Job Opening for 2024-25

Chief Builder, Teacher / Guide in Fort Bidwell, California, US

Job Title: Chief Builder of New Farm School + Teacher / Guide

About the Community:
Surprise Valley is a remote agricultural community in Northern California. Here, people know their neighbors. When it ‘s time to have a branding, neighbors drop everything to come together, rope calves, and share a meal. We have a unique clean food culture, with local food producers and a small but thriving summer farmer’s market. This is a community where you can still trade goods and services.

At an altitude of 5000 feet, this high desert landscape has breathtaking views, wide-open spaces, clean air, and wildlife. Hiking, hot springs, camping, and horseback riding opportunities are limitless.

About your employer:
Spencer Smith and Bree McKeen were married on the Smith Family ranch where they live with their three children. We value hard work, creativity, entrepreneurship, thinking outside the box, questioning the status quo, and bold action. We believe that it is our job to create for our children a childhood full of joy, and to ensure that when they leave our home, they are fully prepared to be functional, healthy, and contributing members of whatever communities they are part of. Spencer is a full time rancher, and regularly involves the kids in his ranching activities. Bree is the founder and CEO of a high-growth bra company, which requires regular travel around the world. We are busy professionals with demanding schedules, but there is nothing we value more than a quiet evening at home as a family with a home-cooked meal, followed by a scooter-ride through the cows!

About the Role:
In this role, you will be CEO of a new school. Initially, this school will be based in a modular unit on the ranch. However, we are actively looking for a property that will serve as the long-term home of the school. You will create from scratch a detailed plan for the “prototype year” of the school. You will design the space, purchase materials, manage contractors (as needed) to finish your school house as designed, and then move on to designing programs and curriculum.

Your student base will consist of 4-6 students from age 3-6. All students will technically be enrolled in home-school. It is expected that 1-1.5 hours a day will go to completing home-school curriculum, and the rest of the time will be spent on Montessory-based learning. Spending significant time outside in nature–rain, wind, snow or sunshine–will be one of a few requirements for the curriculum. Food preparation, manners, and slow, social eating will also be a required part of the daily routine.

Two of your students are our children. (Girl, age 3; boy, age 6). All funding and infrastructure will be provided by us, however, we have invited like-minded, values-aligned parents to share in our school community. Parents will contribute what they can in terms of parent-aid time, designing field trips and experiential learning (one parent for example is a cabinet maker and artist, another is a local food producer, and so on…). Six hours a day is anticipated as school hours, with an additional two hours of paid time only for prep. Additional prep days with no children present can be arranged as agreed.

Teaching the majority of lessons in Spanish is highly encouraged.

Where you will live.
A beautiful cabin has already been secured for you and awaits your arrival. It has a king bed, is fully furnished, has a well stocked kitchen, a BBQ, and everything you will need to land and be immediately comfortable in your new home. It sits in a sunny greenbelt called Lake City, about 12 minutes away from the ranch. Close for easy access, but separate enough to have autonomy.

About you:
You are poised, curious, assertive, and kind. You are smart, independent and hard-working. You believe that connected, creative, nature-based learning can change the world, and that is your personal mission. You aim to be a master of your craft. You are healthy and strong, both mind and body. You have often dreamt of starting your own school. You already have a vision in your mind of what you would do differently. You love the outdoors, and are comfortable living in a rural environment. A love for animals and Western Heritage are a plus, but not required!

Specific Qualifications:
Certified Montessori educator
Demonstrated ability to plan and execute a start-up endeavor and see it to completion.

Preferred Qualifications:
5+ years of experience as a full-time educator
Fluent or Native Spanish Speaker

Salary: $45K – $65K depending on experience. 40 hours a week. 10 paid holidays (major national holidays). 10 days flexible paid vacation, as agreed.

Contact: Send Resume & Cover Letter to: Bree McKeen;, 415.385.3774

This service is provided as a courtesy by The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
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