School Network Staff Vice President, Executive Director
City Year seeks an inclusive, dynamic, entrepreneurial, and people-focused leader to serve as the next executive director (ED) of City Year Denver This position is an outstanding opportunity to play an integral role in advocating for and advancing educational equity in Denver. Currently, City Year Denver deploys 71 AmeriCorps members (ACMs) who will serve more than 125,000 hours in service to the students in 10 Denver public schools. City Year Denver is also one of two City Year sites with five AmeriCorps members completing their Teaching Fellowships, a multi-year teacher preparation pipeline in partnership with state licensing programs. The site has a team of 16 staff, a 14-member advisory board, and a budget of $3.8 million. Established in 2011, City Year Denver (CYD), celebrates its 10-year anniversary during the 2021-2022 school year.
City Year Denver’s next executive director will be tasked with increasing the site’s visibility and footprint in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. The ED will also serve as a Vice President in the national leadership structure and will be expected to collaborate on national strategies to deepen the organizations impact across the country.
Founded in 1988, City Year is an education-focused national service organization and a leader in the national service movement. The organization was created with the goal of dramatically increasing participation in national service and was an early model for the federal AmeriCorps program. City Year has always been committed to developing and nurturing young people and believes that investing in them contributes to strong and vibrant communities. Today, City Year is contributing to a clearer and bolder vision of what public schools can and should be for all children—places of learning, exploration, and positive risk-taking, where every student feels connected to the school community; where data informs practices that promote student growth and achievement; and where all students have access to positive relationships and personalized learning environments that encourage them to persevere through challenges, build on their strengths, and thrive.
The Executive Director of the Denver site is responsible for leading, coaching, motivating, and retaining a passionate and experienced staff and ensuring that City Year Denver meets its impact, revenue, recruitment, district partnership, and external relations goals. In addition, the ED will be expected to lead the effort to increase CYD’s visibility and brand awareness in a competitive and crowded market. The ED also holds primary responsibility for the site’s financial and operational strength and systems.
The ideal ED candidate will be a values-driven leader who prioritizes equity, teamwork, and transparency; a strategic and creative executive who can collaboratively develop and then implement an inspiring roadmap for the site’s future; and a tested fundraiser who will ensure operational success and growth by generating resources and building support from the public and private sectors. The successful candidate will have deep experience building cross-sector partnerships and coalitions that advance educational equity in addition to a proven track record fostering supportive work environments that prioritize diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity. Key to the site’s continued success is a leader who values and believes in developing staff, building a culture of accountability, and leading with tenacity and humility. This individual must be comfortable and effective as the public face of the site, and will prioritize attracting funding and other resources for CYD programs while also collaborating with and across City Year’s national network. The new ED will inherit a well-established, well-respected site, staff, and suite of programs, and the right candidate will bring fresh ideas and the necessary expertise to ensure CYD continues to thrive.
CITY YEAR DENVER
City Year Denver (CYD) was established in 2011 with a small start-up team and 50 corps members. Today, 10 years later, 76 CYD AmeriCorps members serve as tutors and mentors, and CYD is a key partner in creating equitable learning opportunities for students and developing the city’s future leaders. City Year AmeriCorps members (ACMs) support teachers and staff in delivering instruction that serves the development of the whole child and supporting strong school culture that impacts the entire school community.
The work of City Year draws on proven best practices, and the organization has conducted several formal program evaluations resulting in substantial evidence that the program model works to accelerate academic and developmental progress for students. For instance, a study conducted by the Northwest Evaluation Association found that students working with City Year demonstrated 40% more growth in math and 50% more growth in literacy than their peers. Since 2015 in Denver, 60% of students tutored by City Year met or exceeded growth targets in English Language Arts classes and 55% of students met or exceeded growth targets in Mathematics classes. Additionally, 100% of partner teachers surveyed at the end of the 2020-2021 school year believe their City Year AmeriCorps members help students feel a sense of belonging, and 100% of partner principals agreed that City Year AmeriCorps members supported the engagement and participation of students in school.
ACMs join a close-knit community and work with a committed and diverse group of 4-10 peers with a shared passion for service, educational equity, and personal growth. For many of them, the experience is foundational in determining their future career path—and a number remain on staff in the larger City Year ecosystem in varying capacities, and many more stay involved with education and civic engagement long after their years of service end.
