"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Big Break to Become a CGO and Rocketeer!

In what can only be described as the cruelest joke ever pulled on a corporate headhunter, someone gave my name to Monisha Dozier of Bellwether Education Partners (the high-rolling charter advocacy outfit where crook, Andy Rotherham, labors as thought leader) my name, yes, someone gave Bellwether my name, as a possible candidate for the Chief Growth Officer of a chain of corporate charter chain gangs known as Rocketship Education.  ha ha ha ha ha, whew, ha ha ha.

Monisha must have thought she was onto something big, for she neatly sent along the Rocketeers' business plan with the job description AND the Rocketeeer strategy outlined for fund-raising, buying politicians, rooting into  communities, and eliminating public schools, which the Rocketeers euphemistically refer to as "eliminating the achievement gap in each city."

But, first, Monisha's letter, which I truly must frame:
Hello Jim,

We don’t know one another but I’m an executive recruiter who focuses entirely on senior level searches in the urban education reform community.  I work for a nonprofit organization which I helped to found called Bellwether Education Partners which you can check out here if some additional context would help.  

I’m writing to you out of the blue because your name has been surfaced by someone I respect in the context of a search I’m currently conducting.  My client is Rocketship Education which, as you may know, is a California-based charter management organization which is doing incredible work with underserved students, getting results, and attracting significant national attention for these things and its blended learning model.  Rocketship’s growth plans are ambitious – and national – and so they’re seeking to fill several positions right now with people of exceptional talent across the US.   You’ve ended up on a target list of prospects specifically related to the search for their first ever Chief Growth Officer.   As you can see from the attached job description, the role contains politics, communications, and development and is ultimately responsible for getting Rocketship into new cities and expanding once they are there.  This is a very senior and critical role there;  as such it will be highly compensated and can be in any city.  They are looking for someone who is excellent on strategy and campaigns, and can be a great salesperson for the brand which is very hot at the moment. 

If you’d like to talk more about this, please let me know.   You can explore this with me, and them, quietly and we hope you’ll consider doing so.


Monisha G. Lozier
Partner, Talent Services
w: 312-451-2984

I wrote back and asked about salary and who referred her to me, but I got an out-of-office reply.  Too bad.  And I could not wait to share the news.  "Hello Jim," it say.  "Senior and critical role . . . highly compensated."  What would you guess?  500K?

If only I were a whore!

So here we have the Eduwank's vulture-enabling scam, Bellwether, fronting as a consultancy while recruiting for an outfit with all the Palo Alto Mafia onboard, including New Schools Venture Fund, the Broadies, Reed Hastings with his Dreambox, TFA, Facebook, and sundry other corporate leeches and buzzards of the online biz.  Quite a family affair.

To become involved as a board member or partner, contact info@rsed.org for more information.

Yes, do become involved, for if you don't, they will involve you, anyway.  This outfit plans to come to your city or a city near you, no doubt about it.  In one swoop, they were able just days ago to make an incredible feast of the poor in San Jose, thanks to Mayor Chuck Reed and Congresswoman (D) Zoe Lofgren.  28 schools.  Right now they have a dozen cities targeted.  See plan below.  They have a plan to corral and brainwash every poor urban child unclaimed by the KIPPsters and their acolytes, while creating an industry for the glassy-eyed, autocratic zombies who graduate from TFA.  Once a Corps member, always a Corps member! 

And they haven't left out the parents, either.  After all, if they are going to be able to pull the trigger to eliminate urban public schools, they are going to need to train parents to push for the now infamous "parent trigger."
Rocketship also provides parents with the organization and training to advocate for change for all schools. 
So here, just below, is the job description for the Chief Growth Officer.  Enjoy reading, and if you have hiring suggestions for Monisha, give her a call (w312-451-2984).  I was going to nominate Jeff Skilling, but someone told me he has ongoing pinochle game he can't get out of.  How about one of the Milken Boys?  They are both out of jail, I hear. 
Rocketship Education
Position Description: Chief Growth Officer

Organizational Overview
Founded in 2006, Rocketship Education (www.rsed.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to eliminate the achievement gap in public education by operating a network of high-performing, urban, college preparatory, K5 elementary charter schools in highneed neighborhoods.  Rocketship’s growth plans are aggressive and underway; we intend to expand our network to ten cities over the next five years and to 50 major cities in the United States over the next fifteen years.  Each Rocketship school has a clear and simple goal: students achieve gradelevel proficiency by the time they graduate from elementary school and have the skills and focus they need to put them on a path towards college.

