Chief Development Officer

July 2022 | Remote/Washington D.C., US
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The Council of Chief State School Officers, CCSSO, seeks a talented development professional for its newly defined Chief Development Officer (CDO) position.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, and as a member of the Executive Team, the CDO will strategically develop CCSSO’s funding and development opportunities in alignment with CCSSO’s Strategic Plan Framework 2021-2026. Collaborative leaders, able to leverage CCSSO’s extensive network and potential, are invited to consider this compelling leadership opportunity.

CCSSO will provide a mostly remote work environment. Candidates preferring to work remotely are welcome and may successfully be located anywhere in the continental US. Location in or near Washington D.C headquarters is not required.

About the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

While widely known by the public for its National Teacher of the Year Award, CCSSO’s impact and contributions are far greater and extend nationally. It is the only education nonprofit whose membership represents the leadership of K-12 education systems in all 50 states. In addition, it serves the educational leadership of the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. Collectively, CCSSO’s efforts help to impact the educational needs of 50 million students, 3.8 million teachers, 98,200 schools, and 13,600 school districts.

Committed to ensuring that all students in our public education system will graduate prepared for college, careers, and life, CCSSO provides a unique opportunity for each state’s public-school leadership to connect with, share, and collaborate with each other, as well as, to understand, influence, and benefit from federal programs. The organization provides leadership, advocacy, expert advice, and technical assistance on major educational issues. Furthermore, CCSSO seeks member consensus on these issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

$200 Billion in Emergency COVID Relief Funds for K-12 Schools

In addition to connecting state leadership to their national peers, CCSSO serves state education needs through its federal advocacy and education policy expertise and programs. To succeed in serving every state member, it consistently seeks and finds bipartisan common ground for improving public education.

By leveraging its influence and relationships with policymakers at the national level, in Congress, and across federal agencies in two administrations, CCSSO was able to help secure $200 billion in emergency federal aid during COVID-19. These substantial funds supported states as they responded to the crises of the pandemic. In addition, throughout the pandemic, CCSSO has convened key national education groups in support of states, districts, schools, teachers, students, and their families, as well as all others in the K-12 education system.

CCSSO’s trailblazing advocacy is backed by an excellent communications and marketing program. With multiple former journalists on staff, and a directive from the CEO to be a top source to journalists, CCSSO enjoys strong relationships with reporters. When a journalist wants to know what is happening in K-12 education in a state, they turn to CCSSO for the facts. The communications and marketing department upholds and implements improvements to CCSSO branding. Additionally, the department creates content across print, video, social media, and more to support and enhance development efforts.

Grants and Contract Giving Opportunities at CCSSO

CCSSO presents a unique opportunity for foundations to achieve national impact, which our fragmented, state, and district-based educational landscape often hinders. In FY2020, CCSSO secured over $17M in grant awards through 29 grants. In FY2021, it secured over $8M from 17 different funders, including a new $1M funder and a returning major funder whose previous award was in 2016. Additionally, there were four grants and contracts in the $1-3 million range in both years.. CCSSO has been selected as a trusted fiscal agent over numerous years and been awarded grants to deploy resources to states and consortia states to enact large projects. Major foundation funders have included: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, the Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Blue Meridian and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Having managed over 50 grants and contracts in FY2021, CCSSO anticipates that major funder giving in the K-12 space will continue. The CDO, working with the Executive Team to make decisions on grant submission prioritization, with guidance, advice and information from the CDO, will strategically impact submission decisions. The CDO will be expected to take the foundation and contract program forward by deepening foundation research, building relationships, and creating effective systems for managing CCSSO’s grants program.

Diversifying Funding at CCSSO

Over the past two decades, when acting as the fiscal agent for major grants and contracts, CCSSO’s revenue has twice swelled dramatically from its typical total annual unrestricted revenue, gains from investments and other support range of $20-30 million, to over $40 million. CCSSO has successfully managed these substantial increases and has a long-term record of achieving an excess of revenue over expenses year after year. With grants and contracts accounting for 47% of FY21 revenue, the CDO will be charged with seeking opportunities to diversify funding sources. Total revenues, gains, and other support without donor restrictions for FY21 were $22M.

