Chief Talent Officer

Philadelphia, PA /
Network Support – Talent /
About Mastery:
We believe educational inequity is the most pressing social problem facing our country and the civil rights issue of our day. Mastery exists to help solve this problem. Our ultimate goal is to create a model urban school district that serves all students with excellence. We are organized around one driving mission: All students learn the academic and personal skills they need to be truly prepared for postsecondary success and able to pursue their dreams. To fulfill this mission, we attend to the whole child – academically and emotionally – matching high expectations for students with high levels of support.
Mastery Charter Schools is a nonprofit network of more than 24 schools serving over 14,000 students in Philadelphia and Camden.   We are the largest turnaround school operator in the nation and have been lauded by President Obama and the US Department of Education for our ability to dramatically boost academic achievement in historically low-performing schools.
We know neighborhood schools matter, all students deserve access to a great education, and the people in our building can grow and develop sustainably to make the biggest impact possible in this work.
Mastery Charter Schools is an equal opportunity employer and actively encourages applications from people of all backgrounds. Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. We offer a full benefits program and opportunities for professional growth.

The Opportunity

Mastery Charter Schools is seeking an exceptional leader to serve as Chief Talent Officer (CTO) reporting directly to CEO Scott Gordon. Ultimately, the CTO’s role is to create and execute a model district talent system that drives their mission and is aligned to Mastery values.

As a senior leader, the CTO will work closely with the CEO and Chiefs team to intentionally nurture a healthy, inclusive organizational culture that supports long-term staff retention through systems, training, and personal leadership. The CTO will build upon the strengths of Mastery’s current talent model and ensure the recruitment, screening, development, and compensation of their talent is a national exemplar. They serve as a business and thought partner to central office and school leaders in managing employee relations consistent with Mastery’s mission and values. The CTO works closely with the central office, academic and schools teams to ensure school leaders are identified, developed and prepared. The CTO is a systems thinker and strategic problem solver. The CTO will lead three high performing teams (total team of 20): Recruitment, Employee Relations and HR Operations.

This position represents a compelling opportunity to be part of a charter management organization that is addressing perhaps the most difficult and important problem facing public education – the systemic failure of public school districts to truly serve high poverty communities of color. Mastery is defining a new education model that incorporates the high expectations of the “no excuses” movement and a focus on developing the whole child. The CTO will develop the best-in-class talent model to support that mission.

The CTO and their team will be responsible for developing the vision, strategy, and implementation in four key areas:

1. Talent Strategy & Performance Management
Mastery is committed to attracting and retaining top talent across the enterprise and ensuring that they are set up for success. The CTO will build upon already robust and effective talent and performance management practices and strategies. Specifically, the CTO will:
• Ensure the quality implementation of Mastery’s unique performance management system (staff members are compensated based on performance, rather than the typical years of service) as well as the ongoing evolution and improvement of the system;
• Oversee talent decisions, acting in partnership with school leaders on promotions and dismissal decisions and coaching school leaders in managing talent issues. In this work the CTO will partner with the Executive Chief of Schools and his team;
• Work closely with the Executive Chief of Schools and CEO to strategically manage Mastery’s overall talent identification and development strategy organization-wide;
• Oversee and formalize the career pathways process at the school level (department leads, grade team leaders, teacher coaches, and eventually Apprentice School Leaders) in partnership with the Executive Chief of Schools and Regional Schools Officers so that it is transparent to staff and ensures a deep and robust talent pipeline is nurtured and developed; and
• Provide structure and oversight to Mastery’s current extensive training and development programs, which are primarily delivered by the academic and schools teams.

2. Organizational Culture, Health, & Inclusivity
Mastery is committed to nurturing the health of the organization and creating an inclusive community of educators who feel supported and connected to Mastery’s mission. The CTO will build and extend this vision, working in partnership with the CEO and the senior leadership team. Specifically, the CTO will:
• Support Mastery’s unusually skilled and highly motivated workforce by strengthening their connection to the organization and the mission;
• Promote a culture that ensures staff turnover remains below industry norms, despite the difficult and often stressful work the organization is engaged in; and
• Design training and programming that recognizes the influence of race and identity on staff, families, and students and how it significantly frames Mastery’s effectiveness as educators and ability to build authentic relationships with students and families.

3. Talent Recruitment
Mastery recognizes that its future success hinges on the ability to attract, hire, and select the most talented education professionals. The CTO will oversee a recruitment team responsible for recruiting and screening approximately 250 teachers, school leaders, and support staff annually. Specifically, the CTO will:
• Develop and refine Mastery’s current strategy to market to and recruit staff locally and nationally, leveraging Mastery’s unique mission and focus on staff development and growth;
• Work with his/her team to ensure Mastery is using the most effective and efficient means to identify high potential staff in an efficient screening process; and
• Oversee a critical and growing part of Mastery’s talent strategy, the Relay Residency Program. This program (and similar programs under development) are designed to create a pipeline of teacher talent – particularly teachers of color – by recruiting recent college graduates and career switchers and placing them in a one year program where they work as an assistant teacher while taking classes at the Relay Graduate School of Education.

4. Human Resources
The CTO will be responsible for an HR Operations team that supports leadership and staff in their day-to-day activities and enables Mastery to meet its organizational goals. Specifically, the CTO will:
• Oversee the HR Operations team, which is responsible for benefits, data management, compliance, and employee onboarding and exiting;
• Ensure the organization complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations;
• Serve as a plan administrator and/or fiduciary for benefit programs, including 403(b);
• Develop, oversee, and approve updates to organization-wide HR policies and procedures; and
• Manage the human resources information system to track and analyze human resource related metrics.

Characteristics and Qualifications

    • Passionate about this work - Driven to build a high performing school district that delivers for all kids. Driven to solve our nation’s most pernicious inequity.
    • Visionary - Big picture thinker. Can conceive, execute, and iterate what will be a national model for a high functioning, innovative school district talent system.
    • Large organization leader - Skilled at change management, communications, and scale program implementation in larger organizations.
    • Talent & business judgement - Able to make talent decisions balancing organizational values, mission, student outcomes, and interpersonal and organizational dynamics.
    • Analytical thinker - Able to analyze why a program or initiative is effective or isn’t. Can drive to understand root cause, logic flaws, etc. Smart, quick learner who is curious and able to work complex problems through.
    • Strategic thinker - A systems thinker who can see patterns in complex situations, think out of the box, and diagnose systemic strengths and weakness.
    • Organized & execution focused - Can keep many balls in the air; builds teams focused on execution and quality.
    • Relationship builder - Able to build relationships with multiple stakeholders including network support leaders, principals, and teachers; self-aware with the ability to reflect and adapt to diverse environments.
    • Team manager and leader - Can manage a team effectively. Able to develop team members to be effective and take on more responsibility.
    • High personal standards - Thoughtful, reflective, ethical adult with personal judgment and sky-high standards.
    • Gravitas & Communication - Effective writer and presenter. Can represent the organization internally and externally.
    • Sense of Humor - The work is hard; it will come in handy.

Desired Experience and Expertise

    • Minimum of 10 years of senior management experience in a dynamic organization.
    • Success implementing programs and initiatives within a large, complex organization that places a premium on talent.
    • Experience as a thought leader and strategic partner at the senior-most levels of an organization.
    • Proven track record of achieving results in a large organization.
    • Significant experience managing and leading teams to meet aggressive goals.
    • Specific experience leading a talent function is strongly preferred, but not required.
    • Experience in the education and/or non-profit field a plus, but not required.
Applications and Nominations: Please submit a resume and cover letter or nomination to