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Founding School Leader

Nova Pioneer is looking for an outstanding culture and instructional leader to serve as the School Leader at our school opening in Johannesburg (Paulshof) in January 2018. This is an opportunity to help create a transformative school model with the future of Africa’s youth at stake.


Imagine a world in which every young person across Africa attends a school that truly sets them up for success in the 21st century. A school that cares about individual students and allows them to explore the world around them. A school that focuses more on developing skills than on memorizing content. At Nova Pioneer, we have done more than just imagine this future, we are bringing it to life. Nova Pioneer is a pan-African, independent network of schools offering high quality, accessible education from pre-primary through secondary school. Nova Pioneer uses a unique, enquiry-based learning approach that encourages students to ask “why” instead of telling them the “what”. It allows them to form their own thinking through exploration, investigation and collaboration. Nova Pioneer currently has 6 schools in South Africa and Kenya with a vision to launch 100 schools and reach tens of thousands of students across the African continent in the next decade. To learn more visit


We are looking for an exceptional individual to lead our new school in Paulshof, Johannesburg slated to open in January 2018. This school will be Nova Pioneer’s fourth school in Johannesburg which proves that it is possible to maintain an extremely high quality standard and to continue innovating as Nova Pioneer grows.

Prior to assuming the School Leader position, you will go through core training to get you ready to lead in the Nova Pioneer way -- the series of experiences will be customised based on your prior experience. These experiences include shadowing a current School Leader and gaining experience with coaching teachers using the Nova Pioneer system.

As School Leader you will play a critical role in delivering excellent education by leading school culture. Your single biggest responsibility in the school’s first year of operation will be establishing an extremely strong and vibrant school culture consistent with Nova Pioneer’s core culture principles. Over time, as this culture takes root, you will shift your primary focus to teacher development. You will help build a pipeline of homegrown local teacher talent inside the school that produces master teachers and great instructional leaders over time.

In addition to being an instructional and culture leader, you will also lead community engagement and parent partnership. You will build the Nova Pioneer reputation in the community and engage with parents to recruit students and create the best possible learning environment for every student.

Specific key responsibilities for the role include:

  • Articulate a compelling short- and long-term vision for the development of the school’s culture and program
  • Set and model a consistent tone of highest expectations, joy, and growth mindset among staff and students alike
  • Lead key school rituals as needed to model and ingrain culture
  • Quickly identify and respond to classroom/school culture or behaviour issues
  • Act as an effective leader and ambassador for the organisation
  • Coach teachers through observation and feedback
  • Partner with parents and other key community stakeholders to build the Nova Pioneer brand
  • Monitor budget and admissions pipeline
  • Plan and lead school staff meetings
  • Collaborate with fellow School Leaders in the network and ensure collaboration within the school as well


  • You have 6+ years of experience in a rigorous, high-expectations school setting including instructional leadership roles (e.g., deputy head, teacher coach, etc.). Experience as a Head of School is highly valued but not a prerequisite.
  • You are widely recognised as a highly effective teacher and can model what great, inquiry-based teaching looks like. If you don’t have teaching experience, you are instructionally passionate and have a desire to learn and entrench yourself in the Nova Pioneer approach to teaching and learning.
  • You are excited about your own professional development, always seeking out opportunities to grow, whether by asking others for feedback, forming communities of learning with other school leaders, or seeking out training
  • You have a track record of improving other people’s performance through coaching, building uncommonly strong relationships, developing creative training sessions and sharing feedback
  • A strong community leader, with the ‘head and heart’ to foster a caring community
  • You have an exceptional ability to think strategically and yet you sweat the small stuff—people see you as unusually detail-oriented and conscientious
  • You are excited about our organisational culture—and in particular, you are fired up to challenge yourself by embracing mutual vulnerability and a firehose of feedback
  • You have a desire to further develop your leadership skills and apply them to transform the lives of African youth


Does working at Nova Pioneer excite you? If so, then apply now!

To apply, please complete the form on the right hand side of this page. We cannot process applications that are emailed to us.

Please note: Where a copy of your resume is required, copying and pasting from a formatted document e.g. Microsoft Word may not result in the formatting transferring correctly to the final resume. You are encouraged to attach your resume in Microsoft Word® or PDF format to protect formatting.

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the right candidate is identified. Only qualified candidates will be invited for interviews. 


Nova Pioneer is a place where our people experience tremendous growth, fast! We invest heavily in the growth of our people because it leads to greater mastery in both us and our students. “Novaneers” work harder and work longer hours than most schools but as a result, the growth they experience is extraordinary. We offer consistent and ongoing personal development and provide clear career pathways that ensure that our people are always achieving their personal and professional best. Nova Pioneer has a highly energetic, entrepreneurial environment where our people get to bring their creative and innovative ideas to life. We look for people who are flexible and who are able to adapt and respond quickly to adversity with a positive, can-do attitude (there are no problems, only solutions!). We welcome challenges and roll with the punches because it makes us, and our students, better. There is no problem too big for us! We work hard but we also have a lot of fun together. We bring infectious energy and enthusiasm to everything we do because joy fuels the hardest work and learning. Read more about our culture principles here.


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