[2024 - 2025] KIPP Durham Middle Principal ($35,000 salary boost, 5+ years of instructional leadership experience)

  • Full-time
  • Grade Level: Middle
  • Start Date: Next year opening
  • Department: School Leadership

Company Description

Organizational Overview

Leading a school is one of the absolute hardest professions in the world. 


Leading a school turnaround is a whole other level of hard. The reality of too many of our country’s schools—especially those serving low-income and other marginalized communities coming out of a global health crisis and with a century of systemic under-investment—is that the academic achievement of their students doesn’t match their students' brilliance, and their student culture does not create an environment where each and every student is seen, valued, and loved. 


KIPP Durham Middle School on the east side of Durham, North Carolina, has been one such school. Every 6-8-Grade student in our classrooms today is brilliant, but our efforts over the past decade have not successfully harnessed that collective brainpower to get exceptional results on North Carolina’s state middle school exams in reading, math, and science, the benchmarks that ensure they are on track towards being academically prepared to lead the choice-filled lives they envision for themselves.


KIPP North Carolina, in partnership with the leaders and national resources of the KIPP Foundation, is seeking to change that reality. 


For the 2024-25 school year (and for the next two school years after that), we are assembling a dream team of 18 exceptional professionals—master teachers, instructional leaders, operational leaders, special education experts, and other supporters of learning—who are eager to “re-found” our Durham middle school to create a dynamic and engaging middle school learning environment that maximizes our 160 students’ limitless potentials. 


The Principal we are seeking to join (and help lead) our team will be an individual who can inspire students, put excellence ahead of easy, and project urgency about providing our middle school students with college and career access throughout their time with us and after they leave our care. Our Principal will make decisions, conduct difficult conversations, and build highly collaborative teams, all while shaping a vibrant school culture at Durham Middle. This individual will nurture a learning community that is simultaneously academically rigorous and joyful. Self-reflective and humble, our Principal will be open to feedback and committed to continuously improving. 


This individual will be responsible for ensuring that our students’ learning experiences are exciting and rigorous. They, alongside the Assistant Principal, will prioritize excellent teaching in every single classroom, while simultaneously juggling the multitude of responsibilities and tasks that come with leading a turnaround school dedicated to outstanding student achievement results from Year One on. 


While we founded the school in 2015, we are treating 2024-25 as a re-founding school year, an endeavor that requires a staff with a founder’s mentality around doing what it takes, making it happen, sweating the small stuff, and creating a reimagined reality for our students.


Job Description



Our Principal will blow the following four crucial competencies* out of the water:


Driving for Results: Our Principal will have a strong desire to achieve outstanding student learning results and the task-oriented actions required for success. Our Principal will set high goals for themselves and all students, making persistent, well-planned efforts to achieve these goals despite barriers and resistance; holding others accountable for doing their part to achieve results; and putting in all the extra effort necessary to ensure success. 


Influencing for Results: Our Principal will motivate others—students, staff, families, other stakeholders—and influence their thinking and behavior to obtain outstanding student learning results. Our Principal will understand that they cannot accomplish change alone, but instead must influence the work of others. They will use a variety of influencing moves—inspiring students, nurturing ridiculously joyful AND rigorous classroom and schoolwide cultures, grasping and responding to unspoken student needs and motivations, and simultaneously supporting and prodding colleagues to collaborate on the path to schoolwide success—as the situation requires. The relationships they will form are for the purpose of influencing others to enhance student learning, not just for the purpose of personal bonding. 


Problem-Solving: Our Principal will be LASER FOCUSED on planning, organizing, and delivering high quality supports for our teachers, staff, students, and families, AND they will continually analyze data to determine student learning needs and next steps for intervention blocks during the day, on select weekend academies, and during summers (while running summer academies during select weeks and leading summer teacher professional development sessions during other select weeks).


Personal Effectiveness: Our Principal will exhibit flexibility and optimism when faced with stressful, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar situations; maintain confidence in themselves and a willingness to keep improving despite the many challenges of their role; actively embrace the constant changes needed to ensure student learning in high-challenge situations; and hold and maintain a strong belief in the human potential for learning and improvement, despite significant societal pressures to settle for less. 




Instructional Leadership

  • Provide exemplary leadership to all school community members to achieve outstanding performance in preparing each student for college, career, and beyond; oversee, lead, and communicate the vision of liberation that informs the school’s culture, goals, and behavior management
  • Demonstrate a relentless commitment to improve the minds and lives of students in and out of school
  • Recognize and celebrate staff professional growth and success; charge hard to get early, small wins around student achievement; identify early wins that are most important to show that student learning progress is possible and to create momentum for additional changes
  • Develop and communicate strategic school systems, culture, and vision, and build a plan to achieve that vision
  • Implement effective assessment systems and use data to inform decisions
  • Hold tight to excellent Tier 1 instruction for ALL students, and recognize that intervention work—because this is a turnaround effort—will be key to individualizing the learning for every single student
  • Oversee the creation of individual educational plans for every single one of our students, and wake up each day determined to deliver on those plans; progress monitor to ensure those plans are working; and create new plans for the next sprint after the original plans have been fulfilled


