Center Director

Website HigherAchieve Higher Achievement

Closing the opportunity gap for middle school youth

Higher Achievement, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit organization working to close the achievement gap for motivated, yet underserved students from low-income communities, seeks a Center Director. The Center Director manages the relationships and operations necessary to run an achievement center that provides year-round academic programming for up to 100 middle school students. The Center Director works intimately with Higher Achievement full-time and part-time staff, scholars, parents, volunteer academic mentors, Summer Academy teachers, and the host school’s faculty.

Higher Achievement showers our scholars with academic opportunities through a proven program model which includes a 27-week Afterschool Academy from October to May and a six-week Summer Academy from June to August. The Center Director is expected to be at his/her Center during its hours of operation and in the office outside of these hours preparing for optimal center operations.

The Organization

Higher Achievement believes that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We work to close the achievement gap for motivated – yet underserved – students from low-income communities. We intervene during the critical transition to middle school by providing year-round, multi-year support for students in the 5th – 8th grades. As students prepare to graduate from our program in the 8th grade, we help them transition successfully to advanced high school programs that keep students on track for college. On average, 95% of Higher Achievement scholars graduate high school on time.

Founded in 1975 in Washington, DC, as a grassroots effort to create learning opportunities for children in low-income neighborhoods, Higher Achievement has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young people and currently operates achievement centers in Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Baltimore, MD, Pittsburgh, PA, and Richmond, VA. Higher Achievement’s award-winning model of rigorous academic mentoring, individualization of services, and comprehensive academic support is guided by leading research for effective out-of-school time programs. More information about Higher Achievement may be found at:

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

Center Management

  • Provide comprehensive leadership, planning, implementation, and administration of Higher Achievement’s Afterschool and Summer Academy program model
  • Support recruitment efforts and retain a roster containing between 80 and 100 scholars
  • Model and maintain a positive, youth-focused center culture, including positive incentives, restorative justice, behavior management, etc.
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships among host school administration, including serving on the leadership team, attending faculty and staff meetings, and regular communication and data sharing with the school
  • Ensure high quality implementation of Higher Achievement’s rigorous curricula through support staff and volunteer academic mentors
  • Facilitate large-group meetings of 50 to 100 people
  • Maintain consistent communication with scholars, parents, support staff, Summer Academy teachers, elective leaders, mentors, host-school staff, and community partners
  • Maintain oversite of the achievement center’s operating budget as it relates to daily expenses and supplies

Staff and Volunteer Management

  • Directly manage one full-time employee year-round, including providing ultimate oversite of all volunteers and mentors
  • Manage part-time staff and AmeriCorps volunteers during Afterschool Academy and Summer Academy (approximately four to ten staff), including recruitment, hiring, training, coaching, performance management, and compliance
  • Implement, with a high attention to detail, Higher Achievement systems for attendance tracking, record-keeping, scholar evaluations, and communication with mentors and summer faculty

Evaluation and Training

  • Provide ongoing assessments, feedback, training, and support to all Center-based staff
  • Use data to provide ongoing assessment of scholars’ performance, including in-depth academic evaluations and evaluations of scholar attendance, participation, and social development; make recommendations for programmatic changes based on data when appropriate
  • Provide ongoing evaluation of center operations
  • Facilitate orientations for staff, scholars, and parents

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Commitment to the mission and work of Higher Achievement
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a related field (education, youth development, etc.) preferred
  • Minimum of three years’ experience working directly with middle school youth in an educational setting required; teaching experience a plus
  • Experience directly managing staff and volunteers
  • Experience in community building, mentoring and youth development
  • Strong skills in planning, organizing, attention to detail, written and oral communication
  • Experience building relationships with diverse community stakeholders, including families, schools/community partners, and corporate partners, including making public presentations and community outreach
  • Strong skills in technology and data analysis
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) preferred

Compensation and Benefits: The salary for this regular, full-time, exempt position is in the mid forties to low fifties and commensurate with skills and experience. Higher Achievement offers competitive benefits, including: company-paid insurance (medical, dental, vision, life, and long and short-term disability insurance); eleven paid holidays; six weeks paid time off; retirement plan with company match; tuition reimbursement and professional development funds.

Physical Requirements and Work Environment: Work is regularly performed in an office environment and a school setting, with occasional trips off-site to parks, museums, etc. Employee may spend long periods of time sitting, standing, and walking. Must be able to walk from one part of the worksite to another and climb stairs. Employee regularly lifts, carries, and positions objects weighting up to 20 pounds. Position involves regular use of a computer and keyboard, telephone, and face-to-face communication in small and large group settings with youth and adults; employee must be able to communicate clearly and professionally in all of these situations. Employee must have visual, auditory, and physical ability to respond quickly to critical incidents involving students and act in an emergency situation.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Additional Information: Center Directors work Monday through Friday; each Center runs programming approximately four days per week. On center days during the school year, the Center Director works (on average), a 11:30am to 7:30pm schedule, with the first half of the day on-site at the Higher Achievement office and the second half of the day on-site at the school where the Center is based. On non-center days, the Center Director works primarily on-site at Higher Achievement with a standard business schedule. During the summer, work occurs primarily during standard business hours. Occasional weekend availability is required, as well as availability for one annual three day overnight college trip each August. Candidate must have ability to travel in between main office and Achievement Center on a daily basis via reliable transportation. This position requires a criminal background check prior to hire, and candidate must be able to pass all additional clearance requirements as mandated by school districts and state/local municipalities.

To Apply: Please submit your resume and cover letter through the link below. Priority consideration will be given to applicants who address the listed qualifications and their interest in the mission and work of Higher Achievement. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply immediately; the position will remain open until all spots are filled. Please, no phone calls, emails or recruiters.

Higher Achievement provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sex, gender identity or expression, age, medical condition, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, military status, caregiver or family status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

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