The SEED School of LA, Founding Head of School

The SEED School of LA - Los Angeles, California - Full time


Seventeen years ago, community leaders and philanthropists in the Los Angeles area embarked on a mission to bring The SEED Foundation and its first-in-the nation public boarding school model to the region’s students. Their commitment to bringing SEED to Southern California will come to fruition in August 2022 with the opening of The SEED School of Los Angeles County (SEED LA), the first tuition-free boarding school program in the state of California.

Supported by partnerships with LA Metro and Los Angeles County, SEED LA will provide youth with a specialized curriculum and programming that exposes them to opportunities in the growing transportation infrastructure industry alongside a rigorous college-preparatory program in STEM and the humanities. At SEED LA, all students will experience a 24-hour boarding environment where academic and student life curricula are coordinated to promote critical social and non-cognitive skills (e.g. critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, emotional health, social skills, work ethic, and community responsibility) and habits of mind (e.g. analytical thinking, academic inquisitiveness) that contribute to personal success within a college environment and/or post graduate career. Programming for each student continues beyond their graduation from SEED. The SEED Foundation's College Transition & Success (CTS) team provides intrusive academic, social-emotional, and financial aid advising and leadership development opportunities while SEED graduates persist to and through college.

At full capacity, SEED LA will serve 400 students in grades 9-12. The school is committed to an active and comprehensive effort to recruit students. If more students apply than the school can accommodate, SEED LA will conduct a public lottery in accordance with California's charter school legislation. This countywide lottery will ensure all applicants have a fair chance of enrolling in the school’s program, with a weighted priority applied to those who self-identify as:

  • Homeless or housing insecure;
  • Having interacted with Department of Children and Family services;
  • Having had contact with the probation or juvenile justice department;
  • Having an immediate family member incarcerated at the time of application.

About The SEED Foundation

In 1998, The SEED Foundation (SEED) created the nation’s first public boarding school model to help children from high-need backgrounds achieve their dreams of high school graduation and post-secondary success. SEED believes that all young people, regardless of circumstances, should be able to achieve their true potential in life. Together with students, families, educators, activists, communities, and policymakers who share this belief, SEED strives to foster a nation where:

  • Students who need it most have access to a high-quality, college-preparatory, public boarding education;
  • Low-income, first-generation, college-bound students receive the support they need to thrive in college and beyond; and
  • Our public education system embraces innovation to empower all students to own their educational journeys.

SEED partners with communities to design and operate college-preparatory, public boarding schools that serve students five days a week from grades six through twelve. SEED is the nation's first and only network of schools designed for students who need – and deserve – a 24-hour learning environment to achieve their full potential.The SEED network currently serves nearly 1,000 students in three schools - The SEED School of Washington D.C. (opened in 1998), The SEED School of Maryland (opened in 2008) and The SEED School of Miami (opened in 2014) – as well as hundreds of SEED graduates on their journey to and through college. SEED scholars prove every day what we already know: that ALL students can achieve success at the highest levels and realize their dreams.


The Founding Head of School (HOS) of SEED LA will be an equity-oriented, visionary leader who will implement the SEED Model and leverage SEED’s past successes in launching high quality public boarding schools for resilient youth to deliver similarly outstanding educational experiences and outcomes for SEED LA students. This individual will have a deep passion for scholars, and as an ambassador for and the public face of SEED LA, the HOS will develop and maintain effective relationships with a variety of constituents including students and families, school faculty and staff, the Board of Directors, The SEED Foundation and other SEED network leaders, state and local officials, community and business leaders, the school’s charter authorizer (Los Angeles County Office of Education), LA Metro, donors, the media and other stakeholders necessary to drive exceptional outcomes for the school’s students.

As the leader of a start-up school, the HOS must be comfortable with an ambiguous, dynamic and demanding environment. This person will relentlessly focus on outcomes, using data at all levels to ensure that activity is never mistaken for progress. This leader will build a strong, positive culture and strategic vision aligned to the SEED Model and, together with their team, will collaborate with and actively support work at the SEED network level, together with other SEED schools and the Foundation.

The HOS will ensure that the SEED LA team meets all of their goals related to student success, staff performance, program, finance and operations, fundraising and community relations. The HOS serves as a role model for all members of the SEED LA community by constantly and consistently embodying SEED’s core values (Respect, Responsibility, Perseverance, Integrity, Compassion, Gratitude and Growth) and belief statements (summarized as a college-bound culture, 24-hour learning environment, positive culture of high expectations, an integrated and engaging program to foster a love of learning, individual student support, focus on data and continuous improvement, and recruiting and nurturing outstanding educators).


