POSTING DATE: May 21, 2020
CLOSING DATE: Until Filled
POSITION: Chief of Staff
REPORTS TO: Superintendent of Schools
SUPERVISES: Staff Attorney/Executive Director of Internal Investigations, Senior Executive Director of Human Resources, Executive Director of School Choice, Director of Communications, Assistant Director of Educational Innovation, Assistant Director of Grants and Partnerships
PRIMARY FUNCTION: Hartford Public Schools (HPS) is looking for a dynamic, experienced leader to serve as an extension of the Superintendent, driving communication, collaboration, and alignment to accomplish the district’s goals. The Chief of Staff would ensure effective communication with the Board of Education, support the deliverables of the Executive Team, and serve as a key strategic advisor and problem-solver for the Superintendent. The Chief of Staff will support the Executive Team’s daily operations and provide general professional support including policy advice, decision-making, and operational assistance. The Chief of Staff will be responsible for ensuring that expectations and deadlines are clearly communicated to executives and that issues that need the Superintendent’s attention are dealt with in a timely way. This person will also be responsible in ensuring that the Superintendent’s Office is responsive to the needs of all HPS students, families, staff, and key community stakeholders. S/he will lead key initiatives, inform the Superintendent’s schedule, oversee staff performance, facilitate communication between the Superintendent’s Office and other internal and external stakeholders, and represent the Superintendent when needed in public events.
The Chief of Staff will play a key role in the current and future success of Hartford Public Schools in order to drive improved student outcomes. The Hartford Public Schools prioritizes equity in:
TEACHING & LEARNING: Quality instruction and support to ensure students graduate ready for college and life.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS: Strengthen relationships with families, businesses, government, faith-based groups, and the community.
OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: Maximize use of resources, initiatives and operations, and minimize redundancies.
SCHOOL CULTURE & CLIMATE: Ensure ALL students feel safe and valued at HPS.
• A serial optimist. You’ve got a deep, personal commitment to the mission of Hartford Public Schools and a genuine belief that all students can achieve academic excellence, regardless of race, language ability, or socioeconomic status. You’re a fierce advocate for students with diverse language and cultural backgrounds; you’ve got a “healthy rage” about the state of public education, and you want to be a part of a team that is doing something about it every single day.
• A systems creator. You’re unfazed by ambiguity and thrive in situations where you get to build something out of nothing, develop and inspire others to execute on the vision, or create order out of chaos. You want to do work that’s never been done before – better than anyone’s ever done it.
• A results driver. You possess a track record of effective leadership and an ability to navigate complex issues and drive impressive results. You use data to drive the decisions you’re making, change course of action as needed, and troubleshoot effectively to move projects forward, and get the job done with excellence.
• A details maven. Nothing gets past you. You don’t drop balls, miss deadlines, or forget to respond to someone’s inquiry. You follow up with other people to follow up with you. You track timelines, data, and information in an organized and systematic fashion; and, you develop systems to help others do the same to ensure kids get the support they need to thrive.
• A bridge and community builder. You work across individuals, teams, and lines to bring people together to collaborate on projects that cross multiple departments and work streams. People trust you because they trust you will have their backs – even when that means holding them accountable.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: The Chief of Staff’s responsibilities will include but are not be limited to the following:
• Provide leadership and strategic direction for internal and external communications, presentations, speeches, and correspondence
• Serve as a key member of the Superintendent’s Executive Team, acting as a thought leader and spokesperson on behalf of HPS’ schools and students
• Oversee operations of the Office of the Superintendent, including board communication, oversight and performance management for executive staff, and executive meetings and retreats
• Provide leadership and support to the Superintendent’s direct reports to ensure that the district’s strategic goals and objectives are met
• Set the strategic direction of the Superintendent’s calendar to ensure that it aligns with priorities, including vetting and evaluating requests from internal and external constituents
• Serve as a key contact to HPS’ departments, staff, and community members
• Anticipate and assure that appropriate plans are in place and executed for Superintendent meetings and events
• Facilitate external relationships with community groups, policymakers, funders, and stakeholders
• Collaborate with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders to facilitate conversations that lead to consensus, buy-in, and course correction as needed
• Create a culture of engagement and expectations with all internal and external stakeholders
• Represent the Superintendent in meetings, committees, forums, and other school district-related matters as requested by the Superintendent
• Perform other duties as determined by the Superintendent
SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES REQUIRED: The following characteristics and physical skills are important for the successful performance of assigned duties of the Chief of Staff.
