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Chief of Staff

Operations

This Position Has Been Filled

Overview

Fueled by a sense of urgency around improving outcomes for low-income and minority children, Bellwether Education Partners, founded in 2010, is national nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations – in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors – become more effective and achieve dramatic results, especially for high-need students.

Organization

An entrepreneurial, rapidly growing organization comprising a team of accomplished individuals with demonstrated experience and expertise in performance-driven education reform, Bellwether is mission driven and committed to a set of core values that guide our work. Leveraging our distinct organizational culture, as well as the combined skills and experience of our team, we are an “action tank” - at once a generator of innovative and purposeful reform ideas, as well as a provider of direct services and momentum-building activity to the field.

Bellwether’s programs and services are aimed at improving education at a crucial point in our country’s history when our goal of a more equitable democratic society, as well as our changing economy, demand dramatically better outcomes from our public education system. There is a growing community of performance-driven education reform leaders, entrepreneurs, organizations, foundations and public institutions that are spearheading fresh, creative approaches to better serve all students, especially those in low-income communities. These organizations and their supporters are demonstrating the promise of innovative solutions for closing the persistent achievement gap in public education.

As these organizations gain recognition and grow beyond the start-up stage, they need help to develop more sophisticated business strategies, more mature internal management systems, high-level thought partnership, and more diverse and deeper leadership capacity. Through a combination of grant-funded programs, and specialized, practical, and actionable services, Bellwether seeks to address these needs by focusing on three primary areas:

  • Policy advisory, thought leadership, and knowledge generation for the field,
  • Strategic advising and consulting, to address organizations’ most pressing growth and performance issues, and
  • Talent services, to place and support outstanding, diverse, leadership teams and to build sustainable, high functioning organizations.

We do not cover the waterfront like some large consulting firms; instead, by remaining strictly focused in our areas of expertise and the needs of underserved students in America, we provide unparalleled leadership, support, wisdom, and experience to help build the field of education change agents, and help the organizations they lead to have the greatest impact possible.

Our work is national in scope, and our team is primarily concentrated in four major cities: Boston, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco. While we maintain offices in these cities, our flexible working style enables our professionals to work where they have built their lives, thereby enabling Bellwether to hire the best person for each role, regardless of geography.

For more information on our organization, please visit: www.bellwethereducation.org.

Position

The Chief of Staff is a senior level position that provides direct support to the Managing Partner and the partner team in ensuring that Bellwether achieves its strategic objectives at the organizational level. Today there are five partners, and our growth plans envision a partner team of eight or nine within the next several years. The Chief of Staff will work closely with the partner team to lead the annual planning process, create annual budgets, ensure the Bellwether board is engaged appropriately and functioning well, develop the content and structure for team retreats, support and develop communication systems, coordinate meetings, and lead strategic initiatives and special projects determined by the partners as critical to Bellwether’s long-term success.

The Chief of Staff is accountable to the Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Mary Wells, who, in turn, will guide his/her work and invest in his/her professional development.

The Chief of Staff’s primary responsibilities and duties will be to:

