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Director of College Counseling

Employer
Westridge School
Location
California, United States
Salary
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Jan 19, 2022

View more

Position Type
Administrative, Student Affairs, Counseling, Jobs Outside Academe, Educational Service Providers
Employment Level
Executive
Employment Type
Full Time
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Leadership Opportunity

 

Director of College Counseling

Westridge School

Pasadena, CA

July 1, 2022 Start

 

Westridge is an independent, forward-thinking girls’ school committed to educating intellectually adventurous thinkers, and courageous, compassionate leaders. 

The true power of a girls’ school lies not in the absence of boys but rather in the full presence of girls and having them at the center of all we do. From curricular decisions and pedagogy to our student support structures and leadership development, the interests of girls always come first at Westridge.

 

Narrative 

Located in Pasadena, California, Westridge School is a forward-thinking independent school for girls in grades 4-12 that emphasizes adventurous thinking, courageous and compassionate leadership, and equity and inclusion. Westridge is seeking an experienced, highly creative, and innovative Director of College Counseling to provide outstanding leadership in the college admission process beginning July 1, 2022. The school is in an exciting phase as it welcomes a new Head of School, Andrea Kassar, who will join an already dynamic leadership team. 

Westridge is committed to cultivating open-mindedness, confidence, empathy, and awareness, qualities that will serve its students in their roles as tomorrow’s leaders. This vibrant and diverse community is grounded in the commitment to goodness in all aspects of life and learning. Students are encouraged to learn resilience and thrive in new ways, and to try new things. The school balances challenging academics and a focus on leadership development, prioritizing physical and emotional wellness and treating oneself, others, and the world with integrity, respect, responsibility, and inclusion.

 

 Strategic priorities and opportunities for the Director of College Counseling include:

 

 

  • Ensuring the active participation and engagement of the college counseling team in the daily life and work of the school so that they are best prepared to promote and support the Westridge students and  program.

 

  • Playing an instrumental role in preparing Westridge students for an exciting and widening array of national and international college and university experiences.

 

  • Being a strategic contributor to the creation and articulation of advanced programming at Westridge as well as curriculum and academic standards.

 

  • Streamlining college counseling programming with an eye towards balancing a robust yet targeted offering.
  • Modernizing systems and processes and taking advantage of technology to improve efficiency and promote communication.

 

 

THE POSITION

Reporting to the Director of Upper School, the Director of College Counseling organizes, oversees, and evaluates all aspects of Westridge’s comprehensive and student-centered college counseling program. Leading a four-person department, the Director of College Counseling is a key member of the upper school administrative team and provides counsel, support, and coordination to a diverse population of students and their families. 

 

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

Leadership of the College Counseling Office

The Director of College Counseling provides leadership and direction to the college counseling department members, ensuring team building and goal setting for professional growth. The Director oversees Westridge college application statistics and data analysis and participates on the Westridge Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee (CASC) to provide relevant information regarding college requirements and trends.

 

Leadership and Implementation of the College Counseling Program

The Director and the College Counseling team are responsible for refining and advancing the strong, effective, and personalized college counseling program that has distinguished Westridge for more than a decade, while also seeking opportunities for innovation and evolution. The team partners with students and parents to ensure that the college process serves each individual student and educates them on all facets of the college admission process. The Director, alongside the College Counselor, guides juniors and seniors throughout the college application process and helps them to put their best foot forward by:

    educating students and their parents on college and university requirements, including academics, application types, standardized testing, majors, portfolios, demonstrated interest, and interviews; writing letters of recommendation and completing school reports to support each assigned student’s college application(s); researching and advising students regarding diversity programs and travel programs;  researching and advising students about scholarships and financial aid; assisting students in developing a balanced college list;  supervising Circle Groups through senior leadership recruitment, curriculum, exercises, and group meetings; providing self-reflective exercises, examples, and opportunities to hear from Westridge alumnae regarding their college admissions process to assist current students with their essays and resumes; teaching resume building and college essay writing workshops;  advising students aspiring to participate in college sports;  advising rising seniors on course selection, college entrance requirements, and standardized testing;  overseeing the Next Steps Program as students prepare for the day-to-day of their college experience (e.g., academic, emotional and personal transition skills, and financial literacy); overseeing and coordinating all relevant aspects of standardized testing and AP testing logistics.

