President and Chief Executive Officer, Pathway School

Posted by on July 01, 2013

***Position Description***

The Organization                        
The Pathway School is a non-profit private school that provides educational and therapeutic services to young people with significant learning, social, emotional and executive functioning needs. Pathway’s programs are licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools and approved by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education to serve students ages 6-21. The Pathway School serves students ages 10-21 in the Therapeutic Academic Program and students ages 6-13 in the Emotional Support Program.

At its founding in 1961, Pathway was one of the only schools in the greater Philadelphia area designed exclusively for the learning disabled child, and one of the first in the nation to unify the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, social work, and educational instruction. Since then, the Pathway School has quadrupled the size of its enrollment and staff, acquired its own 13-acre campus in Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania, and solidified its reputation as a leader in innovative, quality programs and services for the learning disabled.

Throughout all of this growth, the school’s mission has remained the same: to build academic, social and life skills in students with special needs and to promote their success and independence after Pathway.

Position Overview
The Pathway School is seeking a president with entrepreneurial capability to lead the pursuit of its mission to:  build academic, social and life skills in students with special needs and to promote their success and independence after Pathway.  This is an exceptional opportunity to lead and develop an educational institution that is making a remarkable and tangible impact on the lives of many young people and communities.

The position calls for a versatile, hands-on professional with a broad base of knowledge, strong educational understanding, wide contacts, and a sophisticated understanding of fundraising strategies.  The President and CEO must have flexibility, self –confidence, and adaptability to work with an organization that is evolving and highly personal and that likely will continue to become a growing force in the years ahead.  The President and CEO will play many roles, including advisor, strategic thinker, best-practices coach, facilitator, networking resource and public liaison.  The primary challenges and opportunities for the President and CEO include:

Day-to-day operation of The School and the implementation and oversight of Board approved policies. The incumbent will ensure that The School’s mission is upheld in all aspects of school operations—i.e., build academic, social and life skills in students with special needs that promote their success and independence after Pathway. The incumbent works collaboratively with the Board to develop, implement, and adjust The School’s strategic goals and business plan based on the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and changing educational and demographic environments.


Leadership and Policy Administration
•    Ensures the effective implementation of all Board approved programs and policies.
•    Develops, supervises and evaluates the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and coordinates efforts of the team to identify and accomplish short and long-term goals of the organization. Also indirectly accountable for all school personnel policies and effective implementation of same.
•    Implements a process of continuous improvement that leads to improved organizational outcomes.
•    Optimizes enrollment consistent with admissions standards and organizational capacity.
•    Oversees the effective implementation of policies and procedures that govern all operations of The Pathway School.
•    Creates and maintains human resource management practices that fosters both customer-focus (internal and external) and employee talent development (recruitment and retention, job design, development planning, performance management).
•    Ensures that the school complies with local, state and federal regulations applicable to Pennsylvania approved private schools.

Financial Management
•    Ensures that planning, budgeting and investment systems are in place. Conducts sound financial planning; ensures that fiscal policies and procedures are implemented in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards.
•    Submits annual operating and capital budgets for Board review and approval; provides clear and timely financial reports to Board.

Board Relations
•    Reports regularly to the Board regarding the educational, financial and administrative activities of the school, keeps the Board fully informed regarding the School’s business affairs and consults with the Board or its standing committees in respect to matters of joint interest.
•    Serves as a non-voting ex officio member of the Board and its standing committees.

External Relations
•    Serves as the primary voice of the organization with the Board of Directors and others external to the organization. Directs the overall public relations program to achieve favorable public understanding of and support for the School.
•    Plays key leadership role to Pathway in the conduct of fund raising. Seeks grant funds, including the delegation of tasks to formulate and prepare grant requests.
•    Manages relations with all government agencies, nonprofit organizations, foundations, school districts and elected officials as necessary to support and grow operations.

Professional Qualifications
•    Masters Degree or equivalent with at least five years of leadership experience that demonstrates the skills and abilities to perform the duties of the position.
•    Comprehensive understanding of educational processes and organizational performance.
•    Prior experience in special education services is preferred.
•    Willingness and ability to engage in fund raising and development activities;
•    Solid understanding of nonprofit organizational structures;
•    Excellent written and oral communication and polished presentation skills;
•    Outstanding analytical and critical thinking skills;
•    Excellent communication and relationship building skills with internal (e.g., parents, teachers, staff) and external (e.g., donors,  school district and other agency leaders)
•    Competence in team building and conflict management
•    Leadership competency achievement consistent with The School’s leadership competency model.

Personal Qualifications
•    Passion for and commitment to achieving educational excellence in all aspects of Pathway’s  mission;
•    Exceptional personal integrity;
•    High level of flexibility, adaptability and comfort with ambiguity;
•    Creativity and significant lateral thinking skills;
•    Humility and sincerity;
•    Self-motivated with a strong work ethic and commitment to results;
•    Relationship builder and manager, strong communicator;
•    Excellent interpersonal skills and a pervasive sense of humor;
•    Good judgment and strong problem-solving skills;
•    Well organized, able to work in a collaborative, ever-changing, fast-paced environment.
•    Team-oriented, collegial, collaborative.
•    Change agent.

Contact Information
If you wish to explore this position, please contact:

Beth Hare
Criterion Search Group, Inc.
Phone:   610.581.0590

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