), Microsoft Word, MailChimp

The Assistant Director of The Little School must meet all Director Qualifications per the California Community Care Licensing Division. For more information, please see:


Direct staff supervision, which includes:

  • Staff evaluation and its follow-up, staff development, day-to-day problem solving with teachers, support of teachers’ abilities to meet children’s needs, participation in hiring process, timesheet approval

Program accountability including general knowledge for each class of:

  • Curriculum, progress of children, progress of additional support efforts, overall functioning of class community, teacher-family partnership

Family experience including:

  • Parent education, administrative communication to families about program, overall family experience of program, weekly administrative newsletter

Professional teaching community including:

  • Designing professional development plans and workshops consistent with the overall program or staff goals developed with Executive Director and creating, implementing and maintaining systems, procedures and protocols that support the teachers’ ability to understand and meet professional standards and expectations

Creation and implementation of systems, procedures and protocols including:

  • Teacher coverage
  • Finding, training, managing and engaging substitutes

Support the Executive Director in the implementation of strategic initiatives that impact program

Support the Executive Director in the admission process as needed, including but not limited to analysis and support of current/future classroom needs

Support the classroom teachers & Executive Director in the exmissions process by reviewing & giving feedback on initial drafts of kindergarten evaluations

Lead all aspects of the Summer Program, including but not limited to hiring additional external staff, creating the overall schedule, facilitating the smooth running of programs, communicating with parents, coordinating enrollment & extended care confirmations

Coordination and supervision of all school support roles

Substitute for Executive Director as needed

Serve as a resource and model for The Little School’s philosophy and approach


Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Executive Director Matt Linden at by February 2, 2018. Please write “Application for Assistant Director” in the subject of the email.

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Experience Level

Mid Level

The Little School

The Little School is a nationally recognized, relationship-based, inclusive preschool committed to providing individualized, quality education to young children. Our highly qualified and committed staff includes 21 teachers with tenure ranging from one to twenty-nine years. 

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