Director of Human Resources

Job Type

Full Time




New York
United States


Who are we?

Ethical Culture Fieldston School is a progressive PreK-12 independent school that has been serving students from throughout New York City and the surrounding suburbs since 1878. ECFS offers a rich curriculum in the arts, sciences, and humanities. A co-ed, nonsectarian school, it serves a diverse community of about 1,700 students on two campuses—one in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and the other in Manhattan.


What is essential about working at our school?

The Ethical Culture Fieldston School has a long history of equity and inclusion deeply rooted in our mission and the educational philosophy of our founder Felix Adler. We embrace diversity of ancestry, family, identity, culture, and belief and seek a student body and faculty who reflect the pluralism and socio-economic diversity of metropolitan New York. We affirm both our differences and commonalities and strive to balance individuality and community. In keeping with our progressive tradition, we are dedicated to increasing our students’ cultural literacy to help them understand multiple perspectives and see the world beyond the self. We expect members of our community to engage in open dialogue about living and learning in a diverse environment inside and outside the classroom. We see this work with its creative tensions as a catalyst for individual and collective growth. On a daily basis, we are committed to making this vision of a democratic, pluralistic, and progressive school a reality.



The Director of Human Resources will be a hands-on administrator who will build and maintain a standardized, comprehensive, and sophisticated HR environment. The ideal individual is a practical, detail-oriented professional who is accustomed to educational institutions with a unionized workforce. The successful candidate will have an understanding of the nuances of the academic world and a high level of respect for the school’s legacy and mission. The successful candidate will possess a broad  understanding  of  all  functional  areas  including  HRIS,  benefits administration, employee relations, and  policy administration. The HR Director will develop and maintain comprehensive programs around onboarding, compliance, off-boarding, technical capability, and performance management. As appropriate, the HR Director will negotiate, recommend, and supervise selected HR-related vendors.

The Director of Human Resources must develop trusting and credible relationships that support the development of a successful, proactive, and responsive HR function. This individual must be a hands-on practitioner who is comfortable in an administrative role that partners, on many occasions, with the school’s senior leadership team.

The Director of Human Resources manages two assistant directors and one administrator. The selected  individual  will  be  a  part  of  an  organization  committed to  the  highest  level  of  integrity and will enjoy a high degree of work/life balance in an institution that is open and friendly.

Key responsibilities will include:

Employee Relations

  • Maintain employee handbook for the School and recommend revisions to Administrative Council.
  • Develop/edit/update job descriptions for all employees. Complete periodic job description audit and reclassify employees as appropriate under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Ensure compliance with federal and state statutes/laws such as FMLA, ADA, Sexual Harassment, OSHA, Worker’s Compensation, Title VII, and ERISA.
  • Manage employee separation process for both voluntary/involuntary terminations.
  • Manage recruitment lifecycle and performance management.
  • Complete annual compensation and benefit surveys.
  • Provide training for department heads and team leaders on various HR topics including interviewing skills, performance reviews, and employee coaching.

Benefits Administration

  • Successfully  manage  and  coordinate  benefit  programs  (Health,  Dental,  Section  125,  403(b) Retirement Plan, STD, LTD, Life/AD&D and COBRA) for employees, including all employee communication, problem solving, and claims resolution.
  • Ensure all plans comply with applicable laws and statutes (HIPPA, ERISA and IRS guidelines).
  • Research and implement new supplemental benefit programs as needed.
  • Assist in development of insurance budget and negotiate contracts on an annual basis with Chief
  • Financial Officer.
  • Prepare/edit Summary Plan Descriptions as needed for plan changes and legal compliance.
  • Manage annual open enrollment for Health, Dental, and FSA

Other Duties

  • Maintain and update HRIS system.
  • Prepare and complete annual audits for 403(b) and file 5500.

Required Knowledge, Experience, and Education

The successful candidate will be a values-driven human resource professional with the desire to contribute within a mission-based environment and who has a strong commitment to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School’s core values. The successful candidate will be a well-rounded human resource professional who thrives in a thoughtful, intellectual environment focused on making a difference in the lives of children. S/he will possess 10+ years of experience and should be well versed in all aspects of health and welfare benefits, pension plans, employee relations issues, compliance, and HRIS systems.  This individual must be detail-oriented, yet able to contribute at a strategic leadership level. In addition, this individual must be responsive, customer service oriented, and able to build trusting relationships.

Technical competencies

  • 7-10+ years of broad-based background in the design, theory, best practices, laws, techniques and applications of human resource programs.
  • A demonstrated track record of providing subject matter expertise across the gamut of human resources initiatives including innovation, process improvement, and the development of a communication strategy.
  • A portfolio of success as both a tactical and strategic human resources professional with an understanding  of  finance,  economics,  negotiations,  demographics,  and  communication  of related HR initiatives and programs.
  • Education (or related) not-for-profit experience is a plus.
  • Attorneys with employment law experience preferred, but not required.


Full Benefits

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree