Many organizations seek to help urban schools perform better. What makes our approach unique is the ways in which we engage school-based educators in the process of school design. Our skilled facilitators guide schools through a process of discovery and growth through which they are able to identify solutions from their lived and professional experience as well from research-based practices shown efficacious in similar settings. Through this approach, we achieve success measured by the numbers of struggling students who re-engage with school, cultures of high expectations restored and the respectful and compassionate learning environments reaffirmed. In our view, this is the best kind of success — shared and accomplished with open minds, open hearts and a respect for the lived and professional experiences of the educators and families we serve.
Eskolta School Research and Design seeks an experienced and collaborative executive to lead our work with schools in New York and Boston, as well as our expansion to Washington, DC. Since we launched in 2010, Eskolta has partnered with over 1,000 educators and improved learning for more than 13,000 students. The Eskolta Network is an improvement community designed to connect educators in the shared challenge of transforming learning for all students. Drawing on current research, participating schools work together to explore problems, create practices and tools, test and modify them, and measure their impact. Together, we aim to confront the educational inequities driven by systems of racism and oppression in our nation and improve academic outcomes for students so they can thrive in high school and beyond. Our learnings to date, history of success partnering with schools and a commitment for five years of financial support from a nationally known funder position us well for expanded reach and impact.
The Executive Director will have an exceptional ability to lead and manage a growing team internally while serving as an inspirational storyteller to share Eskolta’s ambitious mission and vision externally. As Executive Director, you will be responsible for overall strategic and operational leadership of the organization, including managing Eskolta staff, its Board of Directors, and district and school partners. You will envision and create a path for programmatic and operational growth while working to build alignment and internal systems in the shorter term. The Executive Director will directly manage Eskolta’s leadership team, including the Network Directors, Director of Program and Director of Operations (to be hired spring 2021). This role is based in New York, NY.
You will be successful in this role if you can cultivate new opportunities, plan and support implementation of our overall growth and fundraising strategy, build and lead a healthy and high-performing team, and predict and problem solve gaps to position the organization for growth. An ideal candidate is a results-driven leader with demonstrated competence for guiding and managing an organization at a similar stage of development, size, complexity and trajectory. Applicants should demonstrate a knowledge of and concern for issues of equity and justice and an understanding of how structural injustice impacts the experiences of underserved students.
The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and has overall fiduciary and managerial responsibility for all of the organization’s activities. Eskolta has an annual budget of approximately $3.5 million and sufficient assets, funding and consulting revenue to support operations and planned growth. The Executive Director leads a diverse 20-person team who share a deep commitment to racial and social justice. The Executive Director has four direct reports — two Network Directors, Director of Program and Director of Operations (to be hired spring 2021).
The Executive Director will assume leadership of a highly-respected organization with significant strengths that include a team of high-performing professionals with many years of institutional knowledge, a track record of influence and impact achieved over more than ten years of operations, and existing vendor relationships with the New York City Department of Education and Boston Public Schools. As a key focus of their work the Executive Director will be responsible for the following:
Maintain Eskolta’s reputation and influence
Eskolta has grown its influence as a thought leader and trusted school partner over many years and plays a leading role in the reform and improvement of urban education in New York — with expanding influence across the nation. Through an unwavering commitment to equity, justice and educational outcomes in urban public schools, the Executive Director will ensure that the organization remains a trusted school design partner to the schools and districts with which it partners. The Executive Director should bring with them new ideas for expanded influence and impact and envision opportunities for increasing Eskolta’s visibility by sharing its research and learnings in ways that shape approaches to urban education nationwide.
Grow the leadership team and staff
Eskolta’s staff are one its key strengths which is demonstrated by their commitment to the mission and the high quality work that they perform with schools. The staff demonstrate extensive knowledge of school operations, facilitation and are passionate about the organization’s core values, beliefs, and cultural norms. Their effort and hard work is a testament to the outsized impact of this small team. The Executive Director must continue to nurture the creativity and passion of the team and help them to develop the new skills and knowledge required to meet growth and impact goals. This can be achieved through the continued development of its junior members of staff as well through opportunities to recruit leaders and professionals from outside the organization with a demonstrated track record of success in the disciplines required.
Ensure program excellence and healthy school partnerships
Eskolta is recognized for the strength of its approaches to school design and its partnership with schools to create meaningful and sustained changes that support educational outcomes for students. The Executive Director must draw from their experience to maintain the continued delivery of excellent services to school partners leading to continued engagement by districts and the expansion of our work through introduction to new schools and districts. The Executive plays a direct role in driving program quality through their management of the directors responsible for leading the school design work. More directly, the Executive Director leads continuous improvement initiatives and actively engages with senior district leadership both to assess need to and cultivate new opportunities to deliver services.
