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Director of Human Resources

Mary McDowell Friends School
Brooklyn, New York
Posted Date
Jul 15, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Human Resources Administration
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Leadership Opportunity


Human Resources Director


Mary McDowell Friends School


Brooklyn, NY


For Immediate Hire



Mary McDowell Friends School (MMFS), a Quaker, coeducational, K-12 college preparatory program dedicated to the success of students with learning disabilities, seeks a mission-driven Director of Human Resources to begin immediately. Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of Human Resources will be a key member of the school’s leadership team and will develop, implement and administer human resource strategy in support of the mission of the School and reflective of its anti-racist, equitable and inclusive commitments. The Director will provide strategic direction for the organization, specifically in the areas of talent and performance management, employee relations, orientation,  training and development, and compensation analysis. The Director of Human Resources will also provide direct support to the senior administration team on all HR matters and help to create and develop policies that attract, support, and retain excellent personnel. 



This newly created position reflects the needs of a school that has grown in program, students and employees. In this stage of its development, MMFS seeks an experienced human resource professional who can strategically assess, evolve and create systems to support this growth. Positioning the school to stay up to date with and nimbly respond to changing HR laws and practices while also building the department’s capacity to address employee concerns effectively and efficiently is increasingly important. 


Strategic Priorities/Opportunities:


  • Strategic partnership with school leaders to develop HR policies and practices and establish clear structures of reporting


    Assessing HR technology and information systems to identify areas for improvement and efficiencies 


    Developing effective hiring and onboarding processes to achieve institutional goals around diversity and equity and employee engagement







As part of the leadership team, this position is critical in helping to develop a culture that provides opportunities for all employees to grow and learn. The Director will help support the school's diversity and equity initiatives through its HR practices and policies. By examining identity, equity, and privilege in their own practice, the position will serve as a model and help sustain a school culture where all social identities feel welcomed.



Essential Functions:


■      Establish and implement HR strategies that effectively communicate and support the School’s mission, strategic vision, and overall business operations objectives


■      Function as an advisor to the senior administration and guide division heads/administration regarding critical organizational and management-related issues


■      Develop comprehensive strategic recruiting and retention plans using a DEIJB lens to meet the needs of the School


■      Provide leadership and guidance by overseeing talent acquisition, career development, retention, training, and leadership development


■      Advise leadership on disciplinary issues that arise and possible legal implications with consultation of the school’s attorney


■      Help the school manage its benefits program, host open enrollment events, and make recommendations to school leadership regarding benefit changes. Additionally, the Director of HR, in conjunction with the CFO and school leadership team, will meet with the school’s health insurance broker to review health benefits, recommend modifications to the benefits lineup and funding strategies as necessary


■      Work in partnership with the CFO, Head of School, and Associate Head to develop and implement comprehensive compensation and benefits plans that are competitive within the marketplace 


■      Consistently review employment practices and ensure that the school complies with them, as well as analyze the school’s existing policies and procedures to propose improvements and/or issue new policies when needed 


■      Help oversee the maintenance of employment manuals, ensure all policies continue to meet the school's needs, and update the manuals as new protocols and policies are established by external agencies such as State and Federal governments. These protocols and policies include the following but are not limited to: 


○      Harassment policy, sexual abuse, document retention 


○      Faculty and staff handbooks 


■      Manage employee separation process for both voluntary and involuntary terminations, and conduct exit interviews as necessary 


■      Act as a liaison between employees and senior school administrators concerning employees’ personnel matters, including grievances, demands, accommodations, and leaves of absence


■      Work with the CFO to oversee and manage the school’s retirement plans to ensure compliance with sections 402(g) and 415 and ERISA regulations 


■      Participates in the school’s risk management program and works proactively to mitigate risk in the human resources area




Qualities of the next Director of Human Resources



The new Director of Human Resources will be an experienced professional who has demonstrated success in all aspects of human resources. MMFS is a close-knit community deeply dedicated to the work of the school. The Director must demonstrate a practice of collaboration, strategic thinking,  problem-solving and decisiveness guided by compassion and understanding. In addition, the Director must have know-how and expertise in the recruitment, development and retention of an excellent and diverse staff. As the HR functions continue to grow and mature, a Director with a coach mindset to develop leaders in this work will be essential. The Director will have a successful history of building a warm and supportive culture.



