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Chief Executive Officer

Req Number: CM537
Location: Roxbury, Massachusetts
Posted: 8/20/2020
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Education
Job Type: Permanent

ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND

Launched in 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts, Scholar Athletes (SA) is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the Greater Boston Region, whose mission it is to support academic achievement through athletics.   SA’s programs leverage the power of athletics and wellness to cultivate the discipline, confidence, and social-emotional skills needed to support success in school and life.  It is the only nonprofit organization in the Region with dedicated learning spaces – called Zones – in each of its partner schools in Boston, Springfield, and Everett, Massachusetts.  When not in class or playing their sport of choice, students are in the Zones studying, working on homework, writing college essays, learning more about scholarship options for college and creating a roadmap for life after high school – all guided by SA’s staff and volunteers. 

Building upon this strong foundation and legacy, SA is positioned for its next level of growth and impact.  SA’s CEO will refresh its vision, mission, and programs to ensure continued relevancy for the future. SA will strengthen and grow its vital partnerships in the community, build diverse sustainable funding to support these objectives, build and develop a team of valued staff and volunteers to fully embrace and execute the refreshed vision, and leverage technology and innovation effectively to achieve its goals.

Since its inception 11 years ago, SA has supported an average of 5,000 students each year in 24 zones by giving them the tools to improve their lives, dream big, and achieve greatness.  SA collects and utilizes data to inform programming, services, and opportunities for Zone members, allowing it to measure and strengthen the impact that it has on members and its partner school communities.

SA’s Core Programs:

The students– called Zone members – participate in three core program areas: 

  • Academic Coaching and Mentoring:
    • Academic Coaching by trained Program Coordinators, inclusive of one-on-one tutoring to navigate a virtual and in-person learning environment and complete assignments.
    • Group study halls for subject-based tutoring and bringing together athletic teams to focus on completing assignments.
    • Volunteer support from local colleges and universities. 
  • Athletics, Health and Wellness:
    • Intramural programs across a variety of schools each season throughout the year.
    • We Are Fit wellness initiative, emphasizing improved fitness levels and overall well-being for female Zone members.
    • Boston City League All-Star Games, in partnership with the Boston Public Schools Athletics and Boston Parks & Recreation.
    • Group workouts in boxing, strength and conditioning, Pilates, yoga, and more.
    • One-on-one mental health check-ins to listen and provide support as Zone members experience high stress levels stemming from disrupted routines, heightened uncertainty, disappointment, challenging home situations, increased sedentary behavior, isolation, and new health risks. 
  • College & Career Readiness:
    • Annual city-wide College & Career Fair in partnership with Boston Public Schools.
    • Two-year and four-year college scholarship opportunities.
    • Focus on Future workshop series to provide college and career exposure.
    • For seniors: One-on-one coaching to prepare for college, including scholarship application support, financial aid review, and college selection guidance
    • For juniors: College tours with admissions officers, college selection guidance, and essay writing support
    • Career panels; support for resume creation, job searches, and interview skills; and guidance about entering the trades, gap year programs and civil service opportunities 

Zone members receive support for their academic success and social-emotional skill development in a targeted and tailored way, integrating lessons learned on the field or engaged in wellness into their everyday experience. The goal is for each Zone member to graduate from high school with a plan that is focused on the future, with the support, skills, and tools to put that plan into action. 

Impact of COVID-19: 

When the COVID-19 crisis forced public schools to close their buildings in March 2020, SA stayed committed to its mission of supporting academic achievement through athletics.  This spring the organization virtually provided Zone Members with the confidence, skills, and motivation to dream big and achieve their goals. 

Virtual programming included one-on-one sessions to provide individual academic support, and group sessions to help build community and mitigate the negative impacts of isolation. 

Scholar Athletes 2.0

As SA continues to adapt its platforms of service and engagement for Zone members due to COVID, there is an opportunity to redefine the vision, mission, and program model/ curriculum and to build a comprehensive team that can execute a new strategy built on partnership with peer organizations to have measurable impact on the lives of middle-school and high-school students.  