City Year was founded in 1988, with a vision to unite young people, ages 17-24, from diverse ethnic, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds to engage in a year of full-time national service. Fueled by a belief in the power of national service to develop young people into leaders, problem solvers, and more active citizens, City Year partners with public schools in systemically under-resourced communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and Johannesburg, South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide research-based student, classroom, and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. City Year is supported financially by federal and state AmeriCorps grants, local school districts, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations, and individuals.
City Year believes that all students can succeed and that developing the skills and mindsets of children and young adults contributes to strong, vibrant communities—outcomes that benefit everyone. Many students lack access to learning environments and resources they need to thrive in school and in life, due to systemic inequities that disproportionately affect students of color and students growing up in low-income households. More than one million students do not graduate from high school each year, 50% of whom come from just 12% of schools. City Year AmeriCorps members provide vital support to the top 5% of systemically under-resourced schools, focusing on where the need is greatest and partnering with students who are at risk of dropping out.
City Year’s school-based program is called Whole School, Whole Child. Through this approach, AmeriCorps members (ACMs) tutor students, serve as an additional resource for teachers in classrooms, and lead afterschool programs and school-wide initiatives to promote a positive school culture. ACMs receive more than 300 hours of professional training in order to support students with three early warning indicators, the ABCs—Attendance, Behavior, and Course performance in math and English. Younger than the teacher but older than the students, City Year AmeriCorps members are uniquely positioned to form strong bonds with students and help them succeed. City Year works with school staff to improve student performance, using data to customize the types of supports they provide to students.
City Year provides a powerful double bottom line: improved outcomes for students in schools and the cultivation of the next generation of leaders through corps member and alumni engagement. A 2015 Policy Studies Associates study showed that schools that partner with City Year were two to three times more likely to improve on math and English assessments and gain the equivalent of one month of additional math and ELA learning compared with similar schools that do not partner with City Year. Another recent study provides even more evidence that national service programs yield a substantial return on investment: for every $1 of federal money invested in these programs, the return to society, program members, and the government is more than $17.
Last school year, 3,000 City Year ACMs served more than 300 public schools attended predominately by children of color and children growing up in low-income households. Across 29 U.S. cities, AmeriCorps members adapted their in-person supports to virtual service in light of COVID, supporting academic growth and social and emotional learning while also helping students to recover from learning loss and reconnect to their school community.
City Year is focused on implementing its Framework for the Future to advance educational equity and develop young people who can lead across lines of difference. The organization is committed to evolving—to continued growth and improvement—while also staying true to what has and continues to make it a special place. City Year builds strong, long-term relationships with schools and communities; mobilizes its corps members, alumni, and staff across lines of difference; spreads effective practices and acts as a national thought- and policy-leader; and drives increased demand and expectations for national service. The organization is a proponent of translating the work of AmeriCorps members into an overarching category of school support—student success coaches—that could expand beyond City Year and other AmeriCorps-funded positions to become a critical part of building capacity in schools in high adversity communities. Moving forward, the organization will continue to prioritize increasing service quality and impact and enhancing its portfolio of services to meet school- and system-wide opportunities to address inequitable outcomes.
Learn more about City Year, Inc. in the organization’s most recent Annual Report.
City Year was founded with a core belief: uniting and empowering diverse teams of idealistic young people and charging them with addressing some of our country’s most difficult challenges can change the world for the better. The organizational values City Year staffers collectively uphold are deeply rooted in this belief and in their shared commitment to diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity (DBIE). City Year’s journey to fully live its values and commit to DBIE is ongoing, but with each step forward, the organization comes closer to actualizing its mission and fulfilling promises to one another.
City Year’s core values are:
• Service to a Cause Greater Than Self: We dedicate ourselves to addressing shared civic challenges through unified action.
• Students First, Collaboration Always: The success of the young people we serve is our preeminent goal, best achieved by working in partnership with others who are dedicated to the same cause.
• Belief in the Power of Young People: We are committed to harnessing one of the most powerful forces for positive change at work in the world today.
• Social Justice for All: We dedicate ourselves to building a more just, equal, fair, and compassionate world.
• Level Five Leadership: We aspire to develop a culture of Level Five Leadership across the organization, fostering a blend of great humility with intense professional will.