Required Skills/Abilities:


■      Excellent verbal and written communication skills


■      Excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills


■      Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail


■      Strong analytical and problem-solving skills


■      Strong supervisory and leadership skills


■      Strong knowledge of employment laws and practices, including EEO, ERISA, FLSA, ADA, Workers’ compensation, FMLA, FLA, PFL, Pregnancy Disability, HIPAA, and OSHA regulations 


■      Thorough knowledge of employment-related laws and regulations


■      Proven working knowledge of human resources concepts, practices, and procedures


■      Knowledge of and experience with varied human resource information systems


■      Proficient in analyzing data related to human resources


■      Ability to build trust, respect, and credibility with senior leaders, faculty, and staff, serving as a valued resource


■      Ability to utilize resources to make recommendations to effectively resolve problems or issues by using judgment that is consistent with school culture, standards, practices, policies, procedures, and/or government law 



Education and Experience:


●      MBA or MA/MS in Human Resources or related field preferred


●      A minimum of five years of executive HR experience


●      SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) or SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification is preferred


Physical Requirements:


■      Prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer


■      Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times






Mary McDowell Friends School is a K–12 college preparatory program dedicated to the success of students with learning disabilities. Grounded in the Quaker values of equality, integrity, and social responsibility, the school cultivates a diverse and anti-racist community in which all students can reach their full potential. Their specialized teaching methodologies and challenging curricula empower students to become academic achievers, creative thinkers, advocates for equity, and contributing members of a global society.


Established in 1984 with a class of five students as the Mary McDowell Center for Learning at the Brooklyn Meeting House, the school now occupies three campuses for its lower, middle and upper schools, serving more than 400 students. Students come to MMFS with their own skills, talents, and abilities. Through differentiated instruction, the commitment of our highly skilled teachers and support staff, and the rigorous academics offered, their students succeed in school. 


At MMFS, every learner shines. The school supports its students to grow and to find their innate gifts and “inner light.” The faculty and staff provide students with opportunities to reach their full potential by understanding how they learn, drawing on their strengths, and encouraging them to meet their challenges. The students work hard at academics, the arts, and athletics so their many talents can emerge. 


The school equips students with the tools they need to thrive. MMFS graduates succeed at some of the nation’s top colleges and universities. Others forge fulfilling career paths through hands-on programs that provide important life skills. The MMFS experience empowers students to take an active role in learning at every level—elementary, middle, and high school, college and beyond. Students build a foundation at MMFS that will support them long after they have graduated. 







Grounded in the Quaker values of equality, integrity and social responsibility, the school cultivates a diverse and anti-racist community in which all students can reach their full potential. Their specialized teaching methodologies and challenging curricula empower students to become academic achievers, creative thinkers, advocates for equity, and contributing members of a global society.




Learning: Students with learning disabilities can learn and thrive within a supportive environment coupled with skilled differentiated instruction.  MMFS prepares students for college and life.


Quaker Values: MMFS is guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: MMFS embraces a broad definition of diversity and recognizes the power and value it delivers to everyone’s lives. The school strives to provide an equitable and safe environment for the entire community.


Anti-racism: Anti-racism is key to the mission and curriculum of MMFS, as the school challenges its members to dismantle systemic racism in the community and the world around us. 


Excellence: MMFS pursues excellence at every level.






Located in Northwestern Brooklyn, MMFS occupies campuses in the Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods. Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City and boasts a diverse array of historic neighborhoods and landmarks. Brooklyn has a rich arts, music, and food scene. Its parks and open spaces make it family- and recreation-friendly. 




Fast Facts


Total enrollment for Fall 2022: 430 students 


Average Student: Teacher Ratio: 6:1


Faculty and Staff: 185




Procedure to Apply




Employment at Mary McDowell Friends School is based solely on qualifications and competence for a particular position, without regard to race, color, ethnic origin, nationality, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, familial status, or any other category protected by the law. Mary McDowell Friends School’s policy of non-discrimination extends to all employment practices including but not limited to hiring, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, benefits, layoffs, and termination.


Interested candidates must submit the following materials confidentially via included

  • Cover letter expressing interest in the Mary McDowell Friends School Director of Human Resources position 
    Current résumé 
    List of five references (two must be current or former supervisors/managers)  including name, title, phone number, email address and professional relationship (references are contacted only with the candidate's permission)
  • Please email any questions to or by phone to Mary Rose Fernandez at 415-881-7105.


Search Calendar

Applications Due July 25, 2022

Semifinalist Interviews Week of August 1, 2022

Finalist Interviews week of August 15, 2022

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