Background: The Children’s Storefront has a storied history of changing lives in Harlem through education innovations. In 1966 a young poet, Ned O’Gorman, opened a one-room center for young children in a Harlem storefront on Madison Avenue – The Children’s Storefront. This grew into a preschool program that led to a tuition-free private K-8 elementary school, eventually known as Storefront Academy Harlem, that educated Harlem children until 2018.
To further the educational success of children in historically underserved communities, The Children’s Storefront assisted in creating a new organization that stands on its own, Storefront Academy Charter Schools. Today, the educational philosophy developed by The Children’s Storefront over 50 years provides the foundation for two charter schools in Harlem and the South Bronx.
Recognizing that many Storefront Academy Harlem students entered its former school with learning deficits that could have been mitigated through Early Childhood Education, The Children’s Storefront has launched new in-person and virtual programming built on principles developed at Harvard Center for the Developing Child which reinforce cognitive, learning and social skills to provide a strong foundation for lifelong success.
With this renewed focus on Early Childhood learning The Children’s Storefront is once again charting new waters, this time engaging parents and caregivers with their children around research-driven brain development in the first thousand days of life. And, most importantly, providing the know-how and confidence with which to spur the growth of their children’s brains.
Shifting its focus to strengthening children’s brains during their first three years after decades of operating a vibrant and acclaimed K-8 school, The Children’s Storefront is once again in start-up mode. It is moving to a new location on the north side of Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, bringing with it a deep appreciation for all it has accomplished over many years and tremendous enthusiasm for new opportunities to enrich the lives of Harlem’s youngest children.
The Children’s Storefront is seeking an upbeat Executive Director who will have the unique opportunity to shape all aspects of growing and positioning this evolving organization.
The Executive Director will have a commitment to early childhood development, with a particular focus on underserved and under-represented communities. They must be committed to the science behind the programmatic work, and able to build a broad range of partnerships to further The Children’s Storefront mission. They will be a respected professional who advocates passionately and successfully on behalf of the people they serve and the organization in the local community, across all sectors and within philanthropy.
The Executive Director will be an intelligent and mission-driven self-starter. Excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills are critical, along with patience, compassion and a sense of humor. They will be diplomatic, of the highest integrity, and possess sound judgment; comfortably balancing their confidence and ego.
The Executive Director will be entrepreneurial and practical, creative and analytical in their approach to programming. They will understand that whileprograms are improving the life trajectories of children, the clientele is actually the parent. They will be sensitive to and respectful of parents’ needs, and will be comfortable and tactful communicating with families who participate in their programs.
The Executive Director will be just as comfortable rolling up their sleeves as they are facilitating internal strategy sessions, participating in community affairs and elevating the organization within the broader Early Child Education sector.
The Executive Director will report to a very engaged and supportive Board of Directors, mindful of and flexible in dealing with Board priorities. They will manage and develop a Staff of committed Program and Administrative professionals, half of whom have joined the organization since the Covid crisis. They will work with the Board, Staff and Contractors in a transparent, honest fashion that promotes inclusiveness, equity, cooperation, and teamwork.
Board of Trustees: Work with the Board to set the long-term vision and short-term goals for the organization. Support the Board’s transition from a hands-on approach to one more focused on vision, strategy, resource development, policy and oversight. Support Board Nominating & Governance Committee efforts to strengthen the Board’s effectiveness as a Governance body.
Programs: Work with the Staff to develop, promote and evaluate community-responsive programs consistent with Board Education Committee priorities. Develop strategies for attracting and retaining participants. Build relationships within the local community and beyond that reinforce participation, elevate our visibility, expand their reach and improve effectiveness.
Staff: Directly supervise the Administrative & Finance Manager, Program Coordinator, contracted Controller and Special Projects Consultant. Oversee the Employee Performance Review system and modify Staff position descriptions and compensation as appropriate. Work to strategically expand the Staff, with special attention to development and marketing. Explore options for leveraging volunteers. Foster a positive and productive organizational culture.
Administration & Finance: Work with Staff on day-to-day operations, striving to improve system efficiencies and cost-effectiveness. Ensure that all Government filings are accurate and timely. Work with the Board Finance Committee and contracted Controller to develop budgets, financial forecasts and reports. Oversee the annual Financial Audit process.
Resources: In tandem with the Board Development Committee, set the long-term fundraising strategy and establish near term plans to achieve it. Identify and cultivate individual and institutional funders, including grants. Explore the feasibility of special events and move forward as practical. Explore ways to broaden and diversify revenue streams, including in-kind.
External Affairs & Communications: Serve as the public face of the organization and point person for media. Develop and maintain beneficial relationships with non-profits, community and civic organizations, government and other stakeholder groups. Work with the Board Communications Committee to articulate overall communication, marketing, press and social media priorities. Develop collateral material and targeted presentations to achieve goals.
Minimum of 8-10 years delivering solid leadership, management and fundraising results
Demonstrated organizational leadership ability, which includes effectively managing and motivating Staff to achieve organizational goals
Outstanding organizational skills, adept at prioritizing multiple and varied responsibilities
Able to work both independently, and in collaboration with an active Board and committed Staff in a direct, supportive and respectful manner
Ability to effectively represent The Children’s Storefront with funders, in public settings and with a broad range of organizations in the New York area
Ability to balance a hands-on, entrepreneurial start-up environment with our 50-year history
Strong strategic thinking, problem solving and implementation skills
Excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as strong interpersonal, relationship-building and networking skills
Tech savvy and comfortable with systems that support Office and Program environments
Thrive in an achievement-oriented, entrepreneurial, and fast-paced environment
All positions at The Children’s Storefront are filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, HIV/AIDS status, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. All are encouraged to apply.
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