Chief Executive Officer
College Track is a comprehensive college access and completion program that empowers students from underserved communities to matriculate to and graduate from college. From ninth grade through college graduation, their 10-year program addresses the academic, financial, and systemic barriers that prevent low-income, first-generation students from earning their college degree. In 1997, College Track started with 25 students in East Palo Alto, and today, they have twelve centers located in underserved communities across California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area. Currently, the organization serves more than 3,700 students on their path to upward social mobility.
College Track firmly believe that a bachelor’s degree remains the best predictor of economic mobility, civic engagement, lifelong wellness, and self-agency. College Track students and alumni become models for their families and their communities and they demonstrate that a college education is attainable. By serving students from low-income communities who will become the first in their family to graduate from college, College Track fulfills the promise of higher education for generations to come.
College Track students graduate from college at a rate that is more than double the national average for low-income, first-generation students. Six months out of college, 79% of College Track alumni are employed. For those 30 and over, 92% report earnings greater than their parents with wages on par with the national average. By helping their students maximize the value of their four-year college degree, which includes minimizing student loan debt, securing internships, and limiting the need to work while in college—College Track prepares them to succeed in the 21st century economy.
At College Track, ambition and values drive the way their talented and diverse staff does their work, and they look for individuals who share their passion. They blend an entrepreneurial spirit with their nonprofit roots, cultivating a dynamic culture where everyone's contributions are valued and encouraged. College Track prioritizes building diverse teams that reflect the experiences of their students to ensure that their community shapes the approach. College Track’s work is rooted at the intersection of educational equity and racial justice, setting the stage for students to thrive in careers where people of color have been historically underrepresented.
College Track’s Values
- COMMITMENT: We have an unwavering belief in our students.
- PASSION: We are dedicated to changing our nation’s college completion story.
- JOY: We create environments rich with smiles and laughter.
- AUTHENTICITY: We believe relationships matter.
- EXCELLENCE: Our students deserve nothing but the best.
To learn more, please visit www.collegetrack.org
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will build upon the organization’s nationally respected footprint, champion social justice and increase impact. The CEO must possess a demonstrable connection and passion for College Track’s mission: to equip students confronting systemic barriers to earn a bachelor’s degree in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power. College Track is also a trailblazer in the diversity, equity, and inclusion movement and it is essential that the next CEO be motivated by the power of social change enabled by College Track. The successful candidate will provide both vision and inspiration to this dynamic organization, with a specific focus on setting a national growth strategy, advocating for students, fundraising, team building, and amplifying impact.
This CEO transition comes at an exciting and important moment for College Track as they aspire to serve more students, and to engage more deeply in the national dialogue on educational equity, racial justice and social mobility. With a current budget of $30mm and 250 staff (170 FTE), College Track is a large, diverse, and highly motivated organization with programs across twelve centers located in five regions spanning three states and the District of Columbia. College Track has dynamic plans to grow over the next four years, and the successful candidate must help the organization scale while remaining nimble and innovative in response to the pandemic and the changes ahead for education in our country.
More specifically, the CEO will:
- Serve as an internal and external champion and role model for College Tracks mission, values, and organizational culture.
- Lead and inspire a team that values community, transparency, collaboration, empowerment and accountability.
- Cultivate an inclusive environment and culture of belonging for staff and students.
- Support the growth of a complex coalition of diverse, multi-sectoral stakeholders to achieve the organization’s mission by fundraising with individuals, foundations and corporations.
- Partner with senior management and staff to refine and evolve strategic priorities.
- Forge a close and trusted working relationship with the Board of Directors to develop and manage the organization’s $30M budget, and shape and accomplish the organization’s goals.
- Actively convene with a community of leaders, practitioners and policy influencers to improve education systems in College Track communities and across the US.
- Increase the sustainability and growth of College Track while embracing strong student experience and high program quality.
- Align organizational structure, operational systems, and business practices to bring cohesion and best practices between the sites and the national office.
- Bring charisma and intellect to recruiting, retaining, motivating, and inspiring professional staff, students, alumni, families, partners, Board members, and the community.
- Understand how to engage graduates to create new traditions of involvement within the student and alumni network.
