Chief Executive Officer
Since 2010, ReNEW Schools has been reinventing education in New Orleans, actively changing the status quo with innovative ways to prepare students for college and beyond. Known for “running into the fire,” ReNEW is not just willing, but innately driven, to support all families, city-wide, including over-age students, and others who have been chronically underserved. ReNEW has transformed the city’s lowest performing schools into rigorous, college-preparatory institutions, employing a whole-school turnaround model. ReNEW’s unwavering belief in the ability of all children to learn underpins its academic philosophy, and permeates every aspect of its schools. By cultivating a strong culture that is anchored in high expectations for academics and behavior, ReNEW creates an environment that motivates and compels all children to achieve.
ReNEW is driven by its mission to ensure that students are academically and emotionally prepared to access the full range of life choices that are the fundamental right of every child in the city. Focused on results, ReNEW uses data to measure progress toward ambitious academic goals, and find solutions to overcome obstacles. ReNEW’s dedicated and talented team collaborates to serve students and assumes shared responsibility for their success. Reflective and committed to continuous improvement, ReNEW team members proactively offer and solicit feedback, maximize strengths, develop themselves professionally, and learn from their mistakes to give students the best education possible. They invent, refine, and imagine practices and policies to successfully meet students’ needs, and they establish schools as safe and exciting places of learning. Fueled by the promise that all children can learn, team members approach their work with joy and enthusiasm for the impact ReNEW Schools can make on the community and in recognition of their students’ achievements.
ReNEW Schools is proud to operate six distinct schools in New Orleans:
- ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy
- ReNEW SciTech Academy
- ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Elementary
- ReNEW Schaumburg Elementary
- ReNEW McDonogh City Park Academy
- ReNEW Accelerated High School
ReNEW also operates ReNEW Early Childhood Centers, designed to start students on their academic journey as early as six weeks old. These centers provide a comprehensive learning program to children before pre-kindergarten in safe and collaborative environments created for maximum academic impact.
ReNEW’s innovations and unique programming in turnaround, early childhood education, STEM, arts integration, and blended learning have allowed the schools to grow in both size and performance. When ReNEW opened its doors in 2010, only about 21% of its 1,300 students were on grade level. Today, ReNEW serves over 4,000 students, which represents 10% of public school enrollment in New Orleans. Some highlights of ReNEW’s success follow:
- Four of ReNEW’s elementary schools have grown at least 2 letter grades since turnaround
- 86% who took the Math LAA1 in 2016 either met or exceeded standards this year
- 83% of ReNEW’s students who took the ELA LAA1 in 2016 either met or exceeded standards this year
- 54% of ELL students across ReNEW's schools have demonstrated improved English proficiency from 2014-15 to 2015-16
- 100 students from ReNEW Accelerated High School earned their high school diplomas in the 2015-16 school year
At the end of last school year, ReNEW’s outcomes were called into question when allegations of test irregularities and special education non-compliance came to the attention of the Recovery School District (RSD) and ReNEW’s Board of Directors. The RSD and Board acted quickly, collaborating with external experts to conduct a thorough evaluation of ReNEW’s practices, and design and execute plans for corrective action and process improvement. Despite these challenges, ReNEW experienced another year of academic growth. These student gains, along with improved internal controls, a strengthened Board of Directors, and a high-functioning team, position ReNEW well, and justify optimism about its potential to have even greater impact and fulfill its mission in New Orleans.
At the same time, ReNEW’s next leader will oversee an organization at a critical juncture in its evolution. S/he must foster and sustain the culture of excellence necessary for every student to succeed academically and effect a more streamlined organization with deliberate structures and systems that support a focus on academic rigor, accountability, consistency, and collaboration across schools. Moving forward, the new CEO must engage with critical stakeholders to rebuild trust and confidence and shepherd the team to continue to innovate, define its vision for the future, move from good to great, and ultimately grow, adding more turnarounds to the network.
