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10 May 2022

School Network Staff Chief, South Bend Empowerment Zone

South Bend Empowerment Zone
 South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States

Job Description

Chief, South Bend Empowerment Zone


Position Summary:

The Chief, South Bend Empowerment Zone is the academic and administrative leader of the South Bend Empowerment Zone (SBEZ).  Reporting directly to the SBEZ Board, the Chief is charged with leading the execution of the overall vision and strategy for the Zone and growing and maintaining strong relationships between the Zone, South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC), and the South Bend community.  The Chief will ensure that schools within the Zone serve South Bend’s students effectively and have the continued operational and financial support to use their autonomy to accomplish significant improvements in student achievement. The Chief is responsible for all aspects of the Zone’s organizational health, including managing a sound budget process, supporting school leaders in advancing schools’ mission/vision and academic goals, and facilitating shared learning between the Zone and the district. The Chief appoints and leads a central Zone team and provides oversight to school leaders.


Who We Are:

In 2019, the Indiana State Board of Education approved a plan to create a transformation zone within South Bend. The goal of this zone is to accelerate improvement in five historically underserved South Bend schools (Navarre Middle School and its four feeder elementary schools: Coquillard, Harrison, Wilson, and Warren) by empowering them with extended autonomy and providing them with support partners to guide them through the work of school redesign and improvement. The SBEZ and its Zone Chief are directly accountable to a non-profit Board of Directors consisting of both local independent and school corporation members, allowing community voice to play a critical role in the process of transforming our neighborhood schools.

The central philosophy of the SBEZ lies in the centering of the student- and family- experience via the empowerment of leaders, educators, and parents/families in service of stronger academic, social, and emotional outcomes for students. SBEZ schools have autonomy over their budget, staffing structure, calendar, schedule, curriculum, and professional development. The Zone firmly embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion and seeks to eliminate academic and social-emotional opportunity gaps among students in South Bend.

As the SBEZ enters its fourth year of operation, there is a lot to celebrate.  Despite every year of operation being impacted by the pandemic, student enrollment has increased at four out of five SBEZ schools and significant improvements have occurred in Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) implementation, transportation services, and academics, including a 4% increase in the number of students at or above their grade level’s iReady benchmark in math and a 6% increase in the number of students at or above their grade level’s benchmark in reading between September 2021 and January 2022. As the SBEZ prepares for transition into the next phase of its transformation status, the Zone seeks continued focus on the improvement of its five schools into student-centered environments where each child has the opportunity to acquire the academic and personal skills to succeed in college or career.  



The core responsibilities of the Chief, SBEZ include but are not limited to:

Leadership and Vision: Set and execute a strong and compelling vision for the SBEZ

  • Cultivate a culture that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion
  • Refine further the Zone’s strategy and associated organizational structure in collaboration with the SBEZ Board 
  • Continue implementation of a compelling and achievable academic vision in partnership with Zone stakeholders
  • Prioritize refinement of the Zone’s safety measures and behavioral support policy
  • Continue successful Zone measures including growing enrollment, developing Zone talent, increasing student engagement and academic performance, and providing exceptional extracurricular offerings
  • Meet regularly with the Superintendent and his Cabinet to provide updates progress, collaboration, and shared services
  • Partner with district officials to shepard years 4 and 5 of current MOU and lead transition phase of the Zone

Partnership Collaboration, and Engagement: Grow and strengthen relationships with the IN Department of Education, SBCSC leadership, SBEZ school leaders, labor leaders, elected officials and legislators, South Bend community leaders, and South Bend families and caregivers to improve outcomes for SBEZ students 

  • Facilitate regular communication and collaboration among the Zone and SBCSC across all facets of work to ensure joint endeavors while maintaining autonomy of the SBEZ
  • Identify and develop new and deepen existing key partnerships with community organizations
  • Engage authentically with families and caregivers to support learning and social emotional health of students
  • Maintain a strong presence in and across the five Zone schools, including regular visits and touchpoints

Human Capital: Design and implement effective human capital strategies and systems to ensure a strong Zone people systems in support of school improvement, collaboration, and accountability

