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15 Feb 2022

Instructional Support Executive Director

Northeast Denver Innovation Zone
 Denver, Denver County, Colorado, United States

Job Description

Our Mission

The Northeast Denver Innovation Zone is a cooperative of innovation schools that are empowering leaders and educators, in partnership with their communities, to deliver an authentic and relevant education to students in schools that are unwaveringly committed to inclusivity and equity.


We are NDIZ, and we are building a model for the future of public education.  Collectively we believe

  • That school leaders and educators in partnership with communities are best positioned to make school-level decisions on the allocation of resources, staffing, instructional decisions and practices, curriculum and assessment and student supports.
  • In fostering equity and doing whatever it takes to close opportunity and achievement gaps, specifically for Black, Indigenous, and students of color.
  • In keeping what is best for students at the forefront of all we do.
  • In developing internationally-minded people through service learning experiences who are committed to making the world a better place.

Delivering on Our Commitments
Innovation Zones are a partnership with the Denver Public School district that provide participating schools with the autonomy and strong accountability they need to better serve students, teachers, staff, and school leaders. Innovation Zone schools appear the same as other schools; however, they operate under a different structure that emphasizes school-level autonomy over budget, staffing, curriculum, and an inclusive culture.

The Northeast Denver Innovation Zone (NDIZ), established in 2018 as an independent 501(c)3 organization, empowers school leaders, teachers, families and community members to elevate the quality and equity of education for all students, in the NDIZ and beyond. We do this by liberating NDIZ schools to be agile in customizing curriculum, targeting resources and sharing best practices and talent.

The Innovation Schools Act passed by the Colorado General Assembly in 2008 provides a path for schools and districts to design and implement innovative ideas and practices and obtain waivers from state and local policies and collective bargaining agreements.

The result is a localized network of schools where academic excellence, a spirit of inclusivity and authentic community engagement define us. Together with the larger Denver Public Schools district, we prove what can happen when the specific needs of a community are heard, met and exceeded at every turn.

NDIZ is currently made up of four schools: Swigert International School, McAuliffe International, McAuliffe Manual, and Northfield High School. The Zone is governed by an independent Board of Directors and is managed operationally by an Executive Director.


Position Overview
The Executive Director (ED) is the organization’s chief officer. The Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of the NDIZ’s organizational health, including fulfillment of each school’s vision/mission, leading the NDIZ’s strategic growth and other initiatives such as overseeing school success, sound budgeting process, fundraising, development of the school’s value-driven professional culture and, in partnership with each school leader, the achievement of the school’s academic goals. The Executive Director also ensures that the core values embraced by the Zone and its member schools are embodied in daily operations and practices; this includes a core commitment to equity at all levels.  The Executive Director is entrusted with supporting and advancing the mission of the member schools.

The Executive Director reports to the NDIZ Board of Directors and manages an operating budget of approximately $600,000.  The leaders of the four schools are supported and evaluated by the Executive Director.


The Executive Director Opportunity

While innovation schools and the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone have a strong track record of delivering high quality education that responds to community needs, the concepts are still evolving.  Colorado passed legislation in 2008 that established the basic parameters that govern innovation schools, though some local school districts have struggled with the effective implementation of core elements of innovation schools and zones.


The current climate in DPS is mixed as it relates to innovation schools, and NDIZ is scheduled to seek re-authorization for the next three years later in 2022.  Thus, the most critical priority for the incoming Executive Director will be to navigate the politics and concerns of DPS to successfully obtain reauthorization.


Undertaking the reauthorization effort will give the Executive Director the opportunity to work closely with community members, school leaders, families, board members, and teachers to showcase the transformative work underway at the Zone’s schools.


To be clear, obtaining re-authorization for the Zone is not guaranteed, and the incoming Executive Director must be prepared to work hard on that effort.  This means developing a clear, compelling case for reauthorization along with building community and District support for the Zone and its schools.  Success will require creativity, perseverance, diplomacy, and an ability to assimilate a lot of data quickly.  The NDIZ board and the school leaders of our four schools are committed to the work of the Zone and are fully prepared to support the Executive Director in this critical work.


As a leader focused on innovation in education, the Executive Director in partnership with the school leaders and others may also have the opportunity to dig into thorny issues plaguing our school systems.  The Executive Director may help identify new mechanisms to address such challenges as declining enrollment, effective student assessment, teacher evaluation and professional development, and true equity in the classroom.


Over the next 3+ years, the NDIZ Executive Director can help forge healthy links between schools, communities, and the District.  This leader will bring the power of Innovation Zones to life by showcasing how best to share resources, proven practices, and critical learnings across the existing schools in the Zone.


What Does It Take

Leading NDIZ requires an executive who has a demonstrated commitment to excellence and improving public education.  NDIZ needs a demonstrated strategic leader of culture, values, equity with a track record of closing opportunity and achievement gaps.


Qualified candidates will be natural relationship builders and collaborators with a willingness to take risks and continually strive for the best outcomes for students and their families.


Other specific elements that the NDIZ Board seeks in a new leader include:


Education Understanding

  • Strong background in academics, instruction, and organization development
  • Ability to effectively communicate and advocate for the NDIZ and instill confidence and buy-in from key stakeholders including NDIZ Board, school leaders, state and federal agencies, local school board, educational associations, interest groups and parents
  • Preferred 5–10 years of education-related work experience

Organization Development

  • An innovative ability to get resources and services that schools need including additional funding streams
  • Ability to create a culture of shared accountability and to lead in a collaborative way with other Innovation Zone leaders, school leaders and staff, and district leadership
  • Experience in partnering with a governing board

Leadership Qualities

  • Ability to prioritize, organize and oversee implementation of multiple initiatives
  • Evidence of a growth and learning mindset and proven results
  • Has proven success in working in ambiguous and fluid environments
  • Outstanding written, verbal, listening, and presentation skills
  • Strong work ethic and ability to do whatever it takes to get the job done; entrepreneurial
  • Well-developed conflict resolution and mediation skills
  • Personal qualities that include persistence, flexibility, diplomacy, consensus building


  • Bachelor’s degree required (advanced degree preferred)
  • Bilingual in Spanish preferred


Salary and Benefits

The salary range for the Executive Director position is $125,000-$150,000, commensurate with experience.  NDIZ offers a comprehensive benefits plan that includes medical, dental and vision insurance; employer match to 401k contributions up to 5%; and paid time off.

How to Apply

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible by sending a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Carolyn McCormick of Peak HR Consulting, LLC at  All applications are to be submitted via email.  To learn more about this position and the work of the NDIZ, please visit us at .   Non-Discrimination Commitment The Northeast Denver Innovation Zone is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other status protected by law or regulation. We encourage individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply.

Bureaus: Colorado. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Instructional Support. Salaries: 100,000 and above.