Director of Early Childhood Education

Effective: June 1, 2022
Status: Full-time, salaried position
Reports to: Senior Rabbi
Directly supervises: All Nursery School employees (teachers, specialists and Nursery School administrative staff).

About Temple Sinai Nursery School

Temple Sinai Nursery School (TSNS) is a Developmental Early Childhood Program which emphasizes experiential “hands-on” learning. We have achieved accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and we are a Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning Commended School.  The philosophy of the school is based on the theories of Piaget, Bruner, Vygotsky, Erikson, Gardner, the Bank Street Model, and constructivist education, and is inspired by the practices of the Reggio Emilia Approach.

Our school serves children ages 2 years through pre-kindergarten. We see children as competent individuals who flourish in a joyful early childhood setting that encourages freedom of expression, focuses on building strong social-emotional skills, and promotes self-confidence through active hands-on learning.  Our program is imbued with Jewish values that emphasize and promote kindness (g’milut chasadim), doing good deeds (mitzvot) and taking care of our world (tikkun olam).  TSNS enjoys long term relationships with its faculty, a third of whom have master’s degrees or higher in the field. Faculty engage in professional development on an ongoing basis. In addition, consultants in the areas of motor, speech, behavior, health and social work provide guidance to faculty and families on site.  Please follow this link to learn more about TSNS.

About Temple Sinai

Temple Sinai is a Reform congregation in Northwest Washington, DC, that has been part of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) since its formation in 1951. At Temple Sinai, we aim to make Jewish ritual, Jewish values, Jewish learning, and Jewish community a relevant, meaningful and enriching part of our members’ lives. We believe that synagogue membership should change your life, and we constantly seek new or better ways to help our members live Jewishly.

We believe in providing Jewish education that has a meaningful impact on its participants, from early childhood through adult education.  We believe that Temple Sinai should be a vibrant, joyful, and spiritually and intellectually stimulating place.  Like most congregations, we have experienced challenges since the onset of COVID-19.  Nonetheless, we have emerged financially stable; membership numbers remain nearly unchanged and our schools have reopened in person.  While local health regulations for preschools have mandated smaller numbers of students per class this year, we are fully confident that Temple Sinai Nursery School’s established reputation for excellence will regrow enrollment to the full complement as soon as conditions permit.

At Temple Sinai, we are grounded in our mission and core values.  Please take a moment to make yourself familiar with our core values and mission statement before submitting your application.

At Temple Sinai, you will find a dynamic and highly rewarding work environment.  We work in a collaborative environment, serving and celebrating our inclusive and diverse community. When you work for Temple Sinai, you will receive competitive benefits along with the opportunity to be part of a caring community and contribute to our mission.

All candidates must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

About the Opportunity

Temple Sinai seeks a Director of Early Childhood Education (Director) who is a proven early childhood education leader with a passion for working with young children and their families, and has the vision, high integrity, and strong interpersonal skills that make for a great leader.

The Director is responsible for all aspects of Temple Sinai Nursery School (TSNS) and coordinates and provides expertise on programs, services, and matters of concern to all Temple members related to preschool-age children.  In a typical year, TSNS enrollment is between 145 and 160 children, and the Director leads the school in full integration with Temple-wide systems, procedures, and policies, and in coordination with Temple Sinai staff.

Reporting to the Senior Rabbi, the Director is a full, active partner in the senior professional leadership team of Temple Sinai. All members of the team share responsibility to enact the Temple’s mission and strategic plans, and to operate according to the core values of the congregation. The Director envisions responses to new opportunities, while respecting and honoring the history and traditions of the Temple and the School.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

The main responsibilities of the Director fall into six key categories: Educational Leadership, Staff Management, Health and Safety, Enrollment and Placement, Operations Management, and Collaborative Leadership.

