Equality Charter School, a nonprofit charter school focused on individual academic and personal success through a nurturing, scholar-centered approach, is seeking a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to become a member of its executive team. This is an exciting opportunity to join a prominent and growing charter school in the Bronx providing high-quality education to a diverse community of scholars.
Equality Charter School was founded to provide equal access to all scholars, providing a path to an excellent education regardless of prior academic performance or social-emotional needs. It focuses on students with the greatest needs, with more than 25% of its population students with disabilities and 10% English language learners. Equality is currently a 6-12 public school serving 650 scholars in 2 locations in the Bronx. It is expanding to become a K-12 school and is in the process of securing a location for its elementary school for a Fall 2023 opening. At full expansion, the elementary school will serve 540 scholars, with 1200 scholars across all three locations.
Equality Charter School’s values are a relentless pursuit of excellence, commitment to equality, equity and diversity, and a responsibility to ensure systematic growth. Its goal is to operate at the highest level with efficient and effective systems that allow teachers and principals to focus on instruction and academic achievement. Towards that end, Equality Charter School is seeking an experience, strategic operational leader who will set a high bar for school operations and ensure that it achieves its vision of excellence.
Equality Charter School is seeking a smart, hardworking, and experienced school operations professional to become its first Chief Operating Officer (COO). Reporting to the Executive Director (ED), the COO will directly oversee Equality’s operational functions, including student recruitment and enrollment, school operations, security, meals, transportation, technology, health services, facilities, and student information systems. The COO is to play a leadership role in refining the organization’s school operations functions, developing, and executing on strategic plans, and working with all staff to achieve the school’s educational objectives.
The COO will directly supervise a team of three ECS staff (High School Director of Operations, Middle School Director of Operations, and Facilities Manager) and several external partners including Equality’s technology company. The COO will collaborate with the ED to assess its operational staffing, including playing a large role in determining its organizational chart expansion for K-12 including elementary operations positions and revising its current middle school and high school positions.
The position requires a strategic thinker who has a collegial and collaborative management and engagement style and is experienced with a complex and dynamically evolving, not-for-profit educational organization. The COO must have significant experience with school operations and facilities, meals and transportation as well as supporting and implementing technology systems. The successful candidate must work collaboratively and in a spirit of mutual trust with the ED, the school principals, the Chief Financial Officer, teachers, scholars, and staff at all levels.
It is critical that the COO be capable of integrating smoothly into the senior management, fitting into the organization’s diverse culture. They will provide counsel and support to the Executive Director and the Board of Directors on all school operation matters and reports to the Board, as well as work on various strategic initiatives. They will have strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, a hands-on management style, as well as the ability to address and solve problems or issues as they arise. In addition, it is expected that they will be diplomatic, will operate with the highest integrity, and will possess sound judgment - as well as a sense of humor.
Specific Responsibilities include:
- Ensure the Directors of Operation (DO) lead outstanding school operations (e.g., daily school systems, facilities, food & transportation, technology, enrollment management, etc.)
- Hold DOs accountable to performance metrics (e.g., Strategic Plan goals, Operations Dashboard, Operations Inspections, Mid-Year and EOY Evaluations), and support them in improving performance and meeting goals (note that Operations Dashboard and Operations Inspections are new processes that will need to be designed and implemented by the COO)
- Build, implement, and monitor organization-wide operations initiatives (e.g., Operations Standard Operating Procedures; setting PD goals; PD session facilitation and follow-up)
- Support hiring, on-boarding, management, and evaluation of all operations staff, including DOs and school-based operations teams
Leadership & Collaboration
- Invest deeply in supporting and developing team members and growing their capacity to learn, contribute and engage in the work of the team and organization
- Partner with DOs across Equality to foster consistent implementation of school operations priorities
- Foster and strengthen the professional learning community among DOs, as well as school-based operations team members, with a goal of building community and promoting professional growth
- Work seamlessly with the Chief Strategy Officer to support Principal/DO co-leader partnerships
- Work with Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Data to ensure all systems are well coordinated to maximize outputs for academic analysis and/or reporting
- Establish meaningful metrics to support data-driven decisions and achieve concrete outcomes
- Serve as a thought partner and advisor to the ED and executive team on operational and expansion-related initiatives and other strategic issues
- Support strategic planning in collaboration with the executive team and ensure strategic priorities are aligned with the budget and translate into rigorous, executable plans with specific ownership of operational components
