Chief Operating Officer

December 2022 | Remote / Washington, D.C.
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The Council of Chief State School Officers, CCSSO, seeks an exceptional nonprofit manager for its newly defined Chief Operating Officer (COO) position. Relevant nonprofit management experience includes management of human resources, organization-wide planning and budgeting, leading on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and management of operations. CCSSO is interested in managers who are excellent collaborators and experienced working with the leadership of an organization connecting strategy and operations, in the context of building great employee opportunities and accountability. CCSSO is based in Washington DC, with staff working primarily remotely. Candidates do not need to live in the Washington DC area but will need to be available for travel.

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About the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

Widely known for engaging deeply with state chiefs and state education agencies, CCSSO advocates effectively, representing and advocating on behalf of every state and territorial K-12 education leader. CCSSO cultivates leadership, connects people and ideas, and influences all involved to take collective action to improve our nation’s education system for all students. 

CCSSO 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. CCSSO has seen states implement these funds to improve tutoring support, invest in summer learning opportunities, implement mental health and wellbeing programs, address teacher shortages, and bolster digital learning, and more. 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

Current Key Funding Sources for CCSSO

  • Grants and Contracts: CCSSO, due to its effective national leadership on the core priorities named in its Strategic Plan Framework 2021-2026, attracts support for its programs from major international foundations and other sources. Grants and contracts provide just under 50% of FY21 revenue.
  • 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 dues comprised about 12% of revenue in FY21.
  • a blond woman holding a microphone and speaking to a crowdCollaborative 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.
  • 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.

As an educational convener, CCSSO’s programming is frequently delivered in the context of meetings, both virtual and in-person. As such, the organization’s expertise in policy is matched by its expertise in holding exceptional events. The Director of Meetings and team of six will report to the COO. These meetings professionals are experts at the logistics of events and work collaboratively across the organization to meet CCSSO’s diverse meeting and event needs.

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

CCSSO’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

CCSSO has a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, both internally and externally in their work with state chiefs and state education agency (SEA) leaders.

Educational equity means that every student has access to the educational resources and rigor they need, 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 celebrating success where it is achieved

Internally, 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. It provides professional learning opportunities for all staff and sees its internal culture and equity initiatives as key to its excellence in delivering its mission. The Director of Equity Initiatives reports to the COO.

About the Position

three women smiling and posing for the cameraThis is a newly defined position. A member of the Executive Team, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will report to the CEO and work closely with the CEO and the Executive Team. The COO directly supervises four, including the Director of Meetings, the Director of Executive Office, the Director of Equity Initiatives, and the Director of Human Resources. Including indirect reports, this position will oversee a total team of fourteen. The COO will be responsible for core areas of operations, including human resources, operational and internal management and planning, management of operational aspects of meetings, internal diversity, equity, and inclusion, and strategic support at the Executive level.

The ideal candidate will foster collaboration at all levels, with expertise around growing collaboration in remote organizations. They will champion diversity, equity, and inclusion through all of their work, especially in human resources and staff professional development practices. Candidates will bring an analytical mind, with the ability to consider return on investment for large projects, and to understand implications of accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting practices.  Overall, the COO will bring the ability to see the bigger picture and goals of CCSSO, create detailed plans to execute and achieve those goals, ability to analyze processes and make recommendations for streamlining, and excellent communication and cooperation to the greater CCSSO team to ensure operations are effective for the organization.

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 leading the organizational staffing and operational functions of an organization transitioning to a mostly remote work environment and committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Analyze, assess, and recommend operational strategies that will increase the success of implementing CCSSO’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan internally.
  • Serve as a representative with and for the CEO in various situations including discussions on building and office utilization, vendors, and contractors.

Human Capital/Talent Development

  • Oversee the Human Resources team including direct supervision of CCSSO’s Human Resources Director. Provide a plan and guidance to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion inform CCSSO’s human capital strategy.
  • Provide leadership and a formal structure to execute an inclusive and robust staff development strategy including both CCSSO.
  • Guide and review the Council’s bi-annual performance management system including planning review cycles and creating plans for implementing any recommended changes.
  • Create a process to ensure the Council is regularly conducting position, compensation, and benefit reviews.
  • Provide direction and a focused operational plan to execute on remote workplace best practices.

Operational and Internal Management and Planning 

  • Work in collaboration with CCSSO’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to contribute to the development of the operating budget and ensure the organization’s fiscal practices are up to date, and result in timely and accurate budgets, adequate/strategic funding, and employee understanding of programmatic finances.
  • In collaboration with CCSSO’s CFO and Chief Development Officer (CDO), conduct an annual analysis of Council spending, fundraising, and opportunities for organizational fiscal sustainability.
  • Manage CCSSO’s Director of Meetings, who oversees the Meetings Team. Provide guidance and oversight with a keen focus on excellence and efficiencies for delivery of the many meetings CCSSO hosts in person.
  • Serve as the lead on planning and negotiations to maximize utility of the building lease, including revenue possibilities.
  • Lead and coordinate All Staff monthly meetings and all staff in-person training and team building activities with members of the operations team.
  • Develop and deploy a strategy and process for evaluating the efficacy and success of the internal operations, including a strategic budget process with a focus on identifying opportunities and diversifying revenue streams.

Internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Lead and supervise the Director of Equity Initiatives, who leads internal DEI and professional development work.
  • Provide guidance to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion inform CCSSO’s human capital strategy.
  • Ensure staff development and staff engagement activities are provided with an equity lens and utilize an inclusive practice.
  • In coordination with the Director of Internal Equity, provide coaching, formal training, and project planning assistance to staff to ensure they design and execute their work with the equity commitment frames within their specific area of focus.
  • Build a cadre of external resources to share and learn about DEI work of other organizations and leaders.

Executive Office

  • Oversee the Executive Office team including direct supervision of CCSSO’s Executive Office Director.
  • Lead a talented team in efforts to ensure Executives are adequately supported as well as the EO team is fully supported to accomplish organizational goals.

Key Qualifications

Qualified candidates will have 10+ years of progressively responsible, relevant experience, including 5+ years senior management experience. Bachelor’s degree required.

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

  • A collaborative leader and adept manager who will foster collaboration at all levels across the organization.
  • Understanding of how to foster and grow a culture of collaboration in a primarily remote organization.
  • Innovative leader who can guide the organization into the future workplace. Someone willing to find new operational ways to deliver CCSSO’s DEI commitment across the organization..
  • Strong background in human capital and human resources practices.
  • Keen attention to return on investment and cost-benefit analysis for organizational efficiency. Experience analyzing logistics and processes to deliver on large projects.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and clearly (orally and in writing) and engage with senior state leaders and internal staff at all levels.
  • 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.

Preferred Qualifications (But not required)

  • Prefer experience in operations, COO or Vice President of Human Resources o.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of financial and operational planning, budgeting, and reporting.
  • Experience with or leading internal organizational DEI efforts.
  • Experience in the K-12 or higher education field and a keen sense of emerging state-focused education efforts.
  • Experience working in a nonprofit organization and non-partisan, membership-based organization.

Compensation: The salary range for this position is $200,000 – $220,000

This search will remain open until filled, and candidates will be reviewed on a rolling and ongoing basis – there is no deadline to apply.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to: CouncilCOO@developmentguild.com

Suzanne Weber, MBA

Chief Executive Officer

Development Guild DDI 


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