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Executive Director

LER Consultants & Advisors, Inc.
Chicago, IL
  • Posted: over a month ago
  • Full-Time
Job Description

About Great Lakes Academy

Great Lakes Academy prepares all of our students with the fundamental academic skills, critical thinking ability, and strength of character to excel in high school, college, and a career of their choice. We empower all of our students with the education today that they will need to change the world tomorrow. At Great Lakes Academy, every decision we make is based upon how to best support our students as they grow and prepare to compete with their peers in college preparatory high schools and four-year colleges, ambitiously pursue career opportunities, and positively impact their communities. We work every minute, every day to provide the best education possible for our students because we believe that education empowers people to take control of their own destinies and to change the world. We accomplish our vision by focusing on the Great Lakes Academy anchors. At Great Lakes Academy Charter School, we develop students who excel in three core areas: (1) Fundamental Academics, (2) Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and (3) Strength of Character.

About the Executive Director Position

Reporting directly to the Great Lakes Academy Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) serves as the highest administrator for Great Lakes Academy, ensuring the school is preparing students for success in college and their careers. The ED is cumulatively responsible for all aspects of organizational health, including but not limited to: enacting the school’s vision/mission; overseeing the realization of the school’s goals and outcomes; meeting the school’s fundraising and other financial goals; maintaining the school’s charter with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and being accountable to CPS as the school’s authorizer; guiding the school’s professional culture; and managing finances, development, and talent. The ED is ultimately responsible for the execution of all programs and procedures in alignment with the school’s mission and vision, with input from a broad range of constituents. The ED will be responsible for setting and executing with fidelity a five-year strategic plan with priorities related to academic success, talent, equity, and development initiatives.

Employment Status

This is a full-time, exempt, at-will position. The ED reports directly to the Board of Directors, which may hire on an interim basis through the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year with the intention of evaluating for full-time fit beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.


The Great Lakes Academy Board seeks a fiercely positive, hard-working, intelligent, team oriented, goal-oriented leader, with a sense of humor and deep belief in the power of education. This leader will have experience in demonstrating the following competencies:

  • Strong team builder, of Board, of School Leadership, of the school community, of the full school staff
  • Strong communicator - with Board, parents, community, staff, and partnerships demonstrated experience in public speaking, implementing feedback mechanisms, and owning challenging conversations
  • Strong leadership coach and developer of adults
  • Strategic thinker, with strong clear vision for K-8 classroom excellence, able to devise actionable plans, and motivate execution
  • Systems thinker, with ability to think organizationally, holistically, and to see the larger picture
  • Demonstrates executive presence - able to positively and professionally represent school at all different types of meetings, from community meetings to parent meetings to community stakeholders, education conferences, foundation meetings, etc.
  • Builds trusted and enduring relationships internally and externally, demonstrating influence and the ability to build buy in and alignment to achieve school goals
  • Innovative leader – constantly looking for ways to grow and develop the school and educational opportunities provided therein for the 500 K-8 scholars
  • Demonstrates tech savvy – is an avid consumer of data and can put academic data to use in strategies and actions plans; recognizes the data we need, sources of data, and how the data should demonstrate outcomes. Is able to quickly understand and utilize our existing data source platforms to pull data
  • Experienced in fundraising and development efforts to enhance the portfolio supporting the financial health of the school
  • Knowledgeable about Elementary and Middle school environment and curricular expectations
  • Self-reflective and humble; able to see growth areas and course-correct
  • Self-directed; ability to identify organizational gaps & create solutions to address those gaps
  • Strong problem solver- able to identify issues and demonstrate agility to address issues in the moment.

Key Outcomes/Metrics

The ED’s primary priorities will be the short-term and long-term academic performance of the school, the development and retention of high-performing talent, and financial health of the organization. More details on how we approach these priorities can be found in the Great Lakes Academy Annual Goals. The GLA Board works closely with the ED to both set goals and assess performance each year against a defined rubric of expectations. This rubric is being reset in light of the currently changing academic environment, and can be shared later in our selection process.

