South Shore Stars Seeks Executive Director
Family and child poverty on the South Shore is the pervasive, seemingly intractable problem that South Shore Stars (Stars) founders courageously set out to solve 50 years ago. They believed (and decades of research now supports) that the availability of affordable, quality child care was key in breaking the multigenerational cycle of poverty which too many families confront. They did not want any parent to have to choose between their dual responsibilities of breadwinner and caregiver. Since Stars’ first center opened in 1970, the agency has significantly contributed to positive, lasting change for thousands of South Shore families, as access to early child care is vital to obtain and maintain employment and to ultimately achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Stars cares for and supports 1,200 children annually, making a long-term investment in its families, providing programs to a diverse population, concentrating on school readiness and academic achievement, promoting healthy development, and strengthening families. Many of its children grow up with Stars, becoming successful young adults. Stars is a unique organization in the communities it serves because of its focus on low-income families and at-risk children/youth, coupled with its ability to provide continuity of services from infancy to high school. Simply put, no other agency is doing this comprehensive work in Stars’ communities.
Stars has built a continuum of evidence-based services for families with children from birth through high school. Stars has an understanding of both the needs and resources of its families and the three distinct communities of Quincy, Randolph, and Weymouth that it primarily serves. Stars conducts ongoing assessments of community and family needs through surveys, forums, and analysis of demographic, enrollment, and referral data. All programs intentionally address the multiple challenges children and families confront, and Stars supports its children to ultimately become contributing adults.
Principally funded through contracts with the Massachusetts Departments of Early Education and Care and Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Head Start, United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and private foundations, Stars’ core programs include:
- Home Visiting, centered on parents supporting their children’s early development, while accessing support services, training, and employment.
- Family Child Care (FCC) System, FCC Providers nurture infants and toddlers, supported by early education and social services staff.
- Preschool, three nationally accredited preschool centers providing early education and care.
- School Age, five out-of-school time centers, concentrating on social/emotional learning throughout the school year, and a summer camp focused on reducing summer learning loss.
- Middle School, academic enrichment and support to sixth grade students referred by school personnel because they are at risk of failure.
- Youth In Motion, a program which targets and supports ninth grade students with a history of failing to ensure they ultimately graduate.
Stars’ success is a result of many critical factors, including:
- Program design elements all children need to grow to their full potential, such as low staff to child ratios, specialized training, volunteer programs, and social workers.
- Ongoing program evaluation and assessment of children’s progress to improve programs and to develop effective individual plans for children/youth.
- Continuity of care, from birth to sixth grade in Quincy and Weymouth; through high school in Randolph.
- Commitment to diversity and cultural competence:
- 60% of children/youth come from racial and ethnic minority families.
- 50% of families are new immigrants, a significantly higher percentage than the overall population of the communities served.
- Over 50% of direct service staff are from racial and ethnic minorities, with staff available to translate most languages families speak.
- Social justice practices infused throughout Stars’ daily practices.
- A family support approach that includes four experienced, licensed social workers, who advocate for parents and help them access services and intentionally support their children’s development. Since 25% of Stars’ parents are facing addiction and/or mental illness and because 20% of Stars’ children are involved with the Department of Children, social workers are crucial to alleviate social vulnerability and isolation of those served.
With its primary offices in Weymouth, MA, Stars employs approximately 120 staff, many with long-standing commitments to child care as well as substantial tenures at Stars. With a $9 million operating budget, Stars is overseen by a 22-member Board of Directors comprised of community and business leaders deeply committed to its mission. In January of 2020, Stars launched an ambitious three-year strategic plan focused on targeted program expansion, strengthening support for its children who have experienced trauma, and increasing private fundraising. Stars is currently led by its long-serving and well-respected Executive Director, Sheri Adlin, who will retire from Stars at the end of 2020 after providing stellar leadership for over twenty-five years during which Stars experienced significant growth.
Opportunity Going Forward
The Executive Director will have the opportunity to lead a well-established, well-run, much respected, and highly effective child care agency (a leader in the state) with a deep commitment to providing comprehensive early education and youth development programs to enhance the optimal growth of children from economically and culturally diverse families. High priorities for the Executive Director include:
- Managing effectively and efficiently the daily operations and directing and empowering a team of 120 child care and education professionals of a mission-driven, nonprofit with a $9 million budget that serves over 1,200 children annually.