  • Serve as critical thought-partner to the Managing Partner and to the Bellwether partner team, while providing sound counsel and maintaining complete confidentiality;
  • Work with the leadership team to lead the annual planning processes to ensure alignment with strategic priorities:
    • Clearly define and communicate clear outcomes and timelines of organizational planning process (organizational priorities and goals, staffing, budgets, individual goals), ensuring alignment across the organization during these planning processes;
    • Lead the effort to have disciplined processes to create and track progress against organizational priorities;
    • Articulate, track and ensure ongoing reflection on Bellwether’s Core Values.
  • Work with the leader of each business line to create annual budgets:
    • Aggregate data in Excel, offer a critical eye regarding different assumptions, and deliver an organization-wide budget based on input from each service line.
  • Ensure Bellwether board is engaged appropriately and functioning well:
    • Identify high priority topics for board input and draft agendas for quarterly board meetings;
    • Support the partner team in creating materials for board meetings;
    • Identify opportunities to engage board on strategic issues and follow-up with board members between meetings as appropriate.
  • Work with the leadership team to develop the structure and content for the full-team and Strategy team retreats:
    • Work with the leadership team to define objectives for each day and the structure and content of whole-group and breakout sessions, identify leaders for each session, lead in the development of content, and oversee the development of materials by team members;
    • Collaborate with Bellwether administrative staff who will manage logistics
  • Support and develop communication mechanisms among Bellwether staff:
    • Design communication norms to fit a growing, geographically dispersed organization;
    • Collect input from staff members on major decisions.
  • Support leadership team in coordinating leadership meetings and developing critical internal and external communications
    • Assist in developing meeting agendas and manage follow-up to key decisions;
    • Prepare briefings or materials in advance of important internal and external meetings
  • Lead Bellwether client and team feedback process:
    • Develop, deploy, and analyze a client survey to understand how Bellwether can continually improve its offerings;
    • Improve upon and deploy annual culture survey, annual operations support survey, and semi-annual upward feedback survey;
    • Develop end-of-project client debrief process and support implementation;
    • Prepare a summary presentation to share with Bellwether staff and the Board
  • Lead or serve as a critical team player on special projects:
    • Perform analysis and strategic consultation on major issues impacting the organization;
    • Prepare briefings, memos, or presentations to communicate findings;
    • Supervise team members who have assignments to support special projects;
    • Examples of special projects:
      • Identifying training needs and partnering with team members to develop content;
      • Partnering with the leadership team to advance efforts to build a diverse organization

 

Skills and Characteristics

Bellwether is a good fit for professionals who possess strong personal drive and motivation, demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values, and who are resourceful, responsible, tenacious, independent, and self-confident.

The ideal candidate will have formal experience from a management consulting or client services organization. In addition, the successful candidate will have:

  • exceptional reasoning, problem solving and strategic thinking skills and ability to think ahead and plan over a 1-3 year time span;
  • ability to build relationships and influence others by interacting with a broad range of stakeholders with different interests and needs;
  • a working understanding of a client/advisory services or consulting environment;
  • strong communication skills, both verbal and written;
  • proficiency in PowerPoint, including the ability to create clear, concise slides for an internal or external audience;
  • proficiency in Excel, including the ability to perform lookups, create pivot tables, analyze survey data, and build basic financial models;
  • ability to work proactively in an ambiguous, dynamic, entrepreneurial organization;
  • ability to manage multiple simultaneous deadlines while maintaining attention to detail;
  • maturity, humility, strong work ethic, sense of humor, and roll-up-my-sleeves attitude
  • comfort with occasional travel (2 – 4 times per year).

 

Educational background and work experience

 

  • bachelor’s degree from a competitive college or university;
  • M.B.A., J.D., or Master’s in Public Policy or Education preferred
  • 3-5 years project management experience, ideally in a client-service or consulting environment, with a track record of successful project management and management through influence and/or cross-functional leadership

The following training/skill set is ideal but not required:

  • demonstrable passion and commitment to working in the field of urban education reform; and
  • familiarity with the challenges facing urban schools and education reform efforts in the United States.

Compensation

Bellwether Education Partners provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package including a performance-based bonus based on individual and firm success, full health care coverage, and access to 401(k) accounts with a matching contribution policy.

Location

Flexible from a home office anywhere in the United States, or from the Bellwether office in Chicago, Washington, DC, or San Francisco.

To Apply

Bellwether Education Partners is committed to providing equal opportunities. We serve diverse organizations, and are committed to non-discrimination. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are treated equally without regard to age, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, expression, gender identity or veteran’s status.

The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications should consist of a letter of interest and a current resume and should be submitted electronically. Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to:

Leslie Nair, Associate Partner
Bellwether Education Partners

leslie@bellwethereducation.org