Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Louisiana Key Academy (2023-24)
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Position
Louisiana’s Premier School for Children with Dyslexia
Louisiana Key Academy (LKA) is a growing network of public charter schools that utilizes an innovative, evidence-based model to serve students with dyslexia. Founded by two parents of dyslexic students, we are passionate about our vision of all children having the tools they need to thrive. We believe that dyslexics should be identified early and given the education necessary to reach their full potential. LKA is a champion for dyslexics as they
engage in an excellent and accessible education.
LKA was founded in Baton Rouge, LA in 2013, opened a second site in Covington, LA in 2022, and will open a third site in Shreveport, LA in 2023, while also beginning to add high school grades at the flagship site in Baton Rouge. Our campuses serve varied student populations that represent the communities where they are located, and we focus on
meeting the needs of all of our students regardless of learning styles, race, and socioeconomic status. LKA plans to continue expansion across Louisiana and potentially into other states in the years ahead.
LKA is hiring our first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead our unique and growing Charter Management Organization (CMO). The CEO will report to and work closely with our highly engaged board of directors to build upon our successful model and provide exceptional strategic leadership to our talented team.
Our CMO central office is located in Baton Rouge, LA and that is currently where the central office staff all live and work. As we’re building a strong team, we need someone to live in Baton Rouge or a surrounding city and be willing to be at the CMO office and/or other campuses regularly (up to 5 days per week).
To apply for this position, please complete the application at this link. As part of the application, you will be asked to upload a copy of your resume. If you have any questions about the application or the role, please reach out to [email protected].
We will review applications and interview candidates on a rolling basis. Our top priority is finding the right person for this very important role on our team and we are able to be flexible on the start date as needed. If you are interested in the role, we encourage you to apply and we can discuss potential start dates during the interview process.
As LKA has expanded from a single-site school to multiple campuses, we have built a Charter Management Organization (CMO) central office team, largely made up of executive level roles, who will lead and support the school-based teams. The CEO role will oversee the central office team and will be accountable for the academic, financial, and organizational success of the organization.
LKA has senior level academic and operational leaders who are largely new to their current roles but have worked with us for many years and are deeply knowledgeable about our specialized program and model. The CEO will support and professionally develop them, coordinate to ensure tight collaboration and communication, and provide
strategic clarity and leadership.
Additionally, LKA has a uniquely engaged board of directors who will partner closely with the CEO to achieve a shared vision of success. This is a new, dynamic role and specific responsibilities may shift but the CEO will be responsible for the following:
● Ensure that the vision and mission are centered in strategic decision making and align work streams across the organization
● Manage senior level central office team (2-4 staff members) by supporting, developing, and holding them accountable
○ Empower academic leaders to make on-the-ground decisions regarding the academic program while holding them accountable for their success, maintaininging a strong understanding of the state accountability system, standards, and high school credentials, and ensuring LKA is on track to meet targets
● Lead goal setting and progress monitoring to ensure excellent school performance
● Partner with the board and academic leadership on strategic planning processes, organizational problem solving, and expansion and growth opportunities
● Internalize the vision for LKA school culture and continue to align all practices across the organization to achieving that vision; continue to identify challenges and gaps to achieving the desired culture and generate solutions
● Ensure school community is equitable and welcoming for everyone, with a specific focus on serving students with dyslexia as well as students of color, low-income students, and students with other behavior and/or learning challenges
● Act as a highly visible and present leader, modeling expectations, observing what is happening at each school, and offering a welcoming presence to faculty, students, and families
● Serve as the primary liaison with the board, partnering on strategic initiatives, communicating progress, and providing regular updates and plans
● Participate in annual review process of CEO performance, conducted by the board
● Collaborate with the board and execute on strategic initiatives in response to school needs
Finance, Operations, and Human Resources:
● Ensure organizational sustainability and efficient, effective, and thoughtful operations
● Oversee major financial decision making, including compensation and use of reserve funds
● In partnership with the board, determine long-term plan for finance team staffing/ongoing vendor services
● Manage external finance vendor and internal finance and accounting staff members
● Oversee implementation of talent practices for central office staff (recruitment, selection, hiring, onboarding, promotion, and termination)
● Ensure that processes for performance-based compensation and leadership growth models are performed thoughtfully and equitably
● With Board Chair, represent the organization and serve as an official spokesperson to key stakeholders and partners, including funders, investors, foundations, auditors, public officials, district representatives, and board members
● Oversee and manage strategic communication to families, staff, and external partners to ensure alignment and clarity around messaging and thoughtful communication practices
SKILLS AND MINDSETS
More important than any prior experiences are the ways in which the person in this role thinks and approaches their work. We value someone who demonstrates the following skills and mindsets.
