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Executive Director

Job Description

Executive Director or Co-Executive Director Team

Flexible Location: Commuting distance to San Jose, Oakland, Fresno, or Long Beach, CA
Deadline for Priority Review: May 1, 2022 at 5pm PT

Californians for Justice (CFJ) seeks a bold and collaborative leader or co-leadership team to steward and grow our statewide, youth-powered organization that is striving to create racially just and relationship centered schools. Emerging leaders and first-time executive directors who are ready to steer an organization of CFJ’s size are encouraged to apply.

Our next leader(s) will share CFJ’s radical vision for youth-led school transformation and will be adept at actualizing our vision into powerful strategies. They will center integrity and enact a full commitment to
Black liberatory practices. They will have the experience to effectively lead across programs, operations, and fundraising in partnership with a dedicated staff team, board of directors, and youth leaders, and they will have the knowledge and motivation to secure revenue for CFJ’s current and growing budget.

The new leader(s) will be committed to engaging youth in education policy, in fighting for equitable school funding, and in closing the school to prison pipeline that disparately impacts students of color and low-income students. CFJ believes that education justice is racial justice; and education justice is our vehicle to achieve liberation for Black, Brown, low-income, disabled, immigrant, and LGBQiA2S+/TGNC young people and their families. Education is the political terrain with which we contend because the education system reproduces and mirrors oppressive infrastructure and systemic barriers of violence at scale, and because we believe a racially just and relationship centered education system will become a beacon of hope and an opportunity to transform generations of young people and their families.

The Executive Director or Co-Directors will bring experience with, or the ability to grow into, the following key responsibilities:

  • Provide strategic direction working closely with the staff, board, and youth leaders to guide the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic goals, to assess progress, and to build towards future goals.
  • Develop and lead a comprehensive and sustainable fundraising strategy, in collaboration with the

Senior Strategic Partnerships Director and the Development Team, that ensures the strong financial health of the organization and that sets a tone of stability.

  • Maintain an inclusive, supportive, and collaborative culture that fully engages, retains, and inspires a diverse team including staff, consultants and youth leaders.
  • Directly supervise 4-5 director-level staff.
  • Work in deep partnership with the Board Chair, to ensure the board and its committees feel

connected to the organization and staff, and are effectively engaged to advance the organization’s mission.

  • Design the process for developing the annual budget, including decision making on strategic priorities, and provide financial oversight in collaboration with the Senior Operations Director and

Finance Director, including regular updates to the board.

  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization, working in tandem with the communications team, including representing the organization at hearings, meetings, events, and conferences across the state and beyond.
  • Serve as a key leader, advocate, and organizer for building just schools in California by developing and maintaining strong relationships with our youth leaders, staff, funders, other movement leaders, partner organizations, and policy decision makers.

CFJ is the only grassroots, youth-powered organization in California that organizes students to have a voice in both local and statewide education policy. Through organizing in schools and in their neighborhoods, youth who join Californians for Justice become leaders in their own communities. They deepen their knowledge of education inequity by examining issues such as systemic racism and gender and sexuality, and organize and activate their peers to take action.

Our campaign and policy reform goals include adequate and equitable school funding, increased access and success in K-12 and higher education, and creating Relationship Centered Schools -- schools that invest in youth voice, in staff, and in creating space for youth and adults to build positive relationships with one another. CFJ has four regional offices in Fresno, Long Beach, San Jose, and Oakland and conducts statewide advocacy in Sacramento. In 2022, we will have 44 staff and a budget of $5.8 million, with a healthy reserve fund.

Californians for Justice has been successful because of our strong, dedicated team of youth leaders and staff. CFJ staff are unwavering in their commitment to youth power and racial justice and to building connection and trust with their teams. They hold a strong sense of purpose and dignity in their work. We invite you to learn more about CFJ, including our recent accomplishments, by visiting our website.

We are seeking an inclusive leader or co-leadership team to advance CFJ’s mission in partnership with staff, board, and youth leaders. While no candidate will embody every quality, the ideal candidate(s) will bring many of the qualifications and attributes listed below.

Knowledge & Expertise

  • A solid grasp of the challenges facing public education in California and the political landscape, including the dynamics at both the state and local level with labor, parents, students, and other key stakeholders.
  • Committed to community organizing and relationship building as a key strategy for change. Direct experience with social justice organizing and coalition building is helpful but not essential.
  • Experience leading and working with diverse teams utilizing a collaborative approach. This includes comfort sharing leadership with staff and with youth leaders and a commitment to supporting the leadership development of others.
  • Experience with fundraising in either a lead or supporting role, including foundation philanthropy,

. A readiness to advance CFJ’s fundraising strategy and goals is essential.

  • Strong communication skills to represent CFJ with external audiences and stakeholders.
  • Experience building equity practices and culture within an organization is highly desirable. A background in restorative justice or healing justice are also strengths.
  • An understanding of California’s diverse geographic communities and how they are impacted differently based on race, class, gender, sexuality, immigrant status, geographic location etc.

Experience in a statewide organization is a plus.

Leadership Attributes

  • A transformational leadership style that is adaptive, patient and communicative, and that challenges and motivates team members with respect, encouragement, and shared vision and values.
  • Willing to hold constructive tensions internally with staff, and externally in the movement. CFJ’s next leader(s) will operate in a manner that brings people along and seeks to resolve conflict via consensus when possible, while demonstrating the capacity for executive decision making when necessary.
  • A high level of emotional intelligence, cultural humility, and the capacity for listening, self-reflection, self-accountability, and self-improvement. CFJ’s next leader(s) will know when to lead from behind and will consider no job too small.
  • Committed to developing and maintaining a structure that supports the social-emotional wellness of the team, and accountability for the experience of our Black staff particularly.