Teacher Coaching & Evaluation

  • Conduct daily teacher observations and provide real-time feedback to move the needle on student achievement
  • Oversee faculty and staff, including recruitment, evaluation, retention, and dismissal, and, with the Assistant Principal, hold primary responsibility for professional development, staff observations, curriculum development, staff communication, and program decisions
  • Lead faculty to ensure that all staff are providing well-managed and rigorous daily lessons, reasonable and effective daily homework, and regular and productive intervention/tutoring (during school, in weekend academies, and summer school)
  • Foster commitment among staff to the development and fulfillment of the school’s mission and objectives
  • Hold teachers accountable for meeting a high bar for student performance, including requirements for special education accommodations and IEP modifications in partnership with the Exceptional Children (EC) Lead Teacher
  • Document all observations and feedback in Whetstone to track teacher growth
  • Hold mid-year and end of year performance reviews to support teacher performance (with the Assistant Principal) 
  • Plan and facilitate targeted professional development for teachers (with the Assistant Principal)
  • Set clear, high expectations, and hold teachers (and students) accountable for performance—all of which requires taking personal responsibility and doing everything required to reach challenging goals
  • Embrace and incorporate the gift of feedback from wherever it comes—colleagues, principal, assistant principal, regional coaches, students, wherever—in the spirit of Pursuing Excellence, one of KIPP NC core values


School Culture

  • Build a joyful and rigorous school culture, alongside every single staff member, most especially the Dean of Students
  • Foster consistency in academic and behavioral expectations
  • Collaborate with school staff to support students’ academic and socio-emotional development
  • Ensure that traditions and rituals that support the school’s mission are built and maintained, grade by grade, year to year
  • Support staff to ensure the smooth administration and effectiveness of after school enrichment programs.


Family Engagement

  • Communicate regularly with families, ensuring they are kept involved with and held accountable for their children’s performance, and correspond about school policies, trips, and events
  • Respond to family concerns promptly and effectively


Exemplifying a Growth Mindset

  • Collaborate with school and regional colleagues to identify areas of strength and areas of growth for professional development throughout the year, some of which will be leader-led, and some of which will happen in the quiet after-school moments in classrooms with colleagues in the routine preparation for the next day
  • Attend (and often lead) practice clinics to hone and sharpen skills and delivery
  • Participate in and lead Teacher Work Days, Regional Data Days, and Professional Development meetings after school; satiate their hunger to learn and grow as a professional


Taking Care of Yourself 

  • Use the many benefits the organization offers employees (health benefits, generous school holidays, etc.) to relieve stress after the workday is done or over school breaks and holidays, as the job of turning a school around is tough—teachers will experience stress and emotional challenges associated with all the essential duties enumerated above, and self-care will be a priority



The following are required of the KIPP Durham Middle Assistant Principal:

  • A deep commitment to the mission of KIPP NC and an unwavering belief in the potential of all our students
  • An unwavering commitment to anti-racism, equity, inclusion, and liberation
  • A deep commitment to both racial equity and improving the lives of kids from economically marginalized communities
  • 10+ years of school or school-related experience in K-12; experience in teaching or leading in a high performing charter school and/or schools with a high population of students with free and reduced lunch
    • At least 5 years of teaching experience
    • At least 5 years of experience as an instructional leader, Assistant Principal, Dean or equivalent leadership role at a high-performing urban public school
    • Experience at a high-performing charter school is highly preferred
  • Strong record of driving outstanding student results
  • Strong data analysis skills
  • Interest in and passion for supporting teacher growth
  • Ability to provide high leverage feedback via classroom observations
  • A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant content area
  • Pass Criminal Background Check
  • Fluency in Spanish is preferred

Additional Information

Total Benefits

The KIPP Durham Principal will be paid on the Durham Principal scale according to their years of Principal experience and Average Daily Membership (ADM) of the school for the 24 - 25 school year.

In addition, the KIPP Durham Principal will receive:

  • A $35,000 salary boost to recognize their investment in KIPP Durham Middle’s re-founding
  • Opportunity to earn supplements for a relevant PhD, additional licensure endorsements, National Board Certification, and teaching in high needs areas (these supplements are in perpetuity and in addition to base salary)
  • Health Insurance: State Health Plan with low premiums for individuals and deep discounts for spouses, dependents, and families
  • Paid Parental Leave: 8 weeks of 100% paid maternity leave and 4 weeks of 100% paid paternity leave
  • Paid Time Off + Sick Leave: 5 days of PTO and 6 sick days every year
  • Retirement: An optional 403b with a generous employer match with immediate vesting
  • Relocation Assistance: If you need to move 200 miles or more to the Triangle to take this opportunity, KIPP North Carolina will provide you with up to $5,000 to support your moving expenses. This will be determined based on the distance of your move.


Important Note: This incredible opportunity to magnetize a Dream Team staff to Durham Middle starting in the 2024-25 school year is made possible by the national KIPP Foundation. Their commitment to KIPP NC is for three school years (2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27). After those three years, we will reassess our approach and resource allocation model. We are asking all successful candidates in this role to commit to the entirety of those three years (with a TBD for 2027-28 and beyond!). 


*We are forever indebted to Public Impact, a North Carolina-based non-profit organization dedicated to an excellent education for all students and excellent careers for all educators through its national Opportunity Culture initiative, for this language and framework.



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