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This job expired on March 10, 2019

Director of Culinary Services Thaden School

  • Date Posted January 09, 2019
  • Location Bentonville, AR
  • Category Education
  • Job Type Full-Time
Company Description

A new independent school in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, Thaden opened in August 2017 and will grow incrementally over the next four years to serve students in grades 6 through 12.  By the fall of 2019, the school’s enrollment is expected to reach 220-240 students (grades 6-11), and construction of the buildings housing the core of its culinary infrastructure will be complete.  At full scale, the school’s 30-acre campus will support approximately 600 students and 100 faculty and staff. 

The non-sectarian, co-educational school offers a challenging and balanced educational program that ignites in its students a passion for discovery and learning, prepares them to succeed in college, and inspires them to lead lives of integrity, purpose, and responsible global citizenship. Please visit the Thaden website (thadenschool.org) for detailed information regarding its mission, leadership and faculty, educational programs, indexed tuition program, and campus plan as well as recent news releases.

Job Description

Thaden School offers an integrative educational program that provides students a broad foundation in the sciences and the humanities, enabling them to move across disciplines and explore their dynamic connections, inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to our core curriculum, we offer three signature programs -- Wheels, Reels and Meals -- that allow students to combine multiple fields of study and engage with our community in ways that foster a sense of civic and global responsibility.

Our Meals program connects students to the myriad roles that food plays in our lives, as well as the ecological, scientific, economic and cultural dimensions of the plate. The school’s communal daily meals are foundational to the curriculum. At lunchtime, students are provided a full hour to nourish their bodies and their minds with meals that illustrate and amplify our educational mission. As the construction of our campus advances, students will grow and harvest increasing quantities of food for school meals, and will help with food preparation in our teaching kitchens.

Thaden School now invites applications for its first Director of Culinary Services. Reporting to the Founding Head of School and working in close partnership with the Food Education Specialists and other faculty, the culinary director will develop a vision, infrastructure, partnerships, and resources for the school that puts culinary services on par with the school’s other educational programs. In keeping with Thaden School’s mission to serve the community, the culinary program, from its inception, will offer opportunities to transfer and teach best practices to families, the region, neighboring public schools and other nonprofits.

Primary Responsibilities in Academic Year 2019-20

The specific responsibilities of the Director of Culinary Services likely will expand with the school but shall include the following in academic year 2019-20:

  •  Developing a scratch-meal framework for Thaden School’s culinary service operations that deliciously teaches conservation of natural systems and promotes the health and resiliency of our students and of our community


  • Designing and implementing as a centerpiece of that framework a globally adventurous, optimally nutritious, and seasonal menu of simple, plants-rich* foods that appeals to students and adults


  • Hiring and cultivating an Assistant Director of Culinary Services and a nimble production team whose members share the vision and are committed to efficient and joyful nourishment of the Thaden School community
  • Teaching students by presenting hands-on preparation, procurement, and flavor development for daily food service in a manner that illustrates and amplifies classroom teaching; e.g., creating a culinary laboratory in which students experiment, study, and refine their learning via their own palates


  • Integrating the production kitchen and its meals with the teaching kitchens and edible gardens, in partnership with the Food Education Specialists, to illustrate the nature of food systems, the quotidian nature of meals, and the finite boundaries of nature


  • Sourcing as much fresh food as possible from smallholder farms in season, beginning with Thaden’s own edible gardens, then moving to local farms and producers and, finally, to regional sources, with environmental concerns as first priority


  • Leveraging our knowledge and resources bank with outreach to establish and cultivate a network of partnerships, including trading and buying co-operatives with other nonprofit institutions in Northwest Arkansas


  • Building the program as a public service by re-imagining the circumscribed National School Lunch Program (NLSP) as a far-reaching lab course that teaches lessons both on and behind the plate, approaches food procurement as supplies/equipment, and shares best practices with other schools charged with nourishing students within NSLP constraints


  • Locating and pursuing, with other faculty and staff, grant opportunities that further refine the program and help bring its best practices to more students in the region and beyond


  • Acquiring Benton County Health Department food safety license and other relevant licenses and certificates that allow maximum flexibility in the kitchens and on the grounds


Experience and Qualifications


The school seeks candidates of exceptional character, creativity, and intelligence who have the drive and versatility to create an ambitious and innovative school from the ground up. Candidates’ ability to work effectively within a diverse community will also be given considerable weight in the selection process.


  • Significant experience in culinary arts, food production, scratch cooking and sustainable sourcing
  • Ability to share this expertise with students (grades 6-12) in ways that spark curiosity and creativity, advance critical thinking, enhance the powers of patience and observation, and promote environmental responsibility
  • Ability to work collaboratively with educators across the sciences and the humanities
  • Experience building community networks
  • Commitment to civic engagement, cultural exchange, intellectual exploration and conservation of natural systems


Compensation this position is PAID: salaried, 50k to 100k How to apply
This job expired on March 10, 2019
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