Values Alignment

  • Committed to youth leadership development and lifting up youth voices in the systems and decisions that affect them, their families and their communities. CFJ’s next leader(s) will connect well with youth by holding a “power with” perspective, and will support a leadership pipeline that includes CFJ’s Black alumni.
  • Deeply honors the importance of public education as a means for systemic creation of opportunity for individuals, communities, and society at large, including a commitment to transform schooling towards greater justice for young people and the adults in public education.
  • Understands and shapes strategies for change towards intersectional systems and structural realities, given that public education is deeply impacted by health, housing, transportation, etc.
  • Grounded in social justice principles with a sophisticated racial, economic, and feminist analysis that reflects CFJ’s Black liberation values: o Sense of purpose: Self-actualization, community, and dignity in the work; o Connectedness to people, place, and culture: To see and be seen, which in turn evokes a sense of joy and abundance; and o Spaciousness and support: To grow, learn, heal, and be resilient.
  • Committed to disability rights and countering ableism.

What We Don’t Need

  • A prescribed number of years of experience. If you are excited by CFJ’s work and have many of the qualifications listed above, we encourage you to apply regardless of age or the stage of your career.
  • *Prior experience as a CEO or a college degree. We recognize that leadership comes in many forms and we value the contributions and wisdom of emerging leaders in our movement, and those who have led from outside the nonprofit industrial complex.
  • *Experience overseeing organizational finance or operations, although the capacity to learn and interest in doing so will be essential.

The Executive Director or Co-Director Team will report to an engaged Board of Directors that currently numbers 11 directors including youth leaders. The ED leads a dedicated staff team (currently 38), including 4-5 direct reports. In 2021, over 300 youth organizers, core leaders, chapter leaders and chapter members are spread across 10 schools located in Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland and San Jose. CFJ is proud of its track record for developing new leaders. At this time, 12 staff members (32 percent) are former youth leaders and/or have advanced to their current positions after holding prior roles. In 2022, the organization is projected to add team members--bringing the total to 44 across the four regions--by continuing to emphasize sustainable growth and intentional approaches for hiring and developing staff.

CFJ is a statewide organization and the new leader(s) can be positioned in commuting distance to any of our four key regions (San Jose, Oakland, Long Beach or Fresno). A generous relocation package will be offered, if needed. During the COVID public health crisis, CFJ is a fully remote workplace. Typically, the
Executive Director is called upon to travel approximately 8 days per month, or half that during the slower months of December, January, July, and August.

The salary for Executive Director ranges from $129,000 to $161,000 in accordance with CFJ’s equity focused salary scale. The salary to be offered to Co-ED teams will be per leader, recognizing that both
Co-EDs are working full-time schedules and not dividing a single shared position.

CFJ offers a competitive benefits package that includes fully paid health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees working at least half-time and their dependents, along with generous sick leave, vacation time and holidays. CFJ prioritizes professional development for all its employees, including professional coaching.

CFJ’s organizational culture values work-life balance and recognizes the importance of developing, supporting and sustaining leaderful organizations. We are fully committed to supporting our next ED or
Co-EDs to ensure success and stability.

As a multi-racial organization -- CFJ is 95% people of color -- we are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace where every staff member feels heard, supported, valued, and can share their authentic brilliance to move the CFJ mission forward.

CFJ is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Applicants who are queer, trans, non-binary,
Black, Indigenous, people of color, parents, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, and anyone who has experienced systemic oppression and/or gender-based violence are encouraged to apply. We are committed to addressing issues of racism and inequity internally and externally. CFJ alumni are especially encouraged to apply.

Strategies for Social Change® LLC (SSC) is conducting CFJ’s executive search and leadership transition. SSC is a woman of color owned and led capacity building and leadership development practice dedicated to working with social justice organizations nationally.

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis. Interviews have already started and so we encourage

new applicants to submit right away and before May 1, 2022 to guarantee priority review. CFJ is accepting applications from solo candidates and Co-ED teams who apply together. We will not match

Applications should include the components listed below as a single, combined PDF and should be emailed to edsearch We will accommodate the application and interview process for qualified applicants with disabilities. Please contact edsearch if you require a different format to submit an application.

1) A thoughtful and compelling cover letter that addresses:

  • Why are you interested in working with CFJ? Specifically, what about CFJ inspires you and why?
  • What relevant qualifications and experience do you bring to this role? Please include how you actualize Black liberation values in your work.
  • Co-ED applicants are asked to submit a joint cover letter rather than separate cover letters. In the cover letter please describe how the partners have worked collaboratively in the past.

2) A resume. Co-ED applicants are asked to submit separate resumes.

3) A list of three references that includes names, affiliation, relationship to you, email addresses and phone numbers.

  • References will not be contacted until the final stage of the search and candidates will be given an opportunity to notify their references in advance.
  • Co-ED applicants are asked to provide 3 references each.

4) In addition to the above, Co-ED applicants are asked to submit a joint proposal (2-5 pages) summarizing their vision and describing how the leadership roles and responsibilities will be divided and shared between the co-applicants.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $129,000.00 - $161,000.00 per year


  • 8 hour shift

Work Location: One location

*Please mention you saw this ad on AcademicJobs.*

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