School Network Staff Chief of Staff to the CEO
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third-largest school district in the United States, serving over 340,000 students in 600+ schools and employing nearly 36,000 people, most of them teachers. CPS has set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career, and civic life. In order to fulfill this mission, we make three commitments to our students, their families and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability, and integrity. Six core values are embedded within these commitments – student-centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership, and continuous learning.
Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief of Staff is a critical member of the district leadership team, speaking for the CEO when she is not present, prioritizing and facilitating the resolution of critical issues on behalf of the CEO and ensuring that the CEO is informed and engaged appropriately in key organizational decisions. This role supports the overall management of the executive leadership team, serving as a liaison and trusted advisor to the Board of Education, city leaders, and external agencies and partners to drive the implementation of CPS’ multi-year vision, Success Starts Here.
The Chief of Staff to the CEO will be held accountable for the following areas of responsibility:
Executive Office Leadership
- Support the CEO in the overall management of the cabinet managing the flow of information from the Executive Office to leaders fostering collaboration and harmony.
- Manage the performance and effectiveness of the Executive Office and the Internal Audit function supervising two Deputy Chiefs of Staff and the Chief Internal Auditor providing ongoing coaching and development.
- Advise the Executive Leadership Team on the execution of district initiatives and priorities via the continuous improvement process.
- Ensure that the executive team follows through on key decisions in accordance with team agreement and the CEO’s direction.
- Help CEO and senior executives navigate through uncertainty and risk
- Facilitate/lead teams through crisis management
Strategic Project Oversight
- Provide strategic project management oversight for priority short and long-term district programs and initiatives from strategy formulation and development through execution.
- Develop and maintain tools to track the district’s progress toward academic, financial, and operational goals including dashboards to monitor key performance indicators. Proactively address off-track programs, teams, and metrics to achieve the objectives outlined.
- Identify and lead the implementation of data-driven, evidence-based practices districtwide that maximize outcomes and provide equitable opportunities for all CPS students.
- Conduct research and synthesize information on complex topics resulting in clear and concise recommendations to the CEO, the Board Office, and senior leaders.
- Perform additional ad hoc duties as assigned.
Collaborative Partnerships and Relationship Building
- Identify the key roles needed to anticipate, troubleshoot and solve critical issues.
- Ensure cross-functional collaboration and align teams to realize efficiencies.
- Represent CPS before varied external partners such as government councils and commissions, business community & civic groups, legislators, etc. regarding district programs, projects, and policies.
- Stand-in for CEO in internal meetings, serving as a key liaison between internal teams and the CEO
- Partner with internal and external stakeholders to identify opportunities to improve and streamline processes and policies.
Key Competencies Required
Emotional Intelligence and Professional Maturity
- Keeps composure when conversations are challenging and decisions are unpopular.
- Is fearless in the face of conflict; maintains a keen awareness of the interests and motivations of others, and acts with integrity in a politically-charged environment.
- Comfortable naming issues and addressing them openly as they occur. Not afraid to share difficult news.
- Able to lead complex and difficult tasks transparently and effectively.
- Appropriately judges the right timing to engage executive leadership around key issues.
- Reflective and self-aware; accepts responsibility for decisions, mistakes and lessons learned.
Influence, Leadership, and Interpersonal Effectiveness
- Prepares the CEO and other leaders for effective decision-making conversations, anticipating and organizing key questions and data that support productive discussions to direct key priorities.
- Proven ability to build consensus among diverse stakeholders to lead and drive change, including influencing and motivating others toward a common goal.
- Navigates political structures, relationships, and dynamics to improve results and amplify access for all students.
- Initiates, builds, and manages coalitions and cohesive partnerships with internal and external stakeholders including government agencies and community partners.
Individual Leadership and Team Engagement
- Leads a creative, innovative, and high-functioning team; delegates and leverages the team effectively to drive for impactful results and achieve ambitious goals.
- Supports the professional development of team members, and maximizes opportunity for every team member to take thoughtful risks and find innovative solutions in service of CPS students and families.
- Demonstrates excellent execution and leadership skills and the ability to successfully lead team members in balancing multiple high priority, high profile projects.
Problem Solving, Decision Making, Planning, and Organization
- Models integrity through actions and communications; upholds principles and values despite risks.
- Exhibits exceptional critical-thinking skills and experience in leading data-driven practices at a systems level, including the ability to analyze data, identify trends, pinpoint problems and root causes, ask probing questions, set goals, track resources, and develop innovative solutions.
- Possesses a deep understanding of systems-level operations, management, and organizational design and uses this knowledge to deliver upon desired outcomes districtwide.
- Pursues and implements innovative ideas and methods. Committed to seeking out and sharing current research and evidence-based best practices.
Minimum Qualifications Required
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and/or university; Master’s degree in Business Administration, Education, Policy, or Public Administration preferred
- A minimum of ten (10) years of strategic senior leadership experience in a large, fast-paced, and high-functioning organization; Urban school district or public institution experience preferred
- A minimum of seven (5) years of experience successfully leading and managing complex cross-functional projects with effective team management
As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), employees are required to live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago within six months of their CPS hire date and must maintain residency throughout their employment with the district.