Executive Director, Appalachia-Apply by September 25th
About the Appalachia Executive Director Role
Across Appalachia, we aspire for every student to have an empowering education. To that end, we are seeking an Executive Director to work towards this vision and to maximize Teach For America's impact. We aim to build a movement of teachers (corps members) and alumni impacting thousands of students growing up in poverty. The Executive Director will inspire and motivate his/her team while creating a culture of excellence, urgency, and core values alignment—balancing our short-term work and long-term efforts in the community.
To realize the vision of growing and deepening our impact, the Executive Director will maximize our funding base of more than 1.4 million dollars annually; set the vision and direction for a corps of more than 35 in East Kentucky, an alum base of more than 150 across Kentucky and West Virginia and a staff of 6; and will play a critical role in the education reform movement taking place across the state.
Teach For America's Executive Directors are part of the national senior leadership team at Teach For America and are at the forefront of improving the state of education in this country, impacting the future of thousands of children. The Executive Director for Teach For America-Appalachia reports directly to the Senior Vice President of Regional Engagement and will partner with a dedicated local board to work within Teach For America's evolving operating model.
About Teach For America – Appalachia
Teach For America has been partnering with students and families, educators, and community and business leaders for seven years to help more kids have access to an excellent education and the life opportunities that come with it. We recruit and develop talented and passionate people who bring their unique life experiences into the classroom to broaden students' perspectives—and their own. Our corps members and alumni are making progress toward high academic expectations and students' personal development, and work in partnership with school and community leaders to reach a collective vision: that we deliver on the promise of an excellent public education that will give them the chance to lead a life of their choosing.
We are dedicated to shaping the future of Appalachia beyond coal mining--our mission is to engage and develop a broad network of lifelong education advocates and ensure our students have the skills and knowledge to lead the greatest economic turnaround our country has seen. After all, it was a little more than 50 years ago when President Johnson declared a War on Poverty from the front porch of a home in Inez, Kentucky—one of the many communities we partner with to bring about systemic change in the mountains. Despite that rallying cry, people living in the region still face many challenges.
But they also have many opportunities. Our corps members, alumni, and staff in Appalachia work alongside fellow educators across the region who are willing to ask, "What will it take to give every student a 21st century education?" and then take the steps to make this happen. We are partnering with those already engaged in challenging educational inequity, complementing their efforts and becoming a force of advocates, leading from inside and outside of the classroom, who are willing to jump in and get to work immediately for kids.
Set the vision and direction for Appalachia as a partner and leader in the state's education community
- Chart the course for the region by creating a clear, compelling, community-based vision that is grounded in the landscape's opportunities, needs, and problems
- Invest stakeholders in this vision
- Support the work of teacher leadership development to create a larger, more effective force of transformational teachers
- Develop a comprehensive strategic plan with outcomes and targets to achieve this vision
- Be the face and voice for Appalachia in local and statewide platforms
- Establish national and local networks of education leaders to understand best practices in education reform and how to maximize those best practices in the local landscape
Influence others to achieve outcomes in service of this vision by
- Seeking, listening to, and discerning diverse perspectives to formulate informed opinions
- Acquiring firsthand community experience to deepen insights and approaches
- Navigating and leveraging structures and relationships to gain support
- Acquiring knowledge of political and policy landscapes to deepen insights and approach
- Demonstrating adaptability in approaching and communicating with diverse audiences to cultivate support and inspire action
- Anticipating where conflicts may develop and surfacing, managing, and resolving conflict proactively and constructively
Provide cultural leadership to Appalachia by:
- Building and maintaining a culture that is grounded in our core values in partnership with staff, corps members, and alumni
- Exemplifying our core values in all actions with all internal and external constituents
- Creating an environment that fosters diversity and inclusiveness
Lead fundraising efforts and engage and cultivate stakeholders
- Deepen our political capital and fundraising capacity to ensure that Appalachia is a meaningful part of the educational fabric of the community
- Focus on significantly growing and diversifying a sustainable funding base that will include gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and districts
- Be responsible for a current budget that exceeds 1.4 million dollars
- Cultivate new and strengthen existing relationships with public officials and organizations that are statewide in nature – ranging from district partners, higher education institutions, education non-profits, and civic/social justice organizations – to maximize our scale and impact
- Partner with a regional advisory board who will help maximize Teach For America-Appalachia's impact, narrative, and sustainability in the region
