Executive Director

SEAL - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Full time

A great Milwaukee school for every Milwaukee Family

Search for: President/Executive Director

The Organization

The mission of City Forward Collective is to secure Milwaukee’s future by fostering educational equity and ensuring every child has the opportunity to attend a high-quality school.

Launched in 2019 by a diverse group of committed stakeholders and designed to create and sustain the conditions necessary for enduring, transformative change, City Forward Collective created a city-wide plan with three synergistic strategies to increase the number of students able to attend high-quality schools:

●High-Quality Schools: Expand and replicate existing high-quality schools, improve promising schools, and incubate new schools

●Effective and Representative Talent: Increase the quantity, diversity, and effectiveness of teachers and school leaders

●Healthy and Improving Education Ecosystem: Foster conditions for a sustainable, high-quality three-sector system of schools that ensures continued investment in school improvement

Last year, we raised more than $1 million dollars to support schools and families through the pandemic with internet access, re-opening planning, and ongoing communications with city public health officials and other experts; we articulated organizational values/guiding principles, and developed an initial 5 year strategic plan and outcome goals to guide our efforts; we developed and adopted an organizational policy agenda & initiated state (legislative) advocacy efforts, and launched our Family Leadership Institutes, to train and organize parents around K12 education issues, including opportunities for parents to provide virtual testimony on the state budget.

We are proud of the inroads that we have made, and of their impact on our community. At the same time, we have learned some lessons along the way, and commit to continued humility, reflection and accountability, particularly as we embark on our search for a leader whose own lived experience will inform both a broad perspective and a sharp lens on the work.

The Role

In partnership with the team and members of the community, the President/Executive Director will lead all aspects of the organization, including development, finance, operations, talent, strategy and relationship management. Key responsibilities of the President/Executive Director will include:

●serving as the face of City Forward Collective, articulating its vision, leading outreach and communications efforts, and representing the organization and its initiatives with key stakeholders throughout the community;

●refining systems, infrastructure and strategies, and developing investment criteria for deploying philanthropic investments and evaluating impact;

●securing funding from foundations and other mission-aligned investors and building strong relationships with key strategic partners;

●driving efforts to ensure that we are serving all children, especially those in high need and underrepresented communities;

●implementing effective talent management strategies throughout the organization, including developing and operationalizing a path to advancement that is open, in both principle and practice, to all team members;

●coaching and mentoring direct reports, ensuring the clarity and resources they need for success;

●engaging the Board collaboratively and productively to solve key challenges and realize City Forward Collective’s mission and vision, and

●identifying and advocating for state and local level conditions that optimize the success of quality schools.

The Candidate

The President/Executive Director must champion educational excellence and be firmly committed to the proposition that every child in Milwaukee deserves access to a quality school. They must believe in parent choice, transparency and accountability for school performance, and the importance of community engagement.

Beyond these characteristics, the President/Executive Director should have the vision, entrepreneurial spirit, discipline, tenacity and imagination required to support the creation and sustainability of great schools. They must also be comfortable with complexity, adept at management of relationships and capable of inspiring trust and confidence. Additionally, candidates for this position will possess the following types of skills and experiences:

●Demonstrated ability to attract, hire, develop, and retain a diverse group of team and board members, and recognize and leverage their talents in a way that inspires commitment, cohesion and a collaborative, high-functioning culture

●Experience cultivating relationships and fostering coalescence around a set of shared goals across stakeholders with diverse perspectives (including students and families, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, the public sector and the business community) in order to drive positive change.

●Deep commitment and connection to the urban public education landscape; familiarity with the Milwaukee education ecosystem highly desirable


The President/Executive Director will be selected by and report to the Board of Directors. The current team comprises 12 staff, with plans to grow to 15.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, within a range of $170,000 to $190,000.


Milwaukee, WI

*Here's why you should live in MKE!

How to Apply

The Executive Search team at Promise54 is supporting City Forward Collective in this search. The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For best consideration, applications should be submitted electronically prior to April 30 and should include a letter of interest and a current resume. Nominations, applications, or inquiries about the position and/or the search process should be directed to Leslie Nair at leslie@promise54.org.

City Forward Collective is an equal opportunity employer and takes pride in maintaining a diverse

environment. We do not discriminate in recruitment, hiring, training, promotion or any other employment

practices for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital or

veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.

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C Level Executive Leadership

Experience Level

Mid Level


as above
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