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Executive Director, Tutoring Chicago

Noetic Search
Chicago, IL
  • Expired: March 12, 2023. Applications are no longer accepted.
For 57 years, Tutoring Chicago has dedicated its mission to delivering the power of education to children facing economic barriers, through one-to-one tutoring and high-quality programming that is not only academic, but developmental and reflective. Tutoring Chicago recognizes that academic, foundational skills and concepts coupled with executive functioning skills are essential elements leading to a successful life. Ultimately, educated and empowered students contribute to a healthy society.

Beginning in 1965 as the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program by a group of Montgomery Ward employees, the organization has helped thousands of students in elementary school grow both personally and academically. A core belief is that all children, regardless of economics, race, cultural background, gender identity or neighborhood, are valuable, capable of greatness, and have the right to the following: Diverse Representation, Exposure to Knowledge, a Secure Sense of Belonging, and Accessible Learning Environments. With these values at the core, Tutoring Chicago has grown exponentially over the years.

Today, Tutoring Chicago has a budget of approximately $1.6M, a staff of 14 full-time employees plus part-time staff, and more than 1,000 volunteer tutors. The organization serves approximately 1,000 students from 224 Chicagoland schools. Each student is paired with their own tutor(s) for the school year. All tutors volunteer to commit to one school year of tutoring once a week (and some twice a week for the LIT program) equating to 33 weeks a year. Volunteers are provided user-friendly curriculum, training and resources. An essential component of the student/tutor relationship is ensuring that there is also consistent and engaging communication between tutors and parents.

Tutor retention is strong at approximately 55% to 60% per year, and 54% of student/tutor pairs have worked together for at least two years. 80% of students report increased confidence, 89% of teachers recommend Tutoring Chicago to other students, and 84% of parents have increased confidence in their child's math and reading skills. These metrics underscore the high quality of the programming and experience for students, tutors, families, and teachers alike.

Pre-Covid, all tutoring was in person and delivered at four sites around Chicago. Upon the advent of the pandemic, the Tutoring Chicago team quickly responded with a pivot to remote learning options. Today, about 57% of students are tutored remotely and 43% receive on-site tutoring at two remaining locations, Near North and Near West Side.

Of the 1,000 students served annually, 100% qualify as low- or moderate-income, and 80-85% of students return each year. Originally, Tutoring Chicago served Chicago students from 1st to 6th grades. To address the need for more support beyond 6th grade, Tutoring Chicago now serves children from 1st to 9th grades.

There are currently four programs:
  • SMART Program - Grades 1-5 Focuses on five areas of student achievement: social-emotional learning, mathematics, accountability, reading, and technology. Students attend once a week for 90 minutes.
  • LIT Program - Grades 1-5 Struggling readers work towards grade-level success, meeting twice a week with a tutor for reading-intensive, 90-minute sessions. They follow a structured reading curriculum and need-based activities. 84% of LIT students see their reading improve at least two or more grade levels throughout the year.
  • Middle School Tutoring Program - Grades 6-8 Curriculum designed specifically for middle school academic and social/emotional needs with preparation for a transition to high school. Pairs meet once a week for 90 minutes.
  • High School Support Program - Grade 9 (established in 2022) Continued support for students who were previously enrolled in Tutoring Chicago, ensuring academic and social-emotional support during the critical start to their high school years.

The mix of funding is 65% foundation (private and corporate), 10% individual giving, and 10% corporate sponsors, with the balance generated through events. Tutoring Chicago is currently governed by a 21-member Board of Directors comprised of business leaders in the financial services and other sectors, real estate, healthcare and education. An additional group of Advisors to Tutoring Chicago contributes experienced counsel, strategic advice, resources and connections to the organization.

Under the leadership of Erin McPartlin, who has led Tutoring Chicago for close to 22 years, the organization has grown programmatically and has expanded to serve an increasing number of students in Chicago. While Covid impacted in-person tutoring and required an evolution into digital engagement, the core of the program remains based on the model that each student is matched with the same tutor for the full year, and longer, if possible. A consistent, foundational priority has been on delivering excellent programmatic quality.

The program model is essential to the success of Tutoring Chicago. Programming evolves based on learning from constituents, why they come and what they need. Ensuring that in-person and digital programs are aligned is a current priority. With the addition of middle and high school programming, attention toward building out these programs is necessary.

Tutoring Chicago measures success through the lens of academic improvement, school performance and individual growth. Currently multi-sourced formative assessments and data inform and prepare tutors to best meet student needs. Continuing to use both quantitative and qualitative data and, potentially identifying additional success benchmarks to demonstrate impact is important.

Each year there are more families interested in being a part of the Tutoring Chicago program than there are volunteers available. The staff is small and mighty; however, to serve more students requires growing the budget. Budget growth will also allow for investment in tutor recruitment, retention tools and strategies with an emphasis on building a more diverse tutor population.

While foundations provide the majority of financial support, many funders are interested in seeing more students served, raising a question of scale. Engaging more individual donors at all levels but particularly at the major gifts level is critical to sustain the organization, regardless of any future growth goals. Securing five and six-figure multi-year gifts is key as is continuing to grow philanthropic support from existing and new events. Engaging with the Board to build a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization will enable a stronger fundraising case, as will supporting recruitment of people with diverse backgrounds to the Board.