- Transitioning relationships from a long-serving executive director and building new ones with political, government, community, agency, legislative, and business leaders, ensuring that Stars is a present, engaged, and trusted collaborator and partner.
- Implementing Stars current strategic plan while supplementing that plan with short- and long-term strategies to address the impact the COVID virus has/will have on Stars’ families, children, partners, staff, facilities, and finances, including the consideration of opportunities that may arise as some nonprofits struggle to meet the challenges associated with the pandemic.
- Serving as the public spokesperson for Stars to advocate for its mission, families, and children, while leading the agency’s revenue efforts to secure and sustain contracts, raise private grant funds, and engage private donors.
- Developing and supporting a strong and committed senior leadership team and sustaining a work culture that values a passionate commitment to mission, supports employees and their families, seeks and considers staff opinions, and promotes staff development and advancement.
- Adapting communications and systems to eliminate program silos, improve program transitions, and streamline processes.
- Improving and utilizing technology to better support Stars’ families, improve agency efficiency, and support remote programming and work, as needed.
- Working collaboratively with the Board of Directors, expanding public awareness of Stars, and maximizing the agency’s fundraising potential.
Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate
- A minimum of five years of senior leadership, or equivalent experience
- Knowledge of and commitment to early education, child development, youth development, and/or family engagement
- Experience with and commitment to the diverse communities and people reflective of those served by Stars
Skills and Experience
Passionate, and Mission-Aligned Leader
- Deep passion for children and youth
- Knowledgeable of and demonstrated experience in child care, youth development, education, and/or family engagement
- Respect for and commitment to research-based best practices within programs
- Knowledge of education regulations, particularly those of the Department of Early Education and Care
- Understanding of diverse populations and families with a commitment to meeting the unique needs of clients
- Leader with humility, compassion, and grace who is personable, authentic, and approachable
- Teaching experience a plus
Experienced, Innovative, and Accountable Administrator
- Proven leadership at an organization of Stars’ scale and size
- Commitment to high quality, rigorous accountability, and accurate reporting
- Nonprofit experience with strong financial acumen and budget management skills
- Ability to oversee programs and operations while not micromanaging
- Innovator who fosters and nurtures growth opportunities
- Ability to grow, steward and nurture a Board to maximize its potential and impact on the agency
- Ability to anticipate and manage change in reaction to the pandemic to ensure long-term agency sustainability
Savvy Revenue Generator
- Aware of and able to sustain a diverse mix of public and private funds
- Commitment to growing and diversifying Stars’ revenue sources
- Ability to secure, maximize, and manage government contracts from a variety of state and federal funding sources
- Knowledge of public funding, child care subsidies, enrollment policies, head start regulations, and reporting requirements
- Fundraising experience, with the ability to cultivate funder relationships, prospect for and write grants
Supportive Leader and Developer of Staff
- Sustain a positive, warm, welcoming, and compassionate culture and climate
- Be a present and accessible leader of staff
- Provide fair leadership, where voice and opinions are respected, and the strengths of all are recognized and rewarded
- Lead, inspire, motivate, and delegate, striking a balance between leading and delegating
- Set high standards, lead by example, and pitch in when needed
- Recruit, support, grow, and promote talent
- Employ professional management practices and oversight
Politically Savvy Networker and Collaborator
- Proven networker, skilled at positioning Stars as a sector leader and a go-to organization
- Political skill and knowledge with the ability promote and advocate for Stars with the EEC, other agencies, and legislators
- Ability to understand and navigate government operations and funding
- A collaborator with humility and grace who is able to create and hold mutually beneficial community connections and partnerships
- Visible in and available to the community
- Able to represent Stars in the community and throughout the state as its primary and articulate spokesperson
- Proven strength in verbal and written communications
- Able to communicate effectively with all constituencies
Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of Stars, along with salary requirements. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. Upload required documents to: https://eostransitions.applicantpool.com/jobs/
Salary is commensurate with experience and within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget. Stars is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer which encourages applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and cultures, particularly candidates of color and/or candidates who know and/or represent the communities Stars serves.
This executive search is being conducted by Eos Transition Partners consultant John Tarvin. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions must be submitted to John at: firstname.lastname@example.org.