Overview

The full Job Description in English and French can be found here: carneysandoe-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com

Opportunities and Challenges
While there is much to be excited about at Akiva, like any school there is always work to be done.
Among the challenges and opportunities the new Head will find are:

• It is constant hard work to effectively balance the many program needs of a trilingual, tri-cultural
program within the constraints of normal hours of a school day. The school’s strategic plan calls
for efforts to “Enhance and Communicate the Akiva School French Learning Experience,” for
example.
• All private schools receive much-appreciated per-student financial support from the Province of
Quebec. They are also bound by a number of regulations from the provincial Ministry of Education
with which they must comply. The school must always work hard to fulfill its unique mission while
meeting the requirements of the provincial government.
• Religious plurality, as has been successfully implemented at Akiva, has an inherent tension and
it takes great skill and constant work to strike the right balance.
• While healthy, the school is not at full capacity. The Jewish community of Montreal is not growing.
In a competitive educational landscape, Akiva must work hard to articulate clearly its “unique
selling proposition” (as one observer put it) in order to maintain and hopefully grow its enrollment
of mission-appropriate students and families.
• While the school knows its mission and identity, it can benefit from better branding and marketing
of that identity led by a charismatic and engaging new Head.
• As the nature of the Montreal Jewish community continues to evolve, Akiva must proactively
assure that its own Jewish identity is relevant, consistently reflected in the program of the school,
and clearly communicated.
• Despite good efforts and the best of intentions, Akiva has had recent turnover in the Head position.
It is important that the school move past the effects of that turnover and reaffirm its mission and
identity, continue to strengthen both internal and external relationships and solidify its Jewish
identity.
• The school would benefit from clearly articulated and uniformly enforced policies and procedures
in areas such as student behavior, parental boundaries, and clarity of roles and responsibilities
within the staff of the school.
• The school needs to provide a menu of opportunities for constructive parental engagement in the
life of the school that recognizes the realities of societal and demographic changes in the current
and future generations of parents.
• As the school is proud of being an educational innovation leader, it is important to keep current with
emerging trends and thought leadership and, with the faculty, to find the right balance between
new ideas and the school’s capacity for change.
• The areas of greatest strength and interest of a new Head provide the opportunity to structure the
administration of the school to take advantage of those strengths and leverage the skills of the
rest of the administrative team.

Work Remotely: no
Qualifications:

The following skills and personal characteristics are among those desirable in a new Head.
• A proven leader with a track record of success leading and managing staff and “customers” in a
multi-stakeholder organization.
• Someone with “collaborative backbone.” One who seeks to include others in the process of
decision making when possible, but also has the ability to make decisions and even say “no”
when necessary.
• Exceptionally high emotional intelligence as manifested in the ability to:
• Relate well to all constituencies of the school.
• Develop and manage personal and professional relationships with tact, sensitivity, respect,
and openness.
• Be firm and consistent as well as compassionate and caring.
• Have a personal “presence” that is credible, authoritative, and persuasive; while also being
open, consistent, charismatic, and authentic.
• Have a genuine love of children and the ability to connect with them even while being an
authority figure that they respect.
• Embody cultural competency and sensitivity that will seek to understand and embrace the
unique character of Montreal and the Montreal Jewish community.
• A leadership style of “Une main de fer dans un gant de velours”—A hand of iron in a velvet glove.
The ability to be both firm and warm and nurturing.
• Passion for and knowledge of the Jewish life, learning, culture, and values that are central to the
mission of Akiva school. A strong, knowledgeable Jewish role model for the school.
• An educator who knows what is going on in the classroom and can provide guidance, support,
evaluation, and direction to a wonderful faculty.
• Financial literacy in order to partner with a strong Assistant Head for Operations and Finance to
assure fiscally prudent school operations.
• English language fluency is required. French and Hebrew language proficiency are highly
desirable.
• An energetic, skillful communicator in writing and speaking to larger audiences, or one-on-one.
• An educator who knows and embraces the best in elementary school pedagogy.
• Eagerness to be a highly visible presence in the daily life of the school.

Position Start Date: July 1, 2018
Community Description:

Akiva School has long been admired for many reasons. This K-6 coeducational Jewish day school of
over 300 students is often described as a family. Its warmth, its tradition of excellence in both secular
and Judaic studies, the quality of its faculty and staff, its no-debt financial strength, and its pluralistic
approach to welcoming families from the full spectrum of Jewish life and observance make it unique
and highly desirable.
Often described as North America’s most “European” metropolitan area, Montreal is a bilingual mecca
of many cultures. A large and diverse Jewish community of over 90,000 people supports a broad
array of Jewish organizations from day schools, to synagogues, to kosher delis and restaurants, to
arts and social services organizations and more.
Like Montreal, Akiva School thrives on its diversity. Akiva is located in the tree-lined Westmount
neighborhood on a campus it shares with the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue, a thriving congregation
founded in 1846. While separate entities, the school is able to use the many and varied facilities of
the congregation. From meeting rooms, to a recently-built gymnasium, to worship spaces, to a fullystaffed,
full-time kosher kitchen, to an underground parking lot, Akiva enjoys facilities that would be
the envy of many schools.
One way to describe the identity, the “secret sauce” that makes the culture of Akiva work, might be:
“Eschewing labels and committed to pluralism, this warm community welcomes the broadest
array of Jewish students and their families. Informed by laws of traditional Judaism and study of
text, Jews of all persuasions are united by their commitment to academic excellence and their
shared joy in learning together the values and culture that bring richness and meaning to Jewish,
Canadian lives. Akiva celebrates its diversity in family backgrounds, in religious practice, and in a
differentiated learning environment.”

Send resumes and cover letter to:

There is no application deadline, but prompt submission of materials will be an indication of seriousness of
interest. Please send via email the following documents, each as a separate PDF:
• A current résumé
• A list of at least five professional references, including email and phone contact information
• A statement of your philosophy of Jewish education
• A cover letter expressing your interest specifically in the Akiva position and what you believe you bring to
bear vis a vis the information in this Position Description
Send your materials to skip.kotkins@carneysandoe.com