Location: New Orleans, LA

About FirstLine Schools

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

Working with the Director of Special Education and school based Special Education Coordinators, 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 commitments: 

  1. I commit to my own and others’ development. 
  2. I commit to listening and understanding.
  3. I commit to speaking with honesty and respect.
  4. I commit to doing what it takes to serve others.
  5. I commit to keeping myself and others safe in mind, body, and spirit.
  6. I commit to bringing my personal joy to our work.
  7. I commit to holding myself and others accountable.

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 various external student support partners and FLS 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 the Director of Special Education and 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. 

Medicaid reimbursement: The DSSS coordinates with external Medicaid reimbursement partners to ensure all service providers, FLS school based teams and the Finance team work to maximize all systems that ensure the highest levels of medicaid reimbursement. 

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

Directly manages itinerant  teachers, 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

Manages the Director of SPED who develops and implements the strategy and academic systems to ensure compliance with local and federal law related to special education. 

*Responsible for direct oversight of the department including but not limited to ensuring meeting schedules, goal setting and achievement, and overall performance towards achieving the overall organizational goal

*NOTE: The candidate with a combined skill set of an advanced degree and leadership/supervisory expertise/experience would assume this level of responsibility consistent with a Director IV classification. 


Education & Experience: Bachelor’s degree required; M.B.A./M.S./M.A./M.Ed. or equivalent preferred (required for Director IV classification) 

SPED Teaching experience is a requirement and SPED Coordinator experience is preferred 

Five years experience in the field of education and/or nonprofit leadership required; leadership skills preferred (required for Director IV classification)

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: Chief Academic Officer

How to Apply: Please apply online via: 

 Salary & Benefits:

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

Annual Base Salary Ranges: 

Director III: $85-98,000/yr

Director IV: $90-104,000/yr 

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.

Salary Description

Base - Dir III: $85-98K/yr | Dir IV: $90-104K/yr

Contact Information

Contact: Enjolie Dawson, FirstLine Schools
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 504-494-6643

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