The Prep Schools, Operations Residency (2017-2018) (Cleveland, OH)

Cleveland, OH


Date published: 9-Mar-2015

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Breakthrough Charter Schools is the highest performing network of charter schools in Ohio.  Our current 11 schools are representative of four distinctive approaches to teaching and learning, known as our four Models.  In order to continue our pursuit to provide more high quality educational options to the children and families of the Cleveland area, we are replicating our four Models over the next few years to a total of 19 schools.  

We believe that the quality of our schools is dependent upon excellent school operations.  Operationally well-run schools allow instructional leaders and teacher to focus on student and family supports, academic outcomes and school culture and is essential to creating a positive learning environment for students and staff.   Thus, our school operations have  to be led by well-prepared operations leaders, who have exceptional leadership skills and know what it takes to run school operations and partner with the school leader so that every day, children are getting what they deserve.  The Breakthrough Operations Residency seeks to ensure that every Breakthrough school, staff member, and student gains value from such effective operations leadership as we open new schools and maintain the continued strength of our existing schools.   

Modeled after the Breakthrough school leadership residency program piloted in 2014-2015 school year and similar preparatory programs developed by other high performing charter management organizations, this program will consist of many entrepreneurial approaches to leadership development, will incorporate best practices from in and outside of Breakthrough, and will have multiple points for active refinement for the current and future years of the program.  The program is designed to prepare school residents for establishing and leading operations at a new school or for leading operations at an existing school to support a leadership transition or school growth.

We know great development and progress “takes a village.”   Our operations residents’ growth is no exception.  We believe the coordinated efforts and training between each resident’s Model and Breakthrough Support Team is key to this.  Residents will have three camps of staff members supporting them.  He/she will be managed and led by his/her respective Model Operations Leader and will receive the benefit of the breadth of expertise and insight of staff members across our models, schools, and Breakthrough Support Team, according to the resident’s specific needs and growth. 

The residency consists of a one-year, full-time assignment (flexible, with consideration to developmental needs) and is intended to prepare the participant to lead school operations, whether for an existing school or a future school. During the yearlong assignment the resident is immersed in the daily activities associated with operations leadership, under supervision, including overseeing the design and implementation of school, model or network-wide projects, taking on various leadership responsibilities, identifying best operational practices across schools, preparing for the opening of a new school, engaging with families and the community, etc. 

The residency provides a robust development process to prepare leaders to oversee the ongoing operations at a school, in partnership with the school leader and Breakthrough Support Team.  The resident will learn how to lead and implement the following functions:

  • Manages all daily, non-instructional operations to ensure efficiency and maximum customer service
  • Budget design and management
  • Sponsor compliance
  • Student file management and compliance
  • School safety
  • Vendor management
  • Performance and talent management
  • Family and community engagement
  • Enrollment and Re-enrollment
  • Managing drop off and pick up
  • Facilities project management
  • Human resources processes
  • Transportation services
  • Tech project management, including test preparation

The resident is also required to take ownership over his/her own leadership development by:

  • Participating in the monitoring of his/her growth in leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Fully engaging in specific professional learning experiences designed for the residency
  • Taking on a progressive release of responsibility
  • Maintaining flexibility and actively supporting the growth and evolution of this program

Formal Training

Residents will grow in everything ranging from high level leadership skills, to the distinctions and culture of his/her educational Model, to the fundamental details of day-to-day school operation.  To this end, he/she will engage in multiple professional development sessions and mediums, supported and led by his/her Model and the Breakthrough Support Team.  This can include: external trainings and partnerships; on-site professional development sessions and observations; online resources; rotations of all portions of the organization and our daily functioning; and coaching and development from existing Model and school leadership, a leadership coach, and other network leaders. 

Throughout the residency, the Model will individualize the training and support to best meet the needs and goals of both the resident and the school.   Furthermore, though there are many people and resources supporting the development of the resident, the evaluation and managerial relationship will reside between the resident and Model leadership.

Hands-on Experience

Our residency offers a unique opportunity which cannot be replicated through traditional administrative preparation programs: hands-on training at our own high performing charter schools with 1-on-1 attention devoted to your professional growth into a school leader. The selected resident will be fully immersed in all aspects of school functions and management, and this can include:  the ongoing opportunity to shadow academic leaders and other operations leaders; attending board meetings; presenting to parents; providing professional development; assessing best practices across schools, designing new processes for a school, the model or the network; conducting internal audits of processes and providing corresponding feedback to school operations leaders; developing resources for the opening of a new school; engaging with the various operations and support functions to our schools; and leading various school enhancement projects.  

New School Planning Support

The selected resident will work with the Model leadership and Breakthrough Support Team with access to experienced professionals who have the expertise to guide a new leader through all aspects of opening a new school. The Breakthrough Support Team includes the Communications/Student Recruitment, Facilities, Talent Acquisition and Human Capital, Accounting, Through College, Information Technology, Operations and Friends of Breakthrough teams.

Rotational Program

The selected resident will spend time immersed in different schools across Breakthrough to understand the different approaches to school operations.  The resident will have the opportunity to observe best internal practices across schools, share out the learnings with operations leaders across the network, and incorporate those learnings into the design of his/her school operations.   

Model & Network-Wide Projects

There will be opportunities to lead model and network-wide projects to achieve operational excellence across a system of schools.  The resident may also participate in the several network-wide projects are already underway, such as the build out of an operational knowledge management system, procurement of network-wide services and development of process maps and internal walkthrough checklists.

Academic Exposure

We believe that the partnership between the school operations leader and the school leader is an essential component to a well-functioning and high performing school and that the main role of the operations leader is to ensure the academic teams are able to focus on culture, instruction, student growth and teacher development.  In order to build that connection and understanding, the school operations leader will spend considerable periods of the residency with teachers and instructional leaders understanding the goals, challenges, academic model and day-to-day demands of the instructional staff in order to better design and implement effective school systems and procedures.


A competitive school operations leader compensation will be provided. 

Desired Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

We are seeking a results-driven leader committed to the mission of the Preps Model as well as Breakthrough Schools’ mission, high expectations and his or her own professional growth. 


  • A commitment to complete the entire residency year and lead a school for at least two years after being placed
  • (If internal) A minimum Summative Evaluation rating of Skilled or higher for the 2014-2015 school year
  • Bachelor’s Degree)
  • Regular reflectiveness and receptiveness to feedback
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, energized and focused on the pioneering work of founding and opening a new school, creating a new facet in a community, and building collaborative relationships focused on this.
  • Belief that each and every child can excel academically
  • Belief that great teachers lie at the heart of a great school and that a great school continues to develop its teachers
  • Understanding and experience working with the nuances of urban school communities and school culture
  • Proven commitment to be a lifelong learner, in general and particularly in regards to education and learning
  • Examples of a relentless drive, a “do whatever it takes” belief, and commitment to eliminate the disparity of educational quality that exists
  • Ability to organize workload independently and set priorities; to adapt quickly to changing priorities; and perform multiple interrelated tasks under deadline pressures
  • Strong strategic thinking and problem solving capabilities
  • Appreciates and is able to work in a highly collaborative environment
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Ability to engage in critical conversations with respect, vision, and humility
  • Ability to manage people and complex projects
  • Strong interpersonal skills

As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability.

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