The Organization

Founded in 2016 by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner, private philanthropists, and business and community leaders, Read Fort Worth (RFW) is a collective impact effort formed to align partners, strategies, and resources and significantly improve early childhood literacy. RFW will serve as the backbone organization that supports existing initiatives, programs, and providers through data, communications, and facilitation to dramatically improve early childhood results. RFW is structured as a coalition of businesses, civic, education, philanthropic, nonprofit and volunteer leaders dispersed into “Collaborative Action Networks,” each of which have specific goals which fall under the umbrella of RFW’s goal. Together, these networks hope to ensure that 100 percent of Fort Worth third graders are reading to learn—not learning to read—by 2025 (“100x25”).

The partnership began with a tight focus on the Fort Worth school district and its 34,000 students in pre-K through third grade while laying a foundation for an effort that can grow to serve and partner with organizations across the region and across sectors. It also aims to improve student outcomes by engaging and empowering leaders, using actionable data and continuous improvement, aligning resources to what works, pursuing local and institutional policy change, and advocating for equity at all levels of the system.

The Opportunity

The Collaborative Action Networks have already collected the data needed to establish that reading on grade level by third grade is a predictor of future success. Now that Read Fort Worth has the established goal of 100 percent grade-level reading by the third grade, these networks’ next step is to continue collecting and sharing data to find and implement the best plan to achieve this goal. RFW is seen as the lynchpin in the collaboration, and as the driving force behind data collection, will also play a role in the engagement of service providers to implement their data-informed solution(s). To that end, the Executive Director must manage the partnership with each Collaborative Action Network and provide leadership and vision to the overarching network.

Responsibilities

Reporting to the Chairman of the Executive Council and working closely and regularly with the Superintendent’s office at FWISD, the Executive Director of Read Fort Worth is a dynamic, strategic leader that possesses extraordinary vision and entrepreneurial acumen with the ability to cultivate and build critical relationships with key stakeholders to propel the work of the partnership forward in a thoughtful and systematic manner.  S/he is responsible for building upon the foundation that has been laid, to work alongside the community, to strive to identify the successful practices, policies and programs that will move the needle for children in Fort Worth.  The Executive Director will also drive internal and external functions, including strategy, communications, community engagement, and data functions.  S/he must be driven by a sense of compassion, respect and belief in the enormous potential of our community and children. In summary, the Executive Director works effectively to meet Read Fort Worth’s ambitious impact goals. Specifically, s/he will:

  • Provide visionary and dynamic leadership and management to a high-performing team of employees and community members, accountable for nurturing the efficiency and effectiveness of both;
  • Be responsible for high-level strategic thinking and facilitation to clarify and delegate priorities while creating and monitoring progress towards organizational and individual goals;
  • Work with Executive Council in annual planning and budgeting processes;
  • Maintain a close working relationship with Fort Worth ISD and the superintendent or the superintendent’s designated liaison(s);
  • Oversee the daily operations, establishing and maintaining appropriate systems for measuring necessary aspects of operational management;
  • Select, contract with, and oversee the work of consultants as appropriate (e.g., data management, communications, etc.);
  • Serve as a strong, neutral, and skilled facilitator who can guide the team, partners, and stakeholders towards consensus and defined, shared vision, action and results;
  • Build deep relationships with and understand cross-sector (education, social service, business, civic) partners across the Fort Worth area who are connected to and enable the success of every child;
  • Advocate for the key outcomes and strategies identified by Read Fort Worth and its partners to improve student outcomes and diplomatically influence key leaders in scaling practices that work;
  • Ensure the community is kept apprised of goals, objectives, priorities, successes, and opportunities of Read Fort Worth and its partners;
  • Model the use of data to inform decision making and the use of improvement processes to scale what works in education and the commitment to see those improvements take hold over time;
  • Work with the Read Fort Worth Executive Council to engage members in supporting and advocating for the core tenets of the partnership’s work and the community’s priorities;
  • Secure investments and build ongoing relationships with investors to ensure that resources can be targeted to support agreed upon activities in the strategic plan that can be directly connected to organizational goals and outcomes;
  • Represent Read Fort Worth externally to partners, media, funders, policymakers, and others; and
  • Value diversity, equity, and cultural differences, bringing cultural competency to their daily work.

