Apr 15, 2022

Director of College Access

  • Woodward Hines Education Foundation
  • Jackson, MS, USA
Full-Time General Management

Job Description

Director of College Access

Woodward Hines Education Foundation

Jackson, MS


About Woodward Hines Education Foundation


Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to help more Mississippians obtain postsecondary credentials, college certificates, and degrees that lead to meaningful employment. Since our founding as Education Services Foundation in 1995, WHEF has continuously served as a powerful force for change that consistently and persistently provides Mississippi students with life-changing access to educational opportunities and degree attainment.


Named after our co-founders Herman Hines and Jack Woodward, two visionary leaders who shared an unwavering commitment to make financing college degrees accessible to Mississippians, WHEF now serves around 3,600 students in our centers through direct service and, through partnerships and training development programs, reaches an additional 12,000 students and their families in trainings and workshops. In addition, we train over 1,600 counselors, teachers and other educators annually. Our theory of change centers on post-secondary access and entry, postsecondary persistence and completion, and connection to family-sustaining work to help more Mississippians obtain the postsecondary degree, certification, or credential that will allow them to improve their quality of life, strengthen their communities, and contribute to a bright and prosperous future for all of Mississippi.


For nearly twenty-seven years, we have led, developed, and funded innovative programs, including Get2College (G2C), our flagship, boots-on-the-ground college planning program that provides free college counseling to any person in Mississippi who requests it. In 2016, WHEF scaled our impact and began making grants to visionary partners committed to closing the gap between talent and opportunity. Now, we are responding to our rapidly changing socio-economic landscape by deepening and broadening our impact across the state to affect public policy, advocacy, and influence change. In addition to $2.6 million in available grant funding, we now underwrite biennial IMPACT convenings for all Mississippi public baccalaureate institutions and plan to provide coordinated access to high-quality professional development opportunities for institutional faculty and staff, innovations in data collection and usage, as well as platforms for peer learning.


We envision a Mississippi where all people can secure training and education beyond high school that will allow them to enhance their quality of life, strengthen their communities, and contribute to a vibrant and prosperous future for our state. At our core, we are a dedicated team brought together by our unwavering belief that while talent in Mississippi is evenly distributed, opportunity is not. While the world around us is growing increasingly complex, our mantra remains simple. When it comes to increasing access to educational opportunity, we hold true to the words of our founders and believe that no matter what an individual’s circumstances are, we will find a way.


For more information on Woodward Hines Education Foundation, please visit our website.


About Get2College


Specializing in college planning and financial aid in Mississippi, the Get2College (G2C) Program serves any student seeking a post-secondary education, with a special focus on students who have been traditionally underrepresented in college. Through our three centers, we help any student seeking an education beyond high school and help them find the best-fit college or university. Whether working toward a welding certificate at a community college or an engineering degree from a university, we believe that students have many possible pathways to a successful career. G2C works directly with students and their families to remove barriers to college attendance and support a college-going culture—a culture in which Mississippi students expect to go to college and receive the help they need to get there.


We think of college as any education beyond high school that leads to financial stability. It can be a four-year degree or beyond, but it can also be a two-year community college degree or a certificate in career and technical education. We know that college is important, because within the next decade, 65% of all jobs in our country will require a postsecondary education. Our work provides critical resources, support, and training for students, their families, and educators across Mississippi to increase the number of students statewide getting to and through college


The Opportunity


Following the retirement of long-time leader Ann Hendrick, WHEF now seeks a dynamic and engaged Director of College Access (Director) to lead the program to the next stage of its evolution. Reporting directly to WHEF President Jim McHale, the Director oversees and supports WHEF’s college access program portfolio by developing, implementing, and leading college access outreach services that educate, assist with planning and financial support to increase the number of Mississippians that attend college.


A key member of the programming leadership team, the Director collaborates with the WHEF President, Program Officer, and Director of Communications and plays a core role in developing and implementing college access program strategies and activities for the Foundation. The Director will also join us at pivotal moment in WHEF’s history—we are currently refreshing our strategic plan for the next five years and the Director will have a unique opportunity to engage in this process and help shape the next phase of our evolution.


Highlighted responsibilities include:


  • Lead a robust college access services portfolio, including college advising; financial aid assistance; capacity-building support for high school counselors/college advisors; training for counselors, teachers, educators, adult learners, and community partners; and supporting FAFSA completion efforts statewide.


