Do you believe that teachers should be free to focus on curiosity, exploration, play, and authentic connection with students? Are you drawn to education but discouraged by the thought of having to work within the increasingly-restrictive boxes of mainstream schools? Do you imagine opening a school of your own someday but don’t know where to start?

South Mountain Co-op is in our third year of operation as a Democratic Free School in Essex County NJ. We’re currently serving 28 students between the ages of 4.5 and 15.

We’re looking for interns to help staff the school, as well as interns to help with the administrative work of running the school. As co-founders we have 12 years’ experience in staffing and running Democratic Free Schools, and we are excited to share that experience with anyone who believes in the democratic free school model of education: that students learn and thrive when offered the space to direct their own learning, follow their own interests, and be fully involved in the decision-making process of the school.

What you’ll learn as an intern at SMC:

Staff internship:

  • how to engage with students in a non-coercive, joyful way
  • how to facilitate consensus-based decision making
  • how to put conflict resolution and NVC techniques into practice

Administrative internship:

  • the nitty gritty, behind the scenes work that goes in to starting and running an alternative school
  • the organizational skills to run committees and work groups, and to manage projects of your own.

SMC interns will get:

  • regular mentoring from a co-founder
  • the opportunity to be involved in every level of decision making of the operation of the school
  • a letter describing and documenting the work you’ve done with us and the skills you’ve acquired

We’re looking for applicants who:

  • can commit at least 2 days a week, for 12 weeks
  • believe in the tenets of democratic free schools
  • are reliable and self-directed workers
Paid Internship Beginning September 2016
Seeking paid interns to work one or more days a week as staff at a small democratic free school in Montclair NJ.
The ideal candidate is enthusiastic, kind, patient, open-minded, and supports the philosophy behind democratic education.   Responsibilities will include helping to staff the space, taking kids outside to play or eat lunch, offering classes or activities based on student interests, engaging with students in conversation and projects, helping to mediate conflicts and work on committees.
The co-founders and staff of SMC will be available to answer questions and to mentor interns in the nitty-gritty of establishing and running a democratic free school, and of teaching in a student-led environment
This is an ideal position for future teachers who would like to get to know more about educational alternatives and student-led learning, former teachers who would like the freedom to engage with students in whatever direction their curiosity and creativity leads, and anyone who wants to prepare to found or work at a democratic free school

To Apply: Submit a cover letter, current resume, three references,, and any additional information you think we should consider in evaluating you as a candidate. Strong applications will succinctly address the following questions:

a. What makes you a strong candidate for the position?
b. What assets/skills/knowledge would you bring to this position?
c. What are you most passionate about and what work are you currently engaged in?

Please send your resume  and cover letter to by July 31, 2016 for full consideration.