Director of Student Support Services

Location: FirstLine Network



Creating and inspiring great open admissions public schools in New Orleans


About FirstLine Schools


In 1998, FirstLine Schools started the first charter school in New Orleans. FirstLine Schools now operates four K-8th grade schools and a high school.  Our mission is to create and inspire great open admissions public schools in New Orleans. We do this by:


  • Ensuring college and career readiness for all students, as demonstrated by achievement, aspiration, love of learning, and confidence
  • Providing a rich variety of education experiences to nurture our students’ character, health, and active citizenship
  • Developing the skillfulness of our team members
  • Building a sustainable organization that facilitates our long-term success


Our faculty is a diverse and talented group dedicated to our students’ success and to their own growth as teachers.  Our schools are led by leaders who hold themselves accountable for student achievement and teacher development.


Position Summary:


The Director of Student Support Services (DSSS) is responsible for helping FirstLine Schools achieve its mission of creating great open admissions public schools by supporting the development and implementation of high quality student support services at each school site.  These services include: Special Education, related services such as social work, counseling, and therapeutic supports for social/emotional/behavioral needs, speech, OT, PT, APE, nursing, orientation and mobility, Braille instruction, interpretation and sign language, gifted and talented services, as well as support services for English Language Learners and their families and the oversight of Section 504 services.  It also includes academic and behavioral Response to Intervention.


Working in partnership with the school-based Special Education Coordinators, RTI Coordinators, school leaders, network leaders, and student support personnel; the DSSS ensures quality provision across a range of services.  The job is unique in that most of the services will be provided by team members who are directly supervised by others, while the DSSS will work with these colleagues to ensure high quality services across a range of work streams.     The DSSS will directly manage a few key team members.



Position Responsibilities:


Overall Vision and Leadership


  • Develops and implements systems to ensure timely service provision in accordance with student IEPs
  • Ensures collaborative planning and professional development between special education coordinators and their school based teams, related service providers, and RTI coordinators and school based interventionists
  • Facilitates the on-going embedding of the network values of Service, Results, Learning, and Collaboration across each of the student support service areas
  • Develops and implements systems to identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes and ensures appropriate interventions are conducted in the areas of academics and behavior across schools through collaboration with school based RTI Coordinators and network leaders
  • Serves as a liaison between partners such as City Year (intervention role)
  • Mental health services (with social workers and counselors): the DSSS will take primary responsibility for the development and implementation of a plan for comprehensive mental health services for students in need, with the support of school social workers.  The DSSS will also support the lead network social worker in creating a system for evaluating and communicating the quality of external service providers.
  • Nursing and health services: The DSSS will work with school nurses to ensure quality health service provision at each of the schools that include direct nursing services and support for students with special needs as well as compliance with regulations related to nursing services in schools (screenings, immunizations, medication, CPR/First Aid/AED training). 
  • Response to Intervention: The DSSS will work with network and school content leads, school-based RTI Coordinators, and City Year leaders to train staff, identify students, evaluate programming, and track outcomes for students in need of interventions in the areas of behavior and academics.
  • Special Education Services: The DSSS will work with school-based SPED Coordinators to develop an overall vision for the Special Education program, including the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan for curriculum, instruction, documentation, and professional development for special education coordinators, teachers, and support service providers.


Leadership and Programming Support across Student Support services

In addition to the areas of direct management, the DSSS ensures high quality services in Special Education, Health/Nursing, Mental Health, and Speech through:


  • Strategic management:  Leads long-term and annual strategic planning processes that result in three-year and annual strategic plans with needs assessments, clear priorities, measurements of progress, action steps, and annual budgets
  • Performance evaluation: Assists school leaders with performance evaluations of specialist personnel:  nurses, social workers/counselors, speech therapists, RTI and special education coordinators
  • Professional development :  Designs and implements professional development for special education coordinators and their school based teams, related service providers, and RTI coordinators and school based interventionists and facilitates the on-going embedding of the network values (Service, Results, Leaning, and Collaboration) across each of the student support service areas


Direct Management Responsibilities

  • The DSSS directly manages itinerant Gifted and Talented teachers, itinerant ELL teachers, other itinerant support services staff, and contracted student support service providers
    • For each of these areas of responsibility, the DSSS recruits and selects staff as needed, provides regular performance evaluation feedback, provides general leadership and support as outlined below
  • The DSSS manages the SPED Compliance Manager who develops and implements systems to ensure compliance with local and federal law related to special education. The DSSS will directly manage and support the SPED Compliance Manager to ensure an annual cycle of assessment of student needs for budgeting, timely staffing and contracting of necessary external services to meet these needs, and regular review of compliance data (IEP timelines, evaluation timelines, IEP folder quality, and IEP quality).         


Education & Experience:


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • M.B.A./M.S./M.A./M.Ed. or equivalent preferred
  • SPED Teaching experience is a requirement and SPED Coordinator experience is preferred but not required
  • At least five years experience in the field of education and/or nonprofit leadership
  • Proficiency with PowerPoint, Excel, and electronic communication
  • Passion for improving educational opportunities for urban students and for building a strong, mission-driven organization
  • Proficient in using data in the decision-making process
  • Experience at systems design and continuous improvement
  • Enjoy working collaboratively with a range of colleagues
  • Enjoy managing multiple workstreams in a fast-moving environment
  • Enjoy an environment characterized by on-going innovation and continuous improvement


Desired Qualities & Characteristics :


  • Believe in every student’s ability to achieve in a rigorous college or career prep curriculum
  • Achieve results based on agreed-upon expectations
  • Take personal responsibility
  • Highly detail-oriented
  • Collaborate effectively with a range of stakeholders
  • Share a commitment to creating great schools in New Orleans
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Model the FirstLine values of Service, Learning, Collaboration and Results


Physical Requirements:


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee may be required to sit, walk, stand, talk, and hear.
  •  Light lifting of equipment may be required (up to 20 lbs.)


DIRECTOR OF STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES reports to: Director of Culture & Wellness


How to Apply : Please submit a cover letter and resume online via:                                              


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. FirstLine Schools offers a comprehensive benefits package with a generous 403b plan.


FirstLine Schools provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

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