WHO WE ARE
Nationally, Mississippi’s students rank 46th in 4th grade math, 48th in 8th grade math, 47th in 4th grade reading, and 50th in 8th grade reading. Mississippi’s public school system is made up of almost 500,000 students in roughly 150 districts, and almost 40% of schools are rated D or F on an A-F scale. Of over a thousand public schools in the state, thus far, only five are public charter schools. The Mississippi Education Accelerator believes in the positive impact made possible by high-quality public charter schools and aims to create more free, high-quality educational options for families and children by accelerating the opening of new public charter schools in high-need areas across the state. If we can prove what is possible for all students in Mississippi, it will create a blueprint for what is possible within public education for kids across our country - particularly in high-need rural areas, which exist from coast to coast.
All students in Mississippi have the ability to achieve greatness, but our school systems are not currently setting students up for lifelong success. As is true across most of our country, these challenges disproportionately impact low-income students and students of color. Though Mississippi is a region uniquely impacted by the legacy of institutionalized racism and classism, it has also served as an epicenter for important movement-building in service of equity. Our ability to provide a high-quality, free public education to students across the state is an issue of human rights - one that requires stakeholders across the education sector to come together in service of outcomes and opportunities for all kids. We cannot allow another generation - not even another cohort of kids - to progress through the public education system without being prepared for their future. When almost 40% of schools statewide are rated D or F, the call to action is clear.
The Mississippi Education Accelerator was founded in 2018 to increase access to school choice for families across the state. Our mission is to improve public school options and course options for students in Mississippi by accelerating the growth and expansion of high-performing charter schools to generate at least 15,000 high-quality seats for children.
Now, the Mississippi Education Accelerator is seeking an entrepreneurial, strategic, community-focused, and results-driven Executive Director to lead this charge. Candidates must believe that all students, regardless of background and circumstance, are capable of and deserve excellence - and that the expansion of the charter sector is one of the key levers we can pull to increase access to a free, high-quality, public education for families across the state.
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Reporting to the Mississippi Education Accelerator (MSEA) Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Accelerator, including but not limited to building the model for impact, creating robust technical assistance programming for the existing and growing sector, hiring and managing staff, leveraging available and new resources to accomplish results, and ensuring urgent progress toward the mission.
Organizational Leadership & Management
- Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors
- In partnership with the Board, define and refine the three-year strategic plan within the first 90 days
- As part of the three-year strategic plan, define additional critical work streams for the organization, identify one-year priorities across each, and execute with excellence
- Ensure effective systems development and maintenance to position the MSEA to deliver results
- Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of activities, services, and resources of the organization and communicate those successes, gaps, hypotheses, and plans of corrective action at minimum monthly to the Board, funders, and other constituents
- Prioritize being close to the real work - including but not limited to spending time in schools, listening to leaders at the school and district levels, and building relationships with stakeholders at all levels
Provide Technical Leadership to the Charter School Sector
- Build a high-quality, year-round, comprehensive, scalable model for providing technical assistance to interested, aspiring, applying, approved, opening, and operating charter schools in the state
- Recruit high-quality charter management organizations (CMOs) and provide technical assistance to ease their entry into the Mississippi educational landscape
- Establish leader talent pipeline partnerships to ensure high-capacity emerging leaders with no CMO affiliation have a clear pathway to founding independent charter schools (or new CMOs) in the state
Manage Fundraising & Communications
- Build and execute a multi-million dollar fundraising strategy (local, state, and national) to support the Accelerator’s ambitious plans to expand the charter sector in Mississippi
- Commit to frequent, thorough, and clear communications with all key constituents—from web presence to external relations
- Leverage external presence and relationships to identify, create, and convene new opportunities and groups of thought leaders and practitioners in service of the Accelerator’s mission
WHO YOU ARE
Our Executive Director will be thoroughly committed to the Mississippi Education Accelerator’s mission. All candidates should have proven leadership, coaching, and relationship management experience.
- You value the community you serve. You’ve got a deep, personal commitment to the state of Mississippi, and a reverent belief in the potential of all students in this state. You recognize that high-quality charter schools are one part of a broad solution to address educational inequity, and you therefore seek to learn from as much as you seek to empower the communities you serve.
- You have a track record of results in scaling an organization. At a regional or national level, you’ve led and scaled a performance and outcomes-based organization and team. You can name specific examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that took organizations you’ve led to the next stage of growth.
- You move fluidly from strategy to execution. You appreciate the big picture and are inspired to set a bold vision, but you know it's all in the details. You are able to set strategic objectives, and also manage projects fluidly, fiercely prioritize, and track timelines, data, and budgets in an organized and systematic way to achieve these objectives. As a one-person team for the time being, you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves.
- You effectively inspire and motivate others to action. You build relationships quickly and deftly across lines of difference, you share your vision effectively and compellingly, and people trust you and your vision. You leverage your storytelling and strong written/verbal communication skills to elevate the impact of our work in a way that persuades others to action - whether that’s in fundraising, marketing, partnership-building, or public relations.
- You excel in a start-up environment. Start-up culture is not only familiar to you - you love it. You are flexible, thrive in situations of ambiguity, can adapt to a changing context, have a quick bounce-back time after a setback, know when and how to seek help in creative ways from the best-fit people, and get energy from building the plane as you fly it.
- Working with a Board of Directors excites you. You have demonstrated success recruiting new Board members, cultivate existing Board member relationships, and leveraging a Board to further the mission - or doing very similar work with another group of senior leaders, if not a Board to which you reported directly.
SPECIFIC POSITION REQUIREMENTS:
Candidates must have at least 10 years of relevant work experience
Demonstrated personal and professional commitment to this state, region, and mission
Prior systems-level leadership experience in K-12 education strongly preferred; organizational leadership within the public charter sector strongly preferred
Prior experience and demonstrated excellence in teaching and subsequently leading within high-performing public charter schools strongly preferred
Interested applicants should submit an online application at msedaccelerator.org/EDapply. The online application is a Google Form and will require you to be signed into a Google account in order to complete and submit it. If you have any technical issues submitting the online application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
The Mississippi Education Accelerator is committed to offering a competitive salary and benefits package aligned to the cost of living in our region. The salary range for this position is between $85-$105K, commensurate with candidate experience.
The Mississippi Education Accelerator is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria.