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Opportunity

With permission from Cristo Rey Network

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Founding Executive Director

New Pathways NOLA

Context

The most disadvantaged children in New Orleans and the schools that serve them exist amidst a profound set of systemic barriers to meeting each child’s needs. The manifestations of poverty and its associated stressors are uncommonly prevalent in New Orleans; too many children experience deprivation, trauma, and other environmental stressors that too often result in mental illness, truancy, behavioral challenges, violence, incarceration, health deficits, and addiction issues at rates far higher than national or state averages. Furthermore, the typical institutions meant to support young people with these challenges – hospitals, CBOs, school system services – either lack the resources to meet system-wide needs, have been dismantled in post-Katrina New Orleans, are fragmented, or never existed in the first place.

As a result, New Orleans has a large number of students whose needs outstrip the capacities of schools but for whom there is no obvious set of institutions from which to seek services outside the school. This is taxing both for schools, which are often consumed with serving such students, and for students and families, whose needs require more robust services. The system as it is currently structured does not stimulate activity in the private and nonprofit sectors, and this is precisely the gap that New Pathways seeks to fill.

Opportunity

In response to the challenges faced by our school community, New Pathways – an established but nascent 501(c) 3 – will support children in New Orleans whose needs go beyond the capacities of schools on their own. Rather than providing these services itself, however, New Pathways will match provider supply with need, expanding the base of available services through its understanding of the sector, public funding, and needed policy reforms. The success of New Pathways will be measured by its degree of responsiveness to the needs of public schools, its development of system-wide solutions where there are system-wide deficits, and its ability to work closely with government agencies and community-based organizations to develop, broker, and execute solutions to citywide problems. To achieve this, New Pathways will take on the following key functions in partnership with schools, non-profits, and government agencies in New Orleans:

  1. Assess need and demand for schools, programs, and services that address the most profound needs of students in New Orleans, in particular those students who have significant special needs, behavioral health challenges, are involved with the criminal justice system, or are otherwise at-risk of disconnection;
  2. Identify priorities in light of demand and nimbly pursue an agenda to meet students’  urgent needs;
  3. Expand quality providers, partners, and talent pipelines, and facilitate the creation of new entities to further meet needs;
  4. Capitalize school, program, and service expansion efforts through accessing education, health, and social services public funding streams and through attracting local and national philanthropic funding; and
  5. Advocate for the policies necessary for quality services at needed scale, including policies related to funding streams, accountability, and coordination.

The Role

As reflected in the steps above, the Founding Executive Director of New Pathways will be responsible for developing and executing a set of aligned strategies to dramatically improve the lives and outcomes of the least served young people in New Orleans.

This is a remarkable opportunity for the right leader to address community-recognized needs and play a critical role in making New Orleans a city in which every young person gets the educational services and therapeutic supports that they need to thrive. The ED will work closely with community stakeholders, including the New Orleans School Leader Forum, YouthShift, and the New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board to inform its strategic decisions. S/he will also collaborate with relevant staff at the Recovery School District, the Orleans Parish School Board, and other city and state agencies.

Key Responsibilities

Landscape analysis and assessment of services for students with significant needs

  • Assess the greatest obstacles and opportunities to meeting students’ needs in New Orleans, in partnership with the OPSB, the RSD, other community-based organizations, and his/her team;
  • Identify a formal set of focus areas based on this needs analysis and conduct a mapping exercise to gauge the supply and quality of service offers in each focus area; and
  • Provide a regular report on service quality and supply gaps throughout city.

Gather and steward a high performing group of individuals to launch New Pathways

  • Recruit, hire, train, and retain a team aligned to the priorities identified above;
  • Support the current 4-person Board of Directors in evolving into a larger and more comprehensive governing board;
  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors to create and refine strategic priorities and goals;
  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors to secure additional funding aligned to the 3-5 year strategic priorities (given that New Pathways will not be a provider of services, the organization will not be funded through IDEA, Medicaid, MFP, or any other large formula funds. Rather, the operating budget will rely on philanthropic capital, government grants, and administrative fees related to cooperative endeavor agreements); and
  • Manage the day-to-day start-up activities of the organization.

Expand supply of and access to quality programming

  • Lead efforts to expand quality providers and talent pipelines, including the creation of new entities if needed, to better meet needs of focus areas;
  • Capitalize expansion efforts by accessing education, health, and social services public funding streams and by attracting local and national philanthropic funding; and
  • Advocate for the policies necessary for quality services at needed scale, including policies related to funding streams, accountability, and coordination.

Desired Profile

The ideal Founded Executive Director will passionately believe that all young people, regardless of background, have the potential to achieve academic, professional, and personal success. This person will have a background in education, social, and/or behavioral health services and understand the critical nature of providing excellent parallel services to traditional public education to ensure that all students have the tools they need to succeed. S/he must be able to build bridges and make connections across all kinds of service providers in order to create an ecosystem of excellent services for the students who need them the most.

Desired Qualifications

Additionally, the successful candidate will have the following knowledge and skills:

  • knowledge of, and existing relationships within, the political, philanthropic, and public education landscape in New Orleans;
  • the ability to identify and build authentic relationships with stakeholders who are critical to achieving an organization’s mission;
  • the ability to develop effective strategies and execute them successfully;
  • the ability to coordinate, prioritize, and manage a variety of diverse and challenging tasks and systems while maintaining a high level of attention to detail; and
  • exceptional communication skills.

Next, the successful candidate will have the following professional experience:

  • at least five years of professional experience as a leader or as part of a leadership team in healthcare, public health, government, a school, or other youth-serving organization that has demonstrated success in a high poverty environment; this includes ultimate accountability for strategic planning and tactical execution experience as well as making resource allocation decisions;
  • experience in both public policy and organizational development;
  • experience building, leading, managing, and inspiring a high-performing staff toward results;
  • demonstrated fundraising success – with both philanthropic and public funding – to create a sustainable nonprofit organization;
  • experience working in the start-up phase of an organization; and
  • experience building and collaborating with boards of directors.

Finally, the successful candidate must possess the following personal attributes:

  • demonstrated commitment to the mission of the organization, including a deep commitment to improving outcomes for students in New Orleans;
  • a self-driven, entrepreneurial work ethic and a productive and engaged leadership style;
  • an interest in the challenges and opportunities associated with starting an organization;
  • authenticity; and
  • humility.

Reporting Relationships

The Executive Director will report to an independent, volunteer Board of Directors which currently comprises four members. S/he will have the opportunity to build a small team within the first year.

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Compensation

The Executive Director will earn a competitive salary, commensurate with experience.

To Apply

Inquiries and applications, comprising a resume and letter of interest, should be sent to: hiring@newpathwaysnola.org.