In July 2015, the Walton Family Foundation announced the appointment of Clayton Marsh, former Deputy Dean of the College at Princeton University, to serve as the founding head of a new independent school in Bentonville, Arkansas. Recently named in honor of Louise Thaden, a pioneering aviator who was born and raised in Bentonville, the school will open this fall with approximately approximately 60 students in grades 7 and 9 and grow incrementally over the years until it serves approximately 550-650 students in grades 6-12. The school now seeks its first Director of Admission and Communications. Reporting to the Founding Head of School, the Director will have the opportunity to play a leading role in the creation of a well-resourced school for a part of the country that is eager to embrace the benefits of independent school education.
About the School and the Region
A non-sectarian independent school under the direction of its own board, Thaden School will offer a challenging and innovative educational program that ignites in its students a passion for discovery and learning, prepares them to succeed in college, and inspires them to lead lives of integrity, purpose and responsible global citizenship. At the core of the school’s mission is a commitment to balance that will take many forms: a curriculum that integrates the sciences and the humanities; indoor and outdoor teaching spaces where sustainability is a tangible part of the lesson; hands-on programs for civic engagement; athletics and physical education programs that build confidence and character through competition and meaningful participation; and a diverse faculty and staff that can empower students to think deeply and expansively about their potential and place in the world. The school’s indexed tuition program will further support the creation of a balanced learning community where many perspectives, talents, and interests come together.
Located on a 30-acre campus in downtown Bentonville’s emerging Arts and Market District, the school will be walking distance from the town square, Brightwater Culinary Institute, the future site of Crystal Bridges’ center for contemporary arts, and a variety of other educational resources. With the support of the Walton Family Foundation’s Design Excellence Program, the school has engaged a nationally renowned team of architects to design an enduring and innovative campus that will spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and invite reflection. The design and construction of the campus will be complete before the school commences its third academic year in the fall of 2019. During its first two academic years (beginning in the fall of 2017), Thaden School will operate in a combination of temporary and permanent structures located on a 5-acre portion of its campus.
The school will serve students from all parts of the growing and diverse region of Northwest Arkansas, which also includes Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, and a number of other townships. With more than 500,000 residents, the region combines a thriving economy with the natural beauty of the Ozarks and a rich variety of cultural and recreational amenities such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Razorback Regional Greenway Trail System, the Scott Family Amazeum, and the Bentonville Film Festival. Northwest Arkansas is also home to the world headquarters of three Fortune 500 companies (Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt) as well as the University of Arkansas, the flagship campus of the state’s higher education system. For more information about the region and its resources, see the website for the Northwest Arkansas Council.
Please visit the Thaden ?website? for detailed information regarding its mission, leadership and faculty, educational programs, indexed tuition program, and campus plan as well as recent news releases.
Primary Responsibilities in Years 2017-2019
Reporting to the Founding Head of School, the Director of Admission and Communication will oversee and direct all aspects of the admission process for new students as well as the outreach and marketing of the school to prospective students and their families. As the school grows and its organizational structure becomes more complex, the portfolio will likely evolve to include the oversight of other staff with primary responsibility for marketing and communications. The successful candidate will possess a collaborative spirit and eagerness to work with all stakeholders in the school, including administrators, faculty, families, students, board members and – eventually – alumni.
Below is a list of the Director’s primary responsibilities during the first two years:
- Manage and execute every stage of the admission of new students to the school, from inquiry to enrollment, in close collaboration with other members of the school’s leadership team
- Present the school to prospective students and parents, including the thorough and efficient handling of applications and communication; conducting interviews; securing necessary student credentials; and communicating decisions
- Evaluate continually and redesign where appropriate all aspects of admissions and marketing in order to attract a robust applicant pool representative of the demographic diversity of the region
- Oversee the admission office, creation of the admissions budget, and appropriate admissions and marketing materials, mailings and publications
- Serve as chair of the admission committee in evaluation of all applications for admission
- Organize and administer, with the head of school and director of finance and operations, the indexed tuition program
- Cultivate community relations with a variety of constituents, including civic organizations and other schools in the region
- Plan and execute programs that enhance public understanding of the school and garner interest in the value of a Thaden education (e.g., tours, parent information sessions, new family events, shadow days, school coffees, etc.)
- Oversee all aspects of print and electronic media promotion of the school, including press releases, advertising in local and national relocation and educational guides, web site content, and day to day contact with news media
- Maintain the admission database and continue to manage the re-enrollment of current students for the succeeding year
- Maintain statistics on all aspects of the admission and re-enrollment and prepare reports for the head of school, the board, NAIS, ISACS, etc.
- Monitor and analyze local and national trends in education, admission, and tuition programs and communicate this information to the Thaden administration
- Represent the school at local, regional, and national gatherings and conferences
Perform other duties as assigned by the head of school