Key Responsibilities

The Executive Director's responsibilities will be focused on the following:

Team Leadership and Management

The ED will directly lead and manage the school’s leadership team:

  • Principal
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Director of Development (DD)
  • Director of Talent
  • Director of Enrichment

Strategy Setting and Execution

  • Creates and executes a long-term strategic plan, managing against benchmarks & data-driven goals
  • Creates and sets yearly and long-term strategy and goals for the school with Board approval
  • Creates and designs organization-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy with GLA Board and executes with fidelity with Leadership Team and staff
  • Creates communication processes among leadership team members and with staff to ensure effective execution of organization-wide priorities and other key initiatives that the school must execute
  • Updates strategic plans based on data and analytics
  • Academics and Instruction

Academics and Instruction

The Principal will be chiefly responsible for all academic and instructional aspects of GLA. The ED:

  • Provides input to the Principal in curriculum and assessment development and ensures implementation with fidelity
  • Provides input on organization-wide instructional systems (e.g. data protocols, lesson plan internalization) and ensures implementation with fidelity
  • Closely monitors academic progress through school walkthroughs, data collection and analysis
  • Manages & Coaches leaders (Principal, COO, Director of Enrichment, Director of Development, Director of Talent
  • Provides final sign-off on schedule, curriculum, and action plans to address off-track performance
  • Provides input to the Director of Enrichment teams on developing an enrichment strategy in accordance with the curriculum and strategic plan priorities

Talent Development

The Director of Talent will be principally responsible for all talent management and execution aspects of GLA. The ED:

  • Manages and leads a high performing, cohesive team to ensure academic excellence in our schools and execute strategic plan programmatic priorities
  • Develops or ensures the development of emerging leaders to foster continued growth and successful succession transitions for the future
  • Recruits and develops future Leadership Team members, in partnership with the Director of Talent
  • Serves as the final decision maker in hiring and firing decisions of all support staff and key leader roles
  • Is kept aware of hiring and firing decisions of teachers, made by the Principal
  • Ensures all staff are receiving professional development from a variety of sources including direct coaching, outside professional development (PD), collaboration, observations, etc.
  • Sets up systems and policies that encourage and support adult growth
  • Evaluates all members of the Leadership Team and supports a productive organizational performance evaluation process

Staff and Student Culture

  • Sets the tone for staff and student culture, demonstrating accountability for desired cultural behaviors
  • Works with Principal as thought partner for setting a vision for school culture and instructional staff culture
  • Sets up system for tracking and responding to trends in school culture and staff culture
  • Closely monitors and supports positive school culture through data walkthroughs with Principal
  • External Relationships
  • Maintains collaborative relationship with the Board, relying on diverse subject matter expertise across the GLA Board membership to provide executive level thought partnership including weekly advisory calls to provide perspective on leadership, talent, relationship building, development, finances, etc.
  • Manages Board relationships and all communications to the Board, ensuring transparency of school actions for appropriate response and support from the Board
  • Engages School Leadership and staff in Board discussions as most appropriate, and encourages a relationship between the Board and school personnel
  • Establishes trusted relationships with parents and guardians that are a part of or prospective members of the school community
  • Serves as the principal advocate for the school in philanthropic efforts, including attending meetings with donors, as needed
  • Sets strategies for building external relationships and partnerships in partnership with the Director of Development
  • Builds relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders both in support of the organization’s mission and goals, and to ensure that Great Lakes Academy is truly working in partnership with the communities they serve
  • Builds community relationships with local community leaders, as appropriate

Financial/Operational Stability & Compliance

The COO will be principally responsible for all financial and operational aspects of GLA. The ED:

  • Manages the COO
  • Supports systems thinking
  • Oversees facility / operations management plans and long term adjustments.
  • Monitors COO execution of facility upkeep and renovations
  • Monitors the COO in execution of real estate and facilities planning and acquisition
  • Oversees contracts and bidding processes
  • Oversees the coordination of Operations walkthroughs, data collection, analysis, and response
  • Supports COO in development of annual budget
  • Works with Board and Finance committee to set and monitor budget
  • Ensures COO communicates to relevant team leads their budgets
  • Makes final decisions on expenditures above budget lines
  • Weighs in on all Staff salary and makes final salary or stipend decisions

The Director of Development will be principally responsible for executing on development strategies for GLA. The ED:

  • Manages Director of Development
  • Sets the strategy for and ensures execution of annual fundraising plan
  • Responsible for creating, planning, and executing Capital Campaigns, with Director of Development and the GLA Board
  • Supports and approves a marketing plan for school

Compensation & Benefits

In addition to a competitive salary, Great Lakes Academy offers annual bonus potential and a full comprehensive benefits plan, including health care, retirement, and a school laptop.

As an equal opportunity employer, Great Lakes Academy hires without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, disability, or any other category protected by applicable law.

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

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LER Consultants & Advisors, Inc.


Chicago, IL
60617 USA



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