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4135Job Opening: Executive Director, Children's Literacy Initiative, Philadelphia PA

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  • momolozier
    Dec 3, 2013

      The Talent Team at Bellwether Education Partners is pleased to be partnering with the Children's Literacy Initiative in its search for a new Executive Director.  The full position description follows.


      The notion that a confident, compassionate, well prepared teacher can change the trajectory of children’s lives is undisputed. This is particularly true for children who are chronically under-served. With more than two decades of experience developing its own grit in some of the nation’s most challenging school districts, Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) has quietly but consistently shown that schools can be transformed when school leaders and teachers work together to improve how our youngest students are taught to read.


      Using its cutting-edge literacy training content (Modeling Exemplary Literacy Instruction, or “MELI”), top notch staff, and a corps of devoted coaches in the field, CLI works with school teachers, leaders, and districts not only to improve reading instruction, but to change the expectations of instructors themselves, so that children can become powerful readers, writers, and thinkers.


      CLI’s ability to help schools build their own internal capacity to train and coach existing teachers is distinctive, though until recently it had been considered one of the best kept secrets in early childhood education reform.  However, in 2010 when the U.S. Department of Education was searching the field for examples of innovation in practice, the self-sustaining nature of the model attracted a new level of long-deserved attention.  Ultimately, CLI emerged as one of just 49 organizations nation-wide to receive an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, and one of only 19 service models awarded in the i3 program’s “Validation” category, which highlights winners with already-proven evidence of success.  




      Equipped with the $21m federal grant and other major gifts inspired by the DoE’s recognition, CLI has expanded its work in four of the nation’s highest-need school districts benefiting more than 45,000 students in Philadelphia, Chicago, Camden, and Newark.  The needle on student achievement is moving, too; the American Institutes of Research is currently conducting an external evaluation of CLI’s 5-year MELI Project.  Preliminary results indicate that CLI’s early intervention has a significant, positive effect on kindergarten students’ literacy skills.  Notably, this stands in contrast to a number of other teacher professional development programs that have not had the same kind of impact.




      With this proof point in the spotlight, CLI is justifiably emboldened, highly eager, and well positioned to test its model more broadly.  Among other things, these shifts will require even more innovation, as well as bolder and more resolute marketing and fundraising than has historically been a part of CLI’s culture. 


      The organization is therefore seeking a new Executive Director to:


      ·         embrace the CLI mission but expand the vision;

      ·         maintain the focus on excellence for which CLI is known, but capitalize on this momentum and engender entrepreneurial spirit and experimentation and, finally:

      ·         to broadly convey the message that Children’s Literacy Initiative is an organization worthy of diversified philanthropic support and national growth.


      The successful candidate will inherit a strong and dedicated team and a proud and vibrant organization motivated by high expectations and an unwavering determination to provide children with the literacy skill set that will allow them entry into the literate community and expose them to the opportunities that accompany it.


      Specific responsibilities for the next Executive Director are:


      ·         advancing the mission of CLI by aggressively identifying and securing new sources of funding from foundations, corporations, individual donors and increasing the Board’s direct contribution to this process; 

      ·         partnering with the board leadership to evaluate and maximize the board’s capacity for impact;

      ·         bringing fresh eyes and an entrepreneurial perspective to the consideration of CLI’s current model and considering possibilities for expanding it;

      ·         anticipating, identifying, and addressing the strategic challenges CLI will face as it transitions into the next phase of its growth;

      ·         overseeing a viable and potent national communications strategy to drive public understanding and awareness of CLI;

      ·         assuming ultimate oversight and responsibility for effective management, staff and infrastructure, including optimizing policies, practices and systems required to manage financial resources and the annual operating budget of $12M;

      ·         partnering with the Board and senior staff to prepare and implement multi-year programmatic, strategic, and financial plans;

      ·         working closely with the Board to strengthen existing relationships and develop innovative new strategic partnerships in Philadelphia and beyond;

      ·         serving as the local and national face of CLI to create visibility and stature in the philanthropic and policy making communities;

      ·         shepherding the development of CLI’s technology platform; and

      ·         nurturing and managing staff performance and team-building through collaborative goal-setting, coaching, and by fostering a results-oriented, productive environment of accountability.


      Children’s Literacy Initiative seeks a thoughtful, confident, entrepreneurial leader to enhance a high-impact organization poised to achieve ambitious goals. Specifically, the successful candidate will have the following professional skills and experience:


      ·         at least 10 years of executive–level management and operational experience – in either a non- or for-profit context – which includes ultimate accountability for strategic planning, tactical execution, making (sometimes constrained) resource allocation decisions, and driving growth of clients, revenue and overall performance;

      ·         identifying and cultivating new sources of funding from foundations, corporations, investors, and/or individual donors, and a track record of securing those resources through relationship-building;

      ·         building and working with a Board of Directors;

      ·         impressive and persuasive public speaking and media communications skills;

      ·         a track record of leveraging technology to improve organizational efficiency and outcomes;

      ·         a reputation for building alliances among diverse stakeholders;

      ·         the ability to motivate and lead a team of distinguished professionals in their fields of expertise; and

      ·         a Bachelor’s degree in education, business or a related field.


      The new Executive Director of CLI will also bring these personal skills and characteristics:


      ·         the persistence, zeal and entrepreneurial spirit to lead a growing, mission-driven organization toward realizing ambitious goals;

      ·         the executive presence and integrity to inspire confidence, particularly in the face of change;

      ·         the gravitas and sophistication required to be the public face of CLI and the eloquence and persuasiveness required to serve as a spokesperson to a wide variety of audiences;

      ·         a demonstrable and deep commitment to equity in education;

      ·         commitment to continuous self and organizational improvement;

      ·         humility even with success; and

      ·         a collegial style that reflects mutual respect and engenders trust and teamwork.




      While not required, the following skills, experiences and credentials are desirable:

      ·         experience working with schools and school districts; and

      ·         a Master’s degree in Education, Business, Policy or other related field.




      The Executive Director reports to the CLI Board of Directors. A dedicated and seasoned leadership team reports to the Executive Director and includes the: Deputy Executive Director, Director of Finance and Facilities, Director of Professional Development Services & Innovation, Director of External Relations, Director of Project Management, and Co-Founder & Regional Manager. 




      The salary for this position is competitive and commensurate with experience.


      For more information about CLI, please visit http://www.cli.org/.


      TO APPLY


      The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position has been filled. Applications should consist of a letter of interest and a current resume. Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to:


      Monisha Lozier, Partner

      Leslie Nair, Associate Partner

      Bellwether Education Partners