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President & Chief Executive Officer

Federation Early Learning Services

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) implements the strategic plan and ensures fiscal, operational, marketing, human resources, technology and programmatic outcomes that support the established mission, goals and values of FELS.The President & CEO will inspire, lead, and direct employees to achieve the highest levels of excellence so that each student is provided with a challenging, meaningful, and rewarding education. Providing leadership and information to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO will grow the organization, as approved by the Board’s Strategic Plan, with annual goals and accomplishments.

Specific Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Planning
The President & CEO will oversee all programs preserving and protecting the organization’s status, property, and business interests. The leader will anticipate changes in early childhood education and share a vision of possibilities for the future while ensuring that services are held to the highest standards. The President & CEO will effectively implement the Board approved Strategic Plan and provide leadership in the implementation of the following Strategic Initiatives identified within the Plan:

  • Talent – Develop performance and responsibility-based incentive programming, modernize the onboarding process and create career pathways for faculty and staff.
  • Board Continuity – Create an effective mentorship program, review Board member roles and responsibilities and refine the nomination and recruitment approach.
  • Sustainable Business Model – Strategically identify new revenue sources, pursue potential center acquisitions and assess the value of accreditation.
  • Organizational Structure & Function – Determine Central organizational structure, implement optimal center staffing model and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of internal and external communications.

Programs and Services
The President & CEO administers the development and maintenance of a positive early childhood educational program designed to prepare children to enter school ready to learn.

  • Working closely with the senior leadership team, oversee the delivery of high-quality programs and best practices to children and families in compliance with external/governmental requirements, applicable laws and regulations, while increasing programmatic efficiencies and consistency throughout the organization.
  • Provide periodic review, evaluation, and modification of programs in relation to resources and organizational needs.
  • Ensure that programs and operations are supported by sufficient technological systems and business infrastructure.
  • In collaboration with the senior leadership team, enhance overall educational programs and services for all children by building capacity and consistency for effective change and sustainability.

Community and External Relations
The President & CEO will be visible and known within the community, project a positive public image of the organization, be attuned to the needs and perceptions of the centers and their families, and provide leadership in developing the organization’s public profile while communicating its mission and services to the community.

  • Establish an external presence and become the face of FELS by developing relationships with the community, families, partners, funders, advocates, and government officials.
  • Ensure compliance with all appropriate regulations and licensing requirements and maintain awareness of changes in regulations and funding policies.
  • Maintain a positive professional relationship with the local community.
  • Confirm that all reports required by the State and other reporting agencies are filed.

Board Development and Administration
The President & CEO will collaborate closely with the Board to implement the Strategic Plan and ensure the long term growth and sustainability of FELS. The President & CEO will work and communicate effectively with the Board, assist the Board in maintaining effective membership, follow through on appointed tasks for the Board and be prepared for Board Committee meetings.

  • Advise the Board of Directors by keeping them informed of the organization’s operations, community concerns, legal matters, fiscal issues, and other developments so that each Board member has adequate information for carrying out his/her policy-making responsibility.
  • Establish credibility throughout the organization and with the Board as an effective developer of solutions to business challenges.
  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board and ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and performance against stated milestones and goals.

Staff Development and Administration
Collaborating with the Human Resources Manager, the President & CEO will oversee personnel policies and implement changes when needed. The President & CEO will develop and maintain a highly competent, motivated, and productive staff, ensure that staff discipline and grievances are handled fairly and effectively and serve as a role model while maintaining the highest ethical standards.

  • Responsible for a total staff of 250 FTEs through six direct reports, including Senior Vice President, Vice President/CFO, Vice President of Development, Director of Programs, Human Resources Manager and Assistant to the President & CEO/Office Manager.
  • Motivate, lead, and sustain a high-performing senior leadership team to ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization.
  • Ensure the safety and security of the organization, staff, and children.
  • Inspire a strong and competent staff to work to their fullest potential, taking the lead role in the creation of a culture of excellence and accountability.
  • Delegate responsibilities and serve as a mentor to foster a success-oriented, accountable environment within the organization.
  • Select and hire qualified persons to serve as members of the administration.
  • Hold regular meetings with the staff and ensure that the general policies of the Board are understood and followed.
  • Working with the Human Resources Manager, monitor and coordinate matters regarding employment, retention, and dismissal of personnel, salaries, job assignments, performance evaluation, and onboarding and training.
  • Encourage staff training and continuing education and keep current with the latest educational trends.
  • Oversee the operation of FELS Emergency Action Plans and use prudent judgment and discretion for child and staff safety.

Financial Management
Working closely with the Vice President/CFO, the President & CEO will oversee the development and implementation of the annual budget approved by the Board; oversee the administration of the organization’s daily fiscal operations, lead the Board and staff in the development and maintenance of revenue sources and maintain positive and effective relations with foundations, corporations, individuals, and other funding sources.

  • Oversee the financial status of the organization, including developing long- and short- range financial plans, monitoring the budget ($10 million annually) and ensuring sound financial controls are in place.
  • Formulate budget recommendations along with the Vice President/CFO for the Board of Directors that will ensure program effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.
  • Regularly assess and refine the organization’s structure and staffing to ensure maximum effectiveness, the highest quality of services, and appropriate operational capacity.
  • Working closely with the senior leadership team to ensure all programs are managed within budgetary provisions.
  • Formulate and execute comprehensive marketing, branding, and development strategies that will enhance revenue and scholarship funding from donors, foundations, government agencies, and corporations.

