Position Description

(2021-2022) Arizona - Academy ESS Lead
Location GH Arizona - Phoenix
Job Category Academy - Faculty (Teachers, Asst. Teachers, ESS / SPED)
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POSITION: Academy ESS Lead


LOCATION: Various GH Academy Locations                                           

REPORTS TO: Academy ESS Lead

EEO Classification: Professional

FLSA STATUS: Salaried-Exempt, Full-time

Position Summary

The Academy ESS Lead is a leadership role on campus and is the “Team Lead” of the ESS department. While their supervisory role does not replace the supervision from the headmaster, their role does extend leadership in the specific areas where they have experience and expertise, namely: supporting ESSCs in the preparation for and execution of IEP meetings, guiding the development of ESS teachers, teacher in residence and ESSAs, compliance in terms of IEP paperwork, and the first level of advisement in challenging situations with students or parents. They also represent the final decision at the ESS departmental level in terms of organizational logistics and strategy.

First and foremost, the Academy ESS Lead must model the core virtues of the academy and pursue a deeper understanding of what it means to provide a classical, liberal arts education. They also lead the ESS team’s pursuit towards our north star: in our daily work with people, we earn and maintain faith and confidence in our good will, judgment, knowledge, and skill.

Duties & Responsibilities

Exceptional Student Services (ESS)

  • Oversees the caseload distribution discussions, including final decision regarding assignment of students to the individual ESSCs’ caseloads:
    • Ensures transfer procedure on all incoming students is complete
  • Coordinates, facilitates, and executes initial and triennial Review of Existing Data and Review of Additional Data meetings, including:
    • Conducting classroom observations
    • Gathering data on students referred by student study team (SST)
    • Facilitating transition of parent relationships to assigned ESSCs from initial evaluation to IEP development in the event that students qualify for special education services
  • Coordinates, facilitates, and executes annual IEP meetings for students on their caseload.
    • Observes the general education teachers’ consistent implementation of student IEPs on their caseload.
  • Manages related service provider relationships for students on their caseload:
    • Provides orientation to each service provider to our educational philosophy, school model, campus layout, etc.
    • Coordinates with related service providers and school psychologist regarding evaluations, meetings, and services
    • Reviews, codes, and signs invoices, then submits them for HM approval
    • Follows up with service providers to generate IEP progress reports
  • Serves as the academy lead of the ESS team, providing support to team members for the effective completion of individual and shared responsibilities.
    • Assists the Phoenix Home Office  in training the ESSCs on the pedagogy of special education work within Great Hearts
    • Partners with the headmaster to communicate the specifics of the ESS Lead and ESSC roles to the community before the start of the year and revisit as necessary
    • Attends initial IEP meetings led by ESSCs to guide the relational hand-off from ESS Lead to ESSC and provide feedback to ESSCs on their execution
    • Reviews IEPs and Evaluation reports written by the ESSCs for accuracy. (1 file per semester)
    • Models and provides guidance to ESSCs on partnering with general education teachers
    • Partners with the headmaster to provide written and oral evaluations to the ESSCs
  • Updates program information in the school information system (SIS) for students receiving special education as students enter, change eligibility categories or exit.
  • Leads the ESS team to complete all EOY responsibilities to prepare for the proper rollover to the next year

General Education

  • Partners with academy leadership team to provide guidance and recommendations to team members across the campus on effective instructional and behavioral practice
  • Partners with the SST Coordinator to ensure effective transition of support for students moving from SST through evaluation for special education
  • Provides general leadership and guidance related to service to all students on campus as needed

Qualifications, Competencies & Strengths

Education:  Minimum Bachelor’s degree, MA preferred. Valid Arizona Special Education Teaching Certificate


  • Minimum 3 years experience as a special education coordinator
  • Experience as special education (ESS) coordinator in Great Hearts school preferred
  • Experience with special education evaluation process preferred

Special Skills:

  • Extensive knowledge of special education process, including state and federal timelines and compliance requirements
  • Leadership, coaching, and mentoring skill/experience
  • High level of emotional intelligence
  • Humility and skill with collaboration between multiple teams
  • Conflict resolution and mediation
  • Strong verbal and written communication skill
  • Experience and speed with multiple platforms and computer programs (Student Information Systems, IEP writing programs, MS Office Suite, Google)

Additional Requirements

Type of fingerprint clearance: Must possess or obtain valid Arizona Department of Public Safety IVP fingerprint clearance card.

Physical functions: Requires but is not limited to standing, sitting, repetitious hand and body movements, bending, squatting, and reaching. May be required to move or position equipment up to 15 pounds approximately.

Travel required: May need to travel locally to the various academies within the Phoenix metro area.

This description reflects management’s assignment of essential functions, it does not exclude or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.

Great Hearts Academies is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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