School Network Staff Chief of Staff to the Empowerment Zone Chief
Position: Chief of Staff to the Empowerment Zone Chief (COS)
Reports to: Empowerment Zone Chief, South Bend Empowerment Zone
Start date: August 2022
Location: South Bend, IN
As the Chief of Staff (COS), you will be a senior leader on the South Bend Empowerment Zone (SBEZ) Executive Leadership Team. From this post, you will provide strategic counsel and operational support to the Zone Chief and oversee other critical initiatives supporting the SBEZ Leadership Team and five Zone schools in achieving their goal of transforming educational opportunities for students across the Empowerment Zone alongside the community. More specifically, in this role, you will harness and employ your strategic problem-solving acumen; ability to build, manage and leverage relationships; and adept project management skills to help steward the South Bend Empowerment Zone towards long-term, sustainable, and scalable success. You will do so by spearheading key leadership and staff convenings, facilitating critical decision-making processes, managing relationships with internal and external stakeholders, and ensuring effective internal and external communication so that key activities are well-coordinated and completed on time.
This position will serve a critical role as support to the Zone Chief, cabinet, and schools and will be fast-paced and politically nuanced. This person will be expected to engage in three core functions with responsibilities that include but are not limited to:
- Long-Term and Annual Planning: Grounded in the Zone’s mission and vision and commitment to racial justice, lead and execute multi-year strategic plan implementation, including designing and executing an annual planning process that accounts for new context and sets the organization up for success in achieving long-term goals.
- Progress monitoring: Develop systems and tools that support accountability to goals and allow a variety of stakeholders to access and analyze key data (both qualitative and quantitative), and monitor and respond to progress and barriers; lead or support the design, scope, and cadence of communication on progress with key internal stakeholders, the broader organization, and key external audiences.
- Collaboration and Coordination: Design and/or enhance collaboration systems and meeting structures across Zone-wide functions to support the work of input gathering, progress monitoring, coordination, thought partnership, collective context and cohesion, and the effective execution of shared or overlapping priorities or initiatives.
- Advising and Forecasting: Advise the Zone Chief and broader senior leadership team on various matters of strategic importance and provide organizational forecasting, identifying and mitigating impending risks and barriers, and elevating evolving opportunities to ensure successful strategic plan implementation.
- Special Projects: Lead strategic initiatives and special projects as determined by or with the Zone Chief that are critical to the Zone’s long-term success.
Organizational Learning and Effectiveness
- Decision-Making and Role Clarity: Create and implement frameworks that support effective decision-making in light of long-term and short-term goals and context and clarify roles and responsibilities in the decision-making process.
- Cross-Functional and Internal Coordination: Work across cross-functional work streams to ensure collective support and implementation of aligned programming toward SBEZ’s short- and long-term priorities. Build and maintain mutually supportive relationships with all tiers of the Empowerment Zone, including management, staff, outside agencies, consultants, and field experts.
- Agenda Management: Operate with an acute awareness of organizational priorities, needs, and context, and leverage that awareness to coordinate and organize agendas for high-level meetings and retreats; ensure pre-work is clarified in advance and ensure post-meeting follow-through and continuity by codifying and holding accountability to shared agreements and next steps.
- Calendar and Time Management: Support the Zone Chief specifically (in collaboration with the Office Manager/Administrative Assistant) and the cabinet broadly in maximizing their time together and in aligning their capacity to the highest-impact activities.
- Zone Chief Partnership and Proxy: Serve as the Zone Chief’s “right hand,” a key thought partner who acts as an informed, insightful, and confidential sounding board to test ideas, debate issues, and provide critical feedback; represent the Zone Chief internally and externally, serving as a proxy as needed.
- Internal Communication and Alignment: Manage the bi-directional flow of communication in and out of the Zone Chief’s office to ensure consistent and responsive message delivery to key internal and external stakeholders.
- Zone Chief Support: Draft critical communications for the Zone Chief, including communications to the Board and other key stakeholders.