  • Build and grow relationships with Zone school leaders, understand their needs, and help them access supports aligned to those needs
  • Work to expand the pool of high-quality talent and support organizations supporting Zone schools
  • Develop deliberate talent pipelines for school leaders, teacher leaders, and strong new talent
  • Cultivate retention of staff through the sharing of school leadership transition recommendations to the SBEZ Board and facilitation of school-based change management practices
  • Grow and celebrate parent/family leadership in Zone schools

Accountability and Monitoring: Lead implementation of the Zone’s performance framework and support schools to collect, analyze, and respond to data to inform their school improvement efforts

  • Implement with direction and input from the SBEZ Board and Zone school leaders a Zone school performance framework to measure school performance against a set of multiple measures
  • Ensure design and implementation of data collection and analysis processes to facilitate rapid data cycles for schools to review and adjust student support practices
  • Liaise with state representatives to ensure that Zone school monitoring and compliance processes align with state requirements, especially for English Language and Exceptional Learners

Operations: Ensure appropriate infrastructure and implementation of operations at the Zone’s schools

  • Ensure strong school operations in partnership with school staff, subject to the approval of the SBEZ Board
  • Partner with SBCSC in the maintenance and improvement of operational guidelines for the Zone’s schools, particularly relating to Zone schools’ staffing, budgeting, student assignment, technology and IT services, facilities, equity, transportation, and business purchasing, and other operational guidelines and policies 
  • Coordinate with SBCSC superintendent and cabinet to monitor progress and evaluate key centralized functions, operational services, and federal and state reporting requirements, resolving any issues that may arise
  • Continue to improve and refine transportation service operations for families and students

Finance: Lead all financial aspects of the Zone, including school-based budgeting and shared service contracts

  • Facilitate school-based budgeting process across all Zone schools and ensure smooth functioning of key Zone financial systems, including procurement and HR, in partnership  with SBCSC
  • Lead the Zone’s negotiations with the district regarding Zone and school funding
  • Negotiate and manage contracts for any shared services across the Zone schools
  • Ensure financial stability of the Zone through fundraising and other measures

External Relations: Serve as a spokesperson for the Zone and communicate transparently with internal and external stakeholders about the Zone’s strategy and progress 

  • Articulate a clear vision of the Zone’s strategic goals and objectives and engaging all stakeholders 
  • Develop and share communications about the Zone’s strategy and progress including through local media and news sources as well as online social media venues like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Communicate with and make regular presentations to the SBEZ Board of Directors and, when necessary, the SBCSC School Board
  • Negotiate on behalf of the Zone with labor groups including NEA-South Bend


Desired Attributes:

  • A demonstrated commitment to, belief in, and alignment with the mission, vision, and values for a high-autonomy, high-accountability system built to empower educators,  family/caregivers, students, and community to improve student outcomes
  • A demonstrated commitment to, belief in, and alignment with diversity, equity, inclusion 
  • Ability to build and maintain trust, credibility, and effective relationships with a diverse group of key stakeholders
  • Presence grounded in the local community and schools
  • Ability to effectively communicate on behalf of the Zone and instill confidence and buy-in from key stakeholders, including SBCSC leadership, state and federal agencies, local school board, educational associations, interest groups, and families
  • Ability to organize effectively, prioritize, and oversee implementation of multiple initiatives
  • Identity as outstanding problem solver, strategic thinker, and decision maker, balancing data, wisdom, experience, and judgment to make sound decisions
  • Commitment to continuity and continued successful implementation of key Zone structures and strategies
  • Prior successful experience as a teacher and school leader preferredStrong background in municipal and/or school operations, including finance and human capital preferred
  • Bilingual preferred 


The Empowerment Zone will recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability (except where the disability prevents the individual from being able to perform the essential functions of the job and cannot be reasonably accommodated in full compliance with the law), or genetic information (including family medical history).

How to Apply

Please submit your application here. The preferred application deadline for this position is June 3, 2022. After this date we do not guarantee review of submissions. 

Bureaus: Indiana. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: School Network Staff.