In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
College Track is seeking a leader who inspire all students to develop the belief that they have the ability and responsibility to influence their own destiny. This next CEO must believe that earning a bachelor’s degree is crucial for economic success, civic engagement, and lifelong wellness for students and alumni. The CEO will have proven commitment to education access, equity, and social justice and be skilled in leading a growing organization. The successful candidate must have strategic and notable management experience in the nonprofit, academic, government, and/or business sectors, as well as expertise or exposure in education programs. They will also have talent for fundraising among individuals, foundations, and government agencies.
Ultimately, the successful candidate must exhibit a dedication to the mission and values of College Track and a passion for making a significant and lasting impact on the lives of the students. They will have the credibility, confidence, and emotional intelligence to be an inspirational and connected leader of an already accomplished and committed staff. College Track’s mission to ensure students earn a college degree asks the next leader to disrupt historically oppressive systems. Derived from the unwavering belief that all students can, and one day will, experience a world that honors their inherent talents, gifts, and knowledge, the successful candidate is responsible for translating College Track’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion into specific strategies and actions.
More specifically, the CEO will:
Lead with Emotional Intelligence, IQ, Integrity and Humility. They will be an individual who thoughtfully builds trust across the organization and in the communities they serve, with authenticity and humility. College Track embeds itself in some of America’s most historically disadvantaged communities, where talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. College Track recruits first-generation students, and the next CEO will understand, value and represent for their perspectives on a national scale as College Track grows. The CEO will be an active listener, demonstrate respect for others and, in turn, gain their respect.
Evolve the Vision and Implement Strategy: The CEO will serve as the key leader of the strategy and growth goals of the organization to serve more students across new regions. The 2024 plan targets growing to serve 5,000 students and the successful candidate will have an established record of setting operational priorities, leading organizations through innovation and growth, and enhancing systems and policies. Working closely with the Board, the CEO will manage the development/refinement of overall performance measures and metrics – both programmatic and financial – and work with Board and staff to collect and analyze relevant data on a regular basis. The CEO will be highly-networked with a broad understanding of the national trends, organizations, and stakeholders seeking to impact and improve the education ecosystem. This person must champion the idea that having an educated populace strengthens our citizenry and gives voice to our most vulnerable communities.
Fundraising and Communications: The successful candidate will build upon College Track’s current robust funding base to increase financial support from major donors, foundations, corporations, and other stakeholder groups. It is essential that the new CEO can inspire communities through the use of social media and other communications tools, in order to champion the mission and promote fundraising activities effectively.
Collaborate with the Board, Staff, and College Track Community: The CEO will be able to work effectively with College Track’s diverse constituencies, including its Board, staff, students, alumni and families. The candidate will be able to build consensus and navigate complex situations with grace and flexibility.
Innovate and Manage Change: The effectiveness of College Track as an educational equity and economic mobility organization will depend on how well it manages the uncertain impacts of the pandemic, as well changes in our political, educational and social environment. The next CEO will be an entrepreneur with business instincts, who sees new possibilities through technology and partnerships and is willing to take reasonable risks. National research continues to demonstrate that the most powerful way for first generation students from low-income communities to earn a life of opportunity, choice, and power is through higher education, and College Track seeks a leader who can manage ambiguity and focus on the desired outcomes of college success and completion for their students.
Sustain an Action Oriented Work Environment and Culture of Positivity and High Expectations: The CEO will work with the students and staff to ensure that the entire organization pursues excellence, and continuous learning and consistently exhibits College Track’s core organizational values. They will ensure that the management, staffing and culture of the organization are suitably aligned with College Track’s mission while pursuing strategic ambitions. The CEO will also nurture an organizational culture that is inclusive and highly collaborative—and that seeks to ensure that staff are healthy, whole, and happy.
College Track works to remove barriers for first generation college students on their journey to college completion. Our commitment to removing barriers for first generation college students doesn't stop when college ends. While we hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds, we especially encourage applicants who identify as first-generation college graduates to apply for open opportunities on staff.
College Track is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce. College Track does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
Nomination and application process
Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed to: CollegeTrackCEO@russellreynolds.com
Russell Reynolds Associates
101 California Street | Suite 4200
San Francisco, CA 94111-5867
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