At the “O-School”, bright, creative young people and their families find help and hope when faced with emotional challenges and/or autism. With over 75 years of experience utilizing milieu therapy, the O-School is recognized for providing individualized and clinically sensitive care that addresses the emotional and learning needs of students and their families through relational therapy, strong academics, and a nurturing, consistent, and inclusive atmosphere.
Milieu therapy is a comprehensive approach that seeks to treat the whole person by understanding and working with the dynamics at play with each individual, including internal and external forces. The implementation of milieu therapy, a treatment concept that has evolved throughout the 20th century, was one of the most significant and enduring contributions of Dr. Bruno Bettelheim, the O-School’s director from 1944 until 1973.
Children are recommended to the O-School, often by school districts as a result of behaviors that cannot be supported in conventional classroom settings. Currently, there are students from six states and 31 school districts in the Chicago area. A small percentage are from outside the area. The average stay is two years. The O-School can accommodate children from Kindergarten through the age of 21; the average age presently is 11. Two to three children are admitted for every 35 to 40 applications.
ABOUT THE POSITION
The Associate Director of Residential Services (AD) reports directly to the Executive Director and oversees the Residential Program and its clinical effectiveness. This role includes extensive supervision, guidance, and leadership of a team of clinicians and counselors to ensure their capacity to meet the needs of 40 to 45 students with extraordinary emotional and psychiatric needs, their families, and all external partners. The Associate Director also oversees operational aspects of the O-School to ensure consistency between mission and implementation at all levels.
The AD collaborates with the Principal and other faculty members to ensure a seamless and consistent delivery of service throughout the 365-day, 24-hour, 7-day Residential Program. While not expected to reside at the School, the AD is expected to be aware of what is occurring in the dormitories and to be available when needed. There are five dormitories that house eight students each. Each dorm is served by a Master’s-level dorm manager and a counselor. A Residential Program Manager supervises and oversees the dorms.
As a Leader within the milieu, the Associate Director will exemplify and promote continuous learning among the faculty and staff and will produce ongoing programmatic evaluation, growth, and improvement. The Associate Director will serve as a role model and demonstrate cultural competency and sensitivity, ensuring the highest respect and dignity at all levels of the School. As a member of the school’s leadership team, the AD will be responsible for representing the O-School at local and national conferences and external organizations. This leadership position also includes regular Board interaction.
The individual selected for this role will bring a balance of clinical insight, administrative skills, and organizational leadership. They will have an educational and professional background to match. Ideally, this individual will hold a clinical/educational or medical license and will have advanced education in organizational leadership. Additionally, the Associate Director of Residential Services will bring the following background and professional experience:
Doctorate in Clinical, Educational, or Medical field is preferred, as is Licensure in Education, Psychology, Social Work or related field.
Master’s degree in a relevant discipline such as Education, Psychology, or Social Work is the minimum requirement.
Nonprofit leadership experience coupled with five years of successful senior level experience.
Demonstrated record of building successful programming that reflects a strong commitment to social impact organizations.
Relevant experience working with children and families, using the strength perspective as a foundation.
Extensive knowledge and experience in a 365 x 7 x 24 organization.
Solid budget experience.
Inspirational management and leadership that develops individual, team, and organizational capacity.
Impeccable integrity and work ethic.
High degree of teamwork and collaboration.
High comfort with technology and software.
Physical capacity to be trained in and to utilize non-violent physical intervention techniques.
Excellent and compelling written communication and presentation skills.
Demonstrated cultural competency.
The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School has retained Campbell & Company to conduct this search. To apply, please send a resume and letter of interest to:
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