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Chief Operating Officer, Higher Achievement

Higher Achievement (HA), a nationally acclaimed nonprofit organization providing academic enrichment after-school and in the summer for middle school scholars in low-income communities, seeks a Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Higher Achievement’s rigorous after-school and summer academic program gives youth from at-risk communities their best opportunity to succeed in middle school — and in life. Our research-based program challenges middle school students to meet their full potential in three key areas: academics, social skills, and leadership. Higher Achievement’s program is rooted in a culture of high expectations, rigorous academic excellence and respect, leading to lasting change. On average, 95% of Higher Achievement scholars who complete the program advance to top academic high schools and 96% graduate high school on-time.

Higher Achievement has operated in the Washington, DC metro region since 1975, and embarked on a national expansion with the opening of Baltimore, MD in 2009, followed shortly after by the launch of Richmond, VA and Pittsburgh, PA. The organization has been honored with numerous national and local awards. In 2014, the organization won $12 million from the Department of Education to expand its programming within the four cities, upgrade infrastructure, align to national and state standards, and disseminate best practices with the field. The new COO role will be critical to implementation of this five-year grant.

This is an exciting moment to join an established organization at a key time of growth.

This position is responsible for ensuring high-quality programmatic execution throughout HA. This position shall work closely with the National Office management team and Affiliate Executive Directors to ensure alignment with the HA strategic, operational and growth plans. This position shall be a critical liaison between HA Affiliates and the National Office, directly supervising, supporting and coaching the Affiliate Executive Directors. This position shall also oversee the business activities performed by the Finance, Human Resources (HR), Information Technology (IT), Facilities and Legal, staff and contractors to support organizational performance.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) reports to the HA Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO provides direct supervision of the COO and leads the strategic vision for the organization, in collaboration with the board of directors. The COO shall support the execution of that vision and keep the CEO informed of results through weekly meetings, as well as monthly reports/work plans, and is responsible for developing, monitoring and presenting organizational performance to key staff and the board of directors. The CEO will evaluate the COO’s work in terms of effort and effectiveness in progress towards achieving results, specifically aligned to his/her job description and measurable outcomes.

1. Strategic Management & Leadership
• Oversee the management and business operations of the organization
• Develop, support, and maintain organizational culture
• Lead the organization in annual planning and development of work and operational plans
• Support HA Executive Directors in the development and execution of growth plans
• Identify and develop organizational efficiencies and improvement areas
• Develop and improve organizational policies and procedures, including risk management
• Facilitate and support cross-organizational committees. Organize and facilitate Higher Achievement’s all-staff meetings.

2. Human Resource Management
• Ongoing strategic coaching and mentoring of key staff, including national office staff and affiliate executive directors
• Oversee HA staff training, reporting and accountability systems
• Facilitate internal staff communication and connectivity between HA Sites
• Supervise Human Resources Director to implement, develop and improve policies/procedures, strategic talent acquisition, on-boarding, training/development, performance management and exit systems, as well as compensation and benefits.
• Oversee the ongoing development and implementation of consistent, values-based management practices throughout Higher Achievement to ensure effective and supportive supervision of all staff.

3. Financial Management
• Oversee Finance team in planning (budgeting/forecasting), accounting and reporting
• Support Controller and team with annual budget planning
• Assist Executive Directors in monitoring budgets and performance
• Analyze organizational performance and find and develop cost efficiencies

4. Information Technology, Support, and Legal
• Supervise organizational support functions, including IT and Facilities, and shared services, such as Grants Management and Special Projects Management
• Support IT team in developing and leading new initiatives (e.g. new management information system, training platform, SharePoint, etc.), and maintaining existing systems
• Ensure legal and regulatory compliance and appropriate risk mitigation through the timely review and approval of all of the organization’s contracts and agreements

To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

Strategic Thinking – Analyzes and synthesizes data and information; Listens, observes and questions; Defines and monitors strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals.

Leadership – Exhibits confidence in self and others; Articulates expectations of self and others; Supports, inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Is thoughtful and decisive; Gives appropriate recognition to others.

Managing People/Coaching – Develops relationships; Listens, understands and is available to staff; Demonstrates emotional intelligence; Holds self and others accountable to defined expectations; Provides regular performance feedback; Develops and supports direct reports’ skills and encourages growth.

Oral/Written Communication – Speaks and writes clearly and with excellence; Listens and provides clarification as needed; Responds well to questions; Varies communication style to meet recipient needs; Presents data clearly and effectively.

Business Acumen – Understands the fundamentals of the functional areas of business operations, including finance/accounting, human resources, IT, facilities, and legal; Leads business operations and support team members to create efficiencies to support the organization to meet strategic goals.

Project Management – Develops short and long term plans, tools, processes, and procedures, which enable the organization to meet objectives/goals and timelines, all while monitoring and managing resources.

The COO will be a talented individual with leadership experience and a proven track record of ensuring workplace excellence and managing change in a growing organization.

1. Passionate commitment to and alignment with Higher Achievement’s mission and culture
2. Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s preferred (MBA, MPA, MEd).
3. 7-10+ years of team management experience. Preferably as a nonprofit executive director.
4. Experience in the education and/or youth development field preferred.
5. Demonstrates knowledge of fundamental concepts relating to: management, data monitoring and evaluation, business operations, risk management.
6. Demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities, proposing new ways of creating efficiencies, and guiding investment in people and systems.
7. A flexible, entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving. Excellent analytic skills to support strategic decision-making.
8. A proven track record of success facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a growing organization.
9. Experience with federal funding, financial audits and financial reporting.
10. Experience in developing and coaching staff.
11. Demonstrates emotional intelligence.
12. Experience in developing and executing strategic and growth plans.

More information about Higher Achievement may be found at: http://www.higherachievement.org.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and salary history at: http://leaderfit.catsone.com/careers/index.php?m=portal&a=details&jobOrderID=4761116

Higher Achievement is an equal opportunity employer.

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