Executive Director


City Year

Many students lack access to learning environments and resources they need to thrive in school and in life, due to systemic inequities that disproportionately affect students of color and students growing up in low-income households. More than one million students do not graduate from high school each year, 50% of whom come from just 12% of schools. City Year believes that all students can succeed and that developing the skills and mindsets of children and young adults contributes to strong, vibrant communities—outcomes that benefit all of us. City Year AmeriCorps members provide vital support to the highest need 5% of schools in the state, focusing on where the need is the greatest and partnering with students who are at risk of dropping out.

City Year was founded in 1988, with a vision to unite young people, ages 17-24, from diverse ethnic, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds to engage in a year of full-time national service. Fueled by a belief in the power of national service to develop young people into leaders, problem solvers, and more active citizens, City Year partners with public schools in 28 urban, high-need communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and Johannesburg, South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide research-based student, classroom, and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations, and individuals.

City Year’s school-based program is called Whole School, Whole Child. Through this approach, AmeriCorps members tutor students, serve as an additional resource for teachers in classrooms, and lead after-school programs and school-wide initiatives to promote a positive school culture. AmeriCorps members receive more than 300 hours of professional training to intervene based on three early warning indicators, the ABCs: attendance, behavior, and course performance in math and English. Younger than the teacher but older than students, City Year AmeriCorps members are uniquely positioned to form strong bonds with students and help them succeed. City Year works with school staff to improve student performance, using data to customize the types of supports they provide to students.

City Year provides a powerful double bottom line: improved outcomes for students in schools and the cultivation of the next generation of leaders through their alumni. A 2015 study shows that schools that partner with City Year were two to three times more likely to improve on math and English assessments, and gain the equivalent of one month of additional math and ELA learning compared with similar schools that do not partner with City Year. A recent study  provides even more evidence that national service programs yield a substantial return on investment. For every $1 of federal money invested in these programs, the return to society, program members, and the government is more than $17.

This year, 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members are serving more than 300 public schools attended predominately by children of color and children growing up in low-income households. Across 29 U.S. cities, AmeriCorps members are adapting their in-person supports to virtual service in light of COVID, supporting academic growth and social and emotional learning while also helping students to recover from learning loss and reconnect to their school community. Learn more about City Year Inc. from their Annual Report.

City Year Los Angeles

City Year Los Angeles was established in 2007, with a small start-up team and 75 AmeriCorps members serving in eight Los Angeles schools. As the largest school district in the state, the Los Angeles School District serves more than 600,000 students across 1,000 schools. City Year is a key partner to the Los Angeles and Inglewood Unified School Districts in creating equitable learning opportunities for all students and develop the city’s future leaders. City Year’s research-based program focuses on the early warning indicators that can predict a student’s likelihood to graduate high school. AmeriCorps members support teachers and staff in delivering instruction that serves the development of the whole child and is responsive to the diverse racial, cultural, and linguistic needs of Los Angeles youth.

Today, 225 AmeriCorps members are deployed in 25 schools across Los Angeles and Inglewood Unified School Districts, serving as tutors and mentors and implementing City Year’s Whole School, Whole Child program in the city’s most under-resourced schools. For the 2020-2021 school year, due to school closures, corps members are currently serving in virtual classrooms providing whole school and targeted interventions to over 25,000 students in Attendance, Behavior, and Course performance in English language arts (ELA) and math. City Year AmeriCorps members serving virtually supported 180 classrooms through 344 hours of in class support and small group interventions.

City Year Los Angeles’ Impact

From improved test scores and reduced absenteeism, to increased social-emotional learning skills and accelerated academic progress, City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps members are making a significant difference. Since 2007, City Year has placed 3,212 AmeriCorps members in Los Angeles public schools, providing 31,610 students with individual academic support and benefiting 262,486 students through whole-school initiatives across 218 campuses. Combined with the 34,701 corporate and community volunteers City Year Los Angeles engages, members have served 5.4 million hours in the Los Angeles community. All told, $135 million has been invested back into Los Angeles since City Year LA’s founding.

