Executive Director (ED)
HISTORY AND MISSION
Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School grew out of the Breakthrough DC Challenge Grant sponsored by Next Generation Learning and Citybridge, DC. The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector entered the competition with a proposal for a public Montessori charter school with a unique focus on Development, Prevention, and Community. The school opened its doors to 3- and 4-year-olds in 2016-2017, expanding to serve 5-year-olds in 2017-2018. The school will continue adding year by year until it reaches full enrollment serving 3-year-olds through 12-year-olds (6th grade).
Breakthrough Montessori’s mission is to provide families in Washington, DC with a fully implemented, public Montessori program that enables children to develop within themselves the power to shape their lives and the world around them. Breakthrough Montessori seeks to graduate students with the academic and social skills necessary to excel in their future schools, complete post-secondary education, and build rewarding careers and vocations.
Breakthrough currently enrolls 180 students ages 3 - 5 and has approximately 40 dedicated faculty and staff, including 10 trained Montessori teachers. Breakthrough’s current address is 1244 Taylor Street, NW, Washington, DC. This space was a wonderful start-up space but is not large enough to handle full enrollment as the school grows. Beginning in 2018-2019 and for the next 2 years, the school will operate at both the current Taylor Street address and 6856 Eastern Avenue, Washington, DC as this new facility is built out. In 2020, the full school will be consolidated at 6856 Eastern Avenue.
Breakthrough Montessori is authorized by and accountable to the DC Public Charter School Board (link to charter agreement). It is governed by a Board of Directors that is chaired by the Executive Director of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector and comprised both of parents and community members. Breakthrough Montessori operates as a non-profit with a single program, the school. The Executive Director serves as the Director of the non-profit and is responsible for ensuring that the school has the resources (finances, talent, structure, and culture) needed to succeed.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Breakthrough is offering a magnificent early childhood experience to its 180 students and stands ready to continue this excellence into next year and beyond. The faculty is dedicated, well trained and supported. Parents are happy with the experience their children are having in the classrooms and enrollment and waiting lists are strong. The school is already, in its second year, a model of public Montessori education and hosts many visitors each year. The move to a new facility represents both an opportunity and, in the near term, the challenge of both the renovations and move itself, and of operating two campuses.
THE NEXT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Breakthrough is looking for stable leadership that will carry it through this move and into its full capacity serving students ages 3 - 12. The successful candidate will be an excellent listener and know how to draw on the very best of a talented leadership team and faculty. They will be an experienced non-profit leader, fundraiser and community builder with excellent communication skills who builds a culture of respect and support. Someone with experience and commitment to working with a racially and socioeconomically diverse community of teachers, parents, and students is a must. Though experience in education and Montessori is a plus, the educational program of the school is primarily supported by the educational staff and the Executive Director’s role is to create the environment in which they can do their best work.
The Executive Director is charged with the oversight of all areas of Breakthrough Montessori to ensure that the mission of this public Montessori school is fully supported and achieved as laid out in the school’s charter. The Executive Director does this by ensuring that the school and staff have the financial, political, and human resources needed. In addition to having the prerequisite understanding of and passion for the Montessori approach, the ideal candidate will have proven experience in
- Culture--Fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and trust within the school community
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion--Establishing a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment that strives for equity and educates for peace
- Communication and Public Presence--Being an outward-facing spokesperson and representative
- Fund Development--Raising funds for capital funds and operational expenses
- Facilities--Leading facilities and building development
- Board Relations--Driving board development and support
- Operations and Systems Oversight--Supervising staff to ensure compliance with fiduciary and regulatory obligations is met both fully and strategically.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED will work with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction to establish priorities, recommend policies, and share strategic vision based on the school’s mission and goals as well as student, staff, and family needs.
