Director of Schools

Job Closed!
Company:Nova Pioneer
Category:Education & Training
Job Type:Permanent

Job details


Imagine a world in which every young person across Africa attends a school that truly sets them up for success in the 21st century. A school that cares about individual students and allows them to explore the world around them. A school that focuses more on developing skills than on memorizing content. At Nova Pioneer, we have done more than just imagine this future, we are bringing it to life. Nova Pioneer is a pan-African, independent network of schools offering high quality, accessible education from pre-primary through secondary school. Nova Pioneer uses a unique, enquiry-based learning approach that encourages students to ask “why” instead of telling them the “what”. It allows them to form their own thinking through exploration, investigation and collaboration. Nova Pioneer currently has 8 schools in South Africa and Kenya with a vision to launch 100 schools and reach tens of thousands of students across the African continent in the next decade. To learn more visit


As Director of Schools you will lead the continuous improvement of our first cohort of schools in Kenya and South Africa, optimizing the execution of our enquiry-based learning model while building the homegrown talent pipeline and performance track record that will enable Nova Pioneer to scale rapidly in the years to come. 

We are looking for someone who shares our core beliefs about what it will take to build an outstanding network of schools:

  • Enquiry-based, active learning produces superior outcomes and lifelong learners
  • Great schools flow from strong school leaders who build distinctive school culture, rooted in strong adult culture that models mindset and behaviors for our students
  • Interpersonal skills and self-determination skills (e.g., resilience, conscientiousness) are every bit as important as core academic skills
  • Deeper enquiry- and project-based learning can be combined with tight, consistent execution of the many “micro-systems” that will produce high fidelity to our school model as we scale

You will have ultimate accountability for student outcomes as well as the quality of instruction and school culture at the portfolio of schools you oversee. Your primary lever will be coaching and developing the school leaders (and leadership teams / future leaders) at each of your schools. You will create a community of practice among your school leaders and engage with them intensively both individually and in group settings to help them build toward world-class leadership. You will use a range of approaches--from observation and feedback to school walk-throughs to in-the-moment coaching and direct modeling--to help school leaders improve the way they manage people, the way they use data, the way they handle crises, and all other aspects of leadership. 

In turn, you will help your school leaders grow and develop their teams--ensuring that teachers and future school leaders get higher-quality and more intensive on-the-job coaching from coaches and peers than they have ever experienced before. You will have explicit responsibility for meeting targets related to getting emerging leaders ready to launch and lead new Nova Pioneer schools (whether within or outside your portfolio of schools). 

Additional specific responsibilities will include:

  • Onboard and train newly hired school leaders in the pipeline to launch a new school or take over an existing school
  • Working with the school leader in question, oversee all instructional and culture aspects of new school launches within your portfolio
  • Engage closely with other members of the network academic team (including Chief Academic Officer) to improve our codified academic model by relaying learning and insights up from schools and helping translate that learning into revised academic systems, PD content and learning design
  • Working with and through your school leaders, ensure that we are being data-driven in our approach to school improvement and build strong systems for data review and subsequent interventions
  • Step in directly to co-manage any crises that emerge at your portfolio schools in cases where the crisis calls for leadership that the school leader is not yet developmentally ready to provide 
  • Assist school leaders with the recruitment and selection of key school-level leaders to ensure that we have high-caliber leadership teams at each school in your portfolio
  • Serve as a member of the regional leadership team

The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya or in Johannesburg, South Africa.


  • You have 8+ years of instructional experience in a rigorous, high-expectations school setting—including experience as a School Leader and the ability to improve student achievement and outcomes through others
  • You have experience with and passion for enquiry-based learning, possibly including project-based or expeditionary approaches.
  • You have a track record of improving other people’s performance through coaching and building systems for scale
  • You have an exceptional ability to think strategically and yet you sweat the small stuff—people see you as unusually detail-oriented and conscientious
  • You are driven by data and know how to use data from student assessments to strengthen and differentiate student learning
  • You are excited about our organizational culture—and in particular, you are fired up to challenge yourself by embracing mutual vulnerability and a firehose of feedback
  • You have a desire to further develop your instructional leadership skills and apply them to transform the lives of African youth



Nova Pioneer is a place where our people experience tremendous growth, fast! We invest heavily in the growth of our people because it leads to greater mastery in both us and our students. “Novaneers” work harder and work longer hours than at most schools but as a result, the growth they experience is extraordinary. We offer consistent and ongoing professional development and provide clear career pathways that ensure that our people are always achieving their personal and professional best. Nova Pioneer has a highly energetic, entrepreneurial environment where our people get to bring their creative and innovative ideas to life. We look for people who are flexible and who are able to adapt and respond quickly to adversity with a positive, can-do attitude (there are no problems, only solutions!). We welcome challenges and roll with the punches because it makes us, and our students, better. There is no problem too big for us! We work hard but we also have a lot of fun together. We bring infectious energy and enthusiasm to everything we do because joy fuels the hardest work and learning.

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Education & Training Nova Pioneer 9 months ago