Additional Key Funding Opportunities

  • Sponsorships and National Events: Sponsorships are the second largest revenue source, accounting for 13% of FY21 revenue. CCSSO events, which include the National Teacher of the Year program and the National Conference for Student Assessment, attract great attention and support. These events have been supported by partners including Google for Education, Clorox, Pearson, and Educational Testing Service. Sponsorship fees are large, in scale with the access CCSSO can provide to understanding and reaching national educational leaders. Managing and developing sponsorship opportunities is a priority for the CDO.
  • State Membership: CCSSO’s members are chief state school officers and the head of departments in elementary and secondary education in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Membership fees comprised about 12% of revenue in FY21. State membership fees are not under the purview of the CDO.
  • Collaborative Membership: For 30 years, CCSSO Collaboratives have been the trusted venue for state education agency professionals dedicated to keeping their students on the path to success. Members can meet, network, and harness the energy of the country’s top education experts. With 17 Collaboratives to choose from, these groups can help members meet state priorities and support equitable education opportunities for all students. In FY21, collaborative membership fees made up 9% of revenue.
  • Comprehensive Campaign: CCSSO’s CEO, Carissa Moffat Miller, is embarking on a $10M comprehensive campaign which will allow donors to invest in CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program, including the endowment. The Campaign is supported by outside counsel. Designed to tap into CCSSO’s deeply respected role in US education and extensive network of individual leaders with capacity to give, the Campaign will break new ground. CCSSO has no individual giving history or programs, yet it is deeply experienced in understanding, matching, and leveraging the intersection of program, mission and individual leader’s interests.

CCSSO’s CEO sees funding as core to achieving mission and seeks a partner to join her and CCSSO leadership in diversifying and expanding funding to improve the organization’s long-term sustainability.

See CCSSO’s Strategic Plan Framework 2021-2026 for further information about its priorities and direction.

About the Position

CCSSO, as an educational policy advocate leader, encourages applications from candidates who share in their commitment to enabling all children in the American education system to succeed in school, work and life; are great communicators, relationship builders, and managers; and have built partnerships across institutions and externally as key components of their development success.

CCSSO seeks a Chief Development Officer (CDO) for a redefined position, to lead and oversee the overall fundraising and development strategy, including philanthropic individuals, foundations and corporate grants, and sponsorships. The CDO will oversee submissions for grants to ensure that each foundation is approached strategically to provide maximum benefit. In addition to the existing sponsorships, the CDO must be able to open new doors and ensure that both parties involved in these relationships are receiving maximum benefit and receiving those benefits in a timely manner. Essential to success will be a collaborative approach that takes advantage of and leverages the extensive network and program leadership of CCSSO’s CEO, Executive Team, and other leaders in the organization.

The CDO is responsible for creating short- and long-term development strategies to ensure CCSSO’s growth, sustainability, and success, in alignment with the Strategic Plan. These strategies will build on CCSSO’s excellent management and leadership; exceptional advocacy and membership programs; leadership in its field; rich programming and nationally recognized events; and marketing and communications strengths. This position provides strategic direction and oversight internally to ensure effective progress. The CDO will work with the CFO to develop appropriate metrics to measure performance. Short-term growth goals are modest while long-term goals are ambitious regarding dollars to be raised, as well as diversification of funding sources.

A member of the Executive Team, the CDO will report to the CEO and work closely with the CEO and the Executive Team. The CDO will oversee CCSSO’s Development Team, which is responsible for managing and prospecting grants and corporate sponsorships and working across the organization on fundraising and development goals aligned with the strategic plan. The Development Team includes a Managing Director, a Senior Grants Manager, Grant Manager, a Fundraising Manager, a Senior Associate Corporate Sales, a Senior Advisor of State Relations, and a Coordinator.  

