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Literacy First Director Role Summary
ABOUT LITERACY FIRST
Since our inception in 1994, Literacy First has had a deep commitment to combating educational inequity as it relates to childhood literacy across Central Texas. Literacy First’s primary goal is to ensure all students regardless of racial, social or economic status meet their academic potential by ensuring that they can read well by the third grade. By providing best-in-class, early literacy tutoring in English and Spanish to young growing readers in under-resourced schools, Literacy First helps our diverse Central Texas students and families thrive. Over the years, Literacy First has helped more than 25,000 students become strong readers in their early years in school, setting them on a path to success in school and in life. Literacy First has achieved this through careful application of recognized research on best practices for early reading skills, research on the effective use of paraprofessional tutors and a commitment to ongoing program evaluation and innovation.
Even as we maintain our proven model of training AmeriCorps members as reading tutors, we are implementing new, data-driven strategies to reach more students by working with teachers, reading specialists, paraprofessionals, and other school and district personnel. Our strategic plan sets a course for continuing to innovate in ways that expand our reach and impact.
Our work is grounded in four core values that help us lead with integrity in all we do:
We embody the spirit of service in pursuit of educational equity and every child’s right to read.
We achieve quality impact through continual learning, meaningful evaluation, and advancing expertise in literacy.
We embrace community strengths through respectful and intentional collaboration with students, parents, tutors, teachers, and partners.
We nurture an inclusive culture where our diverse staff, tutors, partners, and participants engage in honest, supportive interactions and find a sense of belonging.
Our talented team has years of experience in early literacy, working with AmeriCorps, partnering with schools and districts, developing young readers and attracting and sustaining a network of community support. Literacy First’s new Director will come on board early in 2022 to build on our track record of success and reach more students, achieve consistently strong results, grow more teachers, and strengthen classroom-based reading instruction within and beyond Central Texas.
ABOUT THIS ROLE
The Literacy First Director role is a challenging, multi-faceted leadership position within The Charles A. Dana Center in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, the Central Texas region, and the field of early literacy. With a primary aim of ensuring more children become readers by third grade, Literacy First’s Director will:
Catalyze and nurture a strong, healthy organizational culture that reflects Literacy First’s core values.
Drive the evolution and execution of organizational strategy including strengthening tutoring models, enabling continued innovation and evaluation, advancing diversity, inclusiveness, and equity, increasing capacity and strengthening infrastructure, and ensuring sustainability through the strategic implementation of a strong revenue plan.
Lead, support, and develop Literacy First’s highly-experienced team to strengthen capacity, maximize expertise and ensure efficiency needed to achieve goals.
Represent Literacy First as an expert in the fields of early literacy and education in ways that strengthen the brand, increase stakeholder support, and lead to advances within and beyond Texas.
Leverage data and research for continuous program improvement, storytelling and navigating the often contentious “reading wars”.
Collaborate with internal partners (The Charles A. Dana Center’s staff, UT Development, UT Foundation) and external partners (school district and campus leaders, non-profit partners and networks, AmeriCorps and OneStar Foundation, Advisory Board volunteers, and donors) including oversight of all contracts and partnership agreements.
Identify and cultivate new partnerships, relationships and avenues for growth that will expand our reach and deepen our impact.
Work in close partnership with Literacy First’s development team to design and implement an effective revenue plan that inspires generosity, attracts champions and secures the resources needed to advance goals.
Lead decision making in the face of complex realities and in response to internal and external change.
You are a thoughtful, experienced and visionary leader who knows the field of early literacy and who believes every child has the right to read.
You have strong emotional intelligence, put people first, and have a track record of success in leading, coaching and developing people, including highly skilled and experienced teams. You are an enthusiastic collaborator, a known team player, and an authentic relationship builder who has established and nurtured partnerships and navigated complex systems. You have worked effectively across lines of difference and within diverse, multi-racial groups. Your experience in under-served communities leads you to understand the need for Literacy First to become increasingly diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and you are capable of leading the work required to make meaningful progress.
Evolving and expanding programs and/or organizations is energizing for you. You know how to lead people and organizations through change and strike the right balance of challenge and support to keep people invested and the organization thriving. You have experience with non-profit/advisory boards and fundraising, and you enjoy inspiring others to join a meaningful cause. You have held a position that requires commitment beyond the scope of the traditional work week and have strategies for managing a challenging role while maintaining and modeling balance and personal sustainability.
You believe in Literacy First’s mission, approach, and core values, and you share our commitment to improving academic achievement for all students. You hold a deep belief in the power of our communities, and respect and love for our students and families across Central Texas. You operate with humility and respect for the hard work of school leaders, teachers, parents, students and district staff. And, you share our commitment to fostering an equitable and inclusive work environment for all team members.
You are a compelling public speaker and a highly effective advocate for young readers. You are passionate about early literacy, racial equity, people management, and leading an organization through growth and change. You are ready to take on a new challenge, join a committed team, and magnify your impact.
REQUIRED EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Strong candidates are those who possess:
a minimum 10 years professional experience
a bachelor’s degree
experience leading and managing people
experience in diverse, multi-lingual or under-resourced communities
PREFERRED EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Highly qualified candidates also possess:
an advanced degree and relevant experience in early literacy, education, or a related field
experience leading an effective organization at the executive or leadership level
experience evolving and expanding programs and/or organizations
experience building partnerships and navigating complex systems
demonstrated skills related to fiscal planning, revenue growth and budget management
experience with non-profit/advisory boards and fundraising
experience with AmeriCorps or other national service programs
experience leading and engaging in equity and anti-racism work
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
As a full-time, non-exempt employee, Literacy First’s Director reports directly to the Managing Director of The Charles A. Dana Center in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. The role includes a salary of $120,000+ (based on experience and qualifications), health benefits, generous vacation and a commitment to individual professional learning and growth.
Interested in learning more?
You can get more information and apply here.
Equal Opportunity Employer
The University of Texas at Austin, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.
Literacy First is hiring a Development Associate to assist the Literacy First Development/Communications team in raising sustaining funds and support for the program as we expand our impact in Central Texas. Are you or someone you know right for the role? Find job details, benefits, and instructions to apply here.