Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

KIPP Colorado Schools

Denver, CO   |   January 14, 2020

The Opportunity

KIPP Colorado Schools (“KIPP Colorado”) is seeking a dynamic education leader to serve as its next Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). This is a unique opportunity to oversee six community-driven public charter schools and the ongoing growth in the region, in collaboration with a passionate and dedicated school leadership, regional leadership team, board, and staff.

Committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the new CEO will be an inspiring and visionary leader responsible for KIPP Colorado’s consistent achievement of its mission, academic outcomes, cultural priorities, and financial objectives. The CEO will have the opportunity to refine and expand the organization’s vision, direction, and strategy, while developing and mentoring a leadership and regional team to support and operationalize that strategy. This is an exceptional opportunity for an experienced change leader to make their unique stamp on an organization with a culture of innovation and transformation.

This is also an exciting leadership opportunity for a leader to be a part the national KIPP network. Through high expectations for students and staff, world-class teachers and principals, more time in school, autonomy over budget and curriculum, and a focus on results, KIPP schools prepare traditionally underserved students for a choice-filled life. KIPP schools have been widely recognized for their success in doing so, and today KIPP students complete college at a rate that is above the national average and for all students and three times higher than that of students from similar socio-economic backgrounds. In 2019, 100% of KIPP Colorado seniors graduated from high school and 91% of alumni have matriculated to college.

About KIPP Colorado

KIPP Colorado Schools is a network of six free college-preparatory public charter schools open to all students. We are dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. We are part of the nationwide KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) network of 242 schools in 20 states and Washington, DC, educating approximately 100,000 students.


Our mission is to equip our students with the academic skills and character strengths necessary to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond.


Since our founding, our core belief is that all students, regardless of their zip code or demographics, will learn and achieve at high levels. We are committed to educating students who need us most and refuse to accept anything less than an excellent college-and-career-preparatory education for students from educationally underserved communities.


To create a great system of schools, it’s essential that we all have our eyes on the same goal for all students: career alternatives, college graduation and choice-filled life. At KIPP, teachers, leaders, students, and parents are all united around this goal. By providing outstanding educators, an extended school day and year, our KIPP Through College and Career program, and a strong culture of achievement, KIPP Colorado is helping all students build the skills needed to make it not only to, but through College and toward a life of choice and opportunity.

All KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles, known as the Five Pillars, that KIPP believes help to lay the foundation for students to perform at the highest academic levels: High Expectations, Choice and Commitment, More Time, Power to Lead, and a Focus on Results.

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Position Summary

The CEO is responsible for leading and managing the entire Colorado region of KIPP schools. The CEO designs and executes a strategic plan to ensure the excellence, sustainability, and growth of the region and its schools. The CEO is responsible for effectively managing and scaling the organization and is accountable, directly to the Board for the performance of the region and the schools within the network. The CEO will report to the Board of Directors and will manage the performance of the schools and the regional team.

Key Responsibilities

As the leader of KIPP Colorado Schools, the CEO is responsible for ensuring the high quality, strategic growth and operational sustainability of the region. In order to do so, the CEO’s key responsibilities include:

Developing and executing on the region’s vision.

  • Work with the Board, key funders and partners, and the leadership team to develop the strategic vision and implementation plan to accomplish it.
  • Set clear strategic and tactical academic, growth, operational, and financial goals to provide a strong academic and social network for KIPP Colorado’s students. Manage these goals and adapt as necessary given changes in internal and external environment.
  • Manage strong public transparency systems including public compliance and internal and external reporting.

Building and managing a high-performing regional team that is able to support schools in their drive to deliver transformational educational outcomes for students.

  • Recruit and develop leadership talent across the region, including school leaders, and regional team members across the external affairs, finance, and operations functions.
  • Build and support a strong, cohesive culture that reflects core KIPP values while maintaining responsiveness to local identity. Partner with the Chief Schools Officer to drive alignment across the region’s schools (including curriculum and instructional alignment), and provide key supports that drive academic achievement and character development.
  • Set strong and consistent standards and accountability systems to ensure regional progress toward shared goals. Promote transparent decision-making processes and embrace distributive leadership principles over time.

Building the short and long-term organizational capacity and brand required for excellence, sustainability, and growth in alignment with the KIPP National Strategy.

  • Build the staff capacity and infrastructure system necessary to sustain the region as scale and complexity grow. Develop region-wide standards and systems to meet the varied needs of a growing organization, including financial management, budget planning, compliance, human resources (including teacher and school leader recruitment and development) contract negotiation, facilities management, vendor management, fundraising and marketing, legal, and information technology.
  • Ensure that the region has a viable long-term financial plan and a diversified and sustainable funding base. Manage development efforts to meet ambitious annual goals by identifying, cultivating, and soliciting public, individual and foundation sources of giving. In particular, ensure that schools are maximizing all public revenue sources.
  • Oversee marketing efforts, branding initiatives, and advocacy work on behalf of the Colorado region at local, state, and national levels.

Engaging key constituents to build strategic support for KIPP.

