The Opportunity to Lead a Groundbreaking, National Proof Point in the Making,
New System of Schools
Bridging Age-Old Divisions with a New System of Schools:
There has never been a time in our nation’s history where more resources, more strategies and more programmatic initiatives are being brought to bear on the failure to provide quality schools in underserved communities. These efforts have largely been advanced in either the closed system of charters, where autonomies are bountiful and supports often lacking, or the closed system of districts, where supports are bountiful and autonomies often lacking. Bridging this structural divide – of charter autonomy standing shoulder-to-shoulder with district supports, of opening up closed systems – has largely proven elusive.
The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (“SEZP”) – formed in collaboration with Springfield Public Schools, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Springfield Education Association and Empower Schools – is aimed at rapidly improving outcomes for Springfield’s middle school students through the creation of a new system of schools. SEZP extends valuable school-based autonomies in hiring and budgeting, most common to charter schools, with the supports necessary to serve the diverse needs of all students, a structural strength of districts. The result is an innovative system of schools, with each school in SEZP accorded significant autonomy in exchange for realizing achievement gains for children who need it the most.
With many of the underlying conditions for success of SEZP now set – including a signed articulation of commitment from all partners, the build-out of a governing board, important school configuration and structural reform actions and, most importantly, indicators of improved student achievement – SEZP is well position to enter a seminal stage of organizational development. We are now looking for a founding leader, both excited to advance these early successes and structural reforms in Springfield and animated by how SEZP will impact how an entire nation (re)thinks what is possible in education reform.
The Role of the Executive Director:
The Executive Director will be charged with leading this innovative effort to transform a group of nine middle schools in Springfield serving more the 4000 students. Reporting to the SEZP Board of Directors –and working in close collaboration with Empower Schools and the Director of School Improvement and Student Success– the Executive Director will deliver on the following specific responsibilities:
- Propelling principals within SEZP to further embrace – while holding them accountable for – a system of school-based autonomy with strong structural supports;
- Supporting the Director of School Improvement and Student Success in the development and evaluation of school operational plans, which all principals within SEZP must submit for approval and be held accountable to, including overseeing and approving the budgets that undergird these plans;
- Undertaking thoughtful change management strategies when and if schools fail to meet accountability measures, including the selection of new school leadership and/or operators;
- Maximizing and managing the efficiency of all centralized SEZP functions, which may include student enrollment, expulsion, Empowerment Academies, other shared services across SEZP schools, and all federal and state reporting;
- Shepherding the organization’s growth, through hiring of staff and development of strong communications, branding/marketing, fundraising, operations and financial systems;
- Assisting the governing entity – the SEZP Board of Directors – through the preparation of actionable and time-sensitive materials, presentations and organizational analyses;
- Liaising with state officials to ensure that monitoring and compliance processes align with state requirements for level 4 schools; and
- Serving as a public spokesperson for SEZP, as well as attending conferences and functions, legislative presentations, and community presentations.
Who You Are:
The Executive Director of SEZP must have the following qualifications:
- 7+ years of prior work experience, and at least 2 years of managerial responsibilities;
- Relevant experience in municipal and/or school operations, including finance, facilities, and human capital;
- Mission-alignment and commitment to the SEZP strategy of empowering educators at schools versus driving change from above; and
- Superior communication, problem-solving and project management skills, particularly an ability to organize, prioritize and oversee implementation of multiple initiatives with multiple stakeholders.
How to Apply:
Please submit a statement of interest (700 words maximum) along with a résumé to Sarah Robb at [email protected]. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The statement of interest should articulate, at minimum, how your prior professional experiences specifically map to the type of transformative leader needed to guide SEZP.