Rocketship operates five schools in San Jose, California, serving 2,500 students and plans to open two additional schools in San Jose in 2012. Among 2,000 low-income elementary schools in California, these first three Rocketship schools are all in the top 5% statewide and are the top performing low-income elementary schools in San Jose and Santa Clara County.  Rocketship schools have results rivaling wealthy school districts (such as Palo Alto) while serving 80%+ low-income students and 70%+ English Language Learners.  In 2013, Rocketship will open its first school outside of California in a city to be announced in March, 2012. 

The Rocketship School Model
The Rocketship School Model combines outstanding classroom teaching with individualized instruction in our Learning Lab and uses tutors and technology to meet the specific needs of each and every student.  Specifically, the Rocketship model comprises four key pillars:  

First, Rocketship empowers parents to help their children through a culture of high expectations and deep parent engagement, including annual home visits, monthly community meetings, and frequent family activities.  Rocketship also provides parents with the organization and training to advocate for change for all schools.  

Second, Rocketship develops talent – recruiting and training excellent teachers and developing our teachers into outstanding school leaders.  Rocketship has a deep relationship with Teach for America to bring both talented corps members and alumni to Rocketship.   We attract the best talent by paying teacher salaries that are 20% higher than those in surrounding districts.  Our Academic Deans on each campus work full-time to develop teachers into outstanding professionals.  Our Leadership Development team operates a three-year program to develop our teachers into capable school leaders.

Third, the innovative Rocketship model delivers outstanding academic results for students through individualized learning and excellent classroom teaching.  In Rocketship’s Learning Lab, every student receives two hours of daily instruction individualized to them, focused on exactly their developmental level through tutors and online instruction.  This focus on students’ individual strengths and areas for improvement accelerates learning for all students by quickly adapting to their needs and providing instruction where each student needs it most.  As Learning Lab delivers more of a student’s basic skills learning, our teachers are able to focus on what they do best in the classroom and maximize that time for teaching critical thinking skills, social-emotional learning and project-based learning. The emphasis on individualized learning and extension of knowledge in the classroom ensures that every child succeeds and that Rocketship students emerge with the skills and characteristics necessary to succeed in college and life and to actively compete nationally and globally.

Finally, in addition to the academic and teacher quality benefits described above, the Rocketship School Model scales.  Our approach delivers significant advantages in terms of each school’s quality but also allows us to growLearning Lab is staffed with non-certified paraprofessionals instead of certificated teachers, saving $500,000 per school per year.  Rocketship reinvests these savings to improve school quality by increasing teacher pay, teacher support and development, leadership development, and providing enrichment programs such as art, music and physical education.  The model’s efficiency also allows Rocketship to open new schools in new facilities without philanthropy.  This, combined with a human capital approach to develop school leaders from among the ranks of teachers, allows Rocketship to not only scale, but to improve the quality of each new school as leader selection draws from a larger and larger pool of teachers.  Philanthropy is applied only toward national efforts to develop the infrastructure necessary to open and support more schools and not toward day-to-day school operations.  This makes Rocketship the first scalable charter school network.

The Position
This is an exciting time for Rocketship Education.  Having captured national attention for its school model, student results, and rapid expansion, Rocketship must navigate political forces which do not always desire to partner with organizations like Rocketship to bring great schools to their community.  As one of three leaders reporting directly to the CEO, the Chief Growth Officer (CGO) will augment an already exceptional team and will play a critical role in building the next high-performing national network of charter schools.  The Chief Growth Officer will act as the chief political strategist and chief salesperson for the organization.

Specifically, the CGO will be tasked with creating conditions at the local, state and federal level to allow Rocketship to meet its growth goals.  Rocketship has three phases of development in each new city – Engage, Empower, and Eliminate.  To Engage, Rocketship works with cities which have the right political conditions to approve up-front a cluster of eight Rocketship schools and mobilize citizen groups within those cities to reach approval.  Today, there are currently one dozen cities where this is a possibility.  In order to expand the Engage pipeline, we must work at the state and local level across the country and help national advocacy groups create more favorable conditions.  Additionally, we must advocate to align federal and state policies to allow for high-growth charter networks.   For example, in a growing number of states, high quality networks have agreements directly with the state to open as many schools as they have the internal capacity to deliver.  However, California has not been effective at opening up its charter law to provide ease-of-expansion for the best operators, causing significant wasted time in the chartering process each year.  It will be the CGO’s job to prioritize areas where state or federal changes are needed to allow Rocketship to meet its growth plan.

