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Colorado State Charter School Institute - Executive Director

POSITION OPENING

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Colorado State Charter School Institute

Closing Date: December 10, 2004
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The Colorado State Charter School Institute (CSI), a newly created statewide charter school authorizing agency, seeks an Executive Director to lead the establishment and execution of CSI’s charter-authorizing responsibilities. The Executive Director will report directly to the state-appointed CSI governing board. This position will be located in Denver, Colorado, with regular travel around the state expected. Target start date of January 2005.

Background

Charter schools are performance-based public schools that receive significant operational autonomy in exchange for accountability for student achievement. If these schools do not meet the goals set forth in their charters – performance contracts with public authorizing agencies – they may be closed. Charter schools have won strong support from a wide variety of communities, educators and public officials. They present special opportunities as well as challenges to their authorizing agencies, which must evaluate charter proposals wisely and hold schools accountable for educational results rather than process uniformity.

Colorado has had a strong charter school movement since the passage of its charter school law in 1993. This fall, 108 charter schools will be operating throughout the state. Until now, school districts were the only entities empowered to authorize and oversee charter schools in Colorado.

The passage of HB 04-1362 (effective July 1, 2004) authorized the creation of the CSI, a new state agency whose sole mission is to “foster high-quality public school choices offered through Institute charter schools, including particularly schools for at-risk students.” To that end, the CSI has authority to approve, oversee and evaluate charter schools throughout the state of Colorado. The CSI is an independent agency in the Colorado Department of Education and, as such, holds independent rulemaking authority.

The CSI will be responsible for guiding, supporting, and monitoring the schools it oversees, while holding them accountable for academic achievement, financial stewardship, legal compliance and overall organizational effectiveness. For purposes of federal law, the CSI will operate as a Local Educational Agency.

The CSI is governed by a nine-member board, seven of whom are appointed by the Governor and two of whom are appointed by the Commissioner of Education. No more than five members may be from any single political party, and members are appointed for staggered terms of three years. Information about the current appointments to the CSI board is available at: http://www.colorado.gov/governor/press/september04/charter.html.

The Colorado General Assembly intent was in creating the CSI that it “model best practices in authorizing charter schools and focus on at risk students

The start-up of the CSI is supported by private grants. Beyond the start-up phase, the CSI’s ongoing operating revenue will derive from withholding up to 3% of the per-pupil funding from the schools it oversees.

The CSI Executive Director will work with the CSI governing board, legislative sponsors, the Governor’s Office, the Commissioner of Education and other interested local, state and national entities to ensure successful implementation of the CSI. Pursuant to Colorado law, the CSI Executive Director is an at-will employee.

A summary of the bill authorizing the CSI is available at:
http://www.coloradoleague.org/advocacy_HB1362.htm

The full bill is available at:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_charter.htm

Responsibilities

The CSI Executive Director is responsible for leading the CSI’s development, day-to-day management and operations, and fulfillment of the CSI’s mission. Key responsibilities include:

• Establishing the CSI office and operating policies, practices and procedures
• Assisting the CSI Board in developing and instituting comprehensive authorizing practices for the CSI, including a charter school oversight framework and accountability system, that will serve as a model for chartering and all public education in Colorado and meet national standards for best practices in charter school authorizing
• Assisting the CSI board in the evaluation of applications for both start-up charter schools, transfers and renewal of charter schools.
• Monitoring the academic performance, management and legal compliance of all schools authorized by the CSI
• Advising the CSI governing board on all matters related to reviewing, negotiating, approving, renewing, suspending and/or terminating charter school contracts
• Overseeing the CSI budget
• Assisting in fundraising
• Hiring, managing and developing necessary staff, contractors and consultants,
• Leading the institutional development and strategic planning, with the goal of developing the CSI into an effective public chartering authority respected in Colorado and nationally
• Representing the CSI to the state and national education community, policymakers, community leaders, the media and the public
• Ensuring that the CSI’s practices advance the purposes of the Colorado charter school law
• Serving as liaison between various state and local governing institutions, community organizations and other stakeholders.

Desired Qualifications

• Management and leadership experience with a charter school authorizing entity or other public body, experience with a start-up and growing organization
• Strong belief in the principles, goals and value of the charter school movement
• Superior writing, public speaking, analytical, interpersonal and policy advocacy skills
• Strong leadership and management ability
• Ability to work effectively with a state-appointed governing board, state policymakers and the public, and to lead a state institution that interacts closely with local communities and diverse organizations and individuals across the state
• Entrepreneurial spirit, initiative and drive to excel
• Excellent skills in organizational, financial and administrative oversight and staff management
• Willingness and ability to travel regularly around the state and occasionally to other states
• Experience in developing and executing successful organizational and strategic plans and financial plans
• Strong understanding of public schools and education policy, public education systems and governance, and school assessment and accountability
• Experience with charter schools and familiarity with the full range of challenges they face
• Clear vision for developing the CSI into an effective chartering body that plays an important educational leadership role in Colorado
• Familiarity with the obligations of a public institution
• Comfortable and resourceful in a fast-paced, start-up and performance-focused work environment
• Advanced degree (especially management, education, public administration, public policy or law)

Compensation

Competitive and commensurate with experience. Potential to receive performance pay.

To Apply

Send a resume, cover letter and three references, one of whom should be your immediate past supervisor, to the attention of Terri Rayburn Davis. Applications must be submitted electronically to [email protected]
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The State of Colorado is an equal opportunity employer.

Closing Date: December 10, 2004, COB 5:00 MST