- Serve as an organizational culture leader, promoting Equality’s values and infusing them into all aspects of the work (Equality’s values: achievement and progress, respect, responsibility, cooperation, integrity, professionalism, and maturity)
Operations and Facilities Management
- Continue to refine and build sustainable, scalable, cost-efficient operational systems, processes, and services
- Codify and refine existing practices and maintain our SOP for successfully operating our current schools and launching our new elementary school
- Design and execute a vision for student recruitment and enrollment that establishes a strong partnership with school leaders, responds to local community needs (all 3 of our schools are in a different local district) and meets or exceeds annual targets for SWD and ELL
- Lead facilities management of Equality’s current and future campuses, including facilities planning, negotiation and overseeing of contracts related to facilities’ projects, building management, safety, and compliance; establish standards that drive excellence for facilities management and school safety
- Work with the CFO to manage the network's insurance program to ensure appropriate coverage and compliance
Culture and team management
- Serve as an exceptional role model as a leader and manager, investing deeply in supporting direct reports and all operational staff members
- Lead DOs as they coach and support school-based staff members and grow their capacity to learn, contribute and engage in effectively supporting school operations
- Facilitate the hiring, on-boarding, management, goal setting and evaluation of all operations staff
- Incorporate an exceptional customer service orientation and high expectations into all aspects of school operations
Development and Finance
- Work with the ED and Executive Assistant to set the development vision and strategy in raising money for facilities and technology; participate in the strategy as needed (writing applications; visiting or hosting potential funders; and identifying opportunities)
- Support all fundraising events from an operational perspective (both virtual and in person)
- In conjunction with the CFO (who manages finance and human resources) build models and tools that allow for robust forecasting of facility and operational needs that support with scenario planning and real-time decision making
- Identify and build technology infrastructure necessary to ensure high organizational efficiency and effectiveness as Equality continues to grow in size and complexity
- Collaborate with the executive team to create an aspirational vision for instructional technology and a strategy to achieve that vision
- Has a passionate commitment to the mission of Equality Charter School to ensure each scholar reaches individual academic and personal success through a nurturing scholar-centered approach
- 10 years of professional experience, with at least 5 years of operational leadership either in a multisite school, company, or nonprofit organization; experience in the education sector is preferred, specificallycharter schools
- Experience scaling operations in a high growth, multi-site environment required; experience launching and developing new sites strongly preferred
- Bachelor’s degree required; MBA or other advanced degree strongly preferred
- Superior verbal and written communication especially with senior level management.
- Builds trusting relationships with key stakeholders (parents, scholars, executive team, principals, DOs, Board, and all other staff)
- Uses a combination of active listening and questioning to understand motivations and barriers and a variety of perspectives, and engages others to ensure that all voices are heard in the decision-making process
- Conveys complex and difficult concepts to a wide variety of audiences, and can motivate and influence effectively without having direct managerial control
- Expert problem solver; comfortable in dissecting ambiguous situations and excelling in providing recommendations on a path forward.
- Assesses root causes quickly and identifies how multiple work streams fit together into a seamless operation
- Possesses the instinct to break complex issues down into manageable pieces to determine the most efficient and effective solution and method of execution
- Has exceptional systems and process orientation, with experience designing scalable systems and processes from scratch and refining existing ones
- Effectively and strategically prioritizes multiple high-leverage, high-risk issues
- Thinks critically to develop strong strategies and make excellent decisions through a combination of data analysis, judgment, and experience
- Exercises initiative and proactively anticipates potential challenges to identify sound and creative solutions, and especially when facing ambiguity
- Uses outstanding judgment and understands the implications of decisions on schools and partners
- Executive presence and acumen required to promote Equality’s mission, business, and strategy with a range of external stakeholders.
- Demonstrated track record of success in creating processes to support growth and performance improvement.
Equality Charter School is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Equality Charter School does not discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, color, sex, age, gender identification, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. All qualified applications will be given equal opportunity and selection decisions are based solely on job-related factors.
For more information about Equality Charter School please visit their website at www.equalitycharterschool.org
Equality Charter School has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Anne McCarthy, COO
Harris Rand Lusk
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168
Please put “Equality COO” in the subject line of your e-mailed application.