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HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Philadelphia, PA

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the President provides leadership for the organization through driving strategic initiatives, day-to-day operations, and active involvement in the development of all programs and activities to ensure continued viability and growth for HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy. The President will manage the organization of about 140 staff, with direct reports including Vice Presidents for Finance, Education Services, Student Care (Nursing), Therapies, and Human Resources. Other direct reports include Community Engagement and HMS Connect, a program designed to connect HMS to the community of West Philadelphia and the wider cerebral palsy community. The President 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 leadership team.

Specific Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • In collaboration with the Board of Trustees and leadership team, develop and implement a strategic plan and organizational goals that advance the mission of HMS ensuring the strategic plan is translated into goals and objectives for staff.
  • Review current operations against stated goals and implement changes as needed.
  • Evaluate current facilities to determine optimal utilization based on strategic initiatives.
  • Nurture culture of excellence, enhancing the organization’s ability to continuously improve, measure, and communicate its impact.
  • Ensure the safety and security of the organization, staff, students, and individuals.
  • Anticipate changes in special education and services for individuals with special needs and share a vision of possibilities for the future.

Organizational Management

  • Motivate, lead, and sustain a high-performance leadership team to ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization.
  • Determine optimal organizational structure; periodically review and continuously support others to execute their respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Working with the leadership team, monitor and coordinate matters regarding employment, retention, and dismissal of personnel, salaries and contracts, job assignments, performance evaluation, and orientation and training.
  • Promote a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion that supports the social and emotional wellness of all constituents including students, families, and staff.

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.


  • Work through leadership team to assure maintenance of high-quality educational programming, therapies, and healthcare services in compliance with external/governmental requirements and applicable laws and regulations.
  • Assure collaboration between educational programming and healthcare services.
  • Ensure that programs and operations are supported by sufficient technological systems and business infrastructure.
  • Ensure that programs are held to the highest standard while managing for current and future growth.

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.
  • Foster appropriate media relations and represent the organization.
  • Be an active member of appropriate professional and community organizations to promote the welfare of the organization and its programs through attendance and presentations at meetings, workshops, conferences, and specified social functions.
  • Maintain and promote honest, direct communication between and among parents, alumni, service partners, legislators, and supporters.
  • Oversee and actively participate in the organization’s development program to increase annual, capital, and endowment fundraising in support of the mission.

Financial Management

  • Oversee the financial status and stability of the organization, including developing long- and short- range financial plans, monitoring the budget and ensuring sound financial controls are in place.
  • Work with the VP of Finance, board treasurer, and board committee to develop an annual budget.
  • Manage annual operating budget of approximately $12M from program revenue (84%), investment income (13%), and philanthropic support (2%).
  • 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.
  • Take initiative in seeking additional program and funding opportunities and the development of new sources of revenue.

Board Relations

  • Nurture a positive, open, and collaborative relationship with the Board.
  • Collaborate with the Board of Trustees to develop short-term and long-range strategic plans to ensure growth and long-term sustainability of HMS School.
  • Advise the Board of Trustees by keeping them informed of the organization’s operations, community concerns, legal matters, fiscal issues, and developments in practice so that board members have adequate information for carrying out their governance policy-making responsibility.
  • Participate in soliciting and recruiting additional people to serve on the Board.
  • Arrange opportunities for board education and engagement.


The President must have an understanding of and passion for the mission of HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy and a commitment to the students and families it serves. The successful candidate will work with the Board of Trustees in developing and implementing the strategic plan incorporating a vision for organizational growth. A transparent and unifying leader, the President will have a track record of experiences including knowledge of strategies and best practices proven effective in managing a complex, multi-program organization. The President will be an outstanding communicator and compassionate leader who provides an environment in which all students, families, and staff feel encouraged, supported, and valued. The President is a visible, supportive, and an approachable presence, known and respected by the HMS community.


  • Demonstrated ability to serve and advocate for individuals with special needs and comfortable engaging with HMS students focusing on their strengths and potential.
  • At least 10 years of relevant experience, which should include at least 5 years of successful tenure in a management role, in a school or an education-focused nonprofit organization, incorporating operational, financial, programmatic, and external relations functions.
  • Student-centered leader with vision and passion for advocacy who is able to mobilize staff, board, and other stakeholders toward a common goal.
  • Visionary and strategic planning capabilities and the leadership necessary to ensure its successful implementation.
  • Experience in managing transitions with sensitivity to evolving human and cultural dynamics as long-term staff retire.
  • Proven track record in fiscal and staff management; preferred experience in board management.
  • Broad knowledge of overall operations of a school and related services, including finance, development, admissions, marketing, and care and maintenance of facilities.
  • Background in the unique nature and funding streams of the Pennsylvania Approved Private school model a plus.
  • Knowledge about issues related to students with cerebral palsy and other disabilities is a plus.
  • Preferred knowledge of policies and legislation impacting special education and programs for individuals with special needs and the ability to be an advocate for effective policies.
  • 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.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build collaborative relationships and effectively navigate across a highly engaged constituent base including the board, management, staff, students, parents, and donors.
  • Demonstrated ability in fund development is a plus.
  • Project executive presence and possess superior communication and presentation skills to express, orally and in writing, HMS’ mission, vision, and goals with clarity, passion, and persuasion.
  • Emotionally mature with a good sense of humor and the warmth and sensitivity to work with diverse personalities and situations.
  • Master’s degree in nonprofit management, business administration, special education, healthcare administration, or related field required.

The President is expected to be on-site Monday through Friday at the Philadelphia, PA campus, with engagement in occasional night and weekend activities.


HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy (HMS) is a day and residential school for students through age 22 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 maximize 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.

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 through 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 support to 62 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 and theater—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, 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.

For additional information, please visit their website at

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.

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