  • Educational Leadership. In collaboration with teaching staff, direct the development of the school’s programming and curriculum and direct its daily implementation. Stay abreast of best practices and available resources for parents, teachers, and children.
  • Staff Management. Direct the recruiting, training, and supervision of all teachers, administrative staff, and other employees of the School; promote and support staff development opportunities and performance management; mentor and inspire teaching staff.
  • Health and Safety.  Oversee efforts to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for all school students, staff, and families including appropriate procedures, record keeping, and training on health and safety matters.
  • Enrollment and Out-Placement.  Direct the recruitment and retention of School students and families, including tours and information sessions, responding to questions and explaining contracts; understand the landscape of traditional public, charter, and independent elementary schools across the region to support parents and students in transitioning out of TSNS.  Cultivate and maintain the School’s excellent reputation with those schools, and within the broader community.
  • Operations Management.  Direct the planning and implementation of all aspects of school operations and accreditation including compliance with DC licensing and NAEYC accreditation; plan the School budget and oversee its finances in partnership with the Temple’s executive director, and with strong support in accounting and financial matters from other Temple staff;  oversee the coordination of building and space use with other Temple groups; direct all communications relating to the School; participate in Temple-wide and School-specific fundraising activities.
  • Collaborative Leadership. Work as an integral part of the senior staff team to implement the mission and ongoing programs of Temple Sinai, and to incorporate the clergy and other relevant staff in School programs as appropriate.  Collaborate with the director of the Religious School to create a bridge from preschool to Religious School. Network with early childhood directors at other congregations to explore best practices.
  • All Temple staff are responsible for basic day-to-day tasks like welcoming and assisting members and guests, maintaining the building and grounds, and all of us have “other duties as assigned.”
Core Competencies 
  • Caring & Nurturing. Genuinely cares about others and is available and ready to help and build effective and constructive relationships. The Director will be a member of the Temple’s pastoral care team and will attend pastoral care meetings.
  • Gets Things Done. The Director is organized, takes initiative, and is able to plan and implement programs. The Director is a leader and advocates well for School needs and priorities, in the context of the Temple overall.
  • Temple Sinai believes that just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it is the best way or the only way. We will count on the Director to identify places for improvement and to bring new ideas to our programs and staff as appropriate. We encourage the Director to think broadly, take risks and try new things.
  • Commitment to Temple Sinai. Committed to and supports the Temple, its leadership and fellow staff members; represents the Temple in the best possible terms both inside and outside the Temple community; works constructively to improve Temple policies and/or practices when problems are identified; plays a critical role in recruiting and welcoming new members, especially among School families.
  • High Standards. The Director strives to be and do the best at their work and to have a School of the highest quality, to raise up the next generation and support their parents and families in rearing strong, healthy people who are mensches and whose lives will make our world a better place.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience Required
  • BA degree required, MA level degree in early childhood education, early childhood leadership, early childhood development, elementary education, or early special education preferred
  • State Education Department teacher certification in early childhood education or equivalent certification
  • Knowledge of NAEYC accreditation process
  • Strong experience in early childhood education and development, with deep knowledge of and  classroom experience in a Reggio-inspired preschool or another constructivist curriculum
  • A proven staff leader, with supervisory experience, preferably in a licensed early childhood education center
  • Ability to mentor and inspire teaching staff
  • Experience in a Jewish setting, whether as an educator or in another role and familiarity with Jewish traditions
  • Significant experience in operational and fiscal management, in particular skills and experience in financial and budget management
  • Outstanding communication, interpersonal, and presentation skills. Ability to convey information clearly (written and oral) and interact effectively with congregants, clergy, staff, lay leadership, parents, and children of all ages.
  • Ability to consistently apply good judgment and make good and responsible decisions
  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times
  • Certified in First Aid, CPR, & Mandated Reporting (Child Abuse)

From $100,000 per year

Benefits include, among others: vacation; sick leave; pension contributions by the employer; family medical/parental leave; Health insurance; Long-term disability and life insurance; professional development and conference benefits.

Application Instructions

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume BY EMAIL ONLY to

Temple Sinai does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or any other category prohibited by applicable law.

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