Executive Director

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 2021, we opened our second site in the East Bay.


The Executive Director will drive the successful development and implementation of The Primary School in East Palo Alto in deep collaboration with families and community partners, including health care, family support services, and other key stakeholders in the community. This responsibility includes setting the direction and plan for the site overall in a way that reflects the needs of the community together with the vision and long-strategy of The Primary School. The Executive Director will be responsible for managing all parts of our model, including the birth-to-three, health, family and community engagement, operations, and school. This leader will work to ensure effective and innovative cross program integration that leads to excellent results for TPS’s children and families. Note: while The Primary School is supported by multiple private donors and public funding sources, the Executive Director position does not hold direct fundraising responsibilities.

Community and Partner Engagement

  • Develop and sustain ongoing relationships with key local partners, including city and community leaders, school district leaders, service providers, and health care partners
  • Listen actively and consistently to the voices and interests of families, community members, and partners to inform program goals and approach

Strategic Leadership

  • Articulate a clear, responsive strategy for achieving and growing impact that is deeply informed by stakeholder input and aligned with The Primary School’s vision and values
  • Develop and attain clear academic, parent, health, operational and financial goals while remaining responsive to internal and external changes
  • Leverage data to help teams continually refine the program and improve practice; support design and iteration of new program design
  • Lead the site-based annual and multi-year planning to match priorities to resources, identifying strategies that fit within current and long-term budget parameters
  • Set and achieve sustainable multi-year growth goals and plans, forecasting and managing the financial and human resources required to deliver on plans and commitments with the community
  • Lead school and program leaders to manage budgets effectively
  • Lead team to expand reach and impact in the community through expansion of 0-3 and middle school programming

People and Program Management

  • Provide direct management, coaching, and support to school and program leaders to deliver game-changing results while growing the capacity of leaders and teams
  • Lead and develop an inclusive, high-impact site leadership team in service of site goals
  • Cultivate and live out a values-driven culture across the East Palo Alto site team that reflects the values of Excellence, Growth, Courage, Community, and Soul
  • Develop and create effective and scalable management processes and systems, including around human capital, knowledge management, communication, and operations.
  • Support school and program leaders to ensure efficient and consistent day-to-day operations that are in compliance with applicable regulations and ensure safety of all stakeholders
  • Oversee planning and usage of space for student, infant-toddler and parent programming


  • You have 7-10+ years of experience working and leading in mission-driven settings, with a preference for direct leadership of early childhood programs and/or schools
  • You believe in the mission and vision of The Primary School and that all children and families are capable of extraordinary things
  • You have exceptional oral and written communication skills, and the ability to synthesize information into clear and compelling messages for a wide range of audiences
  • You are comfortable in ambiguity and environments that change rapidly
  • You value and demonstrate cultural humility and competency in your work, and strive to ensure community voice deeply informs the work
  • You are extremely collaborative and excited to work with an interdisciplinary team of partners and staff to design, develop, and implement a highly integrated program
  • You are able to lead, coach, and develop others in a way that both delivers results and cultivates professional growth over time
  • You either bring a track record of success in cultivating relationships with strategic and community partners, or a high motivation for building that competency area and very strong related skills
  • You excel in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and innovative organization
  • You have the ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously
  • You have exceptional reasoning, problem solving, and strategic thinking skills
  • You have the ability to develop short and long-term plans that are both strategic and practical
  • You are highly detail-oriented and able to ensure accuracy and privacy with sensitive information

Ideal candidates will be familiar with the East Palo Alto community and/or will have experience working with a similar community. Comfort and proficiency in Spanish is a plus but not required.


Annual salary range begins at $160,000. 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. 

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Superintendent / Assistant Supe.

Experience Level

Senior 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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