Executive Director, Chicago
Hiring Manager: Evan Stone, Co-CEO
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Job Level: 5 - Head
Our nation’s education system is leaving millions of students—including an overwhelming number of students of color and low-income students—unprepared for college, career, and life. While research shows that classroom teachers are the single most important in-school factor in improving student achievement, their diverse voices are consistently left out of education policy decisions. For far too long, teachers have been treated as subjects of change rather than as agents of change.
Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence (E4E) is a growing movement of 35,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to a quality education.
What We Do
Our Theory of Change is grounded in two long-term goals that are inextricably linked: better outcomes for our students and the elevation of the quality and prestige of the teaching profession. We achieve these goals by changing policy at the district, state, and federal levels and transforming our teachers’ union to be more student-focused, democratic, diverse, and anti-racist. United around our Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs, we are building a powerful movement to lead this change by:
- Organizing educators who share a common vision of equity and excellence in schools,
- Training and supporting teacher leadership, and
- Advocating for teacher-led recommendations at all levels of government, within teachers’ unions, and in the public conversation around education.
E4E envisions an equitable and excellent education system that provides all students the opportunity to succeed and elevates the teaching profession.
E4E organizes student focused, anti-racist educators, builds their leadership capabilities and collective power through issue-based advocacy campaigns, and supports them to take on positions of leadership in their schools, districts, and most importantly, in their unions. Through E4E, tens of thousands of educators have signed on to a common vision for elevating the teaching profession and improving student outcomes; thousands of teacher members have successfully advocated for and won equity and excellence focused policy changes in their local communities; and hundreds have trained for and taken on positions of elected and appointed leadership in their schools, districts, and unions.
E4E must build on this momentum while pivoting to meet the moment of dramatic crisis facing our students and teachers. We will be guided by the urgent goal of shaping policy solutions to help students, particularly low-income students and students of color, recover from a year of interrupted and unfinished learning, health and social emotional crises, and unrelenting racial trauma. We will do this by organizing and uplifting the collective voices of progressive, anti-racist educators who have also faced significant personal and professional challenges. Recognizing that our work is more urgent and important than ever, we are making strategic investments in our leadership team, infrastructure, and program model to further accelerate our efficacy and impact.
E4E remains committed to our Theory of Change and focuses on building power to transform teachers’ unions. Holding significant power and influence at every level of education decision making, unions must be a driving force for social and racial justice. It is essential that teachers’ unions rise to dual challenges of radically improving the education system for our students, particularly those who have been impacted by inequitable opportunities, while also elevating the teaching profession and better reflecting the diverse views and interests of their educator members. E4E works to create a more student-focused, anti-racist, democratic teachers’ union that exists as a powerful lever for progress.
E4E is seeking a dynamic leader to serve as the next Executive Director to lead our Chicago Chapter. This exciting role will set the strategy and vision for the chapter, own and implement the fundraising strategy for its next phase of growth, while also leading a high performing team. In addition to setting and leading E4E’s strategy, the Executive Director will be the external representative of E4E’s work in Chicago.
Reporting to one of the Chief Officers and serving as a member of E4E’s Leadership Team. The Chicago Executive Director will lead the Chicago team to deliver on E4E’s Theory of Change to improve outcomes for students, particularly those impacted by the opportunity gap, and to elevate the prestige and quality of the teaching profession.
Scope: What is the nature of the role? What is required? In this role you will:
Design and Execute Local Programs and Strategy in alignment with E4E’s Theory of Change
- Design and execute a local vision and plan for E4E-Chicago that works in concert with E4E’s theory of change, national strategic plan, and org-wide goals
- Evaluate opportunities within the local landscape for educators to influence critical decisions at the district and state levels
- Design strategies to cultivate teacher members to grow their participation and pursue leadership roles within their districts, states, and importantly, within their unions
- Lead the team to achieve chapter power building goals related to organizing, advocacy, and teacher leadership campaigns
- Create and implement metric based organizing goals aligned with national goals and priorities
- Manage data systems for evaluating progress toward strategic goals, ensuring that local objectives are met while also aligning efforts with the national organization
- Oversee advocacy campaigns that impact policies based on our local educator created policy recommendations rooted in the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs and aligned to our national policy agenda
Raise and Manage Funds
- Work in collaboration with the Midwest Regional Development Manager (who reports into the national team) and National Development Team to fundraise the annual chapter budget of approximately $1M
- Innovate and expand local fundraising activities, with a strong focus on diversifying our current funding base, particularly by cultivating new individual and grassroots donors, exploring earned revenue opportunities, and stewarding relationships with existing partners in partnership with the national development team
- Administer the local budget, ensuring fiscal responsibility and stability
- Manage a Local Advisory Board (LAB) to support the growth and stability of the Chicago Chapter
Build and Manage a High Performing Team
- Serve as a model of our core values and promote a strong team culture
- Recruit, select, coach and retain talented team members
- Manage towards ambitious programmatic and operational goals
- Coach and manage a team of six, including two direct reports, focused on the following priorities:
- Setting the vision for and managing execution of the chapter’s local strategy in alignment with E4E’s Theory of Change .
- The implementation of E4E’s grassroots organizing model; teacher leadership programs and event series; and supporting the Deputy Director, Campaigns in their direct management of a team of Organizers, who are our grassroots organizers.
- The effective implementation of a team culture that is aligned to our Core Values, especially DEI, and focuses on impact.