The vision for SA is ambitious—to create an organization that will improve educational achievement in the lives of thousands of students and address some of the deeply rooted causes of educational inequity. The revitalized program will be based on the foundational pillars of access to educational and athletic support, role models as mentors, scholarships to colleges, and early career opportunities.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will serve as an inspirational leader for SA and champion the achievement of its mission and priorities.   Building upon a strong foundation and legacy, they will partner with the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and other key stakeholders to guide the organization through its next phase of innovation, and impact. The CEO will spearhead the development and implementation of a refreshed strategic vision to advance SA’s mission.  They will provide dynamic and visionary leadership, essential to reinforcing critical community and partner relationships, ensuring SA is positioned for sustainable growth and impact in the future, and engaging volunteers, funders, and staff.  They will serve as a strategic leader on organizational planning, program model, and community partnerships. 

The CEO will serve as SA’s principal ambassador and spokesperson before myriad stakeholders including the Boston Public Schools, government, donors, foundations, non-profits partners, volunteers, media, higher education, and other key external audiences.  They will enhance SA’s visibility and recognition among key stakeholders to elevate its brand in the community and communicate the vital impact of the organization on the city’s students. 

The CEO will be responsible for oversight of the operations and repositioning the organization for a relaunch in September 2021.  Among their key responsibilities are the following:

 Organizational Leadership, Strategy and Administration:

  • Provide strategic leadership in partnership with the Board of Directors to develop and implement SA’s strategic plan that anticipates and responds to the dynamic trends impacting K12 education, especially with respect to a COVID-19 environment, and ensures a vibrant future for student athletes.
  • Implement strategic plan for a relaunch in September 2021, including developing a strong team to support vision and mission and work collaborating with headmasters and district administration.
  • Provide operational leadership for SA’s leadership team to ensure long-term fiscal health by effectively integrating all aspects of the organization’s work including program services, communications, fundraising/development, administration, digital strategy, and finance. 
  • Establish, cultivate, and maintain strong partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies in both the private and public sectors, to advance the mission and impact of SA in the Great Boston Region.
  • Serve as a regional thought leader and spokesperson on key issues relevant to SA.

Program Oversight and Staff Management:

  • Cultivate an agile team to define, organize, and implement action plans to achieve short- and long-term goals that support the vision and mission of the program.
  • Attract, engage, and motivate SA’s mission and results-oriented professional staff, by fostering an environment of innovation, collaboration, accountability, caring, and continuous improvement. Provide clear vision and direction to the team to ensure clarity on expectations and desired outcomes.  Ensure staff are empowered to drive the mission and vision of the organization and achieve desired impact. 
  • Effectively achieve organizational and program goals, ensuring integration across all areas and measuring programmatic impact towards attainment of SA’s mission.
  • Oversee development of program impact metrics and outcomes, ensuring creation of a system of ongoing evaluation, ensuring strong work plans and alignment among individual, team and organizational goals and priorities.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE/QUALIFICATIONS

SA seeks a dynamic, energetic, and innovative CEO, to serve as a passionate leader for the organization’s mission.  They will possess a minimum of 8-10 years of executive level leadership and management experience in a strategic, visible role. Building upon a strong legacy, they will bring a fresh approach to shaping the future of how SA will serve student athletes throughout the Region in a new era.   

Specific experience and qualifications will include the following:

  • Track record of impactful leadership, strategic creative problem-solving, and digital innovation.
  • Proven organizational management, business, and financial acumen within an organization of similar or larger scale and complexity.
  • An ability to forge trusting relationships with a broad range of diverse stakeholders, both internal and external to the organization.  Exceptional interpersonal, influence, diplomatic, and persuasion skills.  High EQ, collegial, and collaborative.
  • Exceptional gravitas, confidence, and communications skills to serve as the principal spokesperson for SA with diverse external audiences. A highly visible and respected partner within business and academic settings.
  • Analytical decision-making, with an ability to synthesize robust data to enhance engagement with both students and the public school systems, while driving the creation of future programming. 
  • Collaborative and team-oriented leadership style, with an ability to attract, engage, mentor, empower, and retain top caliber diverse talent.
  • Passion for nonprofit work, preferably in the field of K12 public education.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality; a clear commitment to and respect for diverse viewpoints.
  • Unquestionable integrity, credibility, and character.
  • Availability to travel, as needed.
  • Experience with complex educational systems, like the Boston Public Schools, a plus.

Necessary Attributes:

  • Candidate must possess Scholar Athletes’ Core Values: Driven, Committed, Focused and Innovative
EDUCATION

Master’s Degree Required; Ph.D. Preferred.

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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.

CM537

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