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7 Jul 2021

Operations / Administration Launchpad Executive Director

Building 21

Job Description

Title: Launchpad Executive Director
Reports To: Co-CEO Building 21
Status: Full time Exempt
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Building 21 Background: 

The mission of Building 21 is to empower networks of learners to connect with their passions and build agency to impact their world. Building 21 is a nonprofit organization that is reimagining secondary schooling to meet the needs of all learners. Building 21 partners with school districts to design, launch and operate innovative schools. Our schools are afforded significant flexibility and autonomy by our district partners to pursue our vision for student and adult learning. We also work with schools and districts that are making the transition to competency-based education through our Learning Innovation Network. Our mission is to create a network approach to secondary and post-secondary learning for high school age youth that fundamentally reorients the system to place the learner at the center. 

Launchpad Background: 

By integrating career-connected learning, authentic work experiences, and the development of general “Future Ready” skills across high school and the ensuing two years, Launchpad will harness the power of connected networks of schools and employers to prepare students to thrive as they transition into full-time work. Students will leave Launchpad with a “good job” (one that pays a living wage) in a high growth industry with upwardly mobile career opportunities. In order to ensure their long-term success, they will also be armed with general “Future Ready” skills and mindsets, pathway-specific skills, industry certifications, real world experience, strong networks of professionals in their career area, a portfolio of relevant work, and either an Associates degree or meaningful credit towards a degree—all translating to a significant “leg up” as they launch their careers. A summary of the Launchpad initiative can be found here.

Building 21 is currently looking for a passionate and experienced individual to lead our Launchpad initiative. The ideal Executive Director possesses a deep commitment to positive youth development, an unwavering faith in the potential of every student, and a strong  belief in the power of innovative solutions to help young people connect with their bright futures. As part of the senior Building 21 team, the Launchpad Executive Director will lead the continued design, piloting and implementation of Project Launchpad. The Launchpad Executive Director will report to the Building 21 Co-CEO, Chip Linehan. To date, the Building 21 team  has laid the groundwork for Launchpad, including the design of the high level academic program and the development of  key partnerships (funders, high schools, postsecondary institutions, employers). When the Executive Director is hired, they will assume responsibility for refining  the program curriculum, hiring the initial staff, and managing the day to day operations of the program. Chip will continue to lead fundraising, building and nurturing high level partnerships, and supporting the Executive Director in their work to build the program.

What you’ll do: 

  • Serve as the leader and the external representative for the Launchpad program
  • Build off of completed research of similar models, stakeholder interviews, and exploration of post-secondary options, and oversee the continued design process of Launchpad including the development of a sustainable financial model and the identification of relevant curricular resources
  • Lead the continued iteration of specific programmatic details, including the student experience, partnership criteria, partnership commitments and responsibilities, professional development, and the data systems to support the program
  • Participate in the necessary fundraising efforts to launch and sustain the program
  • Design and implement pilots to test key aspects of the program during the planning year (2021-2022 school year)
  • Lead the implementation of the first Launchpad network in the launch year (school year 2022-2023), including partnership development, student recruiting and the hiring and oversight of the Launchpad staff

The beliefs, mindsets, and skills you possess: 

  • A educator who believes deeply in the potential of young people, builds strong relationships with students grounded in trust, and possesses an unyielding commitment to expanding opportunity for our students
  • A strong strategic visionary leader who galvanizes others and influences actions across the network and externally:
    • Strong understanding of secondary education, workforce development and trends impacting the future of work
    • Ability to co-create and implement an innovative vision for program success
    • Ability to lead the iteration of the program over time
    • Ability to leverage quantitative and qualitative data to drive transparency and improvement
    • Ability to influence the actions of others across the organization, including direct and indirect management lines
    • Ability to successfully lead around change
    • Ability to accurately represent Building 21 vision externally, particularly to existing and potential funders
  • An effective project manager who manages competing priorities and implements strategy with fidelity
    • Ability to set up and implement complex projects and initiatives
    • Ability to seek out and advocate for resources that will drive work forward
    • Ability to navigate and manage competing priorities
    • Ability to collaborate across the organization
  • A highly relational leader with the capacity to build strong working relationships with internal and external stakeholders
    • Ability to leverage relationships to drive a coaching and development agenda
    • Ability to communicate verbally and in writing in clear, concise, and linear ways
    • High level of self-awareness, humility, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence
    • Ability to work collaboratively with team members and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and build a culture that fosters diversity and inclusion
    • Capacity to accept feedback from others, make decisions, and exhibit sound and accurate judgement in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment
  • A values driven and empathetic leader who will find success at Building 21
    • Excitement to work at an organization that is constantly innovating and challenging the status quo
    • Enjoys working on a team and operates in a way that will build trust with students, families, and teammates (e.g. integrity, consideration, empathy, etc.)
    • High level of self-awareness, humility, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence. Ability to engage in conflict confidently and with empathy/kindness
    • Ability to articulate and navigate tensions while remaining comfortable not knowing or agreeing to disagree with others
    • Operates with a growth mindset for self and others

What you’ve already done: 

  • Experience in workforce development, urban secondary education and/or post-secondary education
  • Demonstrated success coaching, supervising or leading a team
  • Experience in systems level change management including building support across a wide variety of stakeholders.
  • Entrepreneurial problem-solving experience – creating and building new programs and/or creating innovative solutions to problems within a traditional organization or system

Salary and Benefits: 

    • Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience.
    • Benefits: Strong benefits package provided.
    • Applicants will be provided with a salary range and information about benefits early in the interview process

Application Submission: 

As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to identifying and developing the skills and leadership of people from diverse backgrounds. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply. Building 21 is a non-profit organization that is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. Building 21’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.

Building 21 has partnered with RCG Talent Solutions on our search for the founding Executive Director of Launchpad. Please follow this link to submit your application and direct all questions to Aramis Grant ( RCG Talent Solutions will review all applications and, upon qualification, contact you to determine next steps.


How to Apply

Building 21 has partnered with RCG Talent Solutions on our search for the founding Executive Director of Launchpad. Please follow this link to submit your application and direct all questions to Aramis Grant ( RCG Talent Solutions will review all applications and, upon qualification, contact you to determine next steps.

Bureaus: Philadelphia. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Operations / Administration.