Chief Academic Officer
Ascend Learning - Brooklyn, NY

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Reporting directly to the CEO, the chief academic officer will be a central member of the leadership team, responsible for managing and coaching the directors of the schools, fostering the No Excuses school culture in every school, and improving and implementing Ascend Learning’s educational model to drive student achievement.

This is an ideal opportunity for a dynamic and visionary instructional leader to play a critical role in expanding and shaping a premier K-12 charter management organization committed to helping students reach high levels of academic achievement.

Responsibilities will include:

- Collaborate with school directors, their leadership team members, and the CEO and COO to refine, articulate, and continuously improve Ascend Learning’s educational model to achieve targeted academic results

- Function as a key member of Ascend Learning’s executive team ensuring the precise implementation of the research-proven instructional system licensed from SABIS

- Ensure a strong No Excuses school culture, consistent with Ascend’s principles, in each of the schools, i.e. a culture that assertively shapes students’ habits, values, and aspirations; sets unrelentingly high expectations for student performance; and insists that every child is destined for college

- Over time, lead the hiring, development, coaching, and evaluation of Ascend Learning’s school directors and foster a culture of relentless self-improvement across schools

- Regularly employ both formal and informal means to gauge the performance of each of the schools and the school directors

- Work to identify and develop internal candidates for school leadership roles and provide them with guidance and feedback along the way

- Work with school directors and their management teams to develop system- and school-level academic goals and to implement all components of the Ascend Learning educational model at each school

- Partnering with the director of data and analytics, work with school directors to interpret and use assessment data to drive instruction and student achievement

- Create processes and practices for long-term educational planning

- Provide professional development and instructional coaching to a range of instructional leaders and teachers

- Provide assistance with analysis and follow-up on assessment data

- Working with the COO, assist school directors in analyzing budgetary decisions in terms of impact on student achievement vs. financial cost

- Collaborate with the larger Ascend team in the areas of recruitment, human resources, operations, technology, development, and other areas as needed

- Promote regular and productive communication between Ascend Learning’s schools and school leaders

Education and experience

- Bachelor’s degree, with advanced degree preferred

- Significant experience as an instructional leader elevating student achievement in urban classrooms

- A strong understanding of pedagogy and proven track record using data to drive results

- Exceptional leadership experience, preferably working directly with young people in urban communities

- Experience managing high-performing teams as a school, building, or network leader in an educational setting

Skills, traits and beliefs

- Strong management skills, including the emotional intelligence to work effectively with diverse leaders and leadership teams and to develop their capacities

- Profound technical knowledge of instruction to assist school directors in making sound implementation decisions while maintaining fidelity to the program

- Relentless commitment to preparing every student for college

- Ability to be a bold, tireless, and engaging change agent and culture-creator; a visionary; a leader who inspires and motivates children and adults

- Commitment to improving the minds and lives of students from underserved communities, and dedication to doing whatever it takes to help all the schools’ students achieve academic success

- Passion for academic learning and insistence on academic excellence and rigor at all times

- Exceptional self-motivation, entrepreneurial spirit, and team orientation

- Problem-solving skills, with a combination of confidence and humility

- Effective and winning communication skills, both oral written

- Collaborative decision-making style, with a proven track record of working with individuals at all levels to drive decision-making and results

- Self-awareness, including an accurate assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses

- Ability to treat all members of the Ascend community with respect

- Absolute integrity

- Alignment with the education philosophy and core beliefs of Ascend Learning including:

- The belief that every child—not just the gifted—can achieve proficiency in the academic subjects and gain admission to college or university

- The belief that steady advances in student outcomes can only be achieved if students’ knowledge is, from the earliest grades, built like a house, floor by floor, with the certainty that every precursor concept has been demonstrably mastered before the next is taught; and the understanding that instruction must at all times be clear, intentional, and engaging

- The belief that school leaders and faculty must constantly measure the impact of their instruction and the progress of their school


The compensation package is commensurate with experience and includes competitive benefits.

Application instructions

Qualified individuals please apply online at:

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Ascend Learning is a world-leading education technology company serving healthcare and other high-growth career industries. We produce...