 

External Relationships and Representing Westridge in the Community

The Director of College Counseling forms external relationships beneficial to the school and represents Westridge in the community. Specifically, he/she will:

    maintain and enhance relationships with colleges and universities of interest to conduct information sessions for Westridge students and the broader community, ensuring that the strength of the Westridge reputation is recognized and upheld; host the “Case Studies” evening with invited college admission representatives in collaboration with other local independent schools; represent Westridge at local and national conferences as well as college visitation programs; oversee adherence to University of California eligibility and admissions requirements (e.g., A-G requirements, application deadline, PIQ prompts, etc.).  

 

Qualities of the next Director of College Counseling

The desired candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to the education of young women and the ability to coordinate a deeply personal program that is equitable and effectively counsels motivated students and their families. The ideal candidate will have significant experience in the college admissions process, either in selective college admission, college counseling, or both. In addition, they will have the vision and determination to leverage extensive knowledge and experience of college admissions, matriculation, financial aid, and resources in college readiness and success to nurture and sustain a college preparatory culture of academic excellence. 

The Director of College Counseling must exemplify high standards and act as a role model for all. As the leader of the department, the Director must be able to support the continued growth of a high-functioning, collaborative team, celebrating their successes and positioning them to embrace opportunities to contribute to the success of the school and the students. 

College admissions can often be a stress-inducing, anxiety-laden process, and it is critical that the Director of College Counseling displays warmth, approachability, and compassion to students and families. One of the hallmarks of the Westridge college counseling program is its highly personalized approach that sees the “whole student” to help determine the best college match. This approach requires the Director and the college counseling team to get to know and understand each student and their family context in order to build an authentic and trusting relationship that instills confidence and respect.

   

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND SKILLS

    Bachelor's degree required, master’s preferred Minimum 5 years of relevant experience preferred  Excellent presentation and communication skills Well organized, diligent, and flexible An understanding and appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential components of a meaningful and challenging academic program Demonstrated understanding of the social and emotional learning needs of students, through training and/or experience Experience in data-informed decision making, data analysis, and evidence-based strategies Ability to embrace a collaborative work style and interact in a positive and proactive manner with all school constituencies Demonstrated experience and skill in the effective use of technology  A strong commitment to the mission and vision of Westridge School

 

The highest quality academic program is only valuable if students are emotionally prepared to take advantage of all that it offers. We help prepare students for learning by: fostering an environment where they feel comfortable being themselves (our students like to say they embrace quirkiness and celebrate individuality); leading with our core value of inclusion; facilitating close relationships between faculty and students (our schedule permits significant time for students and teachers to interact outside of class and often beyond their immediate classroom topics); and, investing time and resources into social emotional learning and a team of student support specialists.

Westridge was built on a mission to provide gender equity in education. Today, we draw upon the spirit of our founder, Mary Lowther Ranney, to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on our campus. These essential components of the Westridge program are imperative to the wellness of students in historically underrepresented groups and central to academic excellence for all Westridge students.

 

COLLEGE COUNSELING AT WESTRIDGE

At Westridge, the college process is not a competition but a continuation of the students’ journey of self-discovery, exploration, and empowerment. At the center of the college counseling program is a deep appreciation for the individuality of each student and each family, and an understanding that success in the process comes from thoughtful and intentional guidance that showcases student strengths, celebrates their dreams, and supports them in their transition to the next stage of their lives.

Westridge college counselors work one on one with every Upper School student and their families beginning in the spring of Junior year and help students and families clarify their educational aspirations, understand the college application process with its attendant challenges and opportunities, and work with them to craft a personal, dimensional, and compelling portrait to present in the application process.

