Manager, Strategic Initiatives Job Description

Reports to:     Chief of Talent & Operations

Salary:              Competitive and commensurate with experience

Location:         New Haven, CT with some in-state travel (this is a hybrid role expected to spend up to two days per week in the New Haven office)




The RISE Network’s mission is to ensure all high school students graduate with a plan and the skills and confidence to achieve college and career success. Founded in 2016, RISE partners with public high schools to lead networks where communities work together to use data to learn and improve. Through its core and most comprehensive network, RISE partners with nine high schools and eight districts, serving over 13,000 students in historically marginalized communities. 

RISE high schools work together to ensure all students experience success as they transition to, through, and beyond high school by using data to pinpoint needs, form hypotheses, and pursue ideas to advance student achievement. Partner schools have improved Grade 9 promotion rates by nearly 20 percentage points, while also decreasing subgroup gaps and increasing schoolwide graduation and college access rates. In 2021, the RISE Network was honored to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s annual Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement recognition. Increasingly, RISE is pursuing opportunities to scale its impact through research publications, consulting partnerships, professional development experiences, and other avenues to drive excellent student outcomes.


Position Summary and Essential Job Functions:


The Manager, Strategic Initiatives will play an integral role driving project management and facilitating strategic planning and communication across the organization in furtherance of RISE’s growth, organizational effectiveness, and impact over time. RISE is seeking a talented and highly motivated individual to work closely with the Chief of Talent & Operations and the organization’s leadership team to design and implement systems for collaboration that drive outstanding results. This is a new role in the organization and is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who thrives in an entrepreneurial environment, is a natural problem-solver and relationship-builder, and is passionate about developing systems and structures to support a growing and results-driven organization. 

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    1. Project Management & Delivery Systems

    • Collaborate with RISE leadership to facilitate organization-wide processes for annual and quarterly priority-setting, project planning, and implementation.

    • Refine, improve, and implement organization-wide systems for defining project objectives, aligning project activities with organizational priorities and resources, and tracking and communicating progress against project objectives and timelines.

    • Monitor and provide regular updates on project progress and key performance indicators in collaboration with functional team leads.

    • Ensure that project management systems and decision-making frameworks are used effectively and consistently across the organization.

    • Collaborate with Finance and Operations Specialist to develop project budgets and track expenses and with RISE leadership to coordinate staffing and other resources across projects.

    • Create and maintain a library of resources, tools, and templates that support strong project management and decision-making systems.

    • Support on-boarding and training of new staff in the use of project management systems.

    • Oversee effective adoption and implementation of CRM system and other project management and collaboration tools and resources, as needed.

      2. Strategic Planning & Organizational Improvement

      • Partner with RISE leadership and external vendors to facilitate systems for developing and advancing long-term organizational strategy.
      • Co-facilitate cross-functional collaborative working groups aligned to key strategic priorities (e.g. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Antiracism; Theory of Change; Team Culture & Climate).
      • Engage external partners and RISE employees to ensure RISE Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Antiracism values are integrated into organization-wide strategic planning and goal-setting.
      • Conduct research and analysis, gather and synthesize feedback, and make recommendations to support strategic decision-making and organizational improvement.
      • Support RISE leadership and staff in the change management process around new organizational systems and policies.
      • Collaborate with the Director of Talent & Operations and Executive Director to assess resource needs and financial feasibility of strategic priorities.
      • Monitor industry trends, with a focus on the national and regional K-12 education landscape.
      • Manage and own key projects to advance RISE organizational strategy and priorities, as needed.

      Required Knowledge and Skills:

      • Superior organizational and project management skills.

      • Strong knowledge of operational systems and structures for facilitating collaboration within a dynamic organization.

      • Ability to create inclusive spaces for collaboration that foster trust and honor diverse perspectives and experiences.

      • Outstanding research and analysis skills.

      • Ability to ramp up on new content and work in an independent and self-motivated manner.

      • Desire to work in a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and results-driven environment.

      • Sense of humor, positive attitude, and relationship-driven approach to collaboration and teamwork.

      • Commitment to systems-driven solutions to improve equity at scale.

      • Strong belief that all students can learn and achieve at high levels.

      • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft and Google apps.

      Required Education and Experience: 

      • Experience in nonprofit management; experience in K-12 education strongly preferred.

      • Demonstrated experience and/or training in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Antiracism, change management, strategic planning, and/or project management preferred.

      • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Master’s degree (MBA or MPA) preferred. PMP certification a bonus but not required.

      • Minimum of five years of relevant professional experience. Experience working closely with executive leadership preferred.

      RISE is an Equal Opportunity Employer.