Behind the Book

Executive Director

To Apply

Behind the Book has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Dr. Jane Herzog
Director, Educational Leadership
Harris Rand Lusk
260 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Send your resume and cover letter describing your interest in the role to: jherzog@harrisrand.com

Please write ‘Behind the Book’ in the subject line of your email.


Background (Are you ready to have impact?)

Behind the Book (BtB) is a literacy nonprofit serving PreK – 12th grade students in under-served New York City public schools. Behind the Book identifies culturally responsive books and partners with teachers to create immersive curriculum units that include working with the author, writing and art projects, exploring the content of the book through drama, and relevant field trips.

BtB empowers the next generation of readers and writers by nurturing critical thinking, creativity, and self-confidence in our students, giving them the tools that they need to become engaged readers and reach their full potential. Our programs are part of the class curricula and meet the Common Core Learning Standards.

 About this Opportunity
The Executive Director is the key management leader of Behind the Book and is responsible for leading the design, implementation, maintenance, and ongoing strategy of BtB’s mission to enable students life-long love of reading. The Executive Director will lead a team of 15 in providing functional and technical support of BtB’s existing and future programs and support improvements and efficiencies across the organization. The Executive Director will provide leadership and development of staff, including setting and ensuring resources are used cost-effectively while remaining agile to evolving business needs.  The position reports directly to the Board of Directors.

Responsibilities (What you’ll do)

Organization Mission and Strategy
Work with board and staff to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through programs, strategic planning, and community outreach.

Key Skills

  • Possess excellent communication skills with a strong executive presence and the ability to clearly articulate a vision and positively influence a wide variety of constituents, including corporate, foundation and individual high net worth current and potential donors, board members, staff, school heads, education administrators, authors, and publishers
  • Be a change agent with a proven track record in establishing and executing against a transformational strategic roadmap
  • Effectively collaborate with others; actively seek multiple perspectives and filter those perspectives to help decide the best course of action.

Organization Operations
Oversee and implement appropriate resources to ensure that the operations of the organization are appropriate.

Key Skills

  • Capable people leader with a proven ability to attract, motivate and develop talent, successfully delegate, and find “the right resources for the right jobs”
  • Experience in developing successful educational, arts or literary programs and tracking the effectiveness of those programs
  • Strong project manager, able to drive key projects to conclusion, juggle multiple priorities and effectively organize the day-to-day operations of the organization
  • Leverage well established connections within the literacy field, specifically with publishers and authors
  • Familiarity with the public education system (including the NYC DOE), how education programs work and how schools are run and administered
  • Responsible effective administration of BtB’s operations.

Financial Performance and Viability
Develop resources sufficient to ensure the financial health of the organization.

Key Skills

  • Utilize financial acumen to manage $1 million budget; be able to understand/interpret financial statements, build an annual financial plan and manage the resources of the organization to achieve that plan
  • Responsible for BtB’s fiscal integrity, to include submission to the Board of a proposed annual budget and supervision of office manager relationship with BOD treasurer including monthly financial statements, which accurately reflect the financial condition of the organization
  • Responsible for fiscal management that generally anticipates operating within the approved budget, ensures maximum resource utilization, and maintenance of the organization in a positive financial position.

Board Governance
Work with the Board to fulfill the organization’s mission.

Key Skills

  • Responsible for leading BtB in a manner that supports and guides the organization’s mission
  • Responsible for communicating effectively with the Board and providing, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions.

Identify, cultivate, and solicit major and planned gifts, and relationships with foundations, corporations, individuals, and community organizations.

Key Skills

  • Leverage well-developed existing relationships with possible sources of future fundraising – e.g., high net worth individuals, corporations, and foundations
  • Experience in developing and implementing a successful fundraising program across multiple funding sources
  • Responsible for supervising and supporting Development Department in fundraising and developing other revenues necessary to support BtB’s mission.

Qualifications (needed for success)

  • Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree preferred or equivalent experience
  • Minimum of 10+ years of applicable experience, hold (or have held) a key leadership position in an education, arts, or literacy-based organization.
  • Minimum of 3+ years of leadership experience.
  • Passionate advocate for inclusion, diversity and the power of reading and writing to positively impact the lives of our students.
  • Knowledge of and proficiency with fundraising activities.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodations.

For more information on Behind the Book, please visit https://www.behindthebook.org

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168