Friday, April 1, 2011

What is a Student Services Director?

This week we suffered a small set back in our search for the next Director of Student Services.  While we have met many interesting people with varied backgrounds, we have yet to find the right combination of the technical knowledge-base and interpersonal skill; therefore, I have reopened the search. 
I have really enjoyed the hiring process because it provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the organization on a deeper level.   From pre-search focus groups to sitting in on group interviews during the site visit, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of our needs and concerns as district.  One thing I was surprised to learn is that many people are not familiar with the term Director of Student Services. 
The Director of Student Services serves as the chief administrator of the Special Education, 504, ELL (English Language Learners), Guidance, Nursing, homebound and homeless student programs.  It is a multifaceted role that requires knowledge of the SPED, Civil Rights and Disability law; curriculum and instruction; supervision and evaluation; child development; and adult professional development.  Additionally, the Director manages a $4.2 million dollar budget comprised not only of general funds but also of a complex system of state and federal grants. 
The Director of Student Services is best described as a child advocate working as liaison between home and school to ensure students have access to a free and appropriate education.