THE CANDIDATE

The President & CEO of FELS must have an understanding of and passion for the goals and mission of FELS and the children it serves. The ability to implement strategic direction while modeling FELS’s culture and values related to the institutional vision will be essential to the continued success of FELS. The new President & CEO must have a track record of experiences that include knowledge of strategies and best practices proven effective in managing a complex, multi-site, and multi-program organization. The President & CEO should have a kind and nurturing spirit, be accessible to families and effectively collaborate with the FELS community.

Qualifications

  • Appreciation and passion for the mission of FELS and the children it serves.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible senior management experience; prior nonprofit experience and management of a complex, multi-site organization preferred.
  • Proven success in an externally-facing leadership role, preferably with a nonprofit organization.
  • Effective leadership and mentoring skills that will motivate and inspire staff to be subject matter experts while setting high expectations and professional direction.
  • Demonstrated success in leading teams, implementing a strategic vision, and meeting aspirational goals.
  • Extensive experience in organizational development, personnel management, budget and resource development, and strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated success developing and monitoring systems to manage both operational and programmatic work that involve high levels of collaboration.
  • Ability to foster strong partnerships with government officials, external partners, and community members.
  • Capable of building collaborative relationships and effectively navigating across a highly engaged constituent base including children, parents, staff and Board members.
  • Flexible and able to multi-task; can work within an ambiguous, vigorous, fast environment while driving clarity and solutions.
  • Ability to articulate a valid philosophy of education that recognizes the need for appropriate programs to serve a range of child needs, interests and enrichment.
  • Preferred knowledge of early childhood education programs, process, and funding climate.
  • Preferred knowledge of policies and legislation impacting early childhood education and the ability to be an advocate for effective policies.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, drive, and integrity with demonstrated ability to build, foster, and maintain positive relationships with both internal and external constituencies.
  • Project executive presence and possess superior communication skills to express (orally and in writing) FELS’s mission, vision, and goals with clarity, passion, and persuasion.
  • Self-confidence, humility, integrity, warmth and a flexible personal style combined with a sense of humor that will earn the respect and attention of the organization and community.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred.
  • Willing and able to travel regionally; must be available to attend events after work hours or on weekends as needed.

THE INSTITUTION

Providing high quality services since 1911, Federation Early Learning Services (FELS) is widely regarded as a leader in the child care field. With six centers and two after school programs in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware Counties, FELS provides early childhood education and affordable child care in a safe and nurturing environment to over 600 children annually, aged six weeks to twelve years old. Built on a foundation of Jewish values and traditions, today FELS serves children from families with diverse economic, religious, and racial backgrounds in year-round programs throughout the Delaware Valley. FELS also provides fun and educational summer camp programs.

FELS administers state licensed and NAEYC (nationally accredited) centers that rank in the top 6% of early education programs in the nation. They have also achieved and maintained the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s highest attainable quality rating (KEYSTONE STAR 4) through the Keystone Stars Quality Initiative Program.

History
In the early 1900’s, three organizations emerged to serve the child care needs of the Philadelphia community. The Downtown Hebrew Day Nursery, the Strawberry Mansion Hebrew Day Nursery and the Northern Hebrew Day Nursery, were all located within a 15-mile radius of Center City. Their mission was to serve children from low-income, working parents (primarily immigrant women) who needed to work because of “death, disability, and desertion of a spouse or a divorce.” All three organizations provided day care through World War II, expanding to meet the need of day care in the general community, primarily the result of the growing number of women in the work force because of the war effort. Though their programs were administered under Jewish auspices, intake became nonsectarian.

In the years following World War II and in the decade of the 1950’s, women were working primarily for economic reasons. Simultaneously the labor market, locally and nationally, was expanding. A series of changes took place over the next ten years as a result of the planning of the Federation of Jewish Charities. The organization provided day care in Northeast Philadelphia, which had a growing population of young families, in the early 1960’s.

In 1973 and 1978, two mergers resulted in the formation of Federation Day Care Services (FDCS). Reflecting its commitment to quality child care, the organization took an active role in the field of day care, locally, statewide and nationally. FDCS was a member of the Day Care Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Association of Child Care Agencies, the Delaware Valley Child Care Association and the Jewish Welfare League of America. It played an important role in the development of the Child Welfare League of America standards for day care and in the Pennsylvania day care regulations. Through its input, FDCS also helped shape Department of Public Welfare administrative child care policies. FDCS staff members served on local, state and national day care task forces. It advocated actively for accessible, affordable day care and the importance of educationally qualified caregivers, given their importance in ensuring quality day care. FDCS staff members also presented regularly at local, state, and national child care and early childhood conferences.

In January 2003, FDCS began doing business as Federation Early Learning Services (FELS) to reflect the organization’s commitment to providing quality early childhood education to children.

In 2006 the Board of Directors ratified a new mission statement:
Federation Early Learning Services (FELS) provides excellence in child care and early childhood education for all families from diverse backgrounds throughout the Delaware Valley. Built on a foundation of Jewish values and traditions for nearly a century, FELS is a recognized leader, helping families access affordable child care, providing innovative programs for children and consultation services to the early childhood community.

For additional information, please visit their website at https://felskids.org/.

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