Beyond growing the base of philanthropic support, the Board and staff leadership have considered other ways to impact more students in a cost-effective manner. Ideas that have been discussed include train-the-trainer or franchise models. The new Executive Director will be charged with developing the three- or five-year strategy for growth and impact within the first 12-18 months. The opportunity to develop a new strategic plan will allow for consensus building around scaling the organization in terms of number of students served and being in locations that are most convenient for them, all while maintaining a focus on quality.

Student recruitment happens primarily through word of mouth and through individual classroom teachers, as well as through the many strategic partnerships that have been developed. Continuing to identify opportunities to partner with other community-based organizations and/or private sector companies is desired. Additionally, resources are needed to expand the volunteer tutor base with a focus on more diversity. Engaging more corporations through employee engagement programs could result in increased philanthropic support as well as expanding the volunteer tutor corps.

To meet demand, Tutoring Chicago should grow to become a $3M organization in the next three to five years. To achieve this goal requires a greater focus on building the visibility of the organization, growing private support, and potentially earned revenue through a social enterprise model. Further establishing Tutoring Chicago as thought leaders, advisors and partners in the community and education space will help advance this work.

With the planned transition of the current Executive Director, the opportunity now exists for an exceptional, externally-facing, relationship builder to carry forward a fiscally and operationally strong organization, build its visibility, and allow for continued success in providing high-quality, academic and social-emotional support to Chicago students facing financial barriers.

The Executive Director, reporting to the Board of Directors, is responsible for the strategic processes of the organization, including developing and executing its strategic plan, directions and policies, delivery and maintenance of its programs, fiscal management, revenue growth, private philanthropy and all components that support program delivery and overall organizational well-being. The Executive Director will be committed to nurturing, mentoring, and motivating both paid staff and volunteer tutors. Although components of these responsibilities may be delegated, the ultimate responsibility is that of the Executive Director.

There are six direct reports to the Executive Director: Deputy Director, Director of Development, Director of Marketing and Communications, Program Director, Technology and Operations Director, and Associate Director of Recruitment and Engagement. Additionally, there are seven managers, ten coordinators and more than 1,000 volunteer tutors.

The Executive Director oversees budget development and oversight of all fiscal activities. They drive all strategic efforts of Tutoring Chicago including maintaining excellent program quality via empowering Tutoring Chicago's strong team of direct reports; initiating and maintaining expansion efforts; fundraising; external relations including strategies for volunteer recruitment, strategic partnerships, and community relationships as well as securing the operating funds necessary to sustain current and future operations. This individual will be responsible for compliance with Board-adopted policies and with all applicable regulations and laws.

  • Leadership: Visionary, relationship-focused, impact-oriented leader and networker with a strong equity lens.
  • Management: Inclusive, experienced business manager who understands the organizational structure of a nonprofit, including experience working with and reporting to a Board; past successes at building a vision and executing a strategy; demonstrated ability to build a strong, positive and collaborative team culture and ideally an understanding of the educational landscape.
  • Development: Strong ability to cultivate, solicit, and steward plans for donors; ability to advance and manage a strategic annual and multi-year fundraising plan, a strong individual fundraiser/networker, skilled closer, and/or able to develop a fundraising culture among staff and Board.
  • External Partnerships/Relations: Demonstrated success building, engaging and leveraging strategic partnerships. Outward facing and very knowledgeable about the communities served by Tutoring Chicago. Diversity, equity and inclusion objectives are very important based upon the population served.
  • Operational and Programming Oversight: Sound fiscal, IT, human resources and business management skills. Empowers direct reports to insure that the organization is providing best in class programs and services in an efficient manner. Thinks strategically about impact, tutor retention and recruitment, with an eye toward creating greater diversity of volunteers, staff and board. Holds staff accountable to meet their operational goals in a way that is positive and motivating.
  • Marketing, Public Relations and Outreach: Serves as the face and voice of Tutoring Chicago; develops and implements an outreach and brand strategy to make Tutoring Chicago a household name and significantly increase its reach and impact; effectively represents the organization's goals and mission to attract the widest interest and support; builds visibility and secures new relationships.

Tutoring Chicago is seeking an experienced, compassionate, relationship-builder with visibility-raising expertise and a commitment to the mission of Tutoring Chicago. Motivational leadership skills and experience developing strategic and business plans are sought. Demonstrated success raising philanthropic support, and resilience in the face of changing marketplace conditions is expected. Experience as an educator and/or working in or with the not-for-profit education community is ideal, but not a prerequisite.

A track record of professional accomplishments that demonstrates innovative and collaborative leadership, superior performance, and the ability to articulate and build consensus around major initiatives is imperative. Experience in a senior leadership role reporting directly to or working closely with a Board of Directors is desired. The new leader will work with the Board to identify opportunities for Tutoring Chicago to continue to innovate programs and strategic partnerships with Chicagoland corporations as well as community-based organizations.

The successful candidate will facilitate open communication with staff, the board, volunteers, funders, and other constituents with whom they interact. They will have the ability to reformulate priorities and develop long-range plans in the context of evolving program needs. The ability to give clear, effective, sensitive, and consistent leadership with strong attention to detail is a must.

Exceptional interpersonal skills, strong personal credibility, and an ability to build effective relationships at all levels are essential. Qualified candidates will have demonstrated accomplishments in scaling organizations and fundraising. They should possess demonstrated success in external relations, including experience speaking with the media in a variety of situations.

The person we seek will be an innovative marketer who will significantly increase visibility for Tutoring Chicago. The candidate must possess excellent communication skills with the ability and presence to represent the organization internally and externally.

The person we seek should demonstrate...

Noetic Search


Chicago, IL
60701 USA