Maintain and grow sources of philanthropy
Historically, Eskolta achieved much of its revenue from the fees paid directly by schools and district partners. Today, philanthropy — both from individuals and institutions — provides primary funding for capacity building and the expansion of our reach. The Executive Director is responsible for cultivating these sources of monies and for stewarding relationships with existing and new funders. It will be important to establish a deeper culture of philanthropy and to identify new sources of funding to support the organization’s plans for continued growth and ensure sustainability.
Support anti-racist activism
Eskolta strives to be an antiracist organization, using its influence to fight against social injustice by supporting a culture of learning, empowerment, and equity in our schools. We believe that changing the world begins with changing ourselves. The Executive Director will be responsible for leading our collective journey to learn about the systems of oppression embedded in our society and the work to examine our own beliefs and actions as we strive to foster a more just and equitable workplace and model of education. The Executive Director must actively participate as a learner and as a change agent as we work with urgency to meet the increased pressures placed on communities of color during the pandemic and throughout our nation’s history.
Partner with the Board to advance organizational effectiveness and efficiency
As with any growing organization, opportunities exist for Eskolta to improve its internal processes and practices in ways that will support its day-to-day operations today and ongoing. The Executive Director will be responsible for engaging with the Board of Directors to define the organization’s strategic goals and establish plans for their achievement. They will also be responsible for evaluating and improving operational approaches in ways that improve effectiveness and efficiency.
QUALIFICATIONS & MINDSET
There are innumerable ways to learn, grow, and excel professionally. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring to the work. This said, we are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below.
- Progressive senior-level leadership experience with a proven track record of successfully leading, managing, and growing a performance- and outcomes-based department, organization, or enterprise, preferably within the educational, nonprofit or philanthropic sectors
- Commitment and experience to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging best practices and continuous learning
- Thrives in a lean, fast-paced, highly collaborative, and entrepreneurial environment; the integrity, wisdom, persistence, and humor necessary to address the practicalities of a growing, dynamic, organization
- A management style that combines respectful collaboration with disciplined productivity; the respect and team orientation to effectively support staff and the continued growth and direction of the organization
- Self-motivated and inspirational problem solver with maturity and tact to collaborate effectively with colleagues, Board Members, external partners and team members
- Desire to play a key role in achieving an ambitious vision requiring cultural responsiveness, bold thinking and comfort with pivots to harness opportunity to strategically advance our work
- Track record of effectively leading and scaling an organization and staff; ability to point to specific examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth
- Excellent strategic, analytical, and problem solving skills with the ability to overcome challenges through the development of thoughtful and creative solutions
- A proven track record and passion for fundraising that is demonstrated in a commitment to maintaining current funders, a zest for cultivating new donors, an ability to generate new revenue streams, and a history of successfully taking organizations to the next level of sustained philanthropic support
- Exceptional oral and written communication, networking and public engagement skills, including the ability to adapt style and approach to diverse local constituencies and needs
- Ability to build sustainable and productive partnerships with nonprofits, philanthropic partners, academic institutions, and city and state government. Comfortable and capable of speaking to these constituents and other stakeholders about the power and potential of Eskolta’s model.
- Ability to compel others to action as a key storyteller of our path to impact, priorities for growth and ongoing contributions to the communities and young people we serve
- Experience with advocacy, relevant public policy, and systems reform efforts
COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
Eskolta offers a comprehensive benefits package. The salary range for this position is $170,000-$180,000. While the Eskolta team is currently working remotely, the organization expects to return to the office when safe to do so. This role is based in Eskolta’s New York City office and will require occasional travel to Boston and Washington, DC.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply to this position, please have an updated resume ready and a thoughtfully written cover letter to the attention of Eskolta’s Executive Search Committee. For confidential inquiries or for assistance in completing the application, please contact us via email at [email protected] and a member of our team will follow up.
TIMELINE AND HIRING PROCESS
We will review and respond to all applications received. While subject to change, candidates elected to advance throughout the process can expect two interviews with Positively Partners, an interview with members of the Search Committee (representatives of the Board and staff), and, for finalists, an interview day with Board members and staff, including a robust and holistic reference check process. Expected start date is May 2021.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Eskolta is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. We foster a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, out of home care, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, culture, and experience.
We help schools learn.
- 50 Broad Street, Suite 1615
- New York, New York 10004
- Phone: (917) 388-3389