More than 76% of students tutored by AmeriCorps members last year improved their test scores. Of students who worked one-on-one with City Year at Virgil Middle school during 2018-2019, 77% went from off-track (D or F) to on-track (C or better) in English. Similarly, 69% of students who worked one-on-one with City Year at Roosevelt High School met or exceeded their average growth goals in math that same year.

A five-year analysis found that City Year L.A. helped schools recover 16,500 days of instruction through student attendance interventions, saving the Los Angeles Unified School District $1.03 million in lost attendance revenue.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) skills represent one of the greatest predictors of college and career readiness and academic success, with a statistically significant and consistent relationship between student SEL skills and academic outcomes. Moving up one level in social-emotional skills is comparable to gaining an entire school year of achievement growth. Greater impact is seen when SEL skills are integrated into subject matter teaching and results show that City Year helped 58% of focus list students receiving behavior interventions improve their SEL skills, including self-awareness, self-management, and relationship development.

Ninth-grade students who worked closely with City Year Los Angeles throughout the 2018-2019 school year demonstrated a higher academic growth rate compared to their peers who did not work with City Year L.A., including three times the growth rate in English and twice the growth rate in math.

Teachers and principals see the difference made: 92% of partner teachers think that AmeriCorps members fostered a positive learning environment for learning and 95% of partner principals and vice principals believe that City Year has an overall positive impact on their school’s climate. Principals and assistant principals agreed unanimously that City Year Los Angeles impacted systemic issues of educational equity.

The benefit is not one sided; while improving outcomes for underserved students, City Year AmeriCorps members gain a close-knit community and work with a committed and diverse group of six to 15 City Year AmeriCorps members with a shared passion for service and personal growth.

For more information about City Year, please visit the website: www.cityyear.org.


Los Angeles, California

Core Values

City Year was founded with a core belief: that uniting and empowering diverse teams of idealistic young people and charging them with addressing some of our country’s most difficult challenges can change the world for the better. The organizational values they collectively uphold are deeply rooted in this belief and in their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). City Year’s journey to fully live their values and commitment to DEIB is ongoing, but with each step forward, they come closer to actualizing their mission and fulfilling promises to one another. Here are the values that guide City Year’s work:

Service to a cause greater than self:
City Year is dedicated to addressing shared civic challenges through unified action.

Students first, collaboration always:
The success of the young people City Year serves is a preeminent goal, best achieved by working in partnership with others who are committed to the same cause.

Belief in the power of young people:
They harness one of the most powerful forces for positive change at work in the world today.

Social justice for all:
City Year is dedicated to building a more just, equal, fair, and compassionate world.

Level five leadership:
City Year aspires to develop a culture of “level five leadership” across the organization, fostering a blend of great humility with intense professional will.

They strive to learn from the perspective and experiences of others.

City Year embraces differences as strengths that magnify a capacity to achieve shared goals.

This is a term borrowed from the Zulu tribe of South Africa and means “I am a person through other people; my humanity is tied to yours.” This belief informs City Year’s commitment to treating others with deep respect.

They strive to work powerfully together in a unified effort to achieve their goals.

City Year holds themselves to the highest standards and strives to execute their mission and steward resources.

Further detail on City Year’s core values can be found here.

Position Concept and Reporting Relationships

City Year is seeking an innovative, dynamic, entrepreneurial, and people-focused leader to serve as the executive director (ED) at City Year Los Angeles. The position provides the right candidate the opportunity to play an integral role in advocating for and advancing public education in Los Angeles and Inglewood schools through national service. The executive director is responsible for ensuring City Year Los Angeles meets its impact, revenue, district partnership, and external relations goals and will lead the effort to increase City Year’s visibility and brand awareness across Los Angeles. Key to the site’s success is a leader and collaborator who is a natural coalition-builder, people developer, and influencer who leads with tenacity and humility.

