“Inspiring hearts and minds to do amazing things for the world through faith, character, academic excellence and service.”
Founded in 1857 by the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary (DHM), Nardin Academy (“Nardin” and “the Academy”) is the oldest, independent school in Western New York, cultivating students’ intellect, character, and courage to make a difference in the world since 1857. Nardin prides itself in sparking and nurturing academic excellence from early childhood through young adulthood.
Nardin provides students with the highest standards of excellence in academics, athletics and the arts while upholding a deep commitment to services in the tradition of the DHM. Students go on to make significant contributions to our school, our communities, and our world.
At Nardin, the classroom, the science lab, the stage, and the athletic field are the starting points for every student’s lifelong journey to discover, explore and hone their talents and passions.
Nardin is both an educational institution and close-knit community that provides each of its students with an educational roadmap—from taking their first steps in the Montessori program, building the foundations for a successful academic journey in Lower School, developing leadership skills in Middle School and preparing for success in college and beyond.
Representing nearly 20 different faiths, Nardin considers itself to be an independent school in the Catholic tradition. Therefore, the Academy’s 168 faculty and staff are committed to providing students with the moral, spiritual and intellectual compass to navigate their lifelong educational journey.
The Academy includes four schools:
A boys and girls Montessori (toddlers through grade 3; 100 full-time equivalent students).
A boys and girls lower school (kindergarten through grade 4; 112 students).
A boys and girls middle school (grades 5 through 8; 135 students); and
A high school for young women (grades 9 through 12; 401 students).
*Data for 2020 – 2021 academic year
The curriculum and extracurricular activities are designed around the Academy’s vision of developing students and graduates who are creative, curious learners; lead with confidence, strength, and integrity; grow through faith and spirituality; champion equity and justice; and serve others with humility.
With the strong engagement of families, faculty, and staff, Nardin enjoys an incredibly strong reputation across all four schools. The Montessori School is the oldest in Western New York and the only Montessori program in the area that is accredited by the American Montessori Society. The Academy’s K-12 program is ranked as the #1 private school in the area by Niche, and the High School is consistently ranked #1 in the region.
Nardin Academy Today
Nardin has been engaged in a successful $20M capital campaign which has allowed the Academy to enhance its physical structures, including a new gymnasium and wellness center, multiple turf fields, and an indoor facility which includes the largest squash center in the region. The Academy has a strong and a supportive network of alumni, families, partner institutions and organizations, and community leaders.
While Nardin has seen great successes and growth under its current leadership, there are opportunities and challenges that the incoming President will inherit. These include:
While Nardin has seen tremendous growth in the last two decades and Buffalo is often mentioned as an attractive locale for resettlement, the realities of Western New York’s demographics present a challenge for the continued enrollment growth. The incoming President will have the opportunity to work with the enrollment, marketing, and communications teams to evolve Nardin’s prospect and enrollment pipeline to meet future needs.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
In response to significant concerns raised by students and alumni about racial equity and justice at Nardin, the current President and the senior team took quick action to examine the Academy’s policies and practices, build dialogue and examine how the school can build a safer and more inclusive environment for all of its students and families. In September 2020, the Academy hired its first Director of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity, who is building out a multi-year DEI program. The incoming President will be expected to continue this work to weave diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the fabric of the Academy.
While recent audits have showed the Academy to be in strong financial health, there is a need to optimize Nardin’s endowment so the Academy will be able to maintain its excellence and plan to meet future student and family needs. Working with the Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement, the incoming President will be expected to lay out a strategic roadmap to build and strengthen Nardin’s endowment.
Buffalo is a waterfront city situated the eastern shore of Lake Erie, at the head of the Niagara River, 16 miles south of Niagara Falls. Its early embrace of electric power led to the nickname “The City of Light.” The city is also famous for its urban planning and layout by Joseph Ellicott, and extensive system of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as well as significant architectural works.
