Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

Mount Tamalpais College

San Quentin, CA   |   September 22, 2021

About Mount Tamalpais College

The mission of Mount Tamalpais College (MTC) is to provide an intellectually rigorous, inclusive Associate of Arts degree program and college preparatory program, free of charge, to people at San Quentin State Prison; to expand access to quality higher education for incarcerated people; and to foster the values of equity, civic engagement, independence of thought, and freedom of expression. Mount Tamalpais College is a national leader in providing quality higher education opportunities to incarcerated people and in expanding access to higher education within California’s prison system and nationwide. In recognition of their work the organization was awarded the 2015 National Humanities Medal by President Obama.

Mount Tamalpais College is currently in a period of tremendous growth. After twenty years of operating a robust higher education extension site degree program at San Quentin, the organization is in the final stages of seeking independent accreditation. This major milestone requires operationalizing the strategic plan, building extensive infrastructure, and forecasting to ensure financial sustainability.

Mount Tamalpais College is guided by the following values:

  • Opportunity and Access. All people should have access to affordable higher education, and the opportunity to develop their human potential. Excellent academic preparation is vital to accessing the forms of social, political, economic, and cultural capital from which many have historically been excluded.
  • Excellence. Every person has the right to the highest quality academic opportunities, including highly skilled, experienced faculty and staff, intensive individualized support, and quality educational materials.
  • Independent, Critical Thinking, and Respectful Dialog. MTC’s central purpose as a higher education institution is to cultivate the capacity for independent, critical thought, curiosity, and listening. MTC values freedom of expression and civil discourse. The ability to communicate across intellectual, cultural, and ideological difference is vital for fostering healthy civil society.
  • Human Dignity. Honoring the individuality and unique backgrounds and viewpoints of every person. Every human being has intrinsic value. MTC promotes a vibrant and diverse community based on mutual respect and trust.

For more information on Mount Tamalpais College, please visit their website.

The Opportunity

Mount Tamalpais College is seeking an experienced senior leader to serve as its next Chief Operating Officer (COO). Reporting directly to and partnering with the President, the COO will serve as a thought partner and integral member of the senior leadership team and contribute to the ongoing development of strategic plans and goals. The COO will partner effectively with the President to provide the necessary leadership, vision, and management skills to effectively lead the organization through a period of critical growth and development. They will provide the leadership to accomplish the organization’s vision, direction, and strategy through operations management. Assisted by a management team and staff, they will oversee the organization’s day-to-day activities to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization’s strategic and annual plans.

The COO will be responsible for developing and implementing successful processes, systems, procedures to enable operational efficiency, cross-functional coordination, communication, accountability, and timely decision-making. They will steward the organization’s identity and culture through a time of significant transition. This role includes responsibilities for managing a breadth of critical staff functions and requires an individual who is both strategic and tactical. The COO will be a strong and decisive leader, who in partnership with the staff, will take risks, implement new ideas, support innovation, and foster creativity throughout the organization.

This is an outstanding opportunity for an executive with substantial operational experience, exceptional maturity and emotional intelligence, and a proven track record of creative problem-solving and change management to join an innovative, high-growth, mission-driven organization. This position will allow the President to shift their focus to external opportunities, resources, and future directions for the organization.

Key Responsibilities

Strategy, Vision, and Leadership

  • Collaborate with the President and senior management team to develop and implement the strategic plan.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of all internal organizational activity, providing problem solving and management support for all departments.
  • Ensure appropriate support, resources, communication and coordination between departments, and alignment with the strategic plan.
  • Serve as management liaison to the Board of Trustees and audit committee; effectively communicate and present financial matters at select board of directors and committee meetings.
  • Maintain continuous lines of communication keeping the President informed of all critical issues from daily operations to annual forecasting.

Human Resources and Organizational Culture

  • Provide for all staff a strong day-to-day leadership presence cultivating the values of the organization; supporting an inclusive and engaged work environment for diverse and talented individuals.
  • Lead development and consistent implementation of effective and efficient internal staff communications, collaboration, and productive meeting structure.
  • Promote a culture that fosters high performance and continuous growth and learning and that honors diversity in all its forms.
  • Direct and collaborate with senior management and HR team on efforts related to:
  • Coordinating and managing the development of the HR function including hiring of HR staff; and
  • Establishment of a comprehensive performance management process; and
  • Monitoring staff performance and development goals, setting objectives, establishing priorities, conducting annual performance appraisals, and managing compensation; and
  • Development and implementation of timely and appropriate staff training and development, prioritizing a supportive and collaborative approach; and
  • Ensuring that HR efforts are on track to support employee satisfaction, engagement, and performance in line with the overall operating model.