• Empathy: We strive to constantly walk in the moccasins of others.
• Inclusivity: We embrace differences as strengths that magnify our capacity to achieve shared goals.
• Ubuntu: I am a person through other people; my humanity is tied to yours.
• Teamwork: We strive to work powerfully together in a unified effort to achieve our goals.
• Excellence: We hold ourselves to the highest standards as we strive to execute our mission and steward our resources.
THE ROLE OF THE CITY YEAR DENVER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Reporting to the market president who oversees City Year’s largest sites, the City Year Denver ED leads a team of 16 staff members,71 ACMs, and 5 Teaching Fellows. Direct reports include the three managing directors of the major departments: People & Operations; Development and Impact. In addition, the ED will work in close partnership with the City Year Denver board, an advisory body comprised of 14 influential leaders representing the Denver public, private, education, and nonprofit sectors.
The successful candidate will effectively mobilize powerful coalitions across the city and state, including board members, district leadership and other school partners, City Year alumni, private and public sector investors, and local, state, and national elected officials to accelerate greater educational opportunities for the city’s public school students. Just as importantly, the ED must be present and engaged at the local level—a visible leader who is active and invested in community-based and grassroots efforts that are driving meaningful change for Denver’s students and communities.
The ED will be responsible for an annual budget of just over $3.8 million—28% of which comes from partner school contracts); 37% from private sector contributions and donations; and 35% from AmeriCorps.
The ED will also hold the title of vice president in City Year’s national organization and will be expected to support the connections between City Year’s national initiatives and the local work in Denver while also contributing to the national strategy through network-wide projects. The national team of executive directors is a tight-knit group that provides support and colleagueship nationwide.
The ED is responsible for addressing the following key opportunities and challenges:
Lead a strong team and bring accountability and renewed energy to CYD’s organizational culture and vision; prioritize and actively demonstrate an authentic and lived commitment to diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity (DBIE).
The ED will be expected to cultivate a strong culture of trust and accountability, actively listening and learning from those around them—and leaning into uncomfortable or difficult spaces and conversations. They must be able to lead and effectively communicate a shared vision-setting process for the site, where collective ideas and energy push CYD’s work forward in meaningful, student-centered ways. And the ED should prize collaboration and clear communication across all levels of the organization.
The successful ED will ensure that departments are connected and working synchronously, and will institute processes to develop strategic goals for the short-, medium-, and long-term (at both the departmental and site levels). The ED will be able to use available data to guide these initiatives and will take a nuanced, collaborative approach to identify which aspects of the site’s work should be maintained and which may be primed for an update. They will dedicate the time and resources necessary to recruit, support, and retain CYD team members, and they will work to further develop human resources structures to ensure equitable hiring promotion practices, and workforce planning. CYD’s many successes and far-reaching impact are a direct result of the staff’s excellence and dedication, and the next ED must continue to champion the team and their efforts.
Moreover, the ED must advocate strongly and consistently for diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity in all aspects of their work, both internally and externally. These DBIE values are shared deeply across the organization, and the ED will be expected to act and lead powerfully on this front. City Year and all of its sites, including City Year Denver, are committed to being anti-racist organizations.
Expand the reach and reputation of City Year Denver; collaborate with colleagues, Denver board members, Denver educational leaders, State and City officials, and key community partners to drive this important work and to communicate broadly CYD’s impressive impact and value.
A key objective for the executive director is to increase the site’s visibility and brand awareness, better communicating the important service and impressive impact of CYD’s AmeriCorps members and their programs in order to increase support.
The executive director should also have an influential public presence and meaningful ties to peer organizations, corporate leaders, and elected officials at the local and national level. These relationships and the new leader’s instincts and experience in government relations will be critical for garnering support (financial and legislative) for City Year and the broader national service movement. Similarly, the ED will maintain CYDs collaborative relationship with Serve CO—the state service commission—and will oversee the preparation of effective AmeriCorps grant applications and progress reports.
The ED also partners with the CYD board on the cultivation and engagement of new board members and leadership, and works collaboratively with board members to generate greater recognition for CYD from the private and corporate donor community across Denver.
Grow City Year Denver’s philanthropic efforts and provide sound fiscal management for the site’s operations.
