Senior Director of Program Design
Turnaround for Children, Inc. - New York, NY

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Organization Overview:

Turnaround for Children, Inc. works to transform low-performing, high-poverty public schools to bring about dramatically improved academic and life outcomes for children growing up in poverty. Through work in over 60 high-poverty schools since 2002, Turnaround has developed a model for equipping schools to address recurring and predictable barriers to learning and healthy youth development that arise from the circumstances of poverty.

Turnaround partners with schools, districts, and state education departments to build capacity and staff proficiency of schools serving high-poverty communities to optimize school performance and drive improvement in student behavior and academics.

Currently, Turnaround works to build the capacity of 22 high-poverty, persistently low-achieving schools in New York City and Washington DC.

Turnaround is at an exciting time in its development, as its approach to school transformation has begun to attract significant attention from policy makers and philanthropists, both locally and nationally, and it has become an important voice in the federal education policy discourse. Turnaround aspires to deepen its national impact by demonstrating the effectiveness of the model, expanding the number of schools and districts it serves, and advocating for the adoption of its principles and practices in state and federal education policies.

With a central office in midtown Manhattan and programs in New York City (the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and Queens) and Washington DC, Turnaround expects to continue to grow and add programs in New York City, Washington DC, and potentially new areas around the Northeast in the coming years. In addition, Turnaround envisions that its growth plan will include working deeply within some number of school districts, to reach the maximum number of high poverty schools and children. Our priority is proof of concept of the model, and depth of implementation at both the district and school levels within an existing school district partnership. Longer term, we see our end goal as embedding our principles and practices into how school districts design 21 st century high-poverty schools.

Position Overview:

The primary role of the Senior Director of Program Design is to lead the ongoing development of Turnaround's school transformation model, including defining and refining the content and training activities that TFC's field teams – educators and social workers - use to dramatically improve the capacity of struggling urban schools in three areas: establishing a safe and supportive learning environment, complete with a high-capacity student support system; strengthening teacher effectiveness as relates to engaging and motivating all students every day as learners; and enhancing leadership's capacity to manage a multi-year change process.

The Senior Director will build upon TFC's existing program to establish a strengthened 3-4 year model, and will drive annual refinements to the program and program content. Additionally, the Senior Director will help shape Turnaround's approach to working with districts to ensure the district's capacity to more broadly disseminate and sustain the work in the schools.

The Senior Director will help inform the decisions and activities of other departments across the organization, including the field technology plan, the program evaluation plan, and the school partner selection process. This is an exciting role for an accomplished, education professional looking to make a significant impact on a growing organization and positively affect the lives of students, teachers, and communities.

Primary Responsibilities:
  • In close collaboration with the VP for Programs and other key program, enhance the program model to maximize impact as per Turnaround's mission and goals; and ensure that program innovations have credibility (e.g. a strong research basis) and deep resonance in the market we serve.
  • Lead the development of the content and materials for successful implementation, including training protocols used by TFC field staff working at the school and district level.
  • Working in close collaboration with the Research and Metrics staff and the Director of Implementation, establish and maintain a system of regular observation and feedback gathering to ensure continuous program improvement.
  • Actively participate in monthly data reviews related to program delivery and implementation. Actively participate in semi-annual or annual data reviews related to program impact.
  • In close collaboration with the VP for Programs and other program department staff, develop workarounds for the most predictable and persistent barriers to program implementation.
  • Collaborate deeply with the Director of Field Staff Training & Development to ensure training and preparation of the field team to implement the program with fidelity. As necessary, provide direct support to the field-based Program Directors, Instructional Coaches, and Social Work Consultants.
  • Coordinate logistically and programmatically with external content partners or providers of professional development for the Turnaround field staff and/or school-based staff.
  • A minimum of five years experience serving in a school and/or district leadership role and, in such capacity, played a leadership role in a successful improvement process that led to measurable and sustained performance gains.
  • Proven capacity as a rigorous project and/or organizational manager. Strong project management, planning and communication competencies.
  • Demonstrated experience designing and providing professional development to adult learners that resulted in sustained changes in practice.
  • Background in literacy highly preferred.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the challenges facing high-poverty, low-performing schools and belief that the problems are not intractable.
  • Fluency with Microsoft Office Suite and experience using database systems
  • Master's degree required
  • A creative and innovative thinker with experience developing actionable and sustainable approaches.
  • Systems thinker that deeply understands the dynamics between the parts of the whole, and that believes sustainable systems change results when a limited number of high-leverage pressures are exerted in the right sequence, in appropriate measure, and with adequate supports.
  • Proven capacity to hold a vision in focus while managing the enormous number of details that make the vision possible to achieve.
  • Deeply appreciates the relationship between program design, implementation, and evaluation, and recognizes that our overall success is contingent on those functions acting symbiotically.
  • An independent and open-minded individual who values and appreciates diverse view points, input, and collaboration from various constituencies, but also knows how and when to make a decision, including difficult decisions. Exercises excellent judgment in decision-making.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Proven ability to articulate complex ideas to non-specialist audiences.
  • Will thrive in an entrepreneurial, fast-paced, and growing organization; an ability to tolerate a high degree of ambiguity.
  • Strives to constantly learn, grow, and reflect on her/his work
  • Willingness to travel regularly to school locations within and outside of New York City (e.g. Washington, DC), including some occasional overnights.