Organization: School Food FOCUS

Location: New York, NY

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School Food FOCUS (FOCUS) is a national collaborative that leverages the procurement power of large school districts to make school meals across the country more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. Our vision is to ensure that all children have equal access to healthful and delicious school meals, providing them greater opportunity to achieve academic success and engage as vital members of the community.

FOCUS’ innovative approach demonstrates how leveraging procurement power can shift market demand and create a food system that is healthier for our children and the environment. We work across regional and national supply chains, from farmers and manufacturers to processors and distributors, demonstrating how collective knowledge and buying power can drive meaningful change in our food system. Our work is geared toward collective action and results with measurable outcomes.

FOCUS seeks a dynamic, organized leader to direct program development and implementation during an exciting period of growth for the organization. The Director of Program Strategy & Operations (Director) will oversee all aspects of program design, delivery, and assessment for FOCUS Learning Labs, in addition to managing a growing staff and team of consultants. Reporting directly to the Deputy Director, the Director will play a key role in making top-level management decisions as part of the executive leadership team and ensuring the alignment of programming with organizational strategy and vision.

This is a full-time position based in New York, NY.

Candidate Profile:

The Director of Program Strategy & Operations will lead FOCUS’ programmatic activities, supervise program staff, and hold ultimate responsibility for the success of the activities of FOCUS’ Learning Labs.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Serve as a member of the executive leadership team and work collaboratively to drive organization-wide strategy, vision, and decisions
  • Oversee all programmatic activities and department budgets, including creating budgets for grant proposals
  • Spearhead the continued refinement of a systems-change program model and delivery structure for maximum effectiveness
  • Lead the design of robust strategies for leveraging direct impact to achieve food systems change in partnership with the Communications Director, Deputy Director, and Executive Director
  • Manage, mentor, develop, and grow a capable program staff using a collaborative and goal-oriented approach
  • Develop and implement strategies that maximize synergies among program areas in partnership with the Deputy Director; encourage collaboration and strong communication across teams and operations to advance organizational goals and ensure efficiency
  • Create and standardize internal systems and processes for programs function
  • Set and deliver on ambitious performance targets and guide staff through a period of strategic growth
  • Work closely with staff to develop strategic performance measurements across all programs, ensuring consistent, high-quality evaluation and goal setting
  • Maintain effective stakeholder relationships and management with 43 school districts, hospitals, their community partners, allies, and funders
  • Liaise with external stakeholders and other partner organizations to strengthen network value, program fidelity, and impact
  • Recruit, hire, and oversee the training and onboarding process for program staff members; promote mission-driven culture of collaboration and accountability within the program team
  • Facilitate the creation, selection, and dissemination of program resources and best practices


Successful candidates will possess a bold and creative spirit, have excellent capacity to juggle and integrate multiple programs, appreciate the challenge of working with uncertainty, learn on the job from teammates, and be ready to utilize both successes and challenges to expand FOCUS’ impact.

  • Ten years of experience in program development and staff management
  • Masters degree preferred, particularly in areas that address education, public health/administration, and/or food systems
  • Experience working with PK-12 schools and/or districts preferred
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and experience in managing collaborative, participatory processes
  • Outstanding team leadership and management capabilities with proven skills in managing, coaching, and building formidable teams
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • A data and accountability mindset
  • Adept at building systems and processes to facilitate growth and effectiveness
  • Ability to thrive in a high-growth, entrepreneurial, and largely remote environment
  • High level of flexibility and ability to adapt to shifting priorities
  • Proactive attitude; someone who takes initiative and has a sense of humor
  • A high degree of intercultural competence and emotional intelligence

Compensation & Benefits:

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


School Food FOCUS has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Sam Simmons here.

School Food FOCUS, a project of Tides Center, is an “at-will” and equal opportunity employer. Applicants and employees shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy and gender expression) identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.

Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit