Raising A Reader’s National Office seeks talented professionals committed to realizing the organization’s vision.
President & Chief Executive Officer, National Office
Redwood City, California
Raising A Reader (RAR) is a national nonprofit organization which helps the families of children (ages 0-8) build home literacy routines essential for reading skill development. Through a national network of trusted local agencies (RAR Affiliates), parents learn researched-based book sharing practices. Each week children are excited to bring home a different bright red bag filled with high-quality, multicultural books and ask a caring loved one to spend time sharing books with them. Families are connected to their local libraries at the conclusion of the program to continue the habit of borrowing and sharing books.
RAR, a supporting organization of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, operates in over 2,700 locations nationally, has reached over 1.5 million children, and has over 15 million books in rotation. Since 1999, RAR’s model has been validated by more than 30 independent evaluations. The Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail Initiative, The White House’s Office of Hispanic Education, and The White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative have identified the model as a national best practice. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the organization a prestigious Innovative Approach to Literacy Award and in 2014 identified RAR as a national model for its alignment with the recently adopted Dual Capacity Family Engagement Framework. RAR also works with a number of publishers and vendors to produce training materials and book bag kits tailored to a variety of ages, cultures, and languages.
With an annual budget of $4 million, RAR is headquartered in Redwood City, CA and has a warehouse in Milpitas, CA as well as an East Coast office near Baltimore, MD.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE:
As RAR enters a new trajectory of growth, through RAR 3.0m and the launch of a digital component for its validated Core model, the President and CEO will lead the organization to achieve its next milestones of impact, influence and national leadership. This individual’s deep administrative and management experience will further strengthen the organizational capacity of RAR’s national team as well as the agencies and practitioners implementing RAR through its national network of affiliates.
The President & CEO will be responsible for achieving all board approved strategic and revenue goals. Working closely with the Board and senior team to achieve these goals, this individual will lead efforts to continue RAR’s long history of developing innovative and validated literacy solutions, with particular attention to children and families at highest risk for educational failure. The individual will represent RAR to regional and national education audiences, including funders, key influencers, and policy makers. As a supporting organization of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, RAR maintains strong ties with SVCF, which the President and CEO will be expected to maintain and foster.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President and CEO will provide overall leadership to the daily operations of RAR, overseeing the development of programs and resources in conjunction with the 15 staff members.
Specific duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Offer creative and visionary leadership that, combined with operationally sound strategy, will help RAR continue to successfully achieve its mission.
- Effectively communicate with the Board, providing all information necessary for its proper function and capacity to make informed decisions.
- Assume organizational responsibility for achieving board approved strategic and budgetary goals.
- Assist the Board, as directed, in all aspects of governance.
- Provide visionary guidance that reflects the dynamic nature of the field and the widely varying needs of diverse communities, incorporates the highest quality research and carefully leverages innovative opportunities (i.e. , technology) to innovate without sacrificing program integrity.
- Lead RAR’s national team, supporting staff across its West and East Coast offices as needed. Maximize team strengths, deepen cross-department collaboration, and continually strengthen internal capacity to achieve RAR’s mission.
- Secure the operational resources needed for efficient and effective business operations. Ensure that strategic and tactical efforts prioritize family/agency outcomes and maximize financial, organizational and human resources.
- Secure the financial and programmatic resources needed to strengthen RAR’s national affiliate network. Oversee strategic and tactical efforts to add new agencies to the network and strengthen the capacity of existing affiliates to expand/sustain RAR programming.
- Advance RAR’s position as the nation’s most validated nonprofit literacy organization. Represent RAR publicly, at national conferences, meetings, and professional events that significantly increase RAR’s recognition, expansion and impact.
- Provide leadership for and actively participate in fundraising efforts for RAR.
- The President and CEO must be willing to travel up to 50% of the time.
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED:
Leading candidates will possess collaborative leadership skills that demonstrate consensus-oriented management, effective decision-making, strategic vision, and practical implementation. The successful candidate will be an innovator, a creative problem solver and a visionary.
Ideally, the President and CEO will be a charismatic and inspirational leader with a positive image and with strong interpersonal and communication skills. He/She must be an energetic fundraiser and have the ability to elevate RAR’s profile in the community. The President and CEO will have strong listening skills and appreciate the suggestions and best practices of others, easily and comfortably giving credit where appropriate. The successful candidate will be curious, engaged, entrepreneurial, open to new ideas, and will be comfortable operating in a transparent manner.
The President and CEO should, therefore, be diplomatic but a decisive, flexible, politically astute, culturally sensitive, and self-motivated leader. He/She should be able to create harmonious relationships, develop good rapport and be a person of vision while also being comfortable as a hands-on manager and an enabler of others.
Exceptional written and oral communication skills are important, as the President and CEO will serve as a spokesperson for RAR. This will involve public speaking, often advocating for programs or support of programs. The person in this position should be a model of integrity and fairness and have high ethical standards.
CAREER PATH LEADING TO THIS POSITION:
The preferred candidate will have a minimum of 7-10 years of successful experience in a leadership role of a national nonprofit organization, ideally with offices in multiple geographic locations. A background in the nonprofit literacy and/or family engagement sector is highly desired. Demonstrated visionary leadership with a track record of innovation and securing the needed financial and human resources to consistently achieve goals is essential and expected.
The President and CEO should be a seasoned professional with successful experience in a highly visible environment that requires an energetic entrepreneurial nature as well as intellectual curiosity, analytical skills, and political savvy. Experience in program development that questions conventional wisdom, is forward thinking and innovative but refuses to compromise on elements proven effective for children and families at highest risk is strongly desired. The proven ability to build and manage effective board-level relationships collaboratively forging pragmatic solutions in environments characterized by ambiguity, contradiction and complexity is essential. Leading candidates must have strong communication skills with demonstrated success in solving problems and building consensus with internal and external stakeholders. Solid experience in quantifying and measuring performance as well as the ability to synthesize findings into achievable goals and tactics is also important.
While the ideal candidate will likely have nonprofit leadership experience (executive or board), candidates with leadership experience in the for-profit sector and a demonstrated passion and knowledge of the work of RAR are encouraged to apply.
A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.
Annual compensation will be competitive. Relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable.
National Reach. Local Impact.
At over 2,700 locations around the country, a Raising A Reader site is making a difference in your community.