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Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer


For more than two decades, middle school students in Boston, and across the United States, have been participating in hands-on learning opportunities that inspire curiosity, foster social emotional learning and better position learners to discover and achieve their dreams in college and beyond. We’ve impacted the lives of thousands of students because of the creativity, dedication and commitment of our staff and AmeriCorps Service Members. Together, we work hand-in-hand with the communities we serve to imagine and design solutions that build on existing successes and cultivate new wins. It is in this spirit, that we continue to explore new avenues to serve students and families and are launching a search for a Chief Operating Officer; a new position focused on promoting operational excellence through organization-wide collaboration and partnership in support of our mission.

Citizen Schools is more than the policies, practices and curricula that support the smooth running of its school-based programs and capacity building efforts to embed hands-on learning programs within the traditional school day. We are a community of inspired, socially aware and driven AmeriCorps Service Members and employees committed to finding real and sustainable solutions to combat the opportunity gap by expanding the classroom, the school day and the community. This year, we are on track to serve more than 80,000 students across the United States.

As COO, you’ll help us perform at our best in an environment where great ideas become better through ideation with colleagues, diversity and equity of voice are prized and each of us is growing and learning each day. You’ll help us to live our core values authentically and with fidelity, partner better and erode silos, leverage resources to achieve challenging goals and foster a working environment that feels joyous and energizing.


  • Executive Leader
    • Trusted advisor to the senior team and a charismatic and thoughtful leader who serves as a model for organizational values at headquarters and across the network.
    • Engaging and empowering leader capable of inspiring and uniting employees and leaders, as well as handling different components of operations in support of our mission.
    • Oversee and facilitate the alignment between different departments, supporting tradeoff decisions and data-driven choices that best position the organization to achieve its goals.
    • Serve as a strategic advisor, functional expert, and coach to the senior team regarding key operational, management, and people choices.
    • Facilitate the process of annual planning and company-wide goal setting with a particular focus on operationalising the organization’s strategy and creating an accurate financial model, forecast and workforce plan.
  • Talent Management
    • Shape the vision, priorities, and plan for building on the existing talent/HR function to create an exceptional employee experience that draws from and deeply connects with the values, skills and mindsets we aim to foster in students.
    • Supervise the hiring and retention of staff and AmeriCorps Service Members that are mission-driven, diverse and demonstrate the skills, mindsets and experiences needed to excel in our workplace.
    • Partner with members of the senior team and employees throughout the organization to foster a culture of learning and support for each others’ development; including the implementation of training and development programs and opportunities for on-the-job learning/ stretch assignments.
    • Promote diversity, equity and inclusion across our network by stewarding national initiatives, coordinating local task force meetings and serving as a model of inclusive leadership practice.
    • Manage a team of internal and contracted resources to ensure employment practices, such as hiring, promotion and pay, are compliant with local, state and federal law.
  • Operations and Business Intelligence
    • Create a focus on operational excellence through which regional offices, school locations and headquarters’ departments work together day-to-day and on cross functional projects in a manner which is well-aligned, draws out the best ideas and promotes open, respectful and candid dialogue.
    • Supervise a cross functional team composed of regional leaders in CA, MA and NY, Managing Director of Operations and senior members of the human resources team.
    • Oversee the tools, resources and practices that promote operational excellence such as goal and project tracking, grant reporting and compliance, KPI reporting and analytics, the integration (flow of data and user experience) of key systems, and templates used for annual planning and budgeting.
    • Partner with the Managing Director of Operations, the CEO and Chief Development Officer to forecast and monitor cash flow and ensure spending is inline with budget.
    • Work to create deeper points of collaboration between employees focused on direct service and the teams supporting our capacity building work with communities and teachers.


There are innumerable ways to learn, grow and excel professionally. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring the work. This said, we are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below:

  • 7+ years of  experience in people-centered leadership/talent and/or operations roles where the focus has been on excellence in operations and work environment across multiple locations
  • Demonstrated ability to develop, implement, manage and garner support for business systems and processes that support goal attainment
  • Drive to support students in charting their own pathways through access to resources and inspiration
  • Belief in the power of diversity and excitement for working in a diverse culture and on diverse teams
  • Ability to deliver on ambitious goals and benchmarks
  • Strong, calm presence and ability to provide the team with a clear sense of direction, especially in times of change
  • Excellent track record of leading, managing, and developing high-performing teams
  • Strong analytical skills and use of data to drive decision-making and to build consensus/support for evidence-based solutions
  • Exceptional listening, trust-building and ability to lead inter-personally and through delegation
  • Excellent problem-solving, operational, and communication skills
  • Proactive attitude, out of the box thinking, sense of humor and ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment


Salary will be competitive with similar roles at non-profit organizations of a comparable size, and you will also receive a robust benefits package. We offer medical and dental insurance, 403(b) retirement plan with match, paid vacation, professional development stipend, and more.


All children deserve the opportunity to discover and achieve their dreams. Citizen Schools makes this possible for thousands of high-need middle school students nationwide through partnerships with public districts that extend the school day and introduce volunteer and paid adults to increase hands-on learning opportunities. Extended Learning Time or ELT is an evidence-based model, that consistently accelerates the rate of student learning, reduces absenteeism, leads to more students reaching grade-level proficiency, and prepares students for college and beyond. You can review our results or see the our impact first hand through the story of one of our students .

We are on a mission to reimagine the learning day, and with partners like Cisco, Fidelity, Biogen and AmeriCorps, we are getting closer to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps every day.


 Citizen Schools is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, cultural heritage, ancestry, political belief, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability or veteran status. Citizen Schools is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and we are committed to making special accommodations for your interview or work as a member of our team. If specific accommodations are needed, please notify jsmerkers@positivelypartners.org and we will work to accommodate your needs.

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our philosophy

We believe in the power of positivity, and that people deserve to be happy both at home and at work.  That's why we focus on three key components to find the right match for each of our current openings: aligning your individual strengths with the requirements of the role, finding work you feel passionate about, and ensuring your values match those of the organization.


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