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Director of Education

Start Date: July 1, 2022
Reports to: Rachel Nussbaum, Rabbi and Executive Director
Hours & Pay: Full-time; $60,000 - $70,000 salary on an annual basis (depending on previous work experience), plus benefits.

The Kavana Cooperative is a pluralistic, non-denominational Jewish community non-profit in Seattle. Kavana’s purpose is “to empower each community member to create a meaningful Jewish life, develop positive identity, and receive support on their journey.” 

Kavana is currently seeking to expand its staff team to include a Director of Education. This person will oversee Kavana’s programming for and engagement of families with children ages 0-18. This individual will report to the Founding Rabbi and Executive Director, Rachel Nussbaum.

About Kavana: 
Kavana was co-founded in 2006 by rabbinic and lay leaders working in tandem; it quickly earned a national reputation for its innovative approach to building local Jewish community. Kavana’s cooperative model values empowerment, and our staff members work closely with our community members (called partners) to bring our vision to reality. 

Important aspects of our culture are: we are a hands-on, self-reliant community; we are creative and willing to take risks; we place personal relationships at the heart of everything we do. Kavana embraces experimentation and is committed to ongoing evolution and reinvention. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Kavana adapted to provide multi-access services and programs; going forward, we expect programs, services, and work locations to evolve in a hybrid manner according to emerging needs. 

Kavana’s office is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.  For more information about us, please see our website: Kavana is also one of the seven communities of the Jewish Emergent Network,  

About this Role: 
At Kavana, our small-but-mighty staff team works in close collaboration to support, inspire, encourage and challenge our partners. Kavana’s informal tagline is “personalized Judaism in a community context,” which speaks to our desire to empower each Kavana partner to create a personally meaningful Jewish life within the framework of a welcoming, diverse, supportive community. 

Kavana has earned a positive reputation for its creative and flexible approach to Jewish education. Kavana offers a wide array of programs for children of various ages/stages, and for families together; partners are encouraged to “choose their own adventure” from this a la carte menu of high-quality offerings in order to construct a comprehensive Jewish educational experience that meets their individualized needs. We envision our model as lying somewhere on the spectrum between formal and informal education models. We often refer to our programs as having a “fun educational” (Jewish summer camp-like) vibe.

Kavana’s new Director of Education will support our ongoing programs, and will also have the opportunity to continue adapting and growing our educational array to meet the ever-evolving needs of the Kavana community. In addition to supervising Kavana’s family/youth education programs, the Director of Education will meet with families/parents and help them identify their pathways for engagement.

We are looking for someone with experience teaching children, writing curriculum, and supervising teachers, but we can pair you with a mentor if you do not have experience in all three of these areas.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Specific duties and responsibilities will be worked out in conjunction with our new Director of Education, in order to maximize this position based on the skill-sets and interests of the individual we hire, as well as Kavana’s staffing needs. That said, this position will include some combination of the following elements:

Hold the Strategic Vision for Kids & Family Education at Kavana 
(Re)articulate the overall educational vision of Kavana vis-a-vis children and families
- Ensure that this vision is implemented across the board, and that Kavana is offering opportunities for engagement for every age/stage of child development
- Build relationships with Kavana partner households to serve as an educational concierge
- Pay attention to the needs and interests of Kavana partner households with regard to children’s/family education (maintaining openness to the creation of new programs, elimination of existing programs, etc. to support community needs)

Direct Youth and Family Education Programming 
Develop/revise curriculum for our weekly after-school and monthly programs
- Help recruit a staff of teachers for these programs. (At present, many of our teachers are young adults who work part-time at Kavana… UW students, Kavana alumni, etc.)
- Supervise teaching staff. Cultivate a positive, collaborative rapport with and among the educational staff. Provide orientation, training, and ongoing support with lesson-planning and classroom management.
- Support the needs of individual students/familiesCommunicate with parents/families. This includes general program communications and communications around individual needs or challenges as they arise.
- Teach certain programs as needed 

Support Kavana’s B’nai Mitzvah Program
Participate (with our rabbis) in B’nai Mitzvah intake conversations 
- Support logistical aspects of the process - e.g. matching a student with a tutor; facilitating communication between parents/tutor/rabbi; calendaring b’nai mitzvah dates; answering questions
- Support for the content aspects of the process - e.g. curricular goals, service content, Torah study
- Support around the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony itself -- e.g. creating service packets, providing parents with a list of honors/roles, providing families with a checklist of items to bring, serving as on-site support on the day of

Contribute to Kavana’s Shabbat/Holiday programming
Collaborate with rabbinic staff to articulate themes for High Holiday Family experiences
- Seek opportunities to create programs for kids/families around other Jewish holidays (these will vary each year, depending on how the Jewish calendar falls out, but may include Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Passover, and/or Shavuot programming) 
- Develop and oversee periodic Shabbat programming for kids/families - this could look many different ways (in the past, we have sometimes offered camp-style Shabbat services, community-wide family havdalah programs, auxiliary family programming for our Moadon Yeladim households, etc.)

