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Deputy Superintendent of Academics, School District of Philadelphia



Philadelphia, PA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) is the eighth-largest school district in the nation, serving a historic and culturally vibrant community. We are a community of 19,000 dedicated employees working together with parents, families, volunteers, and community members to support the limitless potential of more than 203,000 young scholars. We are committed to educating and graduating generations of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, government officials, and change makers. Our goal is simple; to become the fastest-improving district in the country. Our mission is to deliver on the civil right of every child in Philadelphia to an excellent public school education and ensure that all children graduate from high school ready to succeed, fully engaged as a citizen of our world. To meet our mission, we seek leaders who have a passion for working with schools and communities dedicated to ensuring all students achieve. Serving a population as diverse as ours requires creativity, commitment, and vision. Will you join us?

Job Summary

The Deputy Superintendent of Academics is charged with ensuring the School District of Philadelphia offers strong academics, instructional, and student supports across all schools to meet the needs of our diverse student learners. The Deputy Superintendent of Academics oversees the District’s educational divisions which include the academics offices (including curriculum and instruction, specialized services, multilingual instruction, career and technical education, college and career readiness), student supports (including climate and culture, prevention and intervention, family and community engagement, student health, student enrollment), the oversight of schools (including the management of assistant superintendents and their management of our 220 schools), and other academic and educational functions as designated to achieve the District’s Goals and Guardrails. The Deputy Superintendent serves as a member of the District’s cabinet and reports directly to the Superintendent.

Essential Responsibilities & Functions

Instructional Vision and Leadership

  • Oversee the development and vision for all academic programming including early childhood education, college and career readiness, curriculum and instruction, specialized services, and teaching and learning.
  • Ensure that the core curriculum instruction addresses the needs of diverse learners and is supplemented by enrichment and support programs when needed.
  • Facilitate and promote consistent instructional practices and routines across schools.
  • Oversee a comprehensive program for students with disabilities, which assesses the needs of students, establishes objectives and priorities, develops strategies to achieve objectives, and evaluates programs.
  • Apply research and best practices to inform the development of theories of pedagogy, intervention programs and improve the delivery of special education and related services.
  • Oversee an innovative and comprehensive student support services and programming which address a spectrum of student needs to maximize the delivery of educational programs.
  • Present information through oral and written reports cogently and clearly to the Board of Education; legislators; city, state, and federal officials, philanthropic partners, and other relevant stakeholders
  • Ensure all program areas are in compliance with governing federal, state, and local regulations.

Instructional Program Design and Effectiveness

  • Ensure the use of evidence-based, data-driven programs, including the use of research and program evaluation when appropriate to provide the highest quality services to our schools.
  • Develop and implement plans for the academic systems, design, and organizational structure to achieve the District’s Goals and Guardrails.
  • Continuously measures and assesses the effectiveness of all processes within the academic departments, including developing and regularly tracking progress toward ambitious team goals that support student learning.
  • Visit and observe schools to evaluate instruction, climate, student behavior, and leadership to ensure a deep understanding of the comprehensive academic needs of the District’s diverse schools.
  • Ensure high-quality professional development opportunities are offered to schools, principals, and other staff aligned to the District’s priorities and academic vision.
  • Ensure the effective oversight of schools including that Assistant Superintendents manage, coach, and mentor school leaders in ways that drive continuous student achievement gains.
  • Ensure systems and processes exist to allow for high-quality family and community engagement across the District.

Academics Team Leadership

  • Supervise senior staff who are responsible for specific academic and educational functions, setting performance standards and objectives, providing proper training and professional development opportunities, and evaluating performance.
  • Oversee and coordinate the development of budgets related to the education divisions within the division’s purview including staffing needs, instructional materials and resources, and provision for the activities of the district
  • Encourage and promote collaboration across all functional areas as well as with other internal and external partners.
  • Ensure the academic aspects of the District demonstrate a high level of customer service with students at our core, support the District’s Goals and Guardrails, and are aligned with diversity, equity and inclusion plans and goals of the District.
  • Meet major projects and initiatives on time and within budget
  • Represent the Superintendent, as needed, with respect to any and all academic and instructional matters related to the District.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:

Exceptional Communication

  • Connects authentically, purposefully and thoughtfully with diverse stakeholders in the spirit of inclusivity and equity.
  • Communicates with clarity, respect, and awareness in conversations and interactions with others.
  • Embraces opportunities to push a group’s thinking and challenge ideas to enable better decisions.
  • Listens intently and actively to stakeholders; understands nuance, and skillfully interprets motivations and perceptions.
  • demonstrate exceptional internal and external stakeholder engagement skills, including facilitation and management towards consensus and results

Organizational & Team Leadership

  • Fosters a culture of high expectations with shared strategic goals around measurable outcomes and continuous improvement in Talent operations and Talent leadership capacity-building in key stakeholders.
  • Prepares the leadership team for effective decision-making conversations, anticipating and organizing key questions and data that support productive discussions about Talent priorities.
  • Builds coalitions and works collaboratively with diverse stakeholders at all levels, including district personnel, students, families, community and political leaders, and advocacy groups.
  • Ensures targeted, differentiated professional development is delivered to members of the Talent team.
  • Manage diverse teams to reach ambitious goals

Advancement of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • Holds self and team accountable for extraordinary academic achievement of all students. Collaborates with central office and site-based leaders to ensure equitable access for every student to effective teachers and who represent the stakeholder community.
  • Acknowledges systemic racism, power, and privilege in organizations and commits to dismantling inequities. Fosters a culture of inclusion by building relationships across lines of difference and including the voices of those closest to the challenge we seek to address.
  • Fosters, promotes, and drives inclusion across the district and community. Collaborates with district leaders to develop and implement DEI performance indicators as a key aspect of assessing organizational health.
  • Demonstrates skill, respect, and honesty in addressing matters of equity, race, and bias in talent decision-making.

Teaching and Learning Expertise & Effective Execution of Strategy

  • Deep knowledge of evidence-based instructional practices and interventions with diverse learners, including demonstrated practice for improving student learning.
  • Ability to plan and administer academic and instructional programming involving the coordination across schools and departments.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of federal and state regulations and compliance related to students with special needs.
  • Maintains a focus on goals and results; establishes clear metrics for success for how the Academics functions play an essential role in the district meeting its defined student outcome goals
  • Demonstrates excellent execution and leadership skills, including acute attention to detail; the ability to balance overarching district goals with detailed steps to achieve academic objectives.
  • Leads from the perspective of a service provider, policy advisor, thought partner, and capacity-builder for school leaders.
  • Demonstrates strong planning, organization, and project management skills, with the ability to identify numerous dependencies and develop a comprehensive, technical plan of action.
  • Analyze data strategically and make or recommend decisions and courses of action as indicated.

Minimum Requirements

  • Master's degree from an accredited college or university with an emphasis on curriculum, instruction, student supports, and/or school leadership
  • 10 years of full-time, paid, professional experience in a large organization such as a school district, governmental entity, a university or other education-related setting, five of which have been in an administrative or supervisory capacity and have included responsibility for academic aspects of the organization.


  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility or Commission Qualification Letter


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified.

The salary range for this integral leadership position is $200,000 to $240,000 and commensurate with prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package will be included in the ultimate offer for the identified sole finalist. We look forward to discussing details with you as the interview process progresses.

The School District of Philadelphia provides to all persons equal access to all categories of employment in this District, regardless of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, or genetic information.