Executive Director, DC Metro

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
About The Organization

Higher Achievement believes that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We work to close the achievement gap for motivated - yet underserved - students from low-income communities. We intervene during the critical transition to middle school by providing year-round, multi-year support for students in the 5th – 8th grades. As students prepare to graduate from our program in the 8th grade, we help them transition successfully to advanced high school programs that keep students on track for college. As a result, 95% of Higher Achievement scholars graduate high school on time.

Founded in 1975 in Washington, DC, Higher Achievement has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young people and currently operates achievement centers in Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Baltimore, MD, Pittsburgh, PA, and Richmond, VA. Higher Achievement’s award-winning model of rigorous academic mentoring, individualization of services, and comprehensive academic support is guided by leading research for effective out-of-school time programs. More information about Higher Achievement, including recent press mentions and awards, may be found at: http://www.higherachievement.org.

Although Higher Achievement has operated in the DC metro area for more than 40 years, the organization is experiencing an unprecedented amount of growth that is fueled by a Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. This grant, coupled with a new strategic plan, is allowing Higher Achievement to further test its impact, serve more scholars, and scale to new centers.

Position Summary: Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Executive Director (ED) will have overall operational responsibility for the DC Metro (DCM) affiliate. With 500+ scholars, 35+ full time staff, 300+ mentors, 75+ part-time staff, multiple school and district partners, 40+ advisory board members, the ED must be adept at relationship management, senior staff management, broad stakeholder engagement, and visionary leadership. The ED directly manages the Deputy Director and the Senior Director of Development and Engagement.

Key Responsibilities:
Strategic Leadership and Management
  • Act as an inspirational leader - externally and internally - who actively engages and energizes Higher Achievement scholars, families, staff, volunteers, partner organizations, and funders
  • Leverage the DCM senior leadership team to utilize skills across departments and meeting affiliate goals for program outcomes, fundraising, financial excellence, and staff engagement
  • Maintain ultimate responsibility for local programmatic excellence and rigorous program evaluation through management of the Deputy Director
  • Provide strategic guidance and thought partnership on human capital strategy management for the affiliate
  • In conjunction with the Deputy Director, nurture existing school district and partner relationships, building new, strategic partnerships to support growth and sustainability
  • Maintain ultimate responsibility for the DCM operating budget, including expenses, revenue, and grant compliance
Development, Fundraising, and Communications
  • Responsible for meeting the affiliate annual revenue goal (currently $4.2 million)
  • Supervise the Senior Director of Development and Engagement, and oversee the implementation of a multi-year fundraising plan, mapped to anticipated growth and the need to diversify funding sources.
  • Develop rich and meaningful relationships with a wide and growing body of supporters to support the annual revenue goal, including local public, foundation, corporate, and individual investors.
  • Play a highly visible external role and serve as the main ambassador and champion for Higher Achievement and its scholars across the DC metro area
  • Build external relationships that support the development goals and the long-term sustainability of Higher Achievement including:
  • Cultivating new prospective donors
  • Stewarding returning donors
  • Networking and connecting with ambassadors
  • Steward and grow local champions on the advisory board ("The President's Council") to meet fundraising goals and enhance Higher Achievement's profile in the community.
  • Through the management of the development team, ensure the continued success of a major annual gala fundraising event that raised $1.4m in 2016, including managing high-level relationships of Gala Committee members​
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  • Commitment to the mission and work of Higher Achievement
  • Ability to compellingly convey Higher Achievement's mission, impact, and needs across the community in an authentic way that honors our scholars and their families
  • Ability to leverage diverse stakeholders toward a common goal of student achievement in the DC metro region
  • Minimum of 15 years overall experience strongly preferred; minimum of 5 years senior management experience required, including experience managing senior managers
  • Experience managing a budget of at least $4 million and knowledge of nonprofit revenue sources
  • Demonstrated fundraising experience including:
  • Highly skilled in relationship building and connecting people
  • Experience making asks and closing gifts
  • Demonstrated success in individual and corporate fundraising preferred
  • Familiarity with the Benevon model of individual fundraising a plus.
  • Experience building and maintaining within-sector and cross-sector partnerships, and when necessary, problem solving through partnership challenges and conflict
  • Track record of effectively leading an outcomes-based team/organization using data to drive decision making
  • Excellence in organizational management with the demonstrated ability to coach, manage, and develop high-performing teams
  • Strong skills in planning, organizing, attention to detail, and oral and written communication, including strong presentation skills
Higher Achievement Core Competencies: Higher Achievement believes that the following core competencies enable our employees to be successful, and as such, we expect that competitive applications will be able to demonstrate strengths in these areas:
  • Proactively builds relationships to advance Higher Achievement's mission.
  • Uses candid communication to express ideas and to listen to the thoughts and feedback of others.
  • Persistently pursues excellence by holding oneself to high expectations and seeking the best.
  • Possesses a growth mindset for learning new things and stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
  • Maintains a solutions-oriented mindset during planning periods and when challenges arise.
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