Provide executive management to Appalachia by:
- Attracting, hiring, and developing a team of diverse and talented staff members
- Ensuring that the proper infrastructure exists to maximize performance of all people and resources
- Managing a team (including through layers) to reach ambitious goals, especially goals that lead to our breakthrough results of:
- A connected, inclusive, supported, thriving community of corps members, alumni, and staff contributing to a powerful movement
- Corps members, alumni, and staff who have a consistently strong impact for kids both inside and outside of the classroom
- A large, diverse, and influential force of corps members and alumni working for educational equity and excellence
- Executing the fundamentals of not-for-profit management, especially board management, fundraising, and fiscal management (growing a diversified and sustainable funding base, monitoring the fiscal health of the region, and engaging Teach For America-Appalachia board members to maximize impact in the region
Make decisions and demonstrate judgment as the leader of Appalachia by:
- Exercising good judgment when facing new challenges and viewing situations through multiple lenses to weigh options and consequences
- Leading with integrity in ambiguous and/or paradoxical situations
- Constructing decision-making processes to engage multiple perspectives at the appropriate times to move work forward
- Enacting a suitable, timely course of action when making decisions
- Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
- Significant leadership experience (minimum of 3-7 years) managing a high-performing team toward ambitious outcomes with financial accountability in a complex, mission-driven organization
- Demonstrated achievement in fundraising or ensuring financial sustainability of an organization, including an ability to mobilize people and create champions to support organizational mission
- Experience building and/or working in partnership with a Board of Directors, in addition to possessing a strong understanding of the roles of the Executive Director and the Board and a successful record of supporting the Board and leveraging talents and contributions
- Outstanding interpersonal skills and an ability and desire to develop and maintain deep relationships with variety of diverse constituents
- Understanding of the complexity of the local political climate that impacts Teach For America-Appalachia
- Experience navigating the political process as it pertains to elected officials, legislators, and staff at the state level, in addition to school district officials and school board members
- Excellent strategic thinking skills to understand and lead in a complex environment
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Strong alignment with, passion for, and commitment to the mission and values of Teach For America
- Sense of urgency around accomplishing goals and objectives
- Strong sense of self-awareness and understanding of one's strengths and areas for development
- Commitment to exploring issues of race, class, and privilege
- Ability to deal with ambiguity and conflict
- Excellent judgment and sound decision-making skills
- Willingness and ability to learn about the Appalachia education landscape and establish oneself as a key partner in the local movement to fight educational inequity
- Ability to work some evenings and weekends.
- Ability to travel within the region daily and ability to travel to in-person meetings in various U.S. cities quarterly.
To be considered for this role, you must submit an online application. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the link to the online application.
About the Organization
There are more than 16 million children growing up in poverty in the U.S., and less than 10 percent of them will graduate from college. These statistics are not a reflection of our children's potential; we know that children growing up in poverty can and do achieve at the highest levels. Rather, these statistics reflect the systemic lack of access and opportunity for children in low-income communities.
Teach For America (TFA) finds, develops, and supports an ever-expanding network of outstanding and diverse leaders committed to expanding opportunity for children in schools, school systems, and in every sector and field that shapes the context in which schools operate. Representing the diversity of America and sharing the experience of having taught successfully in our most challenging public schools, TFA corps members and alumni form a network of change agents inside and outside of education who are grounded in the tremendous potential of our most underserved children and connected to families and communities impacted by educational inequity.
Founded by Wendy Kopp in 1989, Teach For America has since expanded to 36 states and 53 regions, reaching more than 10 million students. Now 53,000 strong and growing each year, the TFA community is leading across all sectors, including as teachers, school and school system leaders, elected officials, policy and advocacy organizers, social entrepreneurs, and business and civic leaders. We support the individual and collective leadership of this network as they work hand-in-hand with students, families, and allies in the effort to realize educational equity and excellence for children across the nation.
Our Core Values
Our core values define who we are at our best and guide our work together.
- Pursue Equity: We work to change practices, structures, and policies to realize educational equity for all children. As we do so, we actively examine our roles in perpetuating inequitable systems.
- Strengthen Community: We assume responsibility for our collective strength by developing relationships, building diverse and inclusive coalitions, and challenging one another to be our best. We act with empathy and extend grace to ourselves and others.
