• Location

    Philadelphia, PA

  • Category


HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy (HMS) is a day and residential school for students through age 21 who have complex, multiple disabilities usually resulting from cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or other neurological impairment. HMS provides highly individualized special education and intensive coordinated therapy in preparation for return to a less intensive local school program or transition for older students to maximizing their potential in the community. HMS’s interdisciplinary team reinforces students’ learning as teachers collaborate with skilled physical, occupational, speech/language, recreation therapists, and health services staff to achieve IEP goals. HMS School is a steadfast institution with a legacy of providing exceptional services to youth with disabilities, a strong endowment to supplement public funding, and a highly-qualified and compassionate staff.

With support from Fairmount Ventures, HMS seeks a passionate education professional to be its next President. They will manage the organization of about 130 staff, with direct reports including Vice Presidents for Finance & Operations, Education Services, and Clinical Services. This is a relatively new management structure that the President will optimize in order to build on the strong foundations of the tenure, commitment, and expertise of management and staff, HMS’s culture of excellence, and organizational values of commitment, teamwork, and diversity. They will effectively represent HMS to external stakeholders, e.g., regional school districts, referral sources, partner organizations, the public sector, funders, and media, in addition to managing internal operations through the management team. Authentic commitment to HMS’s purpose to educate and advocate on behalf of its students and parents a must.

HMS anticipates selecting the final candidate by early Spring 2019 so that they would join the organization in early Summer 2019 in preparation for the 2019-2020 school year.


Background of ideal candidate

A mid-career professional with a track record of increasing responsibility and accomplishment in education-related service provision and advocacy, K-12 schools, or the nonprofit sector who is seeking to contribute to the field and advance their career by making a long-term commitment to HMS. Ideal skill sets include organizational management in an educational setting, external relations, and board relations. Deep appreciation of HMS School’s mission to serve and advocate for students is a must.


Professional Characteristics

  1. High-energy person with vision, high emotional intelligence and a passion for advocacy who is able to mobilize staff, board and other stakeholders toward a common goal.
  2. At least 10 years of relevant experience, which should include at least 5 years’ successful tenure in a management role, in a school or an education-focused nonprofit organization, incorporating operational, financial, programmatic, and external relations functions.
  3. Experience in managing transitions with sensitivity to evolving human and cultural dynamics as long-term staff retire.
  4. Proven track record in fiscal, staff, and board management.
  5. Deep appreciation of mission to serve and advocate for students is an absolute must.
  6. Knowledge about issues related to students with cerebral palsy and other disabilities is a plus, but not essential.
  7. Skilled in working in a collaborative manner to build relationships with multiple external stakeholders, including capacity to understand interests of the school, students, and their parents and how they intersect with those of school districts and government entities. Knowledge of key players in Greater Philadelphia and the region a plus, though not required.
  8. Ability to communicate effectively with multiple external (see above, #7) and internal stakeholders, including management, direct service staff, parents, and board.
  9. Demonstrated ability in fund development is a plus, but not required.
  10. Proven experience working with diverse populations to develop relationships, trust and credibility.


Key Responsibilities

  • Organizational Management
    • Review current operations against stated goals, and implement changes as needed.
    • Periodically review and continuously support others to execute their respective roles and responsibilities. Optimize the new management staffing model to increase efficiencies.
    • Nurture culture of excellence, enhancing the organization’s ability to continuously improve, measure, and communicate its impact.
  • Admissions & Enrollment
    • Set strategic guidelines for admissions and enrollment management and oversee its execution by staff
    • Coordinate efforts to conduct outreach with school districts for recruitment and retention
  • Programs
    • Work through management team to assure maintenance of high-quality educational programming, therapies, and healthcare services
    • Assure collaboration between educational programming and healthcare services
  • External Relations
    • Nurture and grow partnerships and collaborative relationships with stakeholders, the public sector, and other organizations.
    • Serve as key spokesperson and “chief champion” for HMS and represent the needs of its students in appropriate fora.
    • Foster appropriate media relations and represent the organization.
  • Financial Management
    • Work with the CFO, board treasurer and board committee to develop an annual budget.
    • Assure that recommendations from the annual audit are put into practice.
    • Periodically assess the school’s capital needs, and determine the optimal way to finance them.
    • Oversee efforts to secure philanthropic support.
  • Board Relations
    • Nurture a positive, open and collaborative relationship with the Board.
    • Participate in soliciting and recruiting additional people to serve on the Board.
    • Arrange opportunities for board education and engagement.



