Executive Director

Job description

Odyssey School of Denver is seeking a new Executive Director starting with the 2021-2022 school year. The Executive Director’s role is to advance the vision and mission of the school while fostering an inclusive school culture that demonstrates integrity, diversity, risk-taking, accountability and a relentless pursuit of academic achievement.

Odyssey School of Denver is a single site, Denver Public Schools (DPS) district-authorized charter school founded in 1998 that serves 262 students in K-8th grade. Odyssey primarily serves students from the near northeast and far northeast quadrants of the city, although some of our students come from west Denver, Aurora and beyond. Our student body is a diverse cultural and socioeconomic mix, with 45 percent identifying as students of color and 33 percent eligible for the Free/Reduced Lunch program. Odyssey is a high-performing Expeditionary Learning (EL) Education school that teaches students through expeditions: long-term, in-depth units of study across all disciplines (reading, writing, mathematics, humanities, and science). Each classroom has a focus on crew to teach and reinforce positive character and incorporates an adventure program in which every student participates in overnight camping and a range of challenging outdoor experiences. Our goal is to create an environment for our students to live the school’s motto, “Leap In. Get Stuck. Push Through.”

For the past several years, Odyssey has ranked as a “Meets Expectations” school through the DPS School Performance Framework (a district measurement for school achievement and growth). In 2019, the Odyssey community approved a multi-year expansion plan that will grow the school from 262 students to 316 by 2025.

We seek an Executive Director who is passionate about leading a diverse learning community committed to equity, character development, high-quality work, and adventure-based educational programming. A strong candidate will be solutions-driven, drawn to the sometimes messy work of innovating and leading through change, passionate about developing their team, and a strong learner.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

Leadership:

  • Inspire a culture rooted in deep learning, equity, and anti-racism for students, staff and community
  • Unify diverse constituencies toward a common mission and vision
  • Work to improve and rebuild (post-pandemic) a culture of engagement and participation among current parents, students, alumni and alumni parents
  • Ensure a safe and stimulating environment for students, staff and families
  • Lead the organization to successfully implement school’s expansion plan and evaluate progress and success of the work
  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors to set the strategic mission and vision of the school
  • Serve on committees including Staff Council, the Instructional Leadership Team, the School Accountability Committee, etc.

Academic Achievement:

  • Promote EL Education principles throughout school operations
  • Foster a culture of accountability and high academic achievement and growth
  • Lead initiatives to support and challenge all students, regardless of where they are on the academic spectrum, through rigorous and creative differentiation strategies
  • Use student achievement data effectively to refine and constantly improve students’ learning and character development
  • Eliminate achievement gaps across demographic subgroups at Odyssey (gender, race, income, native language)
  • Seek and leverage technology to transform teaching and learning in positive ways
  • Support curriculum advancements and requirements (ex. Common Core State Standards)

Communication and Development:

  • Build and continue to strengthen relationships with and among the school’s constituencies
  • Provide regular updates to the Board of Directors, Staff Council, and Family Council in scheduled meetings
  • Cultivate a culture of philanthropy and set annual fund, capital campaign, and other fund-raising goals in collaboration with staff and Development and Finance Committees
  • Initiate, plan, and implement fundraising efforts including grant-writing, tours and presentations in collaboration with appropriate staff and committees
  • Serve as the primary contact for partnership and charter management conversations with Denver Public Schools

Management of Organization and Staff:

  • Oversee all matters relating to employment of personnel, including:
    • Recruiting, hiring, training, supervising and dismissing employees
    • Setting compensation of employees (subject to the budget and compensation goals approved by the Board of Directors)
    • Establishing terms and conditions of employment
    • Assigning work and duties
    • Evaluating employee performance and supporting improvement in compliance with SB 191
  • Create clear expectations for staff, families, and students regarding race, anti-racism, and equity, and define a plan for the Odyssey community to actively grow and learn in this area
  • Manage Board-approved annual budget and long-term financial goals
  • Work with Board, staff and 3rd parties to ensure accurate accounting and annual auditing
  • Initiate, oversee, evaluate, and revise policies and processes to administer the school’s business affairs
  • Evaluate the school administration structure and recommend revisions to align with the school expansion
  • Oversee health, safety, security, and risk management policies and procedures affecting students, faculty, and staff
  • Assure that the school complies with applicable law

External Relationships:

  • Deepen relationships and partnerships with Denver Public Schools, and foster connections that promote context and knowledge of the public school policy and political environment in Denver
  • Build and deepen relationships with other single-site charter leaders in Denver
  • Maintain EL Education credentialed status and work toward mentor school status by:
    • Maintaining a high level of student achievement
    • Implementing habits of a learner (student character)
    • Promoting criteria for high quality student products
    • Promoting EL Education professional development for staff
    • Cultivating a partnership with EL through site seminars and classroom visits
    • Achieving high performance on EL’s implementation review

COMPENSATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Salary to be determined based on skill and experience
  • Medical benefits
  • PERA retirement benefits
  • Performance bonus potential based on annual goals set by the Board in collaboration with the Executive Director
  • On-going professional development with EL Education and other partners

REPORTING AND EVALUATION

  • The Executive Director will report to the Odyssey School of Denver Board of Directors. The board, in collaboration with the Executive Committee, will evaluate the Executive Director annually

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

  • We’ve compiled an extensive FAQ on the role and Odyssey. Please take a look. If you’re curious to speak with someone on the hiring committee, reach out to EDPosition@odysseydenver.org and we’d love to set-up a chance to talk.

Requirements

Requirements:

  • Has at least 8 years of leadership experience in K-12 education including curriculum or program development, implementing accountability measures, and designing professional development in support of high quality instruction
  • Must have teaching experience in a K-12 grade, higher education, or outdoor education setting
  • Demonstrated experience and competence in working with operations, finance, budgets, and financial planning
  • Demonstrated record of sourcing, hiring, and developing talent in teams
  • Lens for and experience with growing an equity-centered school culture and working across lines of difference
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully lead across lines of difference and create an anti-racist culture in an organization
  • Proven track record of driving high student achievement and growth, and eliminating any gaps in performance based on race or class

Preferred:

  • Previous working experience with Expeditionary Learning (EL)
  • Experience with a board of trustees or similar governance models
  • Previous experience working in partnership with a large oversight agency such as a school district