Reporting to the market president, this visionary change agent will lead 65 staff and 225 AmeriCorps members serving in 25 partner schools. Serving as the primary champion of City Year’s impact locally, the executive director leads the organization’s efforts to keep students in school and on track to graduate college and career ready. Additionally, the executive director works in partnership with the City Year Los Angeles board, comprised of 30 influential leaders representing the Los Angeles public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Giselle Fernandez, the award-winning Spectrum News 1 Anchor, and Mattie McFadden-Lawson, a national philanthropic leader, serve as board co-chairs. They lead with an ambitious vision and a deep sense of urgency around City Year’s work in the Los Angeles community.

The executive director is accountable for an annual revenue budget of approximately $15.2 million (current make up is 36% public sector revenue, including school district and AmeriCorps, and 64% private sector revenue), while simultaneously securing the resources necessary to ensure sustainability and growth. Philanthropic dollars total nearly $8.5 million annually and principally includes revenue from individuals (43%), corporations (31%), and foundation grants (25%). This visionary will be expected to mobilize powerful coalitions including board members, district leadership and school partners, City Year AmeriCorps alumni, private and public sector investors, and local, state, and national elected officials to accelerate greater educational opportunity for underserved students.

The executive director also serves as a vice president for City Year Inc.’s national organization and, as such, strengthens the connection between City Year’s national initiatives and the local work in Los Angeles by managing relationships at City Year’s national headquarters and contributing to the national strategy through network-wide project teams.

Specific Duties

Under the direction of the market president and working closely with national leadership colleagues, the executive director is responsible for key aspects for Los Angeles and nationally, as follows:

People and Culture:
Lead, coach, and develop 65 full-time staff members; increase staff engagement and retention of staff year over year. Establish a dynamic culture that embodies City Year’s core values of diversity, belonging, inclusivity, and equity—and teamwork. Further develop human resources structures to ensure equitable hiring and promotion practices.

Student Impact:
In partnership with senior site staff and regional support staff, ensure high quality and commitment to the nationally developed service delivery model implemented by City Year AmeriCorps members in partner elementary, middle, and high schools, resulting in at least 50% of students served meeting or exceeding growth targets.

AmeriCorps Member Experience:
Ensure the site delivers a transformational experience for all City Year AmeriCorps members, where at least 93% of AmeriCorps members persist from confirmation to completion of service and 80% of AmeriCorps members report feeling prepared and confident in their service delivery.

Private Sector Fundraising, Cultivation, and Stewardship:
Serve as chief fundraiser and lead site staff, board, and associates board to motivate influencers to raise the funds necessary to meet annual and long-term revenue goals. Identify, cultivate, solicit, and manage strategic relationships with corporations, foundations, family foundations, and individuals in order to build a sustainable private revenue mix that results in annual revenue of at least $8.95 million in fiscal year 2021, which ends on June 30, 2021.

School/District Investments:
Sustain transformational partnerships with existing district and school leadership and cultivate new transformational partnerships with leaders of future school partners. Negotiate contracts that result in sustained annual revenue of $12,500 per AmeriCorps member.

Financial Management:
Ensure City Year Los Angeles raises at least 3% more revenue than it spends annually by managing a fiscally-sound budget, forecasting, expense management, and cash flow for a current site expense budget of $15.2 million.

Board Member Engagement:
Collaborate with board leadership to recruit, develop, and manage a diverse, dynamic, and deeply engaged local advisory board; manage a robust committee structure focused on local fundraising efforts, community engagement, and brand awareness. Ensure cultivation and engagement of current and future board leadership. Partner with site staff to ensure excellent engagement of the young professionals’ associates board.

Marketing and Communications:
Lead board, staff, and consultants’ efforts to increase City Year’s visibility and brand awareness in local and national media, social media, and marketing channels. Help raise the site’s profile to become one of the most talked about education organizations in Los Angeles.