- External Relationship Management: Support the Zone Chief with relationship management/ communications with key stakeholder groups such NEA-South Bend, Teamsters, AFSCME, South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC), and Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Act as primary contact for media inquiries. Coordinate crisis communications in collaboration with the SBCSC communications team.
- Brand Development and Management: Design and implement SBEZ signature branding, including logos, fonts, colors, etc., across all platforms, including social media, the Zone website, etc. Design templates for presentations, letters, press releases, etc.
- Communication Tools and Systems: Work with the Zone Chief’s Office Manager/Executive Assistant to create systems and protocols that work to remove barriers that hamper communications pain points within the organization.
- Board Meeting and Retreat Preparation: Under the guidance of the Zone Chief, develop and maintain a strong, engaged, and active Board, including planning board meetings, producing or managing the creation of Board materials, and engaging in Board member cultivation. Manage Board of Directors meetings and retreats, including working with committee chairs and Zone-wide leaders to set topics and create agendas.
- Board Administration and Compliance: Support general Board administration and compliance, including following Indiana’s Sunshine Act and compliance regulations.
- Board Communication: Serve as a critical point of contact for the Board to communicate Zone updates. Draft and edit critical memos. Prepare guests and presenters.
- Bachelor’s Degree required; Master’s Degree preferred.
- K-12 education, government, non-profit management, and/or management consulting required.
- Demonstrated track record of setting ambitious goals and driving results.
- Demonstrated success in strategy and process development, planning, coordinating, and managing individuals, teams, and/or organizations.
- Management and leadership skills with the ability to direct programs, staff, and cross-functional teams efficiently and effectively.
- Exceptional planning and project management skills.
- Exceptional ability to collaborate and manage multiple high-priority projects and prioritize work actions and follow-up with meticulous attention to detail and accuracy.
- Exceptional, disciplined strategic thinking and problem-solving capabilities must be able to hold quantitative and qualitative inputs to support decision-making simultaneously and problem-solving.
- High expectations for self and others, and a willingness to hold self and others accountable to these expectations.
- Energetic, entrepreneurial, and self-motivated with the judgment, grace, focus, resilience, and professional skills required to succeed in a fast-paced, complex and ambiguous environment.
- Superior writing, communication, and presentation skills.
- Exceptional interpersonal skills, including tact, patience, acumen, and the ability to work with many diverse individuals and groups across various functions.
- Belief and alignment with Zone’s core beliefs and philosophy, including the belief that every child can excel academically and that every family deserves partnership and respect.
Ideal (Not Required)
- Prior successful experience as chief of staff or strategic advisor to a CEO or C-Suite level staff is strongly preferred.
- Prior successful experience working at a start-up organization or program
About South Bend Empowerment Zone
South Bend Community Schools Corporation (SBCSC) is in a historic period of change and innovation. The State Board of Education recently approved a plan to create a transformation zone within South Bend. The goal of this zone is to accelerate improvement in several schools by empowering them with additional autonomy and providing them with support partners to guide them through the work of school redesign. The South Bend Empowerment Zone (SBEZ) is uniquely poised to re-focus and transform one middle and four elementary schools into student-centered environments where each child has the opportunity to acquire the academic and personal skills to succeed in the college or career of his or her choice. SBEZ is committed to supporting and developing talented and committed Instructional Leaders and providing the appropriate support to schools to ensure all students can be successful.
The South Bend Empowerment Zone’s central philosophy is centering the student- and family- experience by responding to their needs in service to stronger academic, social, and emotional outcomes for our students. The South Bend Empowerment Zone nurtures each child’s mind, body, and spirit by embracing equity, learning, and change for students, staff, and families. We harness the power of community and relationships to ignite transformation.
We are a system of schools that works to eliminate academic and social-emotional opportunity gaps and cultivates the greatness that exists within each child to confidently pursue their dreams in our city, nation, and world.
The expected salary range is $115,000 – $125,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience. SBEZ provides a generous and comprehensive benefits package to all qualified employees.