- Achieve Impact: We pursue ambitious, meaningful outcomes that lead to access and opportunity for all children. We hold ourselves to high standards, make data-informed decisions, and orient to long-term success.
- Choose Courage: We act on our beliefs and values, especially when it's hard. We center our efforts on the aspirations of our students and their families.
- Act with Humility: We acknowledge the limitations of our perspectives. We seek different points of view and historical context to evolve our thinking and actions.
- Demonstrate Resilience: We see every challenge as an opportunity to think expansively about solutions. When faced with obstacles, we deepen our resolve, adapt, and persist with optimism.
- Learn Continuously: We operate with curiosity and embrace new ideas to innovate and constantly improve. We take informed risks and learn from successes, setbacks, and each other.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness at the Center of Our Mission
At Teach For America, we aspire to embody the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness we envision for our nation. Unequal access to opportunity along lines of race, class, and other aspects of identity has deep roots in American history, and institutional racism and classism contribute to inequitable access to educational opportunity in our country today. Therefore, understanding race, class, and the intersectional nature of oppression along these and other lines is critical to eliminating educational inequity and creating an education system in which all students can flourish.
Realizing educational equity and excellence will take a broad and diverse coalition of people—of diverse races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, political views, and other aspects of identity and spheres of influence—united around a common purpose and shared values. We know that the change effort must be shaped by those of us who are most directly impacted by educational inequity. We also know that progress is only possible if each of us works effectively across lines of difference—with students, parents, partners, and each other—and if each of us understands and leverages the assets we bring to this work based on our identities and life experiences.
This understanding guides our strategy as we pursue our mission, and impacts how we allocate resources to recruit, select, train, support, retain, and engage corps members, alumni, and staff. In all we do, we act on the following beliefs.
→ Diversity is crucial for successful change efforts and is one of Teach For America's greatest strengths.
→ The full potential of our diverse network will be reached only when we are an inclusive community.
→ The predictability of success or failure for our students or individuals in our organization should not correlate with any social, cultural or other identity-based factors.
In striving to grow as individuals who lead with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusiveness, we focus on:
- Understanding of self and self in relation to others. We examine our worldview and experiences to understand how they're influenced by power, privilege, oppression, and biases. As we deepen our understanding of self in relation to others, we seek out diverse perspectives and experiences to challenge our assumptions and expand our perspectives.
- Understanding and interrupting systemic racism, classism, and other forms of oppression. We understand that our society and education system have been shaped by multiple forms of oppression, in particular racism and classism. We understand the role and impact of unconscious bias in establishing low expectations for children's capabilities, and we also see this play out in the workplace. Therefore, we commit to work together `to envision and implement new ways of operating that disrupt these systems and practices.
- Working toward equity. We leverage this understanding to surface and interrupt inequitable practices in our schools as well as within our organization. In classrooms, we are committed to ensuring all students have the necessary resources, supports, and academic preparation they need to ensure full agency in their lives. In our organization, we're committed to allocating our resources and setting organizational policies, systems, and practices to reduce and eliminate gaps in experience and outcomes by demographic group.
- Building inclusive coalitions. We recruit and retain a corps and staff that reflects the inclusive coalition we need representing our nation. Simultaneously, we ensure those of us who have faced educational inequity shape our direction. We intentionally build authentic relationships across lines of difference; facilitate honest and productive conflict among diverse groups; create structures, policies, and processes that enable this effort; and value the diversity of ideas and perspectives required in this effort.
Benefits and Salary
Salary for this position is competitive and depends on prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included. Learn more at www.teachforamerica.org/about-us/careers/employee-benefits.
Commitment to Diversity and Equal Opportunity Employment Policy
Teach For America encourages individuals of all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds to apply for this position. We are committed to maximizing the diversity of our organization, as we want to engage all those who can contribute to this effort. Learn more about our diversity on staff: www.teachforamerica.org/about-us/careers/life-at-tfa/workforce-diversity-and-inclusiveness.
Teach For America is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, parental status, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member) or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.
This job description reflects Teach For America's assignment of essential functions and qualifications of the role. Nothing in this herein restricts management's right to assign, reassign or eliminate duties and responsibilities to this role at any time.
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