Starting salary $140,000-$155,000 annually with benefits aligned with nonprofit industry standards.



HMS School has an annual operating budget of approximately $9M from program revenue (84%), investment income (13%), and philanthropic support (2%).



HMS is an Equal Employment Opportunity Organization. HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy supports and practices the concepts of equal employment opportunity in any and all employment decisions, pertaining but not limited to corrective action, hiring, firing, discipline, compensation, assignment, promotion, working conditions, training and benefits, regardless of race, color, religious creed, gender, national origin (including those with limited English proficiency), ancestry, age, sexual preference, veteran status or handicap or disability which does not interfere with a qualified individual’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job with reasonable accommodation, if any. Background checks will be required.

About Us

About HMS School

For more than 135 years, HMS School has been a steadfast provider of and advocate for education, independence, and quality of life for school-age children and young adults through age 21 with complex physical disabilities resulting from cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury or other neurological impairments. When HMS opened in 1882, it was the first institution of its kind in the nation, initially serving 18 young children who were discharged from hospitals as “hopeless cases” and unable to afford fees associated with their care. Today, HMS School’s commitment to maximizing the potential and quality of life of its students and families remains grounded in its rich history, delivered though an evolving service mix as education and treatment modalities change, often with HMS at the forefront of implementation. As a center of excellence, HMS, with its President as champion, will continue to serve as a model of education and service provision for all students with similar educational needs. HMS intends its influence to extend beyond students enrolled to others who will benefit from appropriate expectations and interventions that promote meaningful participation of students with significant needs wherever they are being educated.


HMS is an Approved Private School for special education that provides comprehensive educational supports to 58 day and residential students, located in University City at the edge of a beautiful, beloved community park. Individualized, comprehensive programs and services include the following:


  1. Education services focus on what each student can do, supported by an interdisciplinary team of as many as 14 professionals, including educators, physical therapists, aides and personal care assistants, and two social workers who facilitate participation in the school day and family and community life. A full range of assistive technology (AT) expands the avenues for enhancing students’ learning, development, and meaningful participation.
  2. In addition to its comprehensive day program, HMS offers a 5- or 7-day boarding program that is a safe, nurturing, and homey environment in a state-of-the-art facility.
  3. Transition services prepare students for active adult lives, beginning when youth are 14 years old to ensure a pathway to independence, health, and safety.
  4. Extended School Year provides education and speech/language, physical, and occupational therapy-based activities that help students maintain and enhance the level of performance they have achieved in their IEP goals.
  5. Therapies—speech/language, physical, occupational, recreation, music, dance/movement, adaptive art—are driven by individual needs, integral and customized to help each student experience life and learning fully.
  6. Health Services, provided by on-staff licensed nurses and a dietitian, are customized to student needs and developed collaboratively with their family and personal physicians. Services include administration of treatments and medications to maintain baseline wellness, personal care needs, monitoring of nutrition and diets, and screenings in vision, audiology, orthopedics, dentistry, and more.

HMS’s special education curriculum meets State standards and is approved by the Bureau of Special Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and has approval for out-of-state enrollment from NJ, DE, MA, and others can be considered.  HMS’s residential program is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Division of Children, Youth and Families, and HMS is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A more complete understanding can be gleaned from


HMS is now at an exciting and critical juncture:

  • Its long-time executive is retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, after more than 30 years in the role. It is also anticipated that the majority of senior management will also retire over the next three to five years.
  • In preparation for this turnover in several key management positions, HMS in 2017 undertook a deliberate process to codify organizational values, review its administrative structure, and restructure the administrative team and reporting lines. The assessment and restructuring were designed to ensure the following through transition and beyond: (a) the “HMS Way”, an integrated, team approach to student learning and customized support; (b) service quality, enabling the President to find the right balance of internal and external focus while other management and staff maintain focused attention on service quality and continuous improvement; (c) clear lines of decision-making, responsibility, and collaboration; (d) financial sustainability; and (e) strengthened external relations, targeted to referral sources, partner organizations, and funders.

Apply for this job

Resumes and a one-page cover letter that conveys why you are well suited for this position and how it fits into your career should be emailed by Friday, December 7, to Fairmount Ventures and the HMS Executive Search Committee at No paper copies, please. Confirmation of receipt of applications will be sent by return email. First-round interviews of preferred candidates will be arranged for January 2019. No phone calls, please.

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