Description of school: Arthur Morgan School is a small, alternative boarding and day school for 27 boys and girls in grades 7-9. Our 100 acre campus, located in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, consists mainly of woods and meadows, with creeks and a pond; it is surrounded by National Forest. The school fosters a loving, energetic living/learning community dedicated to supporting individuality while teaching group cooperation. A balance is sought between academics, outdoor activities, and meaningful work. Experiential learning and responsible participation in community are emphasized throughout. Boarding students live in homes with two or three staff members, and the entire community actively shares work, study, play, and decision-making.
General Responsibilities: It takes a lot of energy to work here. We have intense work schedules--usually 60 plus hours per week. Our work calendar generally follows a conventional school year calendar, with some additional work required during students' breaks. AMS is staff-run by consensus; we have no director or headmaster. All staff
are expected to attend our two weekly staff meetings, two of our four Board Meetings, and to participate in running the school cooperatively. Everyone is also expected to attend our weekly student-run All School Meeting and to participate in work projects with the kids. Most of the staff is also involved in planning and leading backpacking/outdoor trips, our 18 day field trips, and any other special field trips or projects/activities we undertake.
Houseparenting Responsibilities: Houseparenting is a time-intensive position that involves living in a boarding house with 4 to 5 students, a co-houseparent, and perhaps an intern. Both married couples and single people are considered for houseparenting positions. A healthy, respectful working relationship is key to all house parent pairs. Responsibilities of house parents include: running the household (facilitating student's chores, cooking meals and house work projects), identifying and working on general care of the house and grounds (including yard work, the maintenance of the appearance of the boarding house etc.), managing a house budget with a monthly house allowance, helping students with homework, and having fun with the kids in daily life as well as in special house activities. House parents act in loco parentis--in the place of parents--and fill the role of limit setter and authority figure as well as friend and confidant. The position requires the sharing of one's personal space (one's home) and one's self (being "real''). This usually results in very strong and rewarding relationships between house parents and the students in their homes.
Maintenance Coordination & Other Responsibilities: House parenting is half of a full-time position and is combined with other duties to create a full-time position. As a maintenance coordinator, these center on creatively leading students and staff in caring for campus buildings, grounds, and vehicles. The coordinator designs internships for small groups of students to problem-solve maintenance issues; leads students and other staff in weekly work projects; and is the school’s point of connection with external contacts, such as local contractors, the DMV, the Health Department, etc. Outside of the coordinatorship, additional duties may include teaching electives; accompanying students on 3-, 6-, 8-, and 18-day field trips; leading sports and games; participation in staff committees; cooking and chore supervision.
Requirements: All AMS staff are people with a variety of skills, talents, and interests, and our jobs cover a wide array of responsibilities at the school. You must be committed to alternative education; be interested in learning: enjoy being around teenagers; be able to work cooperatively with other adults; and enjoy a simple lifestyle that includes physical work and outdoor activities. Experience is desired with lumberjacking, road maintenance, plumbing, carpentry, vehicle mechanics, farm machinery, and power tools. Expertise is not required, but a willingness to problem-solve and work creatively with others is essential, as is a willingness to learn about and work within the consensus process. Flexibility and a sense of humor are also very important. We ask for at least a two year commitment from new staff members, as it takes a year for new staff to become acclimated to our program.
Benefits: Staff receive room and most board, excellent health coverage including vision and dental, and various other benefits, as well as a salary of about $15,000.
To Apply: Please send a resume with a cover letter to by email, stating why you want to work at AMS, how AMS fits into your ongoing interests, and describing any relevant past experience. We typically review resumes and letters of interest every few weeks and phone interview several candidates chosen from the pool of applicants. After a positive phone interview, we invite applicants to interview in person on our campus for two days and two nights. This visit includes time for both formal and informal interviews with applicants and includes the opportunity for applicants to work with students and staff as we progress through our daily schedule. During this process we are interested in staff and student interactions with and observations of the applicant, and we are interested in the applicant's questions and observations of our program. If an in-person visit is not possible, a Skype interview may be substituted, although we acknowledge that it provides both us and the candidate less information upon which to make a decision.