  • Develop a talented team of 8 direct and 9 indirect reports by providing differentiated management, opportunities for growth, and encouraging a nimble and flexible professional ecosystem focused on continuous growth and improvement.


  • Steward a $2M program budget and provide strategic leadership to G2C Centers in Jackson, Ocean Spring, Southaven, and statewide.


  • Provide outcomes-based program development, evaluation, and assessment for WHEF’s full spectrum of college access programs and services.


  • Coalesce community partners, training activities, and technology to expand G2C services across the state.


  • Serve as a compelling and engaging spokesperson for WHEF and raise public awareness about the impact of and issues related to post-secondary education through external partnerships, coalition-building, and engagement with local, regional, and community leaders and policymakers.


  • Develop meaningful and impactful outreach to local high school students and families.


  • Deepen WHEF’s efforts to support postsecondary success for adult students and support WHEF’s newly-adopted plan to support Mississippi’s working age adult population.


  • Strengthen the pipeline between all Mississippians and postsecondary education through public engagements, school site visits, and community events and activities.


  • Represent the G2C by providing timely updates involving G2C strategies, programs, and impact to the Board through engaging in board meetings, events, and related activities.


  • Oversee inclusive, accessible, and timely college access and financial aid resources (digital and print).

Hiring Organization

Woodward Hines Education Foundation


Candidate Profile


We recognize the spectrum of lived and professional experiences that could be successful in this role. While no one candidate may be an exact match for every responsibility outlined in the position profile, we seek candidates who demonstrate the following core competencies:


Mission-driven Leadership

You are drawn to serving your community and share an unshakable belief that access to educational opportunities and degree attainment is a life-changing opportunity that can and will improve the lives of individuals, their families, and the broader community. You lead with both humility and humor, exhibit integrity in your words and actions, and recognize the value of all people—both on your team and within the communities that WHEF serves. An experienced leader, mentor, and supervisor, you demonstrate passion for serving vulnerable communities and address their challenges with humility, grace, kindness, and respect.


Commitment to College Access and Economic Mobility

You possess a deep knowledge of the larger scope of poverty, equity, and college access issues and trends both locally and nationally. Your experiences allow you to walk amongst and work comfortably with the community WHEF serves. You are equally comfortable in our centers, interacting with students and their families on-site at their schools, and representing the organization to community partners or core constituents. A big-picture thinker, you successfully navigate the internal and external politics and policies that impact your work. Most importantly, you understand the “how” and honor the “why” we do our work and demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the new and emerging barriers to college access.


Building Coalitions

A skilled relationship-builder, you develop networks of support, facilitate strategic internal and external alliances, and break down systemic barriers to both lead high-level strategies and organizational initiatives to achieve common goals. You innovate solutions; solve complex challenges; and engage individuals, their support systems, and community partners to amplify program impact and reach. You inform public policy by cultivating relationships with local and national leaders, develop strategic relationships with regional/national education funders and influencers, and understand the ways in which aligning educational systems, social structures, and access to resources can have impact and influence on place-based communities.


Organizational Learning

An experienced supervisor, you create professional development pathways for your staff at all levels, build consensus, gain cooperation from others to obtain information, find solutions, and accomplish organizational and program goals. You have a track record of celebrating and leveraging institutional and individual successes, making data-informed decisions, and have built or scaled programs/services. A courageous communicator, you facilitate a culture of excellence and encourage individual and collective accountability by continuously finding new opportunities and solutions within a changing college access ecosystem.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Reflective and self-aware, you demonstrate a clear commitment to diversity and equity for your teams, your organization, the broader community, and the populations you serve. You attract and retain staff of the highest caliber, ensure equitable treatment for both your team and the individuals WHEF serves, and design and implement strategies that encourage staff to collaborate effectively, respectfully, and equitably across race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender orientation and expression and other social identities and diversity segments. As a leader, you have a track record of developing and implementing strategies to ensure that your programs and services are inclusive, accessible, and aligned with the organization’s culture, mission, values, and goals.

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Compensation & Benefits


This is a full-time position that features a competitive benefits package including fourteen paid holidays, personal and sick leave, and sixteen hours of community service leave. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Application Instructions



Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Malissa Brennan https://talent-profile.diversifiedsearchgroup.com/search/v2/17998.


Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Woodward Hines Education Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.


About Koya Partners


Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


For more information about Koya Partners, visit http://www.koyapartners.com.

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