The city boasts a picturesque landscape and has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. You will find a redeveloped waterfront, revitalized neighborhoods, burgeoning craft beer scene and over $1 billion is new investment. There is much to enjoy: architecture, art, history, dining, a thriving and progressive music scene, and more. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy many activities and sites including Niagara Falls. Buffalo is the home of two professional sports teams and a Division 1 college team (Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, and Buffalo Bulls).
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Below are additional articles/videos for more information about Buffalo:
The incoming President will be responsible for maintaining Nardin’s strong reputation for academic excellence and character development while visioning, nurturing, and building the Academy’s future leadership path within the Western New York Community. The President must have an innate ability to build an engaging, inclusive, proactive, and communicative culture with faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and the larger communities. The new President will work collaboratively with the Board of Trustees (“Board”) and leadership team to strategically lead the Academy by honoring the Nardin tradition and plotting the course to meet the needs of tomorrow.
As the chief executive officer of Nardin Academy, the President works with the Board to develop a strategic plan and vision for the school, and then has the overall responsibility for the implementation of that plan. A three-year strategic plan was approved by the Board in November 2020.
In addition, the Board charges the President, as its only direct report, with overseeing the entire scope of the day-to-day operations in a way that directly aligns with the Academy’s mission, values, and vision. While the senior administrative team works with the President to execute these responsibilities, the President is fully accountable for operational success.
As a manager, the President is a listener first, who leads by example, embodies a transparent management style, and empowers and inspires others. The President is a reflective leader who leverages business savvy, people management, and relationship-building skills on a daily basis. The President is a visionary leader with a recognition of Nardin’s responsibility to be attentive to the issues of equity and inclusion and to ensure the school continues to grow in this way.
The most pressing criteria among the institutional focus areas includes the ability to drive action through consensus and inclusivity, deliver on new strategic priorities, meet future enrollment challenges, keep alumni consistently engaged, and ensure competitive institutional best practices.
Overall, the President is a creative team leader who can successfully implement the Academy’s three-year strategic plan through sound fiscal management and a forward-leaning approach to academics and student life, and is informed by best practices, up-to-date research, and the latest trends in education.
As the public face of Nardin and as its institutional spokesperson, the President represents Nardin Academy to its varied constituencies, both internally and externally. As such, the President must be a wise, trusted, transparent leader whose success is founded on a both a centralized point of view and success metrics that allow for departmental and stakeholder nuances, input, and execution.
The President is also Nardin’s “chief mission, values, and vision officer,” modelling, articulating, and implementing plans and programs that bring the mission, values, and vision of Nardin Academy and its founders to life through words and action.
The President must be an effective communicator and community builder in a varied stakeholder network that includes students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, board of trustees, the Academy’s immediate neighborhood, the external Western New York Community, donors, and other benefactors.
Successful Traits and Characteristics
The President has the ability to establish and manage a performance-driven culture in which the President holds the senior team and others accountable for executing tasks and modeling behavior that is aligned with the Academy’s mission, values, and vision, while developing and mentoring next-generation leaders. The President creates and fosters a stimulating and professional community environment in which faculty and staff interact to discuss and resolve academic and related operational issues. Other desired key leadership skills and traits include:
High energy executive with a demonstrated bias for action;
Strong business acumen;
Expertise in fundraising and/or business building;
Fervent commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and a vision for how DEI can be strategically and creatively woven into the fabric of a multi-faceted institution;
Genuine affection for mission-driven education;
Accessible, approachable, and inclusive leadership style, with a willingness to listen and encourage the development of new and differentiating ideas, while also offering creative solutions to a variety of challenges;
Ability and willingness to relate to students, faculty and staff, and families as well as be visible to and interact with them regularly on campus and at school events;
Dedication to leading by example, respecting the dignity of every person and modelling behaviors that demonstrate appreciation and respect for all teams and individuals;
Responsible leader who builds trust and transparency of both thought and action;
A proven ability to create an environment where individuals motivate themselves and can develop teams; and
Possess advanced oral and written presentation skills that inspire confidence and action among internal and external audiences.
