Director, Waisman Early Childhood Program (WECP)

  • Full Time
  • Madison

Website University of Wisconsin

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Category: Teaching and Learning
  • Employment Type: Onsite
  • Employment Type: Staff-Full Time
  • Application Period Opens: Jun 14 2024 at 10:20 AM CDT
  • Apply By: Jul 7 2024 at 11:55 PM CDT
  • Job Number: 298826-LI

Job Summary:

The Waisman Center is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases throughout the lifespan. One of 15 centers of its kind in the United States, the Waisman Center encompasses laboratories for biomedical and behavioral research, several scientific research cores, and a clinical biomanufacturing facility for the production of pharmaceuticals for early stage human clinical trials. In addition to its research efforts, the Center provides an array of services to people with developmental disabilities, offers numerous educational and outreach programs to young children and their families, and trains scientists and clinicians who will serve our nation in the future.

The Waisman Early Childhood Program (WECP) is an inclusive, full-day preschool for children ages 1 through 6. Up to 1/3 of the children enrolled may have special needs because of a disability, medical condition, or behavioral challenge. WECP follows a developmental play-based curriculum; it is licensed by the State of Wisconsin, and accredited by the City of Madison and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The WECP Director provides the overall philosophical, policy, educational and program direction for WECP, and serves as the primary contact for issues regarding children’s education, care and services. This position works with other departments, colleges and universities, outside agencies, professional organizations and individuals to meet the goals of the Waisman Center for service to UW students, research, teaching and outreach. The WECP Director has overall responsibility for the annual operating budget, ensuring operations adhere to state and local licensing requirements, and overseeing daily operations, which includes maintaining high-quality care in each classroom, teacher to student ratios and quality improvement activities. The WECP Director will assist Waisman Center Principal Investigators in writing grant applications to facilitate research conducted within the WECP in addition to leading the operation of the overall program. Additionally, the WECP Director will manage staff recruitment, training and supervision.


Directs the operations, budget development, curriculum, and teaching policy for one or multiple early childhood education facilities to ensure safety and compliance and foster an environment of learning and development. Serves as the key leadership contact to promote the objectives, mission, and goals of the early childhood education program.

  • 25% Directs strategic planning initiatives and establishes unit objectives to ensure appropriate use of financial, administrative, staffing resources, and alignment with the strategic plan
  • 25% Develops operating policies and procedures to comply with regulations, institutional policies, and unit objectives
  • 10% Exercises supervisory authority, including hiring, transferring, suspending, promoting, managing conduct and performance, discharging, assigning, rewarding, disciplining, and/or approving hours worked of at least 2.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
  • 10% Develops and audits the unit budget
  • 10% Serves as the key leadership contact for internal and external stakeholders and promotes effective communication in a professional work environment
  • 5% Contributes to core functions of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
    (UCEDD), including activities of training/teaching, conducting research, disseminating evidence and best
    practices, and demonstrating model services.
  • 15% Prepare and implement classroom lessons, facilitate classroom programs, and assess
    student progress across all classrooms to ensure safety and foster an environment of
    learning in accordance with established curriculum and required ratios.

Institutional Statement on Diversity:

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion


Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Elementary Education, Special Education, Educational Psychology or a related field is preferred.

Master’s Degree in the aforementioned fields.


Required Experience:
– Six or more years’ progressively responsible experience in early childhood teaching, administration, leadership, and/or supervision in an inclusive early childcare setting, for example, one in which special needs children learn alongside typically-developing children.
– Experience in school administration equivalent to that of Director, Assistant Director, Principal, Assistant Principal, Superintendent, etc.
– Experience with financial and personnel management, and with contract management.
– Qualifications to meet the minimum requirements for administrator or center director as prescribed by the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and/or license from the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction with certification in PK-3 or PK-6.

Preferred Experience:
– Familiarity with state and university policies regarding purchasing, financial management and human resources.
– Experience with licensing and accreditation of an early childhood education program.
– Membership in an Early Childhood professional organization (e.g. Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers, etc.)
– Experience working with interdisciplinary staff (e.g., speech-language professionals, occupational therapy professionals, or behavior therapists) in a school setting.
– Experience performing research and writing grants.

Work Type:

Full Time: 100%

It is anticipated this position requires work be performed in-person, onsite, at a designated campus work location.

Appointment Type, Duration:



Minimum $80,000 ANNUAL (12 months)
Depending on Qualifications
Salary is negotiable and will be based on experience and skills. Employees in this position can expect to receive benefits such as generous vacation, holidays, and paid time off; competitive insurances and savings accounts and retirement benefits.

Additional Information:

This position may require more of a time commitment outside of the standard 40 hours.

A Criminal Background Check will be performed.

Must complete HIPAA training and receive certification within the first 5 days of employment and annually thereafter.

Reporting requirements must be completed in a timely manner, including but not limited to effort reporting and outside activities reporting.

A yearly Criminal Background Check and Caregiver Background Check and one-time fingerprinting will be performed. A TB test and health examination is required not more than 12 months prior to or 30 days after the first day of employment. A CPR certificate (including training in infant and child CPR, and training in AED) must be on file within 6 months of the first day of work. Training in Shaken Baby syndrome and in Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse are required. Training can be provided by WECP staff during the first week of employment.

Overall physical fitness:
– Agility: Ability to sit on floor and get up and down with ease; run, jump and climb hills and step stools; and reach overhead to retrieve items on shelves above shoulder level. Hang objects one foot above height.
– Strength: Ability to lift at least 30 pounds and ability to carry this weight across a classroom; engage in vigorous outdoor and gym play for at least 30 minutes; and push/pull at least 3 children in stroller or wagon. Push children on swings. Walk up and down stairs. Move/push classroom furniture as needed.
– Speed: Ability to perform physical tasks within a time frame commensurate with needs of fast-paced preschool classroom.
– Quick reaction time, i.e. respond instantly to unexpected needs

Have knowledge of and comply with developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education and all policies and procedures described in the WECP Staff Handbook.

How to Apply:

Please click on the “Apply Now” button to begin the application process. You will be asked to upload a resume, cover letter, and a list of three references including contact information.


Melissa Henning
[email protected]
Relay Access (WTRS): 7-1-1. See RELAY_SERVICE for further information.

Official Title:

Early Child Edu Dir(TL018)



Employment Class:


Job Number:


The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to, including but not limited to, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, pregnancy, disability, or status as a protected veteran and other bases as defined by federal regulations and UW System policies. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply. For more information regarding applicant and employee rights and to view federal and state required postings, click here

If you need to request an accommodation because of a disability, you can find information about how to make a request at the following website:

Employment may require a criminal background check. It may also require you and your references to answer questions regarding sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The University of Wisconsin System will not reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing, except that the identity of the successful candidate will be released. See Wis. Stat. sec. 19.36(7).

The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report contains current campus safety and disciplinary policies, crime statistics for the previous 3 calendar years, and on-campus student housing fire safety policies and fire statistics for the previous 3 calendar years. UW-Madison will provide a paper copy upon request; please contact the University of Wisconsin Police Department.

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