Key Qualifications:
Passion for Jewish Education 
- Strong Jewish content background (e.g. knowledge of Jewish holidays, values, key texts); some degree of Hebrew proficiency
- Strong interpersonal skills; welcoming personality; ability to interact with all community members (including both parents and children) with kindness and integrity
- Collaborative leadership style; experience working as part of a team and/or supervising others
- Ability to work effectively, both independently and as part of a team 
- Creativity and flexibility; ability to think outside the box (this position goes far beyond “Hebrew school principal”)
- Solid oral and written communication skills
- Strong organizational skills and attention to detail (e.g. the correct spelling of names, pronouns, dates and times, etc.)
- Takes pride in a job well done!

Working Conditions and Benefits:
Full-time (~40 hours per week), with certain set office hours on-site or at programs, but otherwise flexible schedule/work location
- 10 days (80 hours) of paid time off/ vacation; 5+ paid federal/secular holidays (a list of holiday closures are posted annually); paid sick time consistent with state law. 
- Healthcare stipend of $4,200 annually
- Phone stipend of $50/month 
- Kavana laptop available for your use, if desired
- Professional development opportunities (e.g. budget for attending conferences, etc.)
- There are seasonal peaks in our work -- for example, things tend to be busy around the start of the school year in September, which corresponds to the Jewish High Holiday season and our program launch season, and slower in late winter and in the summer. There are also a few larger communal events around other holidays (Chanukah, Purim), and an Annual Partner Meeting in the spring. Ideally, you will be okay with this ebb and flow and show up, as a team player, during our busy seasons.
- Kavana will reimburse you for mileage monthly, at the Federal POV rate, for all Kavana errand driving you do in your own vehicle; alternatively, we could reimburse public transportation. 
- You’ll be joining a great team. Kavana employees take great pride in our work, and care deeply about one another and about the community of people we support. Our office environment is flexible, professional, and warm. 

To Apply:
This job posted at the end of March and we are reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should email with the following materials, and put “Director of Education” in the subject line.
- A cover letter of introduction. Be sure to include areas of strength, personal interests, and an explanation of how your experience makes you a strong candidate for this position.
- A resume or CV.
- One piece of work that showcases how you think as an educator: e.g. a lesson plan or curriculum, a short description of a past project/program you feel proud of, etc. 
- Two professional references. (You will be notified before references are contacted.)

Kavana is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to racial equity, accessibility and social justice. This organization does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, sex, age, gender identity or expression, or other status protected by applicable law. You must be a U.S. citizen or have the proper legal documentation to work in the U.S.

Get Involved

From envisioning an event to cleaning up afterward, just about everything at Kavana is done by participants, both partners and non-­partners. And for most, being involved enriches the experience. Volunteering is also a great way to figure out whether you might want to join Kavana, as you would be pitching in regularly as a partner. Here are some ways you can volunteer: ● Set up or clear up after an event ● Pick up refreshments or supplies ● Read from the Torah or give a dvar Torah ● Help to plan a Kavana program or event ● Host a Kavana event in your home ● Provide pro bono professional services (accounting, legal, janitorial, writing/editing, handyman/woman, event/party planning etc.)

To learn more about how you can contribute time and energy, please contact us.

Become a Partner

Join Kavana and help us create a new model of Jewish expression. While Kavana is open to all, partners get to be on the ground floor of shaping a new and innovative approach to Jewish life. But while partnership has its privileges, it also has its responsibilities. Kavana partners help build our community by showing up regularly, taking on a specific volunteer role, and making an annual financial contribution. Interested? Come check us out: Attend a few events, talk to people and see what we're about. 

If you feel that Kavana is for you and want to become a partner, email us to get a copy of our partner intake form and schedule a meeting with Rabbi Rachel.