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Director of Human Resources, Academy for Urban School Leadership

POSITION:                            Director of Human Resources

ORGANIZATION:                  Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)  (

LOCATION:                           Chicago, IL

REPORTS TO:                      Managing Director, Strategy & Operations



AUSL’s mission is to create schools of excellence by developing highly effective teachers and transforming educational outcomes for students at the lowest performing schools.



AUSL, founded in 2001, is a nonprofit school management organization transforming historically underperforming schools and serving as a scalable transformation model for Chicago Public Schools and districts nationally.  AUSL’s work is rooted in the belief that all children deserve a quality education, especially children in high poverty neighborhoods.  Today, over 80% of the schools that AUSL manages, which  were once the lowest performing schools in the District, are in Good Standing.

AUSL manages 31 public neighborhood schools for the Chicago Public School system, serving nearly 17,000 students.  92.5% of these students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.  The schools that have gone through AUSL’s transformation process have seen substantial improvements in student performance, including steady increases in Illinois State test scores. In addition to impressive academic improvements, the schools see significant rises in attendance and decreases in the need for discipline.

AUSL schools operate within the district as a “network” and AUSL’s approach is built on a foundation of effective instruction and a climate and culture of high expectations.  Teachers are central to AUSL’s theory of action. Year-long pre-service training, induction support, and teacher leadership are all hallmarks of AUSL’s teacher development process. Over 1000 new teachers have been trained by AUSL through an intensive year-long residency program that prepares teachers for the specific challenges of urban classrooms. The impressive teacher retention rates at AUSL's schools are attributed to the stellar professional development received before, and the ongoing support the teachers receive after, entering the classroom.

The AUSL Institute, established in 2011, has served over 40 organizations across the nation and worldwide with comprehensive consultancy services.  The staff partner with low-achieving schools and districts to set them on a path to educational excellence and transform outcomes for the students they serve.  AUSL partners with clients to offer training, support, and tools to improve school culture, student academic performance, and teacher training. 

The operating budget is approximately $12M and the organization is governed by a 35 person Board of Directors comprised of education, business and civic leaders.



The human resources function within the AUSL office is focused on establishing systems and policies that improve overall communications, efficiencies and consistency throughout the nonprofit’s eco-system.

There are 60 staff within the nonprofit, AUSL.  While the school staff (including the Principal and all those reporting to the Principal) are not managed by AUSL, the team does interact with the 31 principals and the more than 1100 teachers around professional development and school culture. 

Specifically, the human resources function oversees benefits, payroll, employee policies (including continual development and refinement of the employee manual), establishing annual performance management processes and ensuring that all job descriptions are well developed. 

Going forward, there is an interest in human resources playing an integral role in enhancing the  working culture and climate across all AUSL departments: AUSL Network of Schools, Teaching and Learning, External Affairs, and Strategy & Operations as well as with the Executive Director’s office. Ensuring that there are professional development opportunities for staff, including opportunities for career growth within AUSL, is also an important part of the human resources role. Creating professional development opportunities and ensuring an organizational culture that promotes coaching and mentorship for first line managers is another area of opportunity.

As AUSL continues to grow, there is a need for a strategic, innovative human resources professional to develop the human resources operation to become a highly functioning, customer service oriented department that fully supports the work and mission of  AUSL.



Reporting to the Managing Director, Strategy & Operations, the Director will be responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of Human Resources policies, procedures, systems and initiatives to enable AUSL to accomplish its mission and to increase the effectiveness and engagement of AUSL’s employeesand management. As the most senior HR professional, the Director supervises a Human Resources Generalist and an Administrator.  The Director will work closely with the Directors of Finance and Recruiting.  The position is responsible for Human Resources activities in support of AUSL’s 60 employees, plus certain HR activities for up to 70 participants each year who are recruited and trained in AUSL’s one-year Chicago Teacher Residency program.

The successful candidate will have a passion for improving K-12 education in public schools, a desire to work in the nonprofit sector, and strong and broad Human Resources experience. S/he will also be an effective communicator, up down and across the organization, and in both written and verbal communications.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Plan, organize and oversee all activities of the department. Participates in developing department goals, objectives and systems.
  • Provide Human Resources expertise and counsel to AUSL’s senior management, managers, and recruitment staff, including support for compensation, performance management, hiring/terminations, and employee and organizational development.
  • Manage relationships and ensure effective service from AUSL’s external HR Business Partner (benefits, HRIS, payroll, FMLA) and other HR vendors.
  • Provide leadership and direction to innovate and continuously improve policies, processes, systems, and benefits.
  • Support managers and employees with HR counseling, conflict resolution, and investigations to foster a workplace environment consistent with AUSL’s values and mission.
  • Identify and manage employment-related risks; serve as liaison with outside legal counsel and governmental agencies as needed. Handle situations internally that can be handled; judge when outside counsel is needed.
  • Ensure AUSL is an ‘employer of choice’ and attracts, develops, and retains staff across all levels and functions.
  • Ensure staff develop the necessary abilities to excel in their roles and advance the organization.
  • Update the compensation program as needed; review and support the rewriting and updating of job descriptions as necessary; monitor the performance evaluation program and revise as necessary.
  • Develop, recommend and implement personnel policies and procedures; prepare and maintain handbook on policies and procedures; perform benefits administration to include claims resolution, change reporting, approving invoices for payment, annual re-evaluation of policies for cost-effectiveness, information activities program and cash flow.
  • Maintain knowledge of employment and benefits laws and regulations, and ensure AUSL’s compliance.
  • Work collaboratively with peers across the organization, including those in the Strategy and Operations Department.



We seek an experienced and innovative Director of Human Resources who brings outstanding problem-solving, analysis, writing, project management, and influencing skills. S/he encourages open discussion of different ideas and views; maintains strong relationships and communicates effectively at all levels of the organization.

The successful candidate will be a trustworthy, ethical, and service-oriented individual who maintains confidentiality and fairness. S/he will demonstate success balancing advocacy for employees with AUSL’s needs.  Excellent attention to detail, strategic thinking, judgment and decision-making ability are essential.  A commitment to diversity and to AUSL’s mission is required.

The qualified candidate is a self-starter with a consultative style who has an entrepreneurial personality yet is a team player. S/he can easily adapt to a fast-paced environment where success is achieved through effective cross-department coordination. Creativity, integrity, and excellent judgment, a sense of urgency, a balance between analytical and intuitive skills and a willingness to “roll up the sleeves” to get the job done is also sought. A good sense of humor is necessary. The ideal candidate understands the intricacies and processes of a school community.

The person we seek should demonstrate a balance between creative thinking and management acumen as well as the ability to assess and maintain policies and procedures for moving an organization to a new level of excellence. Qualified candidates will have a consultative approach, and will have exceptional interpersonal skills with the ablility to relate to all constituencies.

Bachelor’s degree required; Master's degree in Human Resources or Business, as well as SPHR or PHR certification, are desireable. Qualified candidates will have more than 10 years of Human Resources experience, including management experience and at least two years in a senior human resources role .  Knowledge of employment and benefits laws and regulations as well as experience working with outside legal counsel is expected.


AUSL is an AA/EOE/ADA employer.

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