Aspire Public Schools operates 40 high-performing, college-preparatory public charter schools serving 16,000 students in underserved communities across California and in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1998, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest open-enrollment public charter school systems serving predominantly Latino and African American students, and delivering a rigorous College for Certain education to students in grades TK-12.
Our promise at Aspire Public Schools is that every child receives a high-quality education to prepare them for success in college, career and life. Every day, our community of students, parents, teachers and staff come together to learn and grow so that every child’s aspirations are within reach. Currently in its 17th academic year, Aspire is one of the nation’s first charter school systems.
Reporting directly to the CEO, the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) will serve as a member of the Senior Leadership Team, and will lead a core part of Aspire Forward, a 5-year strategic plan the organization is embarking on. The CAO will be responsible for the network-wide design and development of its TK-12 instructional program, ensuring cohesion and rigor across all subject areas in support of Aspire’s five-year ambition to quadruple the number of college-ready Aspire students by 2022.
Utilizing a collaborative, entrepreneurial style, the CAO will own the development of a focused program to deliver strong student achievement results while narrowing the disparities between the highest and lowest performing students and realizing the Aspire mission for all students and families. The CAO will cultivate a culture of high expectations in which every student has equitable access to high quality and culturally relevant instruction.
In the near-term, the CAO will focus on the design and development of Aspire-wide program components in core subjects (Math, English-Language Acquisition, Social-emotional Learning, and Science). The CAO will oversee central content teams and Aspire-wide programs directly related to the instructional program including Special Education, Postsecondary Access and Success, Blended Learning, and Expanded Learning (after school program). This role will partner closely with the Chief Schools Officer (CSO) to support a successful implementation of the newly developed Aspire-wide instructional program.
The CAO will be responsible for the following:
- Instructional Program Design & Development: Provide vision, leadership, and direction to the Aspire-wide academic team in the research and development of a high-quality instructional program to maximize student achievement and whole child development. In partnership with the Senior Leadership Team, define and co-own Aspire’s College Readiness Metrics. The CAO will use a lens of continuous improvement to lead, refine, evolve and innovate within the instructional program.
- Ensure that the College for Certain mission of Aspire is reflected in its instructional program and that a high-quality college preparatory program is being offered from TK-12 that aligns to Aspire’s college readiness metrics and commitment to post-secondary success
- Ensure that curricula and assessment are aligned to Common Core and state standards and allows for efficient and effective pacing, sequencing and lesson planning
- Provide leadership and support on adopting research-proven, standards-based instructional and assessment practices
- Identify, cultivate and disseminate curriculum innovation across the network including the selective integration of technology/blended learning strategies and post-secondary success practices
- In close partnership with the CSO, support school leaders in creating coherence in instructional practice / routines and optimizing student learning outcomes within schools
- Continue to improve Aspire’s English Language Development strategy with an eye toward strengthening the way we support the achievement of our ELL students and ensure that schools are implementing English Language Development services
- Continue to improve the SpEd program with an eye toward strengthening the way we support the achievement of our students with special needs and ensure that schools are implementing best in class programs
- Continue to develop and embed Culturally Responsive Teaching practices to strengthen the experience and outcomes of Aspire’s diverse student population
- Oversee the development of a robust set of resources designed to support our students and their families to identify, apply, and matriculate to the “best-fit” post-secondary option
- Lead continual improvement of the Expanded Learning program as an extension of the Aspire instructional program to maximize the opportunity for students to master concepts and engage in extracurricular activities
- Identify best practices and assets within Aspire and nationally to drive the continuous improvement of the Aspire instructional program.
- Team Management: Build and manage a strong academic team of 10-20 teammates that includes Aspire-wide content and program teams (ex. Special Education, Postsecondary Access and Success, Blended Learning, and Expanded Learning).
- Senior Leadership Team: Help shape and define Aspire’s overall strategy and play a lead role in establishing Aspire’s instructional strategy. Work in close collaboration in particular with the Chief Schools Officer on the effective and consistent delivery of the Aspire instructional program.
- Professional Development: Partner with the Chief Schools Officer and Chief People Officer to support the development of a robust and impactful training, development, and coaching plan for school leaders, educators, and other instructional staff.
- Equity: Build strong relationships with the broad Aspire community (students, families, teachers, leaders) and leverage their input in continuing the development of Culturally Responsive Teaching practices. In partnership with the Chief People Officer (CPO), develop measureable outcomes to monitor progress and continuously improve our efforts of creating academic equity particularly for Latino and African American students.
- Culture: As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, support Aspire’s efforts to name, nurture, and cultivate key aspects of organizational culture combining both aspects that have contributed to historical success and new attributes required to support the 5-year strategy. Make recommendations for organizational structure to facilitate a healthy, unified culture among school sites, regions, and Home office, to ensure teammates feel valued, supported and inspired.
The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following professional competencies:
- Instructional Leadership: Understanding of current best practices and research in instructional leadership, particularly for Latino and African American students. Knowledge of the philosophies, principles, and practices of public school administration; state and federal curriculum standards/guidelines; current literature, trends, and developments in the fields of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development.
- Strategic Leadership/Staff Management: Experienced professional with demonstrated ability leading and inspiring a team to achieve exceptional outcomes. Creates a climate that finds joy in defying the status quo and fiercely modeling excellence for the team; nurtures commitment to a common vision of Aspire students achieving their potential and shared values of creating a more equitable society; gives people opportunity and latitude to develop, grow and succeed; inspires others to take on new challenges. Champions new ideas and initiatives and decisively confronts and resolves issues.
- Relationships & Collaboration: Able to build and sustain excellent relationships both inside and outside the organization; relates well to different levels (supervisors, peers, direct reports,); encourages input and ideas from others; fosters collaboration across the organization; removes barriers to collaboration and teamwork; manages differences with diplomacy.
- Passion for the Mission: The CAO will demonstrate, through their career and their personal stories, a deep commitment to improving lives through education with a particular focus on eliminating disparities in communities of color.
The ideal candidate for this position will also possess many, if not all, of the following professional qualifications and personal qualities:
- Proven track record of leading efforts to deliver strong student academic outcomes.
- Demonstrated success leading school improvement initiatives that improve student achievement in a meaningful way for all racial, ethnic, and economic groups.
- Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, growing entrepreneurial organization.
- Experience in supervising compliance with federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies.
- Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills.
- Adaptability and humility. Thrives in a changing environment and demonstrates a lifelong commitment to learning and flexibility.
- Master’s degree in Education
- A minimum of five years of experience successfully driving student achievement as a principal or school leader, with experience working in urban communities strongly preferred.
Compensation & Benefits:
Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.
Aspire Public Schools has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy here.
Aspire Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.
About Koya Leadership Partners:
Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education 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, visit www.koyapartners.com.