Operations Leadership

  • Conduct a thorough assessment of the internal infrastructure of the organization and develop and implement successful processes, systems, procedures to enable operational efficiency, cross-functional coordination, communication, accountability, and timely decision-making.
  • Oversee all management and operational systems, planning for future growth, systems, and resource needs.
  • Oversee and direct the work of the finance and operations team, including three staff and an outside CPA firm that provides support, reporting, forecasting, and audits.
  • Develop and maintain an appropriate system of policies and procedures, internal controls, accounting standards, and procedures.
  • Plan, coordinate, and execute the annual budget process.
  • Develop internal management reporting capabilities and dashboards.
  • Ensure that IT and operational functions are aligned with, supportive of and increasing organizational efficiency.
Candidate Profile

The COO of Mount Tamalpais College will have the following skills, experiences, and qualities:

Strategic Alignment and Execution

  • Experience serving as a strategic partner to a President/Executive Director/CEO, conceptualizing and analyzing problems and solutions in a proactive and creative manner, resulting in improved performance across the organization.
  • An ability to drive the execution of plans, cohesively across multiple departments and constituents and to measure against long-term goals.
  • Ability to effectively build an organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch workforce and processes that ensures organizational efficiency.
  • Proven track record of success facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a growing organization.
  • Proven ability to effectively interface with senior management, the Board of Trustees, staff, and external constituents, as needed.
  • Ability to think strategically, anticipate future opportunities, challenges, and trends and incorporate them into the organizational plan.
  • A strong track record of delivering results against ambitious goals.

Communications and Relationship Building

  • Strong communications skills; ability to convey, both verbally and in writing, goals, and objectives, particularly in the midst of change and organizational growth.
  • Superior management skills; ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers. Strong mentoring, coaching experience to a team with diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise. Proven team builder with ability to connect to staff both on an individual level and in large groups; capacity to enforce accountability, develop and empower top-notch leaders. Skilled at fostering trust and communication to contribute to a positive culture internally among staff.
  • Demonstrated cultural competency and ability to communicate and interact effectively with a diverse range of people.

Operational Excellence

  • Strategic and creative systems-thinker with a process mindset who has experience implementing best practices within a similarly sized and growing organization.
  • Broad experience with a full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, internal operations, communications, business analysis, information systems, and human resources.
  • Proven experience in implementing processes and managing the choreography of internal communications.
  • An understanding of and passion for organizational architecture and how processes and systems can uphold and further norms and values.

A Passion for the Mission

  • A passion for the mission of Mount Tamalpais College: to provide an intellectually rigorous, inclusive Associate of Arts degree program and college preparatory program, free of charge, to people at San Quentin State Prison; to expand access to quality higher education for incarcerated people; and to foster the values of equity, civic engagement, independence of thought, and freedom of expression.
  • A commitment to and experience upholding values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • A belief that the operational functions of an organization are critical to serving the overall mission.


  • Bachelor’s Degree required. MBA or other advanced degree preferred.
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in a senior management role in a high-growth organization.
  • Direct experience working in or with nonprofit organizations.
  • Higher education and/or college administration experience helpful.
  • Excellent judgement and creative problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive leadership.
Compensation & Benefits

Mount Tamalpais College offers competitive compensation, flexible work policies, and a collaborative work environment. The benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, and the full cost of each plan is covered by Mount Tamalpais College. Vacation and holiday pay, as well as opportunities for professional development are also offered. The annual base salary range for this role is $170,000 to $190,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Amy Shea and Jason Mannino are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Amy and Jason directly at [email protected]. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

We especially encourage applications from candidates of diverse socio-economic backgrounds; and/or who reflect the cultural, ethnic and racial diversity of our student body; as well as people directly impacted by incarceration. We welcome applicants who are LGBTQ and/or gender diverse.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Mount Tamalpais College provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type with regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit