College Track is a comprehensive college completion program that empowers students from underserved communities to graduate from college. From ninth grade through college graduation, our 10-year program removes the academic, financial, and social-emotional barriers that prevent low-income and first-generation students from earning their college degree. In 1997, we started with 25 students in East Palo Alto, and today, we have ten centers located in underserved communities across California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area with more than 3,000 students on the path to upward social mobility.
At the onset of a 2024 planning cycle, College Track is poised for its next phase of growth, innovation, and impact. With a mission to “empower students from underserved communities to graduate from college,” we aim to reach a goal of 70% of our students achieving a college degree within 6 years of matriculating from high school.
The Chief Program Officer (CPO) is a newly created position to lead the continued evolution and refinement of College Track’s 10-year program model. Reporting to the CEO and serving in highly visible role on the national leadership team, the CPO will champion efforts to growth the size, scope, and effectiveness of the program, increase the efficacy of regional and site staff, and support college students and graduates as a force for change.
This opportunity calls for a strategic program leader who is talented at executing through organizational layers, focused on continuous learning and improvement, and energized to take a successful program to a new level of performance and impact.
Primary responsibilities include:
Provide forward-thinking strategic leadership for College Track programming
Develop and implement a vision that encompasses College Track’s multiple program elements (Academic Affairs, Student Life & Wellness, College Completion, and Scholarships and College Affordability.)
Leads the organization in short-term and long-term planning for immediate and anticipated program challenges, putting solutions into place to mitigate risk. Balance bold thinking with pragmatism, setting goals and priorities that increase College Track’s capacity to deliver strong outcomes.
Oversee the conception, piloting, operationalization, evaluation, and continuous refinement of innovation initiatives, ensuring innovation efforts align with program goals.
Ensure that experiences and voices of students, alumni, and program staff inform programmatic direction, and that the organizational vision for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DEI) is incorporated into all facets of the program.
Strengthen core program model and team performance
Optimize the program staff structure to allow all program staff to operate at their full potential, including effectively allocating and developing talent. Ensure national programmatic supports are aligned with the on-the ground needs at the site level.
Establish and manage to program performance standards of accountability across the entire network of sites in order to achieve measurable and replicable outcomes and maximize efficiencies of scale.
Facilitate the sharing, use, and management of knowledge and information across the College Track network, with an emphasis on capturing best practices, developing standard curriculum and tools, and creating a “program playbook” for all staff to utilize.
Oversee nationally-led program functions inclusive of Quality & Learning, Design & Innovation, Knowledge Management, Site Operations, and Scholarships and Affordability.
Develop and manage a team of VP, Director, and Manager-level national program staff, as well as serve as a coach and mentor to all national and regional program staff.
Serve as a highly visible and collaborative leader
As a member of the Executive Team, contribute to the development and implementation of overall organizational vision and strategy, model our core values, operating principles, and DEI commitments.
Provide leadership in network-wide communications, ensuring that critical information is readily available to, understood by, and shared across the network.
Foster collaboration and two-way feedback across and within the national and regional teams.
Serve as a mentor and role model for all team members, supporting a culture of learning, feedback and continuous improvement.
Broaden College Tracks’ access and exposure to thought leaders, researchers, and practitioners in the college access/completion space; ensure that College Track program outcomes are leveraged for community impact.
The Chief Program Officer will embody College Track’s values and lead with commitment, passion, joy, authenticity, and excellence.
Specifically, candidates must possess the following qualifications:
A seasoned program leader in the education, youth development, or similar field with at least 15 years of work experience, with 5 years in a leadership position, inclusive of program design, delivery, performance, and evaluation. Experience at a national, multi-site and/or multi-layered organization is strongly preferred.
A data-driven strategist who forms clear plans that are bold, achievable, and motivational to others. Brings success in building and implementing program strategies that drive high-performance. Sees the “why” and leverages data and research in translating strategy into tangible activities and results.
An effective communicator who conveys information clearly and concisely. Able to connect and communicate with multiple stakeholders in complex and multi-layered environments. In all interactions, listens well and reflects an understanding of others’ perspectives and needs.
An inspirational and emotionally-astute people leader that fosters a sense of purpose and community. Able to cultivate talent and build strong teams, coaching and mentoring direct reports for high performance, as well as provides support and counsel to individuals and teams that are not direct reports. Has high standards for holding others accountable to goals.
A positive force for organizational growth and change. Able to embrace and lead through change, modeling adaptability and a high level of awareness on how change impacts others. Helps others implement new behaviors and seek out ways to sustain change through organizational culture, processes, and structures.
A passionate advocate who is committed to College Track’s mission and values. Believes in the innate potential of all students and brings a deep commitment to improving education equity through college readiness and graduation. Thrives in an organization that values commitment, passion, joy, authenticity, and excellence.
A champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Shows respect for the communities with whom College Track partners, demonstrating cultural competence in understanding historic barriers to access to higher education. Actively works to ensure that College Track’s DEI principles are infused in senior management and program practices.
About College Track
Dana Hagenbuch Search has been contracted to lead the search for a Chief Program Officer. Dana Hagenbuch Search partners with nonprofits and mission-driven organizations to recruit and hire extraordinary people. Learn more at www.dhsearch.net.
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