Ready to leverage its intense, school-level focus on academics, sophisticated use of high-quality data and assessments, effective teacher professional development programs that have yielded a growing pipeline of leaders, and a strong academic and student support services team, ReNEW will capitalize on its strong foundation and track record of success to respond to the demands of an increasingly competitive and ever-changing education landscape.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ReNEW Schools will provide organizational leadership, define organizational strategy, evaluate organizational outcomes and school performance, build organizational capacity, and develop the team to provide ongoing support to its schools.
Committed to ever-improving positive outcomes and increased impact, ReNEW’s CEO will be responsible for:
Strategic and Financial Planning
- Providing the leadership, vision, and strategic direction for ReNEW Schools
- Supporting ReNEW Schools through processes related to quality and sustainability
- Partnering with the Board and senior staff to prepare and implement multi-year programmatic, strategic, and financial plans
Leadership and Development
- Assuming ultimate oversight for the leadership, vision execution, and management of ReNEW schools, its budget of $55 million, and 550 employees, 75 of whom comprise the network support team
- Ensuring that the schools are delivering effectively on the core work of curriculum and instruction, partnering with the Chief Academic Officer to support high academic performance across all schools
- Intensively recruiting, developing, and cultivating high-caliber talent
- Planning and coordinating the delivery of support and services to school sites
- Reporting organizational results to governing Board of Directors including financial, academic, and operational data
- Developing policy recommendations for the Board’s consideration and action
- Advancing the mission of ReNEW by identifying and securing funding from foundations, corporations, and individual donors
- Communicating with local and national organizations committed to turning around failing and low-performing schools
Above all, the successful candidate will bring to the role a robust and specific vision for achieving improved academic excellence through rigorous and consistent instructional practice in each and every ReNEW school. S/he will possess the following professional skills and experience that validate his/her stated readiness to lead a complex, urban educational organization with an ambitious mission.
- professional experience as part of an executive leadership team in an entrepreneurial, academic setting that has demonstrated success – or significant improvement – in a high stakes, high needs context
- track record of creating the conditions for high performance and talent retention by fostering a results-oriented, productive environment of accountability
- experience effecting healthy change and creating organizational strength and synergy by encouraging collaboration and cohesion, and identifying and leveraging excellence in academic and business operations practice
- experience building and working with a Board of Directors
Additionally, qualified candidates will have the following skills:
- dynamic, visionary leadership, and the ability to spearhead the organization’s continued development and expansion
- the capacity for authentic engagement, including the ability to convey ideas and positions to numerous audiences, including district leaders, funders, principals, teachers, community groups, students, and families
- political savvy and instincts sharp enough to navigate and establish productive relationships across the New Orleans educational, philanthropic, and political landscape
- strong background in management, budgeting, strategic planning, and school leadership
- knowledge of local, state, and federal laws that apply to public and charter schools, as well as an understanding of, and appreciation for, the history of education reform in New Orleans
And finally, s/he must possess these personal characteristics:
- authenticity, a strong work ethic, and an inspiring, supportive leadership style
- the executive presence and integrity to inspire confidence and passion, and the persistence, zeal, and spirit to lead a mission-driven organization toward ambitious goals
- the tendency to thrive in the face of challenge and exhibit drive and determination in the face of setbacks
- the gravitas and sophistication required to be the public face of ReNEW, and the eloquence and persuasiveness required to serve as a spokesperson to a wide variety of audiences
- commitment to continuous self and organizational improvement
- a collegial style that reflects mutual respect, and a sense of humor that engenders trust and teamwork
The CEO will report to the Board of Directors. Currently, the CEO has four direct reports comprising the President, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief of School Leadership.
ReNEW believes that people are the key to students’ success, and support employees with a competitive compensation and benefits package, including a comprehensive benefits plan that covers the majority of the employee premium for the two medical plans offered. Other benefits include dental and vision plans, disability, life insurance, generous vacation time, professional development, and a 401k plan with 4% employer matching.
The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications, including a cover letter and resume, should be submitted electronically, and will be considered on a rolling basis. Nominations, applications, or inquiries about the position and/or the search process should be directed to Leslie Nair via email@example.com.