Senior Director, Design and Construction

  • New York, NY, USA
  • Full-time
  • Hiring Start Time: Immediate Start (Home Office)
  • HO Team: Real Estate & Facilities

Company Description

Uncommon Schools is a nonprofit network of high-performing charter public schools that are closing the academic achievement gap and preparing students from historically underserved communities for success in college and beyond. Uncommon currently manages 55 schools serving more than 20,000 students in six cities: Boston, Camden, New York City, Newark, Rochester, and Troy. Uncommon graduates persist in and graduate from college at rates far higher than their peers. We believe that every child deserves an outstanding education, and we are committed to working beyond the walls of our schools to achieve that goal through our professional development workshops, books, and district partnerships. 

Job Description

Strategic growth

Over the next five years Uncommon Schools intends to expand our portfolio to include permanent school facilities for all our existing schools as they mature and for additional schools we plan to open.

Senior Director, Design and Construction

We are seeking an experienced professional to fill the role of Senior Director, Design and Construction. This is an ideal opportunity for an experienced and effective individual to join our Real Estate and Facilities team and play an instrumental role in driving successful implementation of Uncommon Schools’ multi-year regional real estate portfolio development and management plan! The role will report to the Chief Real Estate Officer (CREO) and work closely internally with Uncommon’s home, schools, and regional teams, and externally with project architects, project managers, technical professionals and consultants, contractors, and local municipal planning and building departments. The successful candidate will ideally have deep end-to-end experience in construction management, project management, and facilities management.

Core Duties and Responsibilities

  • With the CREO and other senior leadership, develop sophisticated multi-site real estate strategy plans that reflect Uncommon’s growth plans
  • Coordinate the development and management of new real estate projects, including identifying new sites, analyzing design feasibility, and establishing construction budgets
  • Deliver timely and on-budget capital projects regardless of obstacles and challenges that arise
  • Deliver clear and transparent communications across multiple partners and cross-functional teams to drive process and achieve results
  • In conjunction with the CREO and Uncommon’s external affairs teams, negotiate with public and private entities for the successful completion of projects
  • Work closely with experienced construction and design specialists to accurately plan for large capital construction and renovation projects
  • Develop program requirements for new schools, and assist with future space needs assessment including through development of plans, test fits, and budget analysis
  • Conduct due diligence on all design and project consultants
  • Coordinate design review with appropriate input from partners such as school leaders and the facilities team
  • Coordinate review and bid leveling
  • Oversee and lead all phases of projects within an active construction environment
  • Build and supervise project timeline, budgets, costs, and quality; report on and provide regular updates to senior management
  • Coordinate and handle vendors, consultants, and sub-contractors
  • Conduct site visits to survey work progress and quality on all projects
  • Monitor performance of contractors; coordinate review of construction requisitions and payments for services rendered; review letters of approval, invoices, change orders, support documentation and the like
  • Ensure all federal, state, and local codes and standards are implemented
  • Build and maintain strong external relationships within design and construction community
  • Complete projects on time and on budget
  • Represent the company in meetings with prospective developers, and brokers; lead relations with current real estate owners and developers


  • Architectural degree required, 15+ years of professional experience, with solid track record of capital projects development and execution of educational facilities.
  • Ability to optimally lead design and construction professionals, RE brokers, and developers
  • Experienced and technically proficient in design, architecture, engineering, and construction
  • Ability to multi-task, work within short time frames, and ensure results by pre-determined landmarks
  • Ability to take direction as well as work independently
  • Ability to interpret and work with planning, permitting, and building code requirements across Uncommon Schools’ geographies
  • Strong written and verbal presentation skills and ability to optimally connect with a broad partner group with varying degrees of real estate expertise
  • Agile and skilled negotiating abilities
  • Dedication to the Uncommon Schools educational mission
  • Experience working with diverse communities and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Dedication to a culture of collegiality, and personal traits including unwavering integrity, maturity, transparency, intelligence, warmth, optimism, and a sense of humor
  • Dedication to transparency in all dealings, exacting ethical standards at all times, and a sensitivity to the level of scrutiny to which Uncommon Schools and its schools are subject, as recipients of public funds

Additional Information

Uncommon Schools offers salaries commensurate with experience and a very generous benefits and vacation package. All staff members receive extensive professional development, and are equipped with a laptop computer and all necessary supplies.

Uncommon believes in the importance of being a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization that enables our students and staff to thrive. We are committed to building a talented team that reflects the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students. At the same time, we work to ensure an inclusive community through creating a space for meaningful dialogue about issues of race and identity for our staff and students.  As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability.

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