Chief Executive Officer

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Req Number: MU153
Posted: 8/9/2021
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Education
Job Type: Permanent

Position -- President & Chief Executive Officer
Organization -- KnowledgeWorks
Location* -- Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH
*Open to considering other locations/remote
Reporting Relationship -- The Board of Directors
Website --



In active response to COVID-19, our nation’s reckoning with systemic racism and the changing landscape of education, the next President & CEO of KnowledgeWorks will be a human-centered and transformative strategist who believes in the power of personalized, competency-based learning to prepare students for their future success. The CEO will be energized by the prospect of seizing the unique opportunities presented by KnowledgeWorks’ model at this critical moment in time. As an authentic advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, the CEO will champion KnowledgeWorks’ commitment to Inclusive Excellence, which is achieved by accepting and celebrating the unique identity and circumstance of all.

Utilizing a systems change approach, the CEO will co-create the conditions for KnowledgeWorks to engage in partnerships with school districts, state departments of education, education service agencies and communities across the U.S. Working alongside a talented team and the Board of Directors, the CEO will align KnowledgeWorks’ investments in human and thought capital within advocacy, policy, strategic foresight, research and practice – and they will multiply those investments through work with partners to ensure that the future of teaching and learning reflects the hopes of every learner in every learning setting. KnowledgeWorks supports education innovators throughout the country and currently works intensively with South Carolina, North Dakota, Arizona and Ohio.

On a national level, the CEO will lead KnowledgeWorks in their bold vision to work with states to positively impact 1,000,000 students, almost 400,000 underrepresented youth and  nearly 65,000 educators by 2025.


Since its founding in 2000, KnowledgeWorks has placed students at the heart of their mission to improve educational opportunities for all learners. With a focus on empowering district leaders, teachers and students to achieve their highest potential, KnowledgeWorks has continued to evolve in response to trends and changing needs of learners, which led to the organization to formally adopt personalized, competency-based learning as a stated part of their mission in 2013.

KnowledgeWorks recognizes that students can’t prepare for college and the careers of tomorrow without understanding what the future will require of them. Since 2006, the organization has been engaged in a disciplined study of the trends shaping the future of education. At this time, KnowledgeWorks started developing forecasts of the future of learning, examining possible futures and exploring actions that learning communities can take today to shape the future that they want for their graduates. KnowledgeWorks came to see that our nation’s factory-era education system had to be turned on its head. Instead of focusing on the needs of the institution, schools needed to put learners at the center and create environments that fostered growth mindset, the cultivation of essential social- emotional skills and student agency, providing opportunities for learners to demonstrate mastery in a variety of ways and make meaningful connections with what they are learning.

Amid the rise of hybrid learning and a shifting definition of how students can engage in the learning, both inside and outside the classroom, KnowledgeWorks has even more fully embraced the vision for meaningful, personalized learning for all students. KnowledgeWorks has leveraged over twenty years of experience and thinking across their portfolio to create a unique and focused point of view on personalized, competency-based learning, and national leaders are listening. KnowledgeWorks entered the national conversation about personalized, competency-based education in 2013 behind a concentration of thoughtful policy briefs focused on federal policy reform, aligned advocacy and partner engagement, backed by foresight and research. This body of work, combined with their on-the-ground work with schools, practitioners and communities, has helped KnowledgeWorks become a trusted and nationally recognized resource for policymakers, state and district educators, and other organizations interested in moving to a personalized, competency-based education system.


The President and CEO of KnowledgeWorks will oversee an annual budget of $14M, a $125M Investment Portfolio and staff of nearly 50. This person will lead the short-term and long- term strategic planning for KnowledgeWorks and ensure alignment of resources across policy and advocacy; technical assistance and implementation support; and direct delivery, such as specialized trainings and professional development workshops. Leading the continued growth, evolution and sustainability of the organization, the CEO will hold the following key leadership responsibilities:

Provide Visionary and Forward-Thinking Organizational Leadership for A Highly Motivated Team and A Highly Engaged Board

  • Manage and lead the fiscal health of the organization; ensure that KnowledgeWorks’ planning and budgeting process maintains a sound financial basis for the organization and supports both short-term and long-term needs and the objectives of the organization.
  • Lead multi-year strategic planning efforts in collaboration with staff and board.
  • Bring together all departments to establish clear goals, objectives and benchmarks for success in alignment with the strategic plan.
  • Recruit, manage and retain a high performing, diverse workforce, and cultivate an inclusive culture to fulfill KnowledgeWorks’ mission.
  • Serve as the primary organization contact to the Board of Directors. Provide timely reports, updates, and other operational information to the Board for governance purposes. Work with board to nominate future Board members.
  • Lead KnowledgeWorks’ diversity, equity, inclusion and justice journey in partnership with staff, board, external consultants and other stakeholders.

Model and Promote Inclusive Excellence

Leading the way for all team members, the CEO of KnowledgeWorks will actively promote Inclusive Excellence, and model a spirit of acceptance and celebration of the unique identity and circumstance of all. KnowledgeWorks is committed to Inclusive Excellence in its work externally and internally and has established the following with the expectation that the incoming CEO and all staff will:

  • Demonstrate an orientation to engaging with others in a genuine and respectful way that supports differences in style, thought and background.Engage with others in a way that models Inclusive Excellence through their work either internally or externally.
  • Actively manage and create teams as well as establish protocols that include diversity of experience, point of view and perspective.
  • Raise concerns that may be difficult or unpopular to ensure that all points of view are included.
  • Model communication skills to demonstrate courage and respect.
  • Celebrate the success that comes from achieving the objectives of KnowledgeWorks’ Inclusive Excellence goals.

External Relationships, Fund Development and Relationship Building

  • Serve as a spokesperson and thought leader for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning and KnowledgeWorks’ continued growth.
  • Clearly and effectively communicate the value of personalized, competency-based learning through various meetings with policymakers; conferences; convenings; and beyond.
  • Actively advocate for personalized, competency-based learning on local, state and federal level.
  • Position KnowledgeWorks to gain additional investment and financial support for the mission.
  • Refine revenue model to optimize resources for impact, inclusive of grant seeking, fee-for-service models and building a diverse portfolio of funding sources.
  • Develop and maintain high-level and deep alliances, partnerships and relationships to advance the mission of the organization. Collaborate with government (local, state and federal), school districts, educators and communities.


The ideal candidate for the President and CEO opportunity with KnowledgeWorks should bring the following professional experiences and qualifications:

  • Passion for KnowledgeWorks’ mission.
  • Depth of team leadership experience in education, nonprofit or related field with emphasis on experiences in school transformation, policy transformation and/or organizational evolution.
  • Business acumen and sound budget management.
  • Developer of healthy and productive workplace culture, both virtually and in-person.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.
  • Approachable and open leadership style. Systems-change thinker and advocate for human-centered learning.
  • Innovative spirit and energy. Multi-year strategic planning experience.
  • Ability to fundraise and gain investment for mission-based work.
  • Superlative written and oral communications skills.
  • Transparent decision-maker.
  • Ability to articulate how our nation’s history, politics, race and culture influence student learning.
  • Nonpartisan political acumen and ability to navigate the educational policy landscape.
  • Builder of trusting long-term relationships, both internally and externally.
  • Exhibit curiosity and a lifelong love of learning.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Honest, loyal, unquestionable integrity.


KnowledgeWorks prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against all individuals based on their age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. Moreover, KnowledgeWorks takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.


  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • Advanced degrees welcomed.

Korn/Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.