The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia (“the Fund”) seeks a dynamic, strategic, and relationship-focused leader committed to public education to serve as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Fund, an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that serves as a fiscal intermediary between the private sector and the Philadelphia public education system, has ambitious goals in support of the School District of Philadelphia (“the District”). This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced fundraiser, leader, and strategic thinker to lead the Fund in a time of great potential and growth in the city of Philadelphia. The CEO will assume a leadership role in the community, both as a spokesperson for the organization and as a catalyst for establishing trusting relationships with philanthropic, nonprofit, and other community partners. The CEO will generate transformational ideas, advocate in support of public education, and execute innovative fundraising initiatives. The CEO must be adaptive between being the external face of the organization as its primary fundraiser and thought partner to the Superintendent as well as an internal operation executive with an inspirational and communicative leadership style, business acumen, and compassion for serving the Philadelphia community while accountable to an influential and engaged Board of Directors.
The Philadelphia landscape is entering into a new chapter and shifts in leadership in the Governor’s Office, Mayor’s Office, and the Board of Education. In June 2022, the District welcomed a new superintendent, Dr. Tony Watlington, who is deepening the prioritization of student achievement and academic performance in-line with Philadelphia’s aspirations to be an exemplar of successful urban education. The CEO will be a thought partner to the superintendent with the shared goal of making Philadelphia the fastest-improving large urban public education school system. The Fund is proud to be exclusively devoted to raising, managing, and directing philanthropic contributions to improve District schools. Enrolling 125,000 students, of which 80,000 are in charter schools, the School District of Philadelphia is the eighth-largest school district in the nation and enrolls a large population of high-poverty students. The District’s mission is to provide a high-quality education that prepares, ensures, and empowers all students to achieve their full intellectual and social potential to become lifelong learners and productive members of society, bolstered by Dr. Watlington’s goal for the District to become the fastest improving urban school district in the country.
As an essential collaborator and intermediary for the District, the Fund was established to identify, coordinate, and connect philanthropic resources to leverage investments in Philadelphia’s historically underfunded local public schools. The Fund’s initiatives focus primarily on the District's Goals and Guardrails—to graduate students ready for college and career, to have 100% of 8-year-olds reading at or above grade level, and to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers and principals. The CEO will generate transformational ideas and advocate in support of public education aligned with the strategic direction of the District. Since 2015, The Fund has raised more than $41 million in support of these goals. Additionally, the Fund’s role as an intermediary was crucial in bridging the digital divide when the COVID-19 pandemic closed school buildings. The Fund raised over $7.2 million in donations to purchase 35,000 Chromebooks on behalf of the District. Launched in 2022, the Fund was instrumental in funding a new paraprofessional pathway program to address the teacher shortage by empowering special education assistants and classroom assistants to become teachers. This program, the Paraprofessional Grow Your Own program, covers the full cost of tuition and provides additional supports to ensure the program participants graduate debt-free and have all opportunities to be successful in obtaining a bachelor’s degree and a teaching role in the District.
The successful CEO of the Fund will be committed to the values, mission, and goals of the Fund; believes strongly in the power of public education; and will be expected to sustain and enhance the identity of the Fund as a philanthropic leader in Philadelphia. The successful candidate should be a champion for Philadelphia’s students and schools and have a firm understanding of the opportunities and challenges of urban school systems alongside a passion for advancing academic achievement and educational equity. The CEO will be an exceptional fundraiser, an experienced and thoughtful team leader, and a compellingly effective relationship builder with connections across Philadelphia’s education and philanthropy sector—or the desire to develop them.
Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, is assisting The Fund with the search for its next Chief Executive Officer. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: https://www.imsearch.com/open-searches/fund-school-district-philadelphia/chief-executive-officer. Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.
Tiffany Weber, Managing Associate
Janette Martinez, Senior Associate
Melissa Barravecchio, Search Coordinator
The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive organizational culture at the staff, leadership, and board levels. Applicants with diverse backgrounds are valued and encouraged.