Required Competencies

Leadership

  • Provides visionary, adaptive leadership, modeling Read Fort Worth’s guiding values at all times and fostering a culture that reflects them;
  • Develops, coaches and mentors Read Fort Worth team members;
  • Identifies capacity gaps and creates hiring plans that acknowledge and plan for possible organizational growth and shrinking; 
  • Helps create a work environment that embraces and appreciates diversity;

Strategic coherence

  • Maintains understanding of current implementation challenges and develops comprehensive solutions to address them;
  • Develops systems to share organizational decisions with the Read Fort Worth Executive Council and staff members;
  • Provides direction and support to partner organizations in aligning their work to the Common Agenda (e.g., identifying opportunities for program work to support specific goals);
  • Develops advocacy priorities alongside Executive Council and community to coordinate supporting activities of the partnership;

Communication

  • Establishes, facilitates, and executes effective and open communication with staff, particularly related to internal decisions and strategy;
  • Communicates the objectives of the partnership to the community and potential partners in a concise and effective manner;
  • Leads and manages the creation of yearly summary reports of Read Fort Worth’s progress for Executive Council, partners and external audiences; and
  • The following duties may be done in coordination with a communications consultant or staff:
  1. Developing communications materials as Read Fort Worth evolves, potentially including summary documents, brochures, FAQs, and other items;
  2. Developing web and social media strategy; and
  3. Assisting in the creation of a press strategy, including drafting press releases, coordinating with media outlets;

Interaction with Others

  • Builds Read Fort Worth’s identity as a respected, neutral convener among a broad spectrum of local stakeholders, possessing the ability to coalesce diverse groups of stakeholders;
  • Builds constructive working relationships characterized by a high level of acceptance, cooperation, and mutual respect;
  • Effectively deals with difficult conversations or situations when they arise;
  • Influences others to be excited and committed to furthering the partnership’s objectives;
  • Coordinates with other projects and coalitions in the same field to maintain a full understanding of the current landscape of local and regional activities, and seek alignment;

Personal Effectiveness

  • Takes personal responsibility for the quality and timeliness of work, and achieves results with little oversight, managing own time, priorities, and resources to achieve goals;
  • Adapts to changing business needs, conditions, and work responsibilities; and
  • Maintains composure in highly stressful or adverse situations.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Education, Communications, Community Development or equivalent degree.  Master’s Degree preferred;
  • At least 3-7 years of relevant work experience, including at least 3 years managing teams in a fast-paced and high-growth non-profit, social enterprise, or business start-up environment;
  • Familiarity with the local area and / or focus of the initiative (e.g. collective impact, education);
  • Advanced strategy and planning skills, including an ability to think strategically on both organizational and systemic levels over multi-year horizons;
  • Strong data acumen and ability to oversee complex shared-measurement systems;
  • Strong facilitation and presentation skills before multiple types of audiences;
  • Experience with complex project management and stakeholder management;
  • Demonstrated success in cultivating fundraiser relationships;
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to build authentic relationships with a diverse set of high profile stakeholders;
  • Comfort with ambiguity and ability to thrive in a fluid, entrepreneurial environment;
  • Willingness to “roll up one’s sleeves” and extend beyond formal responsibilities based on the needs of the work; and
  • Experience in a start-up environment.

Other Considerations

Compensation: Competitive with comparable organizations, and commensurate with capability, experience, and prevailing market trends

Travel: Limited

Website: http://readfortworth.org/

Please contact Travis Hillier at travis@penasearch.com or Carlos Peña at carlos@penasearch.com for additional information or to apply.