Supported by a senior team representing each of the different departments (academics, athletics, enrollment, institutional advancement, DEI, marketing and communications, enrollment, and operations and finance), the President is charged with sustaining and building the positive reputation of Nardin and strengthening ongoing relationships within the community, the City of Buffalo and surrounding communities in ways that allow the Academy to further grow and thrive. The below categories of responsibility will be within the immediate purview of the President:
Executive Leadership & Strategic Vision
In partnership with the leadership team, the President develops an administrative agenda that is both strategic and operational and is aligned with similar and aspirational schools in programming, operations, and management.
Working with the Senior Vice President of Academics, the President will drive Nardin’s academic vision, which must be one that maintains academic excellence while embracing and driving the latest and most innovative approaches in Montessori and K-12 education.
Working with the Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement, the President must creatively and strategically build a plan for how Nardin can build its endowment in ways that will meet future institutional needs.
Bring a decisive and transparent leadership style that embraces the critical importance of issues facing the country today.
Promote a staff culture of integrity, dignity, high performance, meaningful collaboration, and continuous improvement that values learning and commitment to quality and equality.
The President maintains frequent contact and a robust partnership with the Board Chair, constructing the annual board agenda, developing mutually agreed-upon annual performance goals, and raising relevant matters to the Board’s attention.
The President serves as chief liaison between the Academy’s many stakeholders and the Board.
The President implements Board operational policies.
Ensure the Board has a holistic and accurate understanding of the Academy’s performance, strengths, challenges, and opportunities.
Keep the Board informed of the organization’s progress, activities, and challenges, providing accurate reports and annual budget to the Board.
The President will serve as the public face and official spokesperson of Nardin Academy. He/She will assure proper representation of the organization in front of all audiences and effectively convey the history and future direction of the Academy.
The President should expect to travel at times to achieve institutional advancement goals and objectives, as well as participate in professional and mission-based programs and meetings that help to advance Nardin’s overall strategic goals.
The successful candidate will have a genuine understanding, passion and commitment to the mission and identity of Nardin Academy as an independent school in the Catholic tradition. The President will be a dynamic, creative, and visionary, forward-thinking, and innovative leader who fosters learning, growth, and collaboration inside and outside the classroom.
In addition to being a person who welcomes students of all faiths, races and backgrounds, the successful candidate will lead the Academy into its next phase with enthusiasm for education, advanced interpersonal skills and good problem identification and solving.
This is an ideal position for the person who likes challenges and working with people and teams to share a vision and collaboratively drive that vision in ways that help to build new paths for opportunity and growth.
The President will be a strong culture builder, stellar communicator, strategic thinker, and a proven leader who will articulate an inclusive vision that others embrace and follow.
Other desired qualifications and leadership characteristics include:
Minimum of ten years of leadership experience in operational and people management positions with progressively increasing responsibility;
Deep respect for Nardin’s Catholic tradition, with a strong commitment to implementing the educational methodology and programs that are a continuous immersion in the mission and vision of its founders;
Successful track record of working collaboratively within a school community or a multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder environment that requires strong vision and leadership that focuses on growth and evolution;
Demonstrated capacity for broad institutional leadership (can be obtained through a variety of career paths including education, non-profit or corporate);
Minimum of five years of experience and proven track record of achievement in, or transferable skills with respect to, leadership development, sales or other business that will be applied to institutional development (e.g., annual fund, endowment building, capital campaign, planned giving).
Experience building partnerships and engagement amongst external stakeholders that aid in driving strategic goals;
Proven track record in, or transferable skills with respect to, marketing and communications;
Previous budget management experience;
Commitment to continuous self and organizational improvement;
A high degree of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, warmth, approachability, and humility.
Reports to: Board of Trustees
Senior Vice President for Academics
Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement & Community Relations
Chief Technology Officer
Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunity
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Vice President for Finance & Operations
Other members of
High School Principal
Lower School Principal
Middle School Principal
Stakeholder & Community Engagement
Current and prospective students and families
Donors and potential donors
Community leaders and neighbors who live around Nardin’s campus
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution required; advanced degree preferred.
Competitive compensation ranges and detailed benefits packages will be provided to candidates.
Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to submit a resume and cover letter to: