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Curriculum directors oversee a wide range of educational aspects in a school district. They ensure that the district’s curriculum meets educational expectations and standards; schools are using appropriate textbooks; and teachers have the skills to deliver high quality instruction to students. Curriculum directors work in private primary and secondary schools, and at colleges and universities. This career is ideal for teachers with vast work experience and advanced academic qualifications.
Using the Skills
Excellent leadership and planning skills are crucial to the success of curriculum directors. They must lead and direct a team of curriculum specialists, and coordinate curriculum review programs in many schools. Curriculum directors use analytical skills to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and identify weaknesses, and problem-solving skills to make adjustments. They must have good communication and interpersonal skills to work with various professionals, such as the state superintendent of education, and work cooperatively with parents and the community.
The primary responsibility of a curriculum director is to lead the implementation and evaluation of the curriculum. She may begin by working with other administrators to develop the district’s instructional policies and guidelines, which schools must comply with. For example, when the district invests in computers to enhance teaching and learning, the curriculum director draws up the policies that will guide their integration. The director also works with curriculum specialists to continuously review the district's curriculum and ensure that it's relevant and current.
Away from curriculum evaluation, curriculum directors organize training for teachers, who must stay up to date about teaching strategies and techniques. They also monitor program budgets; respond to public inquiries about the district’s curriculum; arrange meetings with school principals and assistant principals to discuss issues affecting schools; and compile reports for superintendents. Although curriculum directors working in colleges and universities have similar functions, they often focus on a specific subject matter, such as engineering, law or business.
To become a curriculum director in a school district, you must have at least a master’s degree in education administration, education policy and management, or a closely related field. Because districts often prefer professionals with at least five years of work experience, most curriculum directors begin as teachers and work their way up. Colleges and universities hire curriculum directors with at least a master’s degree in a related field. For example, a university hiring a curriculum director for the law faculty will consider applicants with at least a master's degree in law. Curriculum specialists who pursue advance qualifications, such as doctoral degrees in education policy, may become policy researchers in state and federal education agencies or secure top administrative positions in colleges, professional schools and universities.
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.