Chief Development Officer

Harlem Village Academies | New York, New York

Job Summary

Harlem Village Academies and National Progressive Education Institute

Chief Development Officer

New York, New York

Harlem Village Academies is a progressive K-12 public charter school network in Harlem that is making a national impact on American public education. HVA is deeply committed to the ideals of progressive education, which was conceived to promote an equitable and democratic society. As a community of educators, HVA aspires to create, live, and work in schools that reflect this philosophy.

HVA believes that the marks of a quality education are precise thought, the ability to speak rationally and write clearly, summon evidence to support one’s arguments, the willingness to examine the grounds of one’s arguments, and to accede graciously, when appropriate, to stronger opinions. The mastery of these habits of mind simultaneously requires and fosters the intellectual capacity necessary for students to become active and thoughtful democratic citizens. HVA emphatically embraces Martin Haberman’s denunciation of the pedagogy of poverty: “overly directive, mind-numbing, mundane, anti-intellectual acts” such as isolated drills, rote learning, worksheets, and presentations that make minimal cognitive demands. The HVA community holds itself accountable for creating learning experiences that inspire and require the highest levels of intellectual sophistication.

Harlem Village Academy High provides current students and graduates with guidance and support to prepare for college matriculation and graduation. One-hundred percent of HVA graduating seniors have been accepted to college, including Yale, NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, Stanford, Vassar, Northwestern, Howard, and Morehouse, among others. Most HVA students are the first in their family to attend college. Once on campus, HVA continues to support college students through mentoring, as well as guidance related to accessing campus resources, managing finances, overcoming academic challenges, and more.

Through the Progressive Education Institute, HVA is now taking its vision to urban education more broadly, educating cohorts of teachers who will take the progressive pedagogy they have learned at HVA and apply it nationwide. Graduate students at PEI, comprising both aspiring teachers and experienced teachers, are embedded in classrooms at HVA. PEI students learn how to spark every child’s intellectual curiosity and teach students to become passionate, self-directed, independent thinkers. The PEI program challenges aspiring teachers so that they may, in turn, challenge their students to struggle intellectually and experience the thrill of deeper learning.

HVA’s success is built on a powerful educational vision. HVA is working to redefine American education, combining the entrepreneurial spirit of charter schools with a highly sophisticated, ambitious view of teaching and learning rooted in progressive philosophy.


The Chief Development Officer (CDO) is responsible for maintaining and markedly growing philanthropic support for HVA and will design and execute a comprehensive development strategy consistent with HVA’s strategic goals. S/he is responsible for building a sustainable development program focused on major and principal gifts from individual and institutional sources and catalyzing an organization-wide culture of philanthropy. The CDO will oversee a development team currently comprising four to five positions. S/he will be empowered to enhance the functional alignment of the development team, as well as its growth over time, in consultation with the CEO, with the understanding that significant additional capacity is needed to attain HVA’s fundraising potential. The CDO will personally manage a portfolio of current and prospective donors, and s/he will also closely collaborate with the CEO, senior HVA administrators, Board members, and other volunteer leaders to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major and principal gift donors. The CDO will lead any future fundraising campaigns.


Required qualifications and experience:

  • Passion for and ability to articulate the mission of Harlem Village Academies and the value of progressive education.
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Minimum of seven years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership positions, with demonstrated success in major gifts fundraising, including identification, cultivation, and solicitation. A history of securing six and seven-figure gifts or more.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide strategic and operational management, including creating and managing a budget. A track record of increasing the effectiveness of a development program and staff through established objectives and performance standards.
  • Strength in developing the case for support and strategic, complex, and innovative fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives. Experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization and the ability to effectively engage and strategize with various stakeholders.
  • Experience identifying, inspiring, nurturing, and motivating board members and other volunteer leaders, and a sophisticated understanding of their role in building an effective philanthropic network.
  • Demonstrated ability in planning and executing strategic communications to complement philanthropic initiatives and achieve goals.
  • Working knowledge of sophisticated, integrated information systems and the ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about prospect/constituency engagement strategy.
  • Exemplary attention to detail and organizational skills, with the ability to effectively implement and complete projects on a timely basis and to manage multiple priorities.

How to Apply

Harlem Village Academies has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.

Managing Director

Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy

Diversified Search

The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174 | 212.542.2587

Harlem Village Academies