Additionally, the college counseling team hosts multiple events each year – including on-campus events for students to meet with representative from more than 130 colleges and universities, financial aid workshops, and comprehensive case-study forums led by representatives from dozens of prominent universities. In their senior year, students are treated to a series of workshops focusing on independent living and life after Westridge, including sessions on “College Living 101,” personal finances, time management, and more.

In 2021, 88% of the graduating class earned admittance to one of their top choice schools, and, of the 92% of the class that applied early-action or restricted early action, 83% were accepted. Westridge graduates end their time in the Upper School excited, supported, and prepared for whatever college program they have chosen.

 

THE COLLEGE COUNSELING TEAM

Westridge’s world-class College Counseling team wears many hats: enthusiastic cheerleaders, reliable and supportive coaches to Westridge students and families, and knowledgeable sources of information and tools. While students are each assigned to a main counselor dedicated to working with them one-on-one throughout their junior and senior years, the counselors work as a highly collaborative team who all genuinely care about every student that walks through their doors. 

The College Counseling team's motto of “honesty, support, and consensus” captures the essence of their process. They recognize the deeply personal, emotional, and financial considerations that play significant roles in the college process, and their commitment to discussing all perspectives and addressing every expectation honestly and compassionately sets up each student and their family for success. 

 

THE SCHOOL

Core Values:  Integrity • Respect • Responsibility • Inclusion 

Enrollment: 540

 

Average class size: 15 students, 7:1 student-teacher ratio

Student diversity: 69% students of color

Financial aid: $2.7 million to approximately 22% of the student body



The Faculty      

Westridge’s faculty members are talented, dedicated to their craft, and deeply committed to girls’ education and development. They are well aware of the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion and are ready for leadership that reflects the centrality of that work to Westridge’s mission. 

 

The Students

Westridge girls are engaged, thoughtful, and care about each other and the world. Even the very youngest have firm beliefs that they are encouraged to articulate. They use their voice to challenge what they believe to be unfair and have been leaning into DEI conversations with curiosity and courage. 

 

Campus

Located in Pasadena, California, the Westridge campus is intentionally designed to support its students as they grow and thrive. Girls make the campus their own--from climbing the trees (an unofficial school tradition!), gathering on the library patio, and sprinting across Ayrshire Courtyard to claim their spot in line at the Commons for lunch. You will see them hard at work tinkering in the STEAMWork Design Studio (a lab for imagining and inventing) and you will hear the strains of the orchestra rehearsal floating across campus from Braun Auditorium.  

When you look closer, you’ll see that every inch of the campus has a rich history that spans more than 100 years. The school has been located on Madeline Drive since the days of its founding in the early 1900s and has expanded from the single house that once constituted the whole of the school, to an expansive, park-like campus nestled into a quiet, residential neighborhood. Through the decades, Westridge has acquired and maintained contemporary and historic architecture, including Pitcairn House, a craftsman built in 1906 by the influential early 20th Century architects Greene & Greene. The School’s unique blend of buildings, designed by leading architects of the past and state-of-the-art structures like our Performing Arts Center and Learning Commons, makes Westridge a dynamic learning environment. Please take our Westridge Virtual Tour!

 

Pasadena, California

Located 11 miles north of Los Angeles, Pasadena is considered one of the best cities to live in California. With its Mediterranean climate, an urban/suburban mix, Pasadena boasts great restaurants, parks, and is home to the Rose Bowl Parade and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). 

 

Procedure to Apply

Westridge is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff that are dedicated to providing an educational experience that is second to none. We strive to ensure that faculty and staff reflect our student body and our community goals.

Interested candidates must submit the following materials confidentially via https://bit.ly/Westridge_DoCC_app_form in one PDF attachment that includes in the following order:

  • Cover letter expressing interest in the Westridge School Director of College Counseling position.
  • Current résumé.
  • Statement of educational philosophy and practice.
  • List of three references including name, title, phone number, email address and professional relationship (references are contacted only with the candidate's permission).

Please email any questions to jobs@strategenius.org or by phone to (415) 881-7105.

Search Calendar

Applications due: January 31, 2022

Semifinalists interviews: Mid February, 2022

Finalists interviews: Late February 2022

Announcement: Late February 2022

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