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Job Description: Executive Director, Rural Schools Innovation Zone
 

The Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ) seeks a founding
executive director to make the RSIZ’s bold vision a reality.

 

Position Overview
Are you a dynamic and collaborative leader interested in reinventing the rural education experience?
Can you build relationships and teams across communities and organizations, bringing together
champions from across sectors to achieve a common goal? Can you balance being organized and
detail-oriented while also adapting flexibly as the context and organizational needs shift?
Collaborating closely with participating districts and communities, the Executive Director will lead the
execution of the overall vision and strategy for the Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ). The Executive
Director will work with RSIZ schools, districts, and broader communities, building understanding,
sharpening strategic plans, supporting the phased development of the Zone, and monitoring progress
along the way. As the leader of a system of pioneering schools, the Executive Director will support RSIZ
schools collectively and individually, ensuring that schools within the Zone have the necessary
operational and financial support to develop and continuously improve innovative program offerings
and exemplify excellence in student achievement. As a non-profit leader, the Executive Director will
serve as a local, regional, and national spokesperson, with responsibility for external relations,
fundraising, and coordination of a strong Board of Directors.
The Executive Director reports directly to the RSIZ Board of Directors, which is made up of
representatives from participating districts and key local partners. The role will be based in
South Texas, in the area of participating districts.

 

The RSIZ aims for the Executive Director to start in their role early 2019.
 

Who We Are
The Rural Schools Innovation Zone is a first-of-its-kind partnership of four rural districts in South Texas
(Region 2). Structured as a non-profit organization, the RSIZ is designed as a sustainable collaborative,
launching with four participating high schools and potentially expanding over time. We believe, and
Commissioner Mike Morath has echoed this belief, that the RSIZ can serve as a model for similar
collaborations across the state and throughout the country.

 

Mission: To provide rural students high quality opportunities for post-secondary success
 

Vision: Reinventing the Rural Education Experience
 

Core Beliefs:
• Students from rural communities should have EVERY opportunity for access to challenging
career paths to achieve high levels of postsecondary success.
• Rural students should be exposed to the best teachers in America.
• Rural schools are stronger through collaboration.
• Rural communities nurture big dreams through innovation.

 

Responsibilities
The core responsibilities of the Executive Director will include, but not be limited to:

 

Leadership, Partnership, and Strategy
• Cultivate and strengthen RSIZ’s relationships with participating district and school leaders,
other school stakeholders, institutions of higher education, employers, current and potential
future partners, and the Texas Education Agency.
• Serve as liaison between participating districts, schools, partners, and the RSIZ board.
• Spend quality time building relationships within the four participating communities to
understand the local context and regularly gather feedback to ensure that the Zone is an
organization responsive to the needs of the schools.
• Manage meetings of the Board of Directors.
• In collaboration with partners and the RSIZ board, develop and execute the organization’s
founding strategic plan.

 

School Planning, Talent, and Continuous Improvement
• Design and implement RSIZ-wide systems for development and approval of annual school plans
consistent with phase-in strategy of innovative programs.
• Build strong relationships with RSIZ school leaders and ECHS and P-TECH coordinators,
understand their needs, and help them access resources and supports aligned to those needs.
• Identify and coordinate access to high caliber partner organizations for Zone schools.
• Facilitate collaboration and shared professional development across zone schools and identify
opportunities for the sharing of resources and expertise.
• Develop and implement systems for sharing best practices and lessons learned across RSIZ
schools and beyond, potentially even through learning visits to national exemplar schools.
• Partner with participating districts and schools, and where applicable, expert support
organizations, to develop RSIZ-wide talent strategies for teachers, leaders, and other school
staff in the areas of talent pipelines, recruitment and selection, professional development,
strategic compensation, and other retention strategies.

 

Accountability and Monitoring
• Build RSIZ and school-level capacity to collect, analyze, and respond to data to inform school
improvement efforts.
• Regularly evaluate program effectiveness and monitor results, tracking and communicating
progress toward school-level goals in the RSIZ performance contract.
• Manage RSIZ school leaders and facilitate annual school leader evaluation process by RSIZ
board.

 

Operations
• Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with district departments to ensure smooth
operations at RSIZ schools and collaboration across districts (e.g., shared services, federal and
state reporting requirements and other compliance activities).
• Collaborate with participating districts to develop and maintain operational guidelines for RSIZ
schools, particularly relating to staffing, budgeting, student assignment, technology/IT,
facilities, equity, transportation, purchasing, and other policies.
• Coordinate and resolve issues between RSIZ schools and partners or district departments.
• Advocate for RSIZ schools by working with district and state officials to effectively integrate
Zone flexibilities with district and state systems.

 

Finance
• Oversee the budgeting process for RSIZ and maximize budget efficiencies for RSIZ schools.
• Serve as the RSIZ’s point person on all financial aspects of the Zone, including school-based
budgeting, shared service contracts, procurement, and Zone and school funding.
• Work closely with participating districts and their finance teams to ensure smooth functioning
of key financial systems.
• Develop and execute a plan to secure additional funding for any RSIZ funding needs from
philanthropic partners, state grants, or other sources.

 

External Relations
• Serve as a spokesperson for the Zone, articulating a clear vision of the partnership’s strategic
goals and objectives and engaging all stakeholders.
• Communicate with and make regular presentations to the RSIZ Board of Directors and
participating School Boards.
• Develop and share communications materials about the Zone’s strategy and progress, including
an annual report highlighting the performance of RSIZ schools.
• Create strong brand recognition and positive publicity for RSIZ in local, state, and national
settings.
Skills, Knowledge, Qualifications and Experience
• A demonstrated commitment to improving public education, especially in rural schools.
• A demonstrated commitment to equity and to closing opportunity and achievement gaps.
• Strong background in school operations, including finance, operations, human capital, and
accountability systems.
• Campus leadership and/or central office administration work required (Secondary experience
preferred).
• Ability to organize effectively, prioritize and oversee implementation of multiple initiatives.
• Ability to develop strong relationships and buy-in from key stakeholders across at least four
different communities, including the RSIZ Board, district leaders, state and federal agencies,
local school boards, support organizations, school and community stakeholders, and potential
donors.
• Flexibility to adapt quickly in the face of change.
• Excellent communicator comfortable with public speaking and development of communications
messages and materials.
• Outstanding problem solver, strategic thinker, and decision maker, balancing data, wisdom,
experience, and judgment to make sound decisions.
• Incredible work ethic and ability to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
• High standards of excellence for self and for others.
• Minimum of a Master’s degree or higher required.
• At least 7 – 10 years of education-related work experience.
Salary and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience. RSIZ offers a comprehensive benefits package including the
Texas Retirement System (TRS) participation.

 

Application
Interested and qualified applicants should send a resume, statement of interest, and references to
ruralschoolsinnovationzone@gmail.com. If you have any questions, please feel free to email those
inquiries for a response. Applications will be taken until position has been filled.

 

The Rural Schools Innovation Zone is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the
basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other status
protected by law or regulation. We encourage individuals from historically underrepresented
backgrounds to apply.


Vision – Reinventing the Rural School Experience

Mission –  Our mission is to provide rural school students high quality opportunities for Post Secondary Success.

My Students, Your Students, OUR STUDENTS

Zone Core Beliefs

We Believe…

•Students from rural communities should have EVERY opportunity for access to challenging career paths to achieve high levels of post-secondary success;

•Rural students should be exposed to the best teachers in America;

•Rural schools are stronger through collaboration; and

•Rural communities nurture big dreams through innovation.