Government Relations and Public Policy:
Engage local and national elected officials—governor, mayor, City Council members, local and state school board representatives, California state legislators, and members of the U.S. Congress—to support funding and policies for City Year and the national service movement. Maintain an effective and collaborative relationship with the AmeriCorps California State Commission; oversee the preparation of effective AmeriCorps grant applications and progress reports and meet performance and compliance requirements associated therein.

AmeriCorps Member Recruitment:
Collaborate with City Year’s national recruitment and admissions team to ensure successful recruitment and selection of AmeriCorps members, meeting quality, quantity, and inclusivity goals. Partner with site staff to ensure a strong cohort returns annually for a second year of service with at least 30% of first year members applying for a second year of service.

Alumni Engagement:
Ensure the engagement of the City Year Los Angeles Alumni Board to leverage alumni to support AmeriCorps members in service and continue their lifetime of service.

Candidate Qualifications

Successful City Year executive directors embody the organization’s core values, hold the firm belief that education has the power to help all students reach their full potential, and possess a deep passion for equity in education. In addition, executive directors are expected to:

  • Build and forge partnerships and coalitions with diverse stakeholders in the public and private sectors to advance the cause of educational equity, prioritizing outreach that will have the greatest positive impact on students.
  • Mobilize internal and external partners toward a bold vision of how they can impact the lives of young people.
  • Build, empower, and inspire teams to thrive while driving accountability and taking personal responsibility for their success and growth.
  • Provide leadership in the local and City Year communities, inspiring coalitions towards shared goals while fostering a sense of connection, belonging, and trust.
  • Build community and foster a caring and supportive environment that prioritizes diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity. Deep investment in the outcome of the student experience. The executive director must have knowledge of and the ability to relate to and compassionately interact with a diverse and ever shifting student population.
  • Demonstrate curiosity, vulnerability, and humility as a life-long learner who seeks out diverse perspectives and opportunities for self-improvement.
  • Possess a deep sense of personal accountability to ensure the success of both City Year Los Angeles locally and City Year, Inc. nationally.
  • Connect with and inspire diverse teams of AmeriCorps members between the ages of 17 and 24.

A competitive candidate for the executive director position will possess:

  • A strong ability and experience in the behaviors listed above.
  • Competency in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work.
  • A high level of emotional intelligence.
  • Integrity, openness, honesty, curiosity, inclusion, empowerment, and collaboration.
  • Demonstrated success managing effective and engaged teams; managing multiple layers of leadership.
  • Proven experience in skillfully influencing and motivating stakeholders; track record in fundraising from corporations, foundations, and major gifts and/or sales.
  • An established cross-sector, local network of stakeholders, funders, and champions.
  • Ability to connect programs to funding, creatively generating other resources and building collaborative and strategic partnerships.
  • Familiarity with the Los Angeles educational landscape and K-12 education policy.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to the Los Angeles neighborhoods where City Year serves, including Inglewood, South Los Angeles, Watts, Boyle Heights, and Pico Union.
  • Calm in times of crisis with sound instincts and impeccable decision-making prowess.
  • Excellent communication, listening, and public speaking skills; the ability to articulate a compelling and inspiring vision that motivates others.
  • Demonstrated success in responding quickly to changing situations and ability to adjust organizational plans accordingly.
  • A desire to learn and a willingness to receive feedback and hold yourself accountable.
  • Significant local nonprofit, volunteer, or multi-sector experience.
  • Content knowledge of community and national service.
  • Ability to attend evening and weekend events; ability to travel to in-person meetings in various cities when COVID-related restrictions are lifted and City Year deems travel safe again.


Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. A review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by January 29, 2021. Candidates should provide a resume that reflects all prior work experience and a letter of application that addresses personal interest in the role. These materials should be sent electronically via e-mail to Shelli Herman at shelli@shellihermansearch.com.

City Year is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a diverse workforce. Individuals from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, including persons with disabilities and veterans.


Shelli Herman, President
Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc.
11693 San Vicente Blvd., Suite #104
Los Angeles, California 90049
Office: (800) 396-0595 ext. 5
E-mail: shelli@shellihermansearch.com