The ED will serve as the site’s chief fundraiser and advocate, establishing a sustainable funding model for the site and raising the financial support necessary to meet annual and long-term revenue goals. In partnership with staff (CYD and national) and CYD board members, the executive director will be expected to identify, cultivate, solicit, and manage strategic relationships with corporations, private foundations, family foundations, and individuals in order to build a robust and reliable private revenue mix. For FY2021, these revenues totaled more than $1.2 million and the goal for FY22 is over $1.4 million. Looking to the future, there may be opportunities to expand on existing strategies or initiate new programs that would reinvigorate the site’s philanthropic work.
In addition—and central to the site’s success—the ED must prioritize maintaining strong, consistent relationships with the Denver Public Schools. Successfully transitioning to and then effectively maintaining this new funding and service model, especially with the complex sub-contracting responsibilities, will be a key priority for the new ED.
Through the site’s philanthropic dollars and revenue from partner schools, CYD must raise 3% more revenue than it spends annually. To achieve this goal, the ED should have experience overseeing budgeting, forecasting, expense management, and cash flow for a comparably-sized organization or unit.
Set and achieve ambitious goals for the recruitment, engagement, and overall experience of CYD’s AmeriCorps members; ensure the delivery of high-quality programming in the site’s new community schools in order to continue meeting student impact goals.
The ED will collaborate with City Year’s national recruitment and admissions team to ensure that the site’s annual recruitment goals are met (including quality, quantity, diversity, and inclusivity measures), and will concentrate locally with site staff on the AmeriCorps member experience on the ground to ensure a strong cohort returns annually for a second year of service. As the economy continues to recover and options for employment abound, it will be especially important for the ED to be a powerful messenger and spokesperson for the value and impact of a year of service. The ED should prioritize being a visible and engaged part of each ACM’s service year, and should derive joy and energy from connecting with the corps and school partners.
This work lays the foundation for what is most pressing and essential: ensuring City Year’s national service delivery model is implemented effectively and with fidelity in partner schools across Denver, resulting in at least 50% of students served meeting or exceeding growth targets. As the site shifts to the community schools model, it has the unique and powerful opportunity to take a leading role in bringing a broad cross-section of partners together to build environments that embody the Whole School, Whole Child approach.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Successful City Year executive directors embody the organization’s core values, hold the firm belief that education has the power to help all students reach their full potential, and possess a deep passion for equity in education.
A competitive candidate for the executive director position will have many of the following skills and experiences. In addition, candidates should be willing to attend evening and weekend events, and to travel for meetings in various cities when COVID-related restrictions are lifted and City Year deems travel safe again.
- Deep personal commitment to and demonstrated professional leadership on issues of diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity.
- Proven success managing effective and engaged teams, and also managing across multiple layers of leadership.
- Financial and operational management experience with budgetary oversight of an organization or unit similar in size and complexity to City Year Denver.
- A track record operating successfully within a matrixed and/or multi-site organization.
- Significant nonprofit, volunteer, or multi-sector experience; content knowledge of community and national service and/or urban public education.
- Excellent communication, listening, and public speaking skills; the ability to articulate a compelling and inspiring vision that motivates others.
- A desire to learn and a willingness to receive feedback and hold oneself accountable.
- A high level of emotional intelligence; integrity, humility, honesty, and curiosity.
- Experience influencing and motivating stakeholders, and building collaborative and strategic partnerships.
- A track record of raising funds from corporations, foundations, and individual donors.
- Demonstrated success responding quickly to changing situations—including maintaining calm during times of crisis—and the ability to adjust organizational plans accordingly.
- Familiarity with the Denver educational landscape, the community schools model, and K-12 education policy is a plus
- Knowledge of and commitment to the Denver neighborhoods where City Year serves is a plus
Full time employees are entitled to compensation commensurate with experience. The salary range starts at $120,000. Offers will be commensurate with experience. Executive Directors are eligible for an annual performance bonus.
Full time employees will be eligible for all benefits including vacation and sick days and organization holidays. You may participate in all benefit programs that City Year establishes and makes available to eligible employees, under (and subject to all provisions of) the plan documents that govern those programs. Currently, City Year offers medical, dental and vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment and disability coverage, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), other benefits including 401(k) plan(s) pursuant to the terms and conditions of company policy and the 401(k) plan document. For more information, click here. Employment at City Year is at-will.