Belief in LKA’s Mission and Model: The CEO must share LKA’s passion for giving all students the tools needed to thrive. They don’t need to be an expert in dyslexia but must believe in our evidence-based model and want to continue to build upon our current successes to meet the needs of all of our students. They must be skilled at leading a highly
diverse community of adults and kids and share our belief that our specialized program should be available to all kids who need it. We are, at our core, student focused. We are a lean organization with an all-hands-on-deck, do-what-is-needed approach for our students. We work incredibly hard, often long hours, in service of our shared
mission and belief of what is possible.
Exceptional Faculty Leadership, Development, and Management: The CEO will lead a small team of highly effective leaders in complex roles and we are looking for someone with experience leading a team, setting clear expectations, holding folks accountable, and growing their strengths. The CEO must have a service leadership approach toward
management, demonstrating empathy, openness to feedback, team building, and a commitment to continuously improving. They will also demonstrate high levels of self awareness and confidence in their own leadership and strengths and the humility to let others lead in their areas of expertise.
Innovative Problem Solving, Evidence Based Decision Making, and Results Orientation: LKA operates differently from other schools because of our unique mission, and we need a leader who identifies challenges with a focus on finding and executing evidence-based solutions. We don’t follow the status quo because that is what has typically failed our
kids. Our CEO must be highly adaptable with the ability to see opportunities for change and lead solutions grounded in evidence and the needs of our specific students. We need someone who takes action and pushes others to find solutions in order to move through challenges and overcome obstacles.
Nuanced Communication and Relationship Building: This position is coming into a largely established team and will need to build trust and strong relationships with direct reports, the schools’ communities, and the board. They will also engage with a variety of external stakeholders, including the district, funders, and our partner organization, The
Dyslexia Resource Center. We need someone who is comfortable and skilled at building trusting, authentic relationships with a variety of people and can represent the organization as needed. Additionally, this position will require thoughtful communication both internally and externally, considering who needs to know what information,
when, and what is the message – coordinating communication down, up, and across the organization.
Strategic Thinking and Thoughtful Execution: LKA’s structure and operations are increasingly becoming more complex as the organization grows. We need someone who is skilled at taking complex situations and creating structure and overseeing planning and execution at a high level. The person in this role needs to engage with and
contribute high-level strategic planning and also turn big picture concepts into concrete, actionable plans.
● At least 10 years of aligned professional experience, 3 years of senior leadership experience
● Teaching and/or school leadership experience
● Leadership and management of a small team (at least 2 mid to senior level team members)
● Experience managing a budget and making aligned strategic decisions
● Experience working in and/or with public charter schools; understanding of school accountability and finances a plus
● Understanding of high-quality special education services (expertise in dyslexia not required)
● Experience in business or non-school based environments in addition to education experience
● Experience interacting with a board of directors
● Experience working with multiple school locations and supporting work across different campuses
● Middle or high school teaching and/or leadership experience
WHAT MAKES LKA UNIQUE
LKA is a special and unique school specifically designed for dyslexic students to thrive. It’s important to us that the CEO understands and is completely committed to our specific model and what has led to our success so far. We want a champion for our schools who will help us grow and continue to serve our students and families.
A few specific things that we want to highlight about LKA include:
● LKA was founded by parents of dyslexic students and is built on a highly researched and medically proven model that works specifically for dyslexic students. Our staffing structure, small group instruction, and curriculum choices are core to our program. We have a strong academic team in place that is trained in our model and will lead our academic program. We need the CEO to understand our model and drive strategic
decisions based on that understanding but academic decisions will be made in close collaboration with academic leaders.
● We have a highly engaged and deeply committed board of directors, many of whom were involved in the founding of the school. The Board Chair specifically will be deeply involved, particularly at the beginning. We share this in full transparency as this model may be different from other board relationships that education leaders are used to.
● We run public charter schools, meaning we serve all students who qualify for our schools, something we are deeply proud of and is part of our mission. While we aim to learn from other schools, what works at private schools or other charter schools may not apply to our specialized program and population of students. We work hard to both be driven by evidence and also tailored to our students’ needs.
● We are driven by our students’ needs first and foremost. We’ll never spend money in ways that aren’t aligned to our mission. We don’t have fancy offices but we’ll find ways to fund programs that will benefit our students. We aim to keep a lean leadership structure to have as many resources for our students as possible. We need a CEO that understands this aspect of our organizational priorities and is committed to being all in for what we are
working to achieve.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
LKA offers a robust benefits and compensation package that includes 100% employer paid medical, dental, and vision benefits for employees and a retirement plan. The starting salary range for this position is between $120,000-$150,000 and will be determined based on prior experience.
LKA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and upholds the principles of equal employment opportunity for all employees and job applicants. LKA makes employment-based decisions, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, assignment, conditions of
employment, compensation, benefits, training, promotion, transfer and termination, without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, color, age, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, military status, disability, religion, genetic trait or information, or any other legally protected status or characteristic under federal, state, and local law.