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Director of Programs, KC Scholars (remote during pandemic)

Posted: 03/28/2021

The Director of Programs is responsible for managing and facilitating high-quality processes and best-in-class support services. The Director will be knowledgeable about leading and developing a team that is committed to a successful Scholar experience.

The Director provides strategic leadership and administrative management to a coordinated Scholar-centric Program Team that is focused on successfully supporting Scholars from time of application through college completion and ultimately into the regional workforce. The program team ensures that KC Scholars awardees are supported during planning for college and then complete all necessary steps to remain eligible and in good standing as they progress toward degree completion and move into the regional workforce. The program team is the program’s frontline, the first impression for our Scholars and their families, and the ones whom Scholars turn to/look to for support.

The Director, and the Program team, is instrumental to KC Scholars achieving its 75% college completion goal, and specific benchmarks listed below:


• 90% enrolling in college the fall after high school graduation (Traditional)
• 91% persisting from freshman to sophomore year of college (Traditional)
• 90% persisting from sophomore to junior year of college (Traditional)
• 93% persisting from junior to senior year of college (Traditional)
• 100% enrolling in college the fall after being awarded (Adult Learner)
• 85% persisting from the first to the second year of college (Adult Learner)
• 88% of the 85% persisting from the second to the third year of college (Adult Learner)
• 75% of those that started college completing a credit-bearing credential or associate or
   bachelor’s degree (Traditional and Adult Learner)

The Director of Programs will be a proven efficient, high-functioning professional with previous successful experience supporting students and navigating complex systems to administer multi-year, renewable college scholarships; provide college planning, persistence, and completion support; and track status of recipients.

The Director will provide strategic leadership, alongside the CEO and Senior Leadership Team, related to the overall effectiveness of the organization.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Serve as an active member of the Senior Leadership Team, contributing to strategic thinking and action by the organization.
  • Develop and execute strategic direction of the program functions of KC Scholars.
  • Develop strategy; demonstrate previous experience and ability to produce measurable results-driving desired impact.
  • Foster creation of an effective program team (hiring, supervision, development), including their continuing professional development to ensure deep content knowledge and expertise. Set clear expectations for team members and hold them accountable to drive progress toward outcomes – the program team is critical to KC Scholars’ achieving its benchmarks, outcomes, and goals.
  • Align program team staff expertise and capacity to ensure high-quality processes and provision of support services and college planning activities directly related to the Scholar experience – from the time of application through college completion – that increase likelihood of college enrollment and completion. As appropriate, activities should include family members of Scholars.
  • Assess effectiveness of supports and processes on a continuing basis and make and/or suggest calibration to 1) keep pace with program scaling, 2) prepare for future growth opportunities, and 3) ensure that supports provided can be linked to demonstrable results and the program goal of 75% college completion.
  • Oversee the online scholarship portal and all processes related to the annual application and selection cycle and track the status of current awardees (application, logic, communication, tasks lists, renewal documentation, all documentation maintained in or secured via the portal, processes to be ready for the next application cycle), identify and reduce existing duplications and identifying processes that would benefit from closer collaboration or increased communication.
  • Monitor and support data analysis and reporting related to applicants, awardees, current Scholars and previous Scholars, ensuring staff responsiveness to requests.
  • Manage the appeals reviews and decisions process, with final consultation with the President and CEO.
  • Understand and utilize data analysis and third-party evaluation findings to assess progress toward benchmarks, outcomes, and goals.
  • Organize and facilitate data tracking, record keeping, inquiries management processes, and the documentation and following of established processes practices.
  • Develop and maintain a relationship with the 100+ high schools in the six-county service region and the 17 Postsecondary Network campuses to ensure ongoing and effective communication and to collect and share data and best practices.
  • Build and foster strong collaboration with the student support service providers that support Scholars, including clearly articulated expectations, tracking progress toward benchmarks, and problem-solving.
  • Refine, implement, and manage the community volunteer scholarship reviewer recruitment, selection, training, assignments, and scoring process.
  • Manage outreach and marketing and communication efforts with the external community that are directly linked to attracting applicants.
  • Work with the Director of Finance and Business Operations to manage the scholarship payments and refunds reports and processes.
  • Facilitate/co-facilitate unique initiatives designed to strengthen student supports services provided to Scholars.
  • Represent KC Scholars in the community, building a reputation as a respected leader in the college access and attainment space.
  • Remain abreast of best practices within college scholarship and college access and completion programs, regionally and nationally, that are achieving their goals and consider best practices that could be incorporated into KC Scholars.
  • Identify and communicate process improvement efforts, when appropriate.
  • Research, synthesize, analyze, and present information as requested.
  • Attend meetings and events as appropriate.
  • Other related activities and duties as assigned.
  • An undergraduate degree is required, while an advanced degree is preferred.
  • A minimum of 5+ years of relevant experience in complex college access and completion programs which support aspiring college students to and through college.
  • Deep knowledge of and practice in the college application process, admissions eligibility, financial aid, academic requirements, college enrollment, and college persistence – specifically for adult learners and students historically underrepresented in higher education.
  • Previous and successful experience supervising and developing staff to achieve maximum performance and efficiency and reach organizational goals.
  • Ability to work under competing deadlines/demands.
  • Strong organizational skills, well-developed process skills, attention to detail, and ability to multi-task in a rapidly scaling organization.
  • Ability to analyze data and recognize and articulate trends.
  • Active listening and learning skills.
  • Ability to be proactive, thoughtful, and consider the bigger picture.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to work with large diverse, multi-generational audiences.
  • Exceptional judgment that augments an ability to be solutions-oriented and then act appropriately to solve problems.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced, goal-oriented, start-up environment.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) and ability to learn new applications and complex features.
  • Commitment to and complete belief in the mission of KC Scholars.
  • Quick learner with ability to develop a solid understanding of the content, processes, deliverables, and overall objectives of a complex, multi-faceted program.
  • Personal values system that encompasses the highest standards of honesty, confidentiality, integrity, loyalty, and professional ethics.
  • Passion for increasing college completion and workforce preparedness among students who are first-generation to college, low-income, or historically underrepresented in higher education and the regional workforce.
  • Desire for feedback and ability to use it to drive quality.
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to multi-task and meet multiple deadlines.
  • Keen sense of responsibility, high level of poise, ability to think independently, ability to maintain confidentiality, and a customer service orientation.
  • Tactful and diplomatic with good listening skills and an approachable personality.
  • Ability to self-direct, take initiative, anticipate demands, and problem-solve.
  • Ability to hold oneself and others accountable for enacting and following processes to ensure that work is accurate and complete and “completed correctly the first time.”
  • Ability to maintain a calm and competent demeanor in uncomfortable and demanding situations.
  • Cultural competency.
A competitive non-profit compensation package as defined by the nonprofit agency’s compensation guidelines, including base salary and benefits that correspond to the experience level, credentials, and personal characteristics of the candidate.

Occasional regional and national travel.

KC Scholars firmly supports the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, creed, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other protected category pursuant to applicable federal, state, or local law.

Reports to the President and CEO and is on the Senior Leadership Team.

All the statements in this position description are intended to describe the general nature of the work being performed and are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required. This document describes the position currently available. The organization reserves the right to modify job duties or job descriptions at any time.

To apply for the Director of Programs position, submit the following items to Use Director of Programs Application as the subject line of the email.
  • Provide a cover letter summarizing your experiences and skills that align with the scope of this position
  • Include Resume
  • Include names and contact information of three professional references 
The Director of Programs position will remain open until filled.

Job Type: Full Time