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Staff Management

  • Serve as a member of the CCSSO executive team and develop collaborative relationships with team members.
  • Directly support the CEO in fundraising opportunities through development of talking points and background information, determining most effective strategies based on the audience, and providing advice on organizational and fundraising strategies.
  • Serve as a representative with and for the CEO in various situations including discussions with philanthropy, foundation, corporate and education partners.
  • Analyze, assess and recommend development strategies for the implementation of CCSSO’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.
  • Work in collaboration with CCSSO’s CFO to ensure the organization’s fiscal practices and approaches result in timely and accurate budgets, adequate/strategic funding, and employee understanding of programmatic finances to achieve CCSSO’s strategic goals.
  • Lead and manage the development team, encouraging best practices and accountability.
  • Participate in short- and long-term strategic and operational planning for the organization; conduct market research on funding sources and trends to help inform the development of CCSSO’s strategies.


  • Ensure that philanthropy and fund development are carried out in keeping with sector best practice and the organization’s values, mission, vision, and strategic plan.
  • Lead the fundraising team to ensure CCSSO proactively prospects innovative, new, and current grant, funding, and corporate sponsorship opportunities to support the work necessary. Manage a process that maximizes opportunities with foundations or corporations when CCSSO has multiple opportunities for submissions.
  • Plan and manage the successful implementation of strategies to develop continued corporate sponsorships and contributions in support of revenue that includes corporate and state services and foundation and government grants.
  • Understand the full scope of the Council’s work and effectively communicate that scope of work in a coherent way.
  • Maintain accountability and compliance standards for all funding sources.
  • Lead the fundraising and sponsorship opportunities for the two hallmark annual programs: National Teacher of the Year and National Conference on Student Assessment.
  • Provide advice to the CEO and other CCSSO leadership in utilizing CCSSO’s development programs and opportunities in support of the NTOY comprehensive campaign.
  • Perform other duties or responsibilities as assigned by the CEO.

Key Qualifications

Successful candidates will have experience in most, if not all, of the following areas:

  • Corporate giving, which may include work with sponsorships, corporate foundations, marketing departments, and/or corporate leaders,
  • Work in a nonprofit or public organization that managed a successful grantsmanship program, with the ability to develop and lead best practices in researching, evaluating and prioritizing foundation opportunities,
  • The utilization of events for purposes that go beyond raising money, such as building constituencies and opening doorways to leaders,
  • Experience in leading development strategies, corporate sponsor relations, grants management, grant proposal development.
  • A strong command of and passion for delivering on CCSSO’s equity commitments and the education policy issues currently articulated in CCSSO’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.
  • A collaborative leader and adept manager who will foster collaboration at all levels across the organization.
  • A proven track record of fundraising achievements.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and clearly (orally and in writing) and engage with senior corporate and foundation leaders; internal staff at all levels; and/or government, philanthropy, and business officers.
  • Demonstrated success with reaching out to prospective foundations and organizations that resulted in long-term grants and partnerships.
  • Ability to work both independently without close oversight, but also a team player who will productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside of CCSSO.
  • Ability to multi-task and meet deadlines; can work within an ambitious, fast-moving environment while also driving toward clarity and solutions; demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priories and guiding investments in people and systems.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
  • An advanced degree or commensurate experience of 5-7 years of leadership experience.
  • Ability and willingness to travel (up to 35% of the time).

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in the K-12 or higher education field and a keen sense of emerging state-focused education efforts.
  • Experience working in a non-profit organization and non-partisan, membership-based organization.

CCSSO’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

CCSSO has a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, both internally, and in their external work state chiefs.

Educational equity means that every student has access to the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, sexual orientation, family background and/or family income. State education chiefs are uniquely positioned to lead their state toward achieving these goals. CCSSO’s Leading for Equity guide advises state chiefs and their state education agencies (SEAs) to improve educational equity, and includes a charge for state chiefs to:

  • Proactively initiate and lead conversations about equity.
  • Collect, disaggregate, analyze, and publicly share data on their indicators of long-term success
  • Partner with stakeholders and other state actors to create urgency, establish public commitments, and set ambitious and achievable goals for addressing inequities in the state.
  • Hold themselves and others in the state accountable for making progress and celebrate success where it is achieved.

CCSSO is proud of the diverse community that has been built among the staff. In 2022, CCSSO’s staff self-identifies as: 49% White, 41% Black, 5% Hispanic, and 3% Asian.

Compensation: The salary range for this position is $190,000 – $220,000.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Suzanne Weber

Chief Executive Officer

Development Guild DDI

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