Represent E4E in the community
- Give speeches, author op-eds, attend education events and conferences, work with media, and engage with teachers and the general public to uplift the perspectives and ideas of E4E members
- Secure opportunities for teachers to share their voice directly in local media
- Build and maintain relationships with local policymakers, union leaders, key stakeholders, interest groups, and elected officials to support our local strategy
- Establish E4E-Chicago as a source for the opinions and perspectives of progressive educators on issues that impact Chicago’s classrooms
Serve on E4E’s Leadership Team
- Participate in Leadership Team (LT) calls, retreats, and Executive Director (ED) Cohort meetings, requiring quarterly travel
- Share input on key decisions that impact the entire organization and proactively develop potential solutions to the concerns identified for the betterment of our work, our culture, our staff and our whole organization
- Act as a two-way communicator between the local team and the Leadership Team and vice versa, elevating issues and communicating important information
- Engage in org-wide community-building and work teams (e.g. Diversity Council, identity-based learning communities, serve on hiring committees, etc.)
- At least ten years experience in leading others within the education, education policy, campaign organizing, and/or advocacy space, including at least five years of experience in one of the following fields preferred:
- Pre-K – 12 education, classroom teaching experience, community organizing, campaign organizing and/or union organizing
- Experience managing high-performing teams by setting clear, well-defined goals and managing to desired outcomes through layers,
- Political savvy and demonstrated track record of effectively navigating complex power dynamics and building coalitions,
- Demonstrated experience building partnerships; and/or prior experience within fundraising/development preferred,
- Experience managing or working on electoral campaigns and within or in partnership with labor unions,
- Experience serving as a face of an organization to external partners,
- A track record of successfully overcoming obstacles in challenging environments.
- A clear and effective communication style and an ability to empathize with and understand the perspectives of others,
- An acumen for building an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization,
- The ability to digest education policy information to inform organizational positions and stances, and
- The ability to build and maintain a deep knowledge of key Chicago and IL legislation, economic, social, and political trends and developments, including deep knowledge of the educational landscape; and their impact on the organization, its strategy, and its internal and external stakeholders.
Transportation: Often works out of the office, with 20% travel
Core Values: What beliefs do you embody? How do you approach your work?
- Respect and Professionalism: We act with personal responsibility, respect, and commitment to high quality work, to our organization and to each other
- Solutions Orientation: We consistently approach even the most complex challenges with positivity, proactive solutions, and the assumption of best intentions
- Growth Mindset: We intentionally create opportunities to develop ourselves and others in order to learn and continuously improve ○ Dynamic Leadership: We courageously take ownership, empower others, set bold visions, think strategically, and adapt to change
- Diversity and Inclusiveness: Educational inequity is linked to race, power, and privilege, and so we take action to shift this paradigm by reflecting on our own identities, creating an inclusive and diverse community, and leveraging our differences as strengths
Positional Skills - What can you do well?
- Setting Vision and Direction - Establishes a clear vision that is mission aligned, sets measurable goals and develops teams and activities to maintain alignment with this vision
- Leading Change/Change Management - Identifies necessary shifts in a timely manner, involves key stakeholders in the planning process, promotes buy-in & follow-through, and adjusts course as needed
- Ensuring Diverse and Equitable Environments - Offer appropriate levels of transparency into decisions, advocate and make cases for promotion when applicable, and promote healthy conflict without fear of retaliation
- Enterprise Leadership - Makes decisions in the best interest of the broader organization; constantly leveraging opportunities to advance or promote organizational goals and expand impact; addresses short term needs with the longevity of the organization in mind
Functional Knowledge - What do you know a lot about?
- Chicago education, political, and donor landscape
- Education systems and classroom practice knowledge
- Functional knowledge needed to lead an anti-racist organization
- Building effective teams
- Effective advocacy and organizing tactics/strategy
- Internal management of a small organization (i.e. budgeting, operations, development)
Educators for Excellence (E4E) is committed to valuing team members holistically in appreciation of their contribution to the organization’s success and for the good they create for society as part of our mission. While there are many facets of the “Total Rewards” package that come with working at E4E, compensation is a significant factor in a team member’s decision to work here. As such, we strive to attract, retain and reward top talent by offering competitive salaries and benefits that are equitably and transparently administered. Therefore, we do not engage in salary negotiations - our first offer is always our best offer!
The salary band for an Executive Director in Chicago is $130,000 – $168,000.
Within this range, our competitive, non-negotiable salary offer will be based on a candidate’s relevant experience and credentials, role-related competencies assessed through our robust hiring process, and geographic location.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
All new employees are required to comply with E4E’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, which requires all staff be fully vaccinated prior to the start of employment. An employee will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the requisite number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Employees may request an exemption as a reasonable accommodation due to a medical reason or sincerely held religious belief.
E4E abides by each state’s requirements, and acknowledges they may change over time. If you advance forward to an interview, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about this job requirement.
Benefits & Applying
Educators for Excellence (E4E) believes in providing employees with benefits to support self-care, wellness, and financial stability. We value the whole person and provide benefits such as; paid time off, health insurance plans, competitive salaries that include pre-tax benefits, and cell phone reimbursements. See more information about our benefits here.
E4E is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion or religious creed, mental or physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, or other characteristics protected by state or federal law or local ordinance. E4E has a zero tolerance for discrimination, racism, xenophobia or misogyny in any form in our workplace. We strive to create a workplace where everyone feels a strong sense of belonging.