Approximately half-way through the build-out of the first cluster of schools in any city, we must create the conditions for significant expansion.  For example, in San Jose, there are currently 90 low-income elementary schools not currently bringing their students to proficient or above.  Rocketship currently has ten charters granted and is seeking 20 additional charters to open schools over the next five years.  The Empower stage requires broad community awareness of the achievement gap, specific data analysis on the magnitude of the problem, specifically identified failing schools, and a short timeline (typically five to ten years) for the problem to be fixed.  Rocketship was successful in creating this awareness in San Jose through SJ2020, which was co-championed by the mayor and superintendent of county schools.  We believe this type of awareness-building with community leaders will be necessary in all future regions and will require significant community organizing and advocacy to accomplish. 

Finally, as Rocketship accomplishes its initial expansion goals, we focus on completely eliminating the achievement gap in each city.  It is very likely that there will be additional schools to restart in order to do this and we expect that the Eliminate phase to be the most contentious given that the financial impact on school districts will be substantial.  As the first scalable charter network, it is crucial to remove politics as a barrier to serving children by working with communities to create the will for lasting change. 

Clearly, the political process will be significant in each market we enter.  Therefore, the CGO will lead a Growth division within Rocketship that will include at least three Vice President-level professionals managing National Expansion, Communications, and Philanthropy as well as a substantial budget for changing the policy environment for charters in the United States.

The CGO will:

      Possess the core characteristics required of every Rocketeer – mission-driven, innovative, disciplined thinker, collaborative, and personally responsible;
      Build and lead the mission-critical Growth team whose strategy and results will shape and drive the next era of Rocketship expansion, develop and manage the performance of the team, and institute strong accountability systems and professional development plans and support for its members;
      Serve as a senior-level contributor to Rocketship’s leadership team and help to maintain collective focus on overall performance of the organization;
      Drive the expansion of Rocketship into ten cities by 2016;
      Prepare Rocketship to enter 50 major cities in the United States over the next fifteen years by focusing on cities currently lacking the  political will to enable them to partner with Rocketship and, subsequently, supporting regional Growth staff to generate political will during the Engage and Eliminate stages of expansion through framing, organizing, and advocacy;
      Fundraise in each new city ($3M per city) as part of Rocketship’s initial package to Engage;
      Influence state policy initiatives to advocate for Rocketship to operate in states with current legislative restrictions on new school models;
      Influence federal regulations to align them with the evolving charter school market to ensure that Rocketship and other high-performing school networks are funded appropriately; and
      Drive awareness of Rocketship through outstanding communications among national, education and local thought-leaders and media outlets as the proven leader of successful, scalable reforms in public education in the United States.

Required Qualifications
This is an outstanding opportunity to play a significant role in public education reform across the country.  Therefore, first and foremost, the CGO must believe that no student’s life is subject to the destiny of demographics.  Further, this is a hands-on, senior-level role as a leader in a small but rapidly growing entrepreneurial organization so the CGO must bring top-level senior management experience as well as a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude and work ethic. 

The successful candidate will have the following skills and experience:
      The ability to position Rocketship in the policy arena as an agent for positive change through strong communication and strategic skills;
      Five or more years in the education field, a significant portion of which should be in policy resulting in a sophisticated understanding of local and state education politics;
      Five or more years as a senior-level manager, including a demonstrable track record of assembling  effective teams, strategic planning, communicating a vision and setting priorities, managing team execution, delegating, mentoring others and developing emerging leaders;
      A personal story, philosophy and track record of building strong, trusting relationships through excellent communication and listening skills with diverse parent and community groups to empower them to change current policy;
      A significant network of federal, state, and district education officials to aid in Rocketship’s expansion; and
      A bachelor’s degree. 

The ideal candidate will also possess some combination of the following:
      In-depth experience running political campaigns for individuals and/or issues; 
      Superintendent, executive-team, or board-level experience inside an urban, public school district;
      Experience as a state or federal legislator;
      A results-oriented, goal-driven, team approach to work;
      Confidence and persuasiveness compelling enough to bring divergent groups together;
      A background in fundraising and track record of raising funds from significant donors;
      A communications background, having been responsible for outbound communications for a significant organization;
      Experience working in a high-growth (100% annual growth) start-up environment;
      A sense of urgency; and
      An advanced degree, preferably in Education or Public Policy.

Rocketship supports top executives working throughout the country, and requires the leadership team to travel to Palo Alto, California at least four days per month to meet with the senior team in addition to other travel requirements.  Remote employees must be able to demonstrate past experience in being a productive team leader from a remote location.

Compensation commensurate with experience, reflecting the importance of Growth to Rocketship and direct reporting relationship to the CEO.

Ideal start date
January 2012.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Thank you for posting this. It gives an idea as to what we are against.