The HOS is responsible for all aspects of leading and operating SEED LA including hiring the core senior leadership team and ensuring that all elements are in place for a successful school launch. Their key responsibilities will include:

  • Implementing the SEED Model: Implementing the SEED Model with fidelity, in collaboration with The SEED Foundation, across all areas of SEED LA. Creating and communicating a compelling vision for the school and building a college-going culture where every staff member is committed to doing whatever it takes to prepare students for college and beyond.
  • Hiring and Managing Staff: Setting talent management priorities to ensure that the size and composition of staff meet the school’s needs at all times. Working with talent staff and school leaders to set and lead a high-quality performance management system so staff receive regular and relevant feedback and growth opportunities.
  • Driving Positive Outcomes: Working with the SEED LA leadership team to ensure the right metrics are in place to measure student outcomes and drive growth and proficiency across the broad array of all areas (social emotional, character, academic, career readiness, etc.).
  • Establishing Operations: Establishing and managing all school operations including finance and budget, facilities, human resources, administrative policy and procedures, IT, procurement of contracted services, charter authorizer relationships and compliance. (SEED LA is in partnership and under contract with ExED (, a non-profit back office business management organization, to assist the HOS with budgeting, accessing resources, the software for state compliance, CALPADS, etc.)
  • Community Relations: Building a strong relationship with the local community, the authorizer (LA County Office of Education ((LACOE)), LA Metro and funding agencies. Ensuring that the funding mechanisms are solid, that the needs of all constituencies are understood, and that everyone is working together to achieve positive outcomes for the children being served. Supporting and leading fundraising efforts.
  • Recruiting Students: Identifying and recruiting students and growing from 125 students in the first year (9th grade only) to a total of 400 students in grades 9-12 at full capacity. Explaining the concept and marketing an entirely unique educational opportunity to underserved families will require a robust communications and engagement strategy. (The HOS will need to balance the priority that 50% of the students come from the broader Vermont Manchester community and 50% come from the vast expanse of LA County - from north to south, it is 92 miles; LA County has 10 million people.)


In order to fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal Founding Head of School candidate will be:

  • An equity-oriented systems leader that is passionately committed to students and to their education at every level. Has empathy for and commitment to programs and services for Black and Latinx youth, and a solid understanding of child development.
  • An inspiring leader and communicator. Possesses the confidence and ability to articulate continuously high expectations for achievement by every student as well as the capacity to inspire staff, community partners, parents, and children to embrace that vision. Positive and projects energy and enthusiasm.
  • A resilient but humble leader. Willingly takes responsibility for failures and challenges and works with determination not to repeat them. Constant learner who has been successful and does not shy away from difficult work; eagerly learns from people at every level of the organization.
  • An innovative leader, especially in the social sector, with demonstrated experience building something significant from scratch, or transforming an organization into a center of excellence.
  • An instructional leader who leads by finding or creating new ideas and actively seeks out innovative strategies to improve student achievement. Possesses a commitment to academic excellence and an awareness of the best practices in education and pedagogy.
  • An enthusiastic consensus builder through relationships of trust with faculty and staff, parents and families, community and state leaders and board members. Strong and positive existing relationships in Los Angeles and/or community organizations is highly desirable.
  • A culturally competent and a self-reflective leader who understands the effects of race, class, ethnicity, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and other issues of difference in society and is able to lead direct conversations about them. Has comfort and experience working with Black and Latinx communities.
  • A proven team builder. Is self-aware and able to play to their strengths and fill in potential gaps with appropriate team expertise. Instrumental in the recruitment and selection of a superior and diverse faculty and staff reflective of the student population. Knows how to manage a senior leadership team’s performance and growth, building capacity by assessing, coaching and developing their potential.
  • Comfortable in an environment where Spanish is spoken (Spanish language proficiency and/or fluency is preferred).


Certain personal characteristics are essential for success as the Founding Head of School for SEED LA. Our expectation is that you will:

  • Possess personal integrity and a strong moral and ethical character.
  • Be a goal-setter with boundless energy who goes “above and beyond” what is expected.
  • Be approachable, accessible, and highly visible.
  • Be a positive and enthusiastic consensus-builder, inspiring and motivating while building trust.
  • Be an open and reflective listener.
  • Possess strong management and leadership skills. Managerial excellence, at all levels of the organization, from adults to children, is vital.
  • Serve as a “visionary” leader who embodies the greatness the school can be and inspires others.
  • Be a flexible and creative problem-solver with impeccable judgment.
  • Be positive and driven, yet gracious.
  • Enjoy and excel at working with adults for the good of students.
  • Have a secure sense of self that results in steady leadership.
  • Have an unwavering commitment to outcomes, even in the face of multiple competing demands.
  • Have a sense of humor.
  • Work productively with colleagues at both The SEED Foundation and other SEED schools while remaining focused on the vision, mission, and strategy of SEED LA.
  • Show a personal dedication to the unique opportunities available through boarding education, and a willingness to live on campus.


This position offers a competitive salary range of $178,000 to $198,000, and a robust benefits package including health and dental insurance, four weeks of vacation annually, a TIAA/CREF retirement plan and life insurance, among other benefits. The compensation package will include brand-new housing on campus for the candidate and family. More details can be provided upon request.


Please submit a resume online at For additional questions about this position or to speak with someone about your interest, please contact Ron Rapatalo at

The SEED School of Los Angeles County is committed to the letter and spirit of equality. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in hiring and employment, nor in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and other programs.

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C Level Executive Leadership

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Senior Level

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