The ED has oversight responsibility of all non-instructional staff, including the Director of Operations and Director of Family and Community Engagement, while the Director of Curriculum and Instruction fulfills all oversight responsibility and clinical supervision of the instructional staff. Both the ED and the DCI sit on the Board as non-voting, ex-officio members.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
The ED is responsible for actively engaging a diverse constituency (faculty and staff, students and parents, volunteers, board members, partnering organizations, and financial supporters) within and outside of the School community to fulfill the mission of the organization:
Culture: Through impeccable integrity, openness and humility, foster a culture of collaboration and trust amongst parents, faculty, staff and Board.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Demonstrates commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by respecting, affirming and protecting the dignity and worth of each member of the Breakthrough community. Collaborates with the leadership team to periodically monitor and assess school culture and ongoing efforts of family outreach and involvement, recruitment, retention. Articulates Breakthrough’s Statement of Values to all constituencies--students, faculty, staff, parents and community; and uses it as the floor for establishing a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment that supports all children, supports all families, strives for equity, and educates for peace.
Communication and Public Presence: Serve as the organization’s lead spokesperson; articulate and advocate the School’s mission and goals to the parent community as well as to donors, partners, and other resources, including prospective volunteers and funders; respond to requests for speaking engagements including testimony at legislative or authorizing hearings; represent Breakthrough at OSSE, DCPCSB, and other meetings. Supports the Director of Community Engagement in marketing, enrollment and family engagement.
Fund Development: Expand revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing programs and growth opportunities. Work with foundations, and coordinate activities with the Board and others within and beyond the school community.
Facilities: Lead the Board and school community in ensuring a successful move to new facilities as the school expands. This includes stewarding community participation and input, and communication with all city and neighborhood bodies. It requires close communication with and knowledge of design details and implications, financing options and trade-offs. This work requires close collaboration with the Board. Though the Board is responsible for many of the ultimate decisions, the ED is responsible for driving the process and getting the Board the input and information it needs to move forward
Board Relations: Cultivate a strong relationship with the Board of Trustees in areas of policy, accountability, financial and programmatic sustainability, strategic planning and charter renewal, and serve on related Board committees. Drive collaboration between the Board of Trustees and the staff; help identify potential board and committee members.
Operations and Systems Oversight: Works with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and the Director of Operations to ensure ongoing programmatic excellence consistent with fiduciary and regulatory obligations including but not limited to fiscal/budgetary/accounting; reporting, compliance and accountability; facility and safety management; human resources; the development of additional systems as needed.
Culture: Evidence of integrity, openness and humility in prior work settings. Evidence of fostering cultures of collaboration and trust amongst stakeholders, listening to input from others, demonstrating humility for wins and accepting responsibility for misses. Evidence from prior work settings of timely, complete and transparent communication.
Rapidly acquires new knowledge, understands the core work of the organization and successfully encourages the team in meeting goals.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Demonstrated training, experience and work in issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Evidence of leadership and participation in anti-bias anti-racist initiatives.
Communication and Public Presence: Ability to speak in front of large groups, both through prepared presentations and impromptu. Experience working with the DC Public Charter School Board. Evidence of a strong sense for marketing, branding and selling a product or service. Evidence of experience effectively conveying complex and sensitive issues to diverse audiences, orally and in writing.
Fund Development: Clear evidence of prior work with funders and policy makers. A track record of funds raised. Connections to the local community, funders and decision makers.
Facilities: Evidence of having managed a successful large-scale transition, including timelines, deadlines and logistics. Familiarity with PERT charts and other project management tools.
Board Relations: Strong networks within the DC metro area. Evidence of successfully having served on and for non-profit Boards. Evidence of successfully “managing up” in prior work settings.
While keeping communication lines open, independently assesses priorities, develops detailed plans, monitors progress against deadlines and delivers work products on time across multiple projects and demands.
Operations and Systems Oversight: Experience with fiscal/budgetary/accounting; reporting, compliance and accountability; facility and safety management; human resources. Ability to organize and analyze data, and combine pieces of information to form conclusions and make informed decisions.
Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted until the position is filled.
Start date: August 1, 2018
Salary is comparable to other similarly sized charters. Breakthrough offers a competitive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and SIMPLE IRA plan with an employer contribution.
EOE: Applications from all qualified candidates encouraged regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Candidates should send resume, cover letter and contact information for 3 references to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject of “Executive Director Search”