Executive Director

July 2022 | Boston, MA
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Kennedy Day School at Franciscan Children’s seeks a visionary special education administrator to lead the school and continue to advance its partnerships and reputation in the field.

About Kennedy Day School at Franciscan Children’s

child in wheelchair and woman holding his handFranciscan Children’s was founded in 1949 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to serve the needs of children and adolescents with complex medical, mental health, and educational needs. Fueled by their commitment, personalized care for children and families became the hallmark of the hospital’s tradition of care. Since that time, the hospital has evolved to become the leading provider for children with complex needs in Boston. As a 110-bed specialty hospital located in Brighton, MA, Franciscan Children’s is the only pediatric post-acute provider in New England and also provides inpatient mental health, ambulatory mental health, and dental services. At its core, Franciscan Children’s believes that every child deserves the chance to reach their fullest potential and live their best life.

In 1963, the Kennedy Day School (KDS) was founded when a portion of the Franciscan Children’s campus was converted to classrooms to meet the educational needs of children with physical disabilities. KDS has since become a unique educational facility for children with a reputation for excellence in special education for students with complex needs.

KDS combines 50 years of experience and expertise with a contemporary facility that reflects Franciscan Children’s reputation for excellence and innovation. With a staff ratio of 2:1, KDS provides comprehensive special education services to more than 60 students, ages 3 to 22, with significant, complex needs, drawing students from over 30 cities and towns across Massachusetts. Given its location at Franciscan Children’s, KDS is uniquely able to serve students with complex medical needs in coordination with its exceptional clinical programs.

The Executive Director (ED) will join KDS at an exciting time in Franciscan Children’s history. Pending State and religious approvals, Franciscan Children’s has signed an agreement to become a sister corporation to Boston Children’s Hospital, the region’s largest pediatric health care provider, recently ranked the number one pediatric hospital in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-22 Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. Under the agreement, the two hospitals will combine their collective experience and expertise to improve the system of pediatric behavioral health and rehabilitative care across the care continuum. Together they are planning on modernizing and rebuilding the campus to create a center of excellence for children with complex conditions that would serve as a regional and national model. 

KDS is dedicated to serving each student as an individual, with specifically tailored, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary strategies and services. With a full spectrum of integrative services, weekly clinical team meetings focus on collaboration to maximize positive, student-centered outcomes across clinical areas and learning environments. KDS’s holistic services include speech and language, occupational, and physical therapies, audiology and dental services, adaptive physical education, and vocational life skills education.

About the Opportunity

CHild in wheelchair using digital screenInitially, the ED will oversee all aspects of the daily educational program operation at KDS. The ED ensures the provision of the highest quality of service to students by creating an environment that is safe, respectful and positive for all.  Providing exemplary leadership to staff in order to carry out the mission of school, the ED leads the effort for KDS to be a leading special education provider that is continuously innovating and advancing the field.

Over the last several years, the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College and Franciscan Children’s have discussed opportunities to collaborate. Given the complementary student population, geographic proximity, and shared missions to provide educational services to children with unique learning and complex healthcare needs, both organizations believe there is an opportunity to collaborate further to improve the educational program and support services at both the Campus School and the Kennedy Day School. In the first year, the leader will additionally be charged with working with both schools to move the collaboration forward.

In the 2022-2023 term, the leader would act as the day-to-day operational leader of Kennedy Day School, replacing the current interim leader (~80% of time). The ED will simultaneously work to conceive and advance a joint leadership model (~20% of time).

Key Responsibilities

Leadership and Organizational Management

  • Work with the leadership of Franciscan Children’s and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College to drive collaboration between the Kennedy Day School and the Campus School
  • Develop and implement strategies to promote the organization’s vision and mission for long-term school growth, culture, and impact on staff, students, and families
  • Craft, articulate, and drive short- and long-term strategic plans for current and new programs; identify timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goals
  • Develop and implement operational plans, policies, and goals that further the mission of the organization
  • Evaluate program components to measure success and set goals to address identified needs
  • Identify, coordinate and evaluate endeavors aimed toward the provision of qualitative, comprehensive special education services on behalf of children with intense and complex special needs and their families.
  • Build and maintain a culture which attracts, motivates and retains a diverse staff committed to the mission
  • Ensure adherence of the organization’s daily activities to established policies and legal guidelines
  • Devise remedial actions for identified issues; conducts crisis management when necessary
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations including Massachusetts Department of Education & Secondary Education (DESE) regulations

Communications and Marketing

  • Act as the spokesperson for organization, representing the organization and facilitating communication with internal and external stakeholders, including schools, agencies, and families
  • Use external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities to expand current services and/or serve additional students
  • Provide clear communication to staff and families and facilitate parent advisory group meetings
  • Attend seminars, lectures, and conferences to identify current trends in the field and enhance knowledge base
  • Collaborate with the Franciscan Children’s Development team on advocacy, fundraising, and donor engagement strategies as appropriate, seek out information on funding sources beyond the regular tuition income and drive applications, where appropriate.

Organizational Operations

  • Direct staff recruitment, orientation, professional development, supervision, and evaluation
  • Oversee the development and management of KDS operating budget and the implementation of other fiscal activities
  • Ensure that financial goals are achieved, and operating expenses are within budget
  • Foster curriculum development and implementation activities to provide a cogent instructional environment.
  • Manage continuing quality assurance and performance improvement endeavors for a safe, healthy, and educationally sound school program.

Engagement with Franciscan Children’s

  • Serve as member of senior leadership team at Franciscan Children’s
  • Identify opportunities to collaborate and/or integrate with Franciscan Children’s programs
  • Guide departmental, interdisciplinary coordination efforts with representatives from the education, health, residential units, dental program, and clinical therapy areas.
  • Appropriately utilize the insights and experience of the senior leadership team at Franciscan Children’s
  • In a timely manner, inform senior leadership at Franciscan Children’s on significant organizational issues of opportunity and/or concern

Key Qualifications


  • Authentic commitment to the mission of Kennedy Day School
  • Ability to craft, articulate and drive a strategy and vision for the school
  • Experience in developing and operationalizing strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth
  • 10+ years’ experience in school leadership role with knowledge of curriculum and special education practices
  • Experience in an external relations/representation role; ability to develop and sustain multiple “external” professional networks
  • Demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and financial and personnel management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to negotiate significant change in a highly regulated environment
  • Strong verbal and written communications skills with a variety of parties including colleagues, institutions, regulators, etc.


  • Wide-ranging experience with special education and serving children with complex needs
  • Knowledge of federal and state Department of Education regulations, educational initiatives, and resource
  • Masters or PhD/EdD in education
  • Teaching certification or experience

Franciscan Children’s provides equal employment opportunities for all, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression or any other non-job-related characteristic.  Franciscan Children’s views the principle of equal employment opportunity as a vital element in the employment process and as a hallmark of good management.

All employees and non-employed workers who are working in the KDS must be fully vaccinated, including a booster.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to: kennedy@developmentguild.com

Kieran McTague

Senior Vice President and Principal

Development Guild DDI 

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