Superb management Skills:
• Demonstrated ability to lead complex and diverse teams to achieve ambitious results
• Proven experience managing managers toward exceptional results
Race and equity lens:
• A developed race and equity lens that informs the work and guides leadership
• A strong lens on race, equity, and inclusion to the talent work to be led
• Ability to help others build their capacity to consider the disparate impact of their actions or organizational practices across lines of race, gender, ability, or other difference
Empathy and commitment to cause:
• Deep understanding of the urban school system environment and commitment to improving student achievement
• Passionately believes that all students can achieve at high levels
• Demonstrates cultural competence and a deep understanding of and empathy for issues facing urban families
Communication, interpersonal, and team skills:
• Builds and maintains strong relationships
• Works successfully alone or on a team
• Coaches, coordinates, and leads teams
• Strong verbal and written communication skills; tailors message for the audience, context, and mode of communication
• Actively listens to others and able to effectively interpret others’ motivations and perceptions
• Skillfully navigates existing political structures/systems
Problem solving and systems thinking:
• Understands how various systems/departments interact to achieve the long-term goal
• Understands systematic continuous improvement processes
• Makes decisions using data and technology
• Takes initiative to solve problems and create stakeholder buy-in
• Identifies and prioritizes mission critical issues with alignment of people, time, and resources
• Offers innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems
• Exhibits strong focus on goals and results; sets clear metrics for success
• Thrives in achievement-oriented and fast-paced environment
• Removes barriers or obstacles that make it difficult for principals or Senior Advisory Team to achieve their goals and ensures that leaders have the resources they need to succeed
• Demonstrates excellent execution and project management skills, including attention to detail, organizational skills, ability to balance the big picture with detailed steps to reach the end goal, and ability to balance multiple projects under tight deadlines.
Leadership skills:
• Motivates, inspires, and moves other adults to action to achieve ambitious goals
• Skilled at re-envisioning, building, and managing a team, especially in a time of growth and change; excellent at identifying talent and taking advantage of each person’s skills and contribution to team effort
• Builds and maintains positive relationships with individuals and groups
• Moves groups to consensus and resolves conflicts; exhibits willingness to have difficult conversations
• Builds coalitions and works collaboratively with diverse stakeholders at all levels, including but not limited to district personnel, students, families, communities, and/or advocacy groups
• Establishes clear expectations, deliverables, and deadlines
• Sets clear agendas and facilitates effective meetings
• Ability to train, supervise, and evaluate staff from different cultural backgrounds and skill sets
KEY QUALIFICATIONS: In order to be successful in this role, candidates must demonstrate the following:
• An advanced degree in Educational Administration, Public Policy, Business Administration, or related degree
• Extensive relevant work experience and knowledge of all aspects of public government or school operations
• Five (5) years’ minimum experience working directly with superintendents, school board members, non-profits, and community representatives
• Experience in an urban school district preferred
• Demonstrated track record of success in:
o Leading strategic initiatives
o Coalition and relationship building across a diverse group of stakeholders
o Leading significant cross-functional initiatives in diverse and complex organizational settings
o Thriving in an achievement-oriented and fast-paced environment
• Excellent communication, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills
• Proven ability to build consensus among peer professionals
CERTIFICATIONS DESIRED: Connecticut Intermediate Administration or Supervision certification (092) and Connecticut Superintendent of Schools certification (093)
SALARY AND TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT: 12-Month work year. Non-Bargaining Grid. Salary by individual employment contract.
EVALUATION: Evaluated annually
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: The screening process for highly qualified candidates is immediate, and interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To be considered, all internal and external applicants must fully complete a Hartford Public Schools’ online application, which includes the Educator’s Professional Inventory (EPI) assessment. All candidates must upload requested documents, including: cover letter, current resume, and three (3) letters of professional reference that were prepared within the last three years. To apply, please visit and follow the appropriate link. Additional inquiries may be directed to Nancy Williams, Senior Talent Recruiter, at
An Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, M/F/V/D