  • Develop and maintain a strong, engaged, and active Board in close partnership with the Board Chair.
  • Build coalitions, relationships, and partnerships with key stakeholders in support of the organization’s mission and goals. This group of stakeholders includes the Denver Public Schools and other regional public schools, parents, donors, community members, elected officials, and leaders of community and political organizations.
  • Demonstrate leadership as a member of KIPP’s national network by fully engaging as a member of KIPP’s Executive Director community. Also, ensure key regional constituents are kept fully informed on key developments and national KIPP initiatives. Leverage opportunities to engage in national dialogue, as well as opportunities to design network process and protocol.
Core Competencies

The next CEO of KIPP Colorado Schools will be an inspiring, engaged, and collaborative leader with instructional and leadership experience and a strong track record in strategic change management. With a proven history of leading high performing teams, this individual will establish rigorous academic goals that challenge the status quo, while building consensus for bold ideas. This person will lead through change with an inspirational leadership style and a cohesive vision that engender broad support from the entire KIPP Colorado Schools community.

With a DEI lens, this person will possess an unshakable, deeply held personal belief that children growing up in low-income communities can achieve at high levels and can demonstrate exceptional personal character. They will be thoughtful and intentional about implementing values of DEI across the organization’s policies and procedures, in everything from hiring, training, and managing the staff to

partnering with board members and community members. The CEO will be results-driven, with a relentless focus on achieving exceptional outcomes for kids.

Additionally, the successful candidate will have the following professional competencies and personal characteristics:

Strategic and Visionary Leadership/Change Management: The CEO will be a driven and innovative leader with the ability to develop and articulate a vision for KIPP Colorado’s future as a leading CMO in Colorado. This leader will be future-oriented, promoting innovation and inspiring and energizing others. A natural consensus-builder, the CEO will create a culture where staff, students, and parents are invested in a cohesive vision for KIPP Colorado Schools.

While embodying the qualities of a visionary leader, the CEO must also be grounded in change management and results-driven work. This individual will enter the organization with the opportunity to redefine and operationalize a new strategic plan. The CEO will demonstrate the ongoing ability to diagnose critical areas for attention, and implement clear, action-oriented strategies that address KIPP Colorado’s priorities, opportunities, and challenges.

Talent and Organization Management: The CEO will have a thorough understanding of best-in-class management practices and will excel at building the talent infrastructure and implementing the systems required to ensure consistency of high performance and stability throughout the school network. This leader will promote a culture of collaboration and transparent communication across the organization and will inspire trust and confidence between the schools and the regional team.

The CEO will ensure clarity of roles, responsibilities, priorities, and goals for each school, as well as shared responsibilities across the school system. This individual will be outcomes driven and will demonstrate the ability to recruit, build, nurture, and retain a strong team of professionals focused on excellence, accountability, and efficiency. The CEO will be committed to improving retention and enhancing professional development opportunities for staff across the network.

Cultivating Culture and DEI Leadership: The CEO will work to establish a consistent, clear culture that staff and families can adopt and live by at all levels of the organization. This leader will model that culture in the regional office and will have a visible presence in schools to ensure that the culture is felt throughout every classroom. The CEO will focus on using this culture as a retention tool among staff.

The CEO will have experience working with diverse student populations and will bring a social justice mindset to the role. This empathic leader will have a deep understanding of issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will embed these ideas in the management of staff and the education of students. This person will be responsive to the needs of the KIPP Colorado community and will be respectful and mindful of the unique cultures represented among KIPP Colorado families.

Communications and Trust Building: The CEO will have a passion for the mission of KIPP Colorado and will be committed to an educational model that is place-based and responsive to the community. Ideally, this leader will speak Spanish and will establish strong, authentic connections with KIPP Colorado’s families. This empathic leader will have a deep understanding of issues of equity and will be responsive to and advocate for the needs of KIPP Colorado’s students and families.

Board Relations: This leader will have experience and credibility to partner with and manage the KIPP Colorado Board of Directors. This person will have experience with board development and recruitment and will have specific ideas for improving Board diversity. The CEO will work with the Board to establish better communication from the Board level across to the KIPP Colorado staff to ensure clear alignment on mission and vision throughout the organization.

Fundraising Expertise: The CEO will have strong capability to lead all fundraising initiatives for KIPP Colorado. This individual will be effective in identifying, cultivating, and enhancing partnerships with a variety of different funders in an effort to diversify the sources of revenue for the organization. Through persuasive communication and an inspiring personality, the CEO will differentiate KIPP Colorado Schools and its approach to education with funders. This leader will partner with the Board to ensure they are identifying and developing community partnerships that can help sustain and enhance KIPP Colorado’s schools and programs. The CEO will be responsible for improving the sustainability of KIPP Colorado’s fundraising strategy to better support the vision and academic goals of the network.

External Relations: The CEO will be the outward-facing voice of KIPP Colorado, helping to authentically communicate the organization’s vision, purpose, and impact to all stakeholders. This savvy leader will understand how to navigate the legal and political landscape of charter schools and will be confident engaging with elected officials, Denver Public Schools, and other external stakeholders from a diversity of backgrounds and identities in order to advocate on behalf of KIPP Colorado. This executive will be able to speak fluidly and extensively about KIPP Colorado’s history, impact, and future direction as they strengthen existing relationships and establish new partnerships.


KIPP Colorado has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Kara Teising. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or email Michelle and Kara at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director

Kara Teising
Managing Director

KIPP Colorado Schools is dedicated to equal employment opportunities and fair labor practices. KIPP Colorado Schools provides equal employment opportunities to all individuals based on job-related qualifications, and the ability to perform a job without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religious creed, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, legally protected medical condition, veteran status, sexual orientation, or on any other basis made unlawful by federal, state or local laws. It is our policy to maintain a non-discriminatory environment free from intimidation, harassment or bias based upon these grounds.

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