Director of Operations

The Primary School - East Palo Alto, California - Full time


The Primary School is creating a new school model that brings together all of the adults in a child’s life, including parents, educators, and medical and mental health providers, starting from a very early age. We recognize the entrenched racism that exists within our public systems and the unjust impact this has had on families of color. Our aim is that children and families most impacted by systemic poverty and racism receive the multidisciplinary support they deserve to be well, learn, and thrive.

Long-term, we hope to create a game-changing school model that can be replicated across the country. As we continue to learn and grow, we plan to share what we’ve learned and pursue policy and systems change on a local, state, and national level. We are proud to receive funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a major national philanthropy.

Our approach has three defining characteristics:

  • We start early. We start working with children as young as 8 months and provide full-time school starting at age three to reach them at a critical stage in development.
  • We partner with parents. We believe that when parents thrive, children thrive, so we support the wellness and growth of parents alongside the growth of their children.
  • We integrate services. Our unique model unites health care and education, building a multi-disciplinary team and holistic system of care around a child’s full needs.

In 2016, we opened our flagship school in East Palo Alto, California, with our first class of four year olds. We have grown to serve over 300 children and their families through a birth to three program, parent wellness program, full-day preschool, and elementary school, which will grow through eighth grade. In 2020, we began programming at our second site in Hayward, California.


We are continuing to grow our East Palo Alto site and are excited to launch 4th grade for our 2021-2022 school year. In our school we currently serve ~250 students across two preschool grades (3 and 4 year olds), kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade. Beyond school, core components of our model include partnering closely with parents throughout their child’s development and supporting parent wellness; coordinating early screening and developmental support; and working with existing health care providers in the community to coordinate care for children.


The Director of Operations reports to the Executive Director in East Palo Alto and will be part of the East Palo Alto leadership team. The Director of Operations will be managing a well established and mighty operations team of three. This operations team works across the School, Parent Program, Birth-to-Three Program and our Family Engagement work and therefore the Director role needs to be able to coordinate multiple work streams and align and integrate operational efforts across all the programs in East Palo Alto.

The Director of Operations will take the lead in evaluating and improving multiple systems, including our communication platforms and our lottery admissions and enrollment processes. They will work with EPA program leaders to identify and develop new trackers that help the team stay accountable to goals and activities and that support cross team integration and will be required to design effective data tracking and user friendly tools for scheduling, data tracking, strategic and annual planning.

The Director of Operations will manage the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) contracts to ensure that TPS East Palo Alto is collecting the maximum reimbursement amounts each year, which funds our preschool work. In order to manage the CSPP work, the Director of Operations will stay up to date with management bulletin updates and attend San Mateo County CSPP meetings to ensure the preschool program is compliant and that the Operations team has the information and resources they need to maintain student and family files, report attendance, submit monthly and quarterly reports.



  • Manage a three person operations team and focus on their professional growth, consistent and high quality operational integration across East Palo Alto programs, and continued high quality of services that are staff and family facing
  • Act as the final approver for vendor relationships and contracts for food, preschool, testing, and other contract services that apply, including exploring new vendor relationships for financial and operational efficiency.
  • Work laterally across programs to support the organization and coordination of clear communications to families.

Systems and Data

  • In partnership with the Central Office teams, manage and oversee annual surveys including annual parent surveys, protective factor surveys etc.
  • Manage student records and our student information system and ensure ongoing accuracy
  • Manages the production of academic, program and school culture reports (i.e., report cards, awards)
  • Manage the design and implementation of Progress Reports for our Birth-to-Three program that is aligned with TPS progress report structures in other programs
  • Oversees and coordinates EPA communications systems with families for all school and non-school programming (health, parent program, birth-to-three program)
  • Create and oversee the inventory and tracking process and internal and external user agreements for all technology, across all programs
  • Work directly with the Family and Community Engagement Manager and across teams to redesign and improve TPS enrollment lottery waitlist backfill and registration processes
  • As needed, administer academic assessments in coordination with Central Office staff

Facilities and Site

  • Manage contracts for EPA’s projected public funding streams annually (ex: California State Preschool Program; Child and Adult Care Food Program, National School Lunch Program)
  • Lead annual operations planning, including supporting the Dean of Operations for campus for licensing, ensuring quality emergency and safety plans, designing day to day operations and training staff to implement compliant processes.
  • As opportunities arise seek additional funding opportunities to support the site


  • You have at least four years of experience in operations, with at least two years in a leadership role managing staff.
  • You are a seasoned and expert project manager and have an exceptional ability to plan for and drive forward complex, cross-functional projects that involve multiple individuals at multiple levels.
  • You have strong technical skills, experience in managing and manipulating databases and datasets, and are highly proficient in Excel.
  • You are a natural problem solver, fixer and finder of resources; when the going gets tough, you are calm under pressure and show excellent judgment and leadership.
  • You get joy out of building efficient, user-friendly and results-oriented work flows and processes.
  • You care about and want to contribute to an environment that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • You believe in the mission of The Primary School and that all children and families are capable of extraordinary things.
  • You are comfortable in ambiguity and environments that change rapidly.
  • You love the start-up stage of an organization and are excited to hustle to develop the systems that will make the site run.

A Plus If

  • You speak fluent Spanish or Tongan
  • You have experience living or working in the East Palo Alto or Bell Haven community.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions. While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to talk, hear, and communicate with both adults and children. The employee frequently is required to use hands or fingers, handle or feel objects, tools, or controls. The employee is frequently required to stand, walk, sit, and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, and the ability to adjust focus. The noise level in the work environment is moderate to high.


Compensation is commensurate with qualifications and experience, plus excellent health benefits, 401k retirement plan, flexible spending account (FSA), dependent care FSA, and generous paid time off, including a competitive paid parental leave benefit.


TPS values diversity; people of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Please complete the following application and submit your most recent resume. These short-answer questions are designed to replace a cover letter, so take your time with them and copy in your answers from a separate document. If you feel that the questions do not accurately capture what you have to offer The Primary School, you are also welcome to attach a cover letter. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis so we encourage you to submit yours soon. We look forward to reading your application!

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Experience Level

Mid Level

The Primary School

The Primary School is creating a new school model that brings together all of the adults in a child’s life, including parents, educators, and medical and mental health providers, starting from a very early age.
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