Chief Operating Officer

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

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

Position Summary

The Chief Operating Officer ensures Uncommon Schools – and, in particular, its Home Office supporting 57 schools and 21,000+ students – achieves operational excellence in support of student learning and our overall mission. The COO develops, implements, and is responsible for the operational strategy and activities of our Home Office and its successful coordination with school and regional operations. This includes direct management of the heads of Talent, Data and IT, and Home Office Operations functions, as well as systems design and operations infrastructure and oversight of the Team Lead Cohort (the leadership group representing each Home Office function).

The COO reports to the CEO, is a member of Uncommon’s Executive Team and plays a critical role leading and working in partnership with other members of the Executive Team and the Senior Schools Leadership Team to deliver stellar organizational operations so that the organization’s goals, systems, and processes, and operational strategic plans, are met effectively and efficiently!

Primary Responsibilities

Operational Leadership of our Home Office

  • Develop strategy, systems, and processes for ensuring Home Office operations reach a consistently high bar of quality and efficiency in delivery of services to schools, partnering with other members of the Executive Team to ensure excellent execution.
    • Champion a clear vision of operational excellence at our Home Office in service of our schools and use data to assess progress towards that vision.
    • Create and implement a multi-year plan for aligned Home Office process improvements and to realize economies of scale and best-practice learning and adoption across operational functions.
    • Lead the design and implementation of any changes to our operational processes or structures to achieve stronger coordination and collaboration and a seamless experience for schools.
    • Oversee how Home Office team managers lead, collaborate, and work to effectively fulfill the vision of the Home Office, including through the oversight of the Team Lead Cohort.
  • Deeply understand our schools and school operations and ensure effective coordination and alignment between school and regional operations and Home Office operations so that the Home Office fulfills its vision in support of Uncommon’s schools and every operational function is performed seamlessly and with excellence and student learning and joy can flourish.
    • Work closely with the Managing Directors of Operations and the President’s Team to ensure a close working relationship and tight alignment.
    • Drive to resolution org-wide or cross-functional operational questions, issues, and challenges.
    • Break down silos across the organization and between teams.
  • Manage and develop the Head of Talent to establish a multi-year talent strategy that helps Uncommon achieve its priorities and ensure each Talent team (Recruitment, Human Resources, and Talent Development) meets its goals and accomplishes its vision.
    • Ensure the Head of Talent and the Talent teams help to deliver the strongest employee value proposition and optimize hiring, onboarding, HR compliance, performance management, and total rewards strategy, including compensation and benefits.
    • Oversee management and development of Home Office leaders and staff through hiring practices and selection, professional development, working groups, coaching, performance evaluation systems and processes, succession planning, and pipeline development.
  • Manage and develop the Senior Director of Data and IT to establish a multi-year IT strategy that helps Uncommon achieve its priorities, and ensure each Data and IT Team (Data Governance, IT Support, Product Management, Product Development, IT Project Management) meets its goals and accomplishes its vision.
    • Work closely with the Senior Director of Data and IT to ensure secure, reliable, and integrated technology and data solutions that support learning, teaching and core business functions in alignment with Uncommon’s mission and priorities.
    • Enhance the technology infrastructure that facilitates Uncommon’s productivity given our growing size and scale as well as our transition to include greater technology in our schools than ever before.
    • Ensure the Data and IT team collaborates effectively with the Senior Schools Leadership Team and all relevant Home Office functions to determine how best to creatively, efficiently, and effectively meet our schools’ and regional and Home Office team technology needs.
    • Work closely with the Project Manager for Operations and Systems Design to assess and upgrade Uncommon’s operations and systems, both via technology enhancements as well as operational process and efficiency improvements.
  • Manage the Home Office Operations lead to ensure effective communication between and across schools, regions and teams, and a strong, joyful, vibrant, inclusive and equitable Home Office culture and Home Office employee experience, as reflected in staff meetings, cultural celebrations, professional development retreats and trainings, and in the daily functioning of all Uncommon offices
    • Ensure strong communication, knowledge-sharing and culture-building systems and processes.
    • Oversee the effective operations of all Home Office spaces (55 Broad and 826 Broadway in Manhattan, and 18 Washington in Newark).

Organization-wide Leadership

As a member of the Executive Team,

  • Help drive organizational-wide strategy and decisions, accomplish overall organizational goals, promote Uncommon values and culture, and play an active and influential role in discussions and decisions about Uncommon’s strategic priorities and plans.
  • Work as a first team alongside fellow Executive Team members in a collaborative, rigorous, transparent, and thoughtful way to drive the organization forward.
  • Communicate proactively with the Executive Team about major work and responsibilities and key decisions that affect the organization.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with the Executive Team, Senior Schools Leadership Team, and other senior leaders within Uncommon to identify and support their needs and streamline collaboration and coordination.
  • Serve as an organizational ambassador internally and externally.
  • Lead and participate in initiatives and activities to build and maintain a smart and healthy organizational culture.
  • Prepare for, present, and actively participate in Uncommon Board meetings.
  • Seek, reflect and act on feedback on what’s working and where Uncommon has opportunities to grow.
  • Model Uncommon’s values and focus on building a safe and healthy working environment.
  • Embrace and operationalize Uncommon’s commitment to DEI, helping to drive success of a multi-year plan to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion at Uncommon.


  • Passionate dedication to the mission of Uncommon Schools
  • A minimum of 10 years of leadership experience and/or 15 years of professional experience, ideally in operations leadership, talent, human resources, IT, and/or technology and business operations functions
  • Strong experience managing multiple high-performing leaders of teams
  • Experience as a trusted member of an organization’s senior leadership team
  • Outstanding strategic, analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Strong experience and results in building organizational culture
  • A demonstrable commitment to leading for equity and social justice
  • Excellent communication, able to present effectively, lead internal change management, and influence and facilitate decision-making among multiple, diverse parties
  • Demonstrated ability to be proactive and take initiative

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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