Humboldt County Office of Education: Principal-Infant/Preschool

Notice: In July 2022 HCOE classified job descriptions were re-classified. We are working to get the classifications changed on individual job descriptions. A PDF mapping these changes can be found here. For questions please contact the HCOE Personnel Office at (707) 445-7039.

HCOE Job Description


Position Summary

Under the supervision of the Early Education Director, the Infant/Preschool Special Education Principal provides administrative leadership to the instructional programs, staff and students of the Special Beginnings programs, including the itinerant infant/preschool and autism special day class for infants and preschool age students. The Principal coordinates the curriculum and instruction for Special Beginnings special education programs and the integrated preschool programs (California State Preschool Program (CSPP)/Redwood Learners). The principal works to build and/or maintain relationships with other agencies who serve young children and with local school districts in supporting early intervention services and transition to district programs. The Principal is responsible for assisting in the planning, coordination and implementation of grant-funded projects and interagency programs. Budget development and monitoring is a shared responsibility of the Principal working in coordination with the Early Education Director and other central office staff.

This position description is intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee assigned to the position. This description is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, knowledge, skills, abilities and working conditions associated with the position. Employees may be required to perform any combination of these duties.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Principal provides support to certificated and classified staff through evaluation, assignment and day-to-day communication.  Supervisory responsibilities include participation in hiring and onboarding for all staff assigned to the programs, formal and informal performance monitoring and continual presence at the various classroom programs. The principal provides guidance to staff related to special education process and procedures, instruction and inclusive practices. This position is responsible for seeking and disseminating current special education best practices and legal requirements. 

Supervision Received and Exercised

This position is under the supervision of the Early Education Director.  This position is responsible for the evaluation of classified and certificated staff assigned.

Examples of Duties and Responsibilities

Duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

*Illustrative only

  • Receives, logs and assigns referrals for children to receive special education services from community agencies and individuals and monitors service delivery;
  • Assigns and manages caseloads of teachers and specialists for both itinerant and classroom programs;
  • Supports the intake process, including referrals to other agencies and development of assessment plans;
  • Oversees the provision of support services such as speech, occupational therapy and transportation based on a student’s IEP or IFSP;
  • Accepts referrals for Early Start eligible students and organizes the access of Early Start county office services or low incidence services;
  • Attends interagency meetings and maintains working relationships with North Coast Children’s Services, State Preschools, Redwood Coast Regional Center, Family Recourses Centers, First 5 and other agencies in the community;
  • Supports and collaborates with the local districts in transitioning students from preschool programs to district level programs;
  • Selects and organizes professional development for staff;
  • Manages the budgets for all birth to five programs, including grants, and assists with annual budget development;
  • Authorizes expenditures within the approved budget;
  • Monitors compliance with all applicable federal and state laws in regard to annual reviews, re-evaluations, etc.
  • Maintains up-to-date knowledge of County Office contracts, collective bargaining agreements, policies and procedures;
  • Attends IEP/IFSP meetings, determines class placement and monitors delivery systems for students special education services as needed;
  • Actively engages in an ongoing program of professional development to maintain and improve management skills and leadership abilities;
  • Serves as a member of the Leadership Council;
  • Participates in appropriate regional and statewide professional meetings.

Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job. 


Education and Experience

Minimum Required:

  • Valid California Administrative Services Credential;
  • Valid California Teaching Credential or Pupil Personnel Services Credential;
  • 3 years prior work experience as an educator or similar category of work in a school setting;
  • Familiarity with program planning and special education law and process;
  • Strong leadership, organizational, communication and human relation skills;
  • Possess a valid California Driver’s License or otherwise ensure ability to attend to duties at multiple worksites during the day.

Preferred Experience:

  • Master’s Degree in early education or educational administration or related area is strongly preferred;
  • Experience working directly with people from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds;
  • Child Development Director Permit;
  • Ability to speak a second language (Spanish, Sign Language, Hmong highly desirable).

Knowledge of:

  • Principals, practices, methods and techniques used in curriculum development and classroom instruction for special education
  • Methods and approaches to planning individualized instructional programs and services, according to identified needs and requirements
  • Child Development, Special Education and best practices for early intervention for students with Autism
  • Utilization of various forms of assessment to guide and design instruction
  • Effective pedagogy for ethnic populations, English and Multilingual Learners
  • Applicable federal, state and District codes, regulations, policies and procedures governing work scope
  • Policies related to standards, assessment, accountability, planning, promotion/retention, curriculum and instruction, data access and confidentiality and related areas

Ability to:

  • Motivate, challenge and guide others in the improvement of educational programs and HCOE services
  • Communicate with students, parents, community representatives, district personnel and other community partners, both individually and as a group
  • Compose and comprehend written communications
  • Ability to flex communication style to multiple cultural environments
  • Make formal, public presentations
  • Utilize computer technologies, including but not limited to, electronic medical recording systems, email, word processing, spreadsheets, power point and educational applications
  • Determine work assignments of staff and supervise activities
  • Be able to work directly with all racial, ethnic, linguistic, disability and socioeconomic groups while maintaining a kind and professional demeanor free of discrimination
  • Demonstrate appropriate poise, tact and sound judgment while coping with a high volume of work and multiple tasks
  • Be flexible and adaptable to changing environments and schedules

Working Conditions

This position will be assigned to an office setting, either in the County Office of Education or at district school sites or at various sites where instruction is provided. The employee will be expected to work closely with other County office and District personnel, students, families, other professionals, outside agencies and private partners, in person, via email and on the telephone. Assigned to occasional school site settings where multiple children, school staff and families are present.  Employees may be required to walk, stand or conduct work in outdoor educational environments where there may be loud students or staff, varied temperatures, public interaction or upset staff or students.

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of the job, the employee is regularly required to sit, stand, walk, speak and hear. The employee will need to frequently perform repetitive hand/finger movements for activities such as, but not limited to, using a keyboard. The employee is occasionally required to climb stairs, bend, reach with hands/arms, lift, stoop, kneel and crouch.  The employee will regularly be required to drive long distances to remote areas of the county and may be required to lift and move equipment up to 25 lbs.

Other Requirements

  • Must be fingerprinted and a satisfactory Department of Justice records check must be received by HCOE prior to employment.
  • TB testing and/or risk assessment will be required upon employment.
  • Must pass a pre-employment physical
  • May be required to obtain first aid and CPR certificates within the first 6 to 12 months of employment.
  • May be required to drive with or without students; some positions may require a California driver’s license, proof of insurance and possible participation in the DMV PUll Notice Program once employed.

CLASS: 3 | Updated 7/7/2023

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Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

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Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent