Chief Development Officer

Job Type

Full Time




One Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Ste. 700
Washington, D. C.
District of Columbia

United States


The Council of Chief State School Officers is seeking an exceptionally talented, driven leader to serve as its Chief Development Officer. The Chief Development Officer will play a vital role in ensuring the Council has strong partnerships and resources to support and further the incredible work underway in states, overseeing a highly productive development function, maintaining positive relationships with existing philanthropic and organization partners, cultivating exciting new partnerships, and providing support to the Executive Director and leadership team in all development-related engagements.

The Council of Chief State School Officers has retained the services of Scion Executive Search, a national executive search firm specializing in mission-driven organization recruitment, to assist in conducting this important search. All inquiries, applications, and nominations for this opportunity should be directed to the firm as indicated at the end of this position announcement.

About the Council of Chief State School Officers:

As the national voice of every state K-12 education leader, The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) advocates for the development and implementation of effective policies and practices that support states in their efforts to ensure each and every child – across all backgrounds -- graduate prepared for college, careers, and life. CCSSO is a nonpartisan, nationwide nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO’s members come from a wide range of backgrounds and ideologies, but all share a common aspiration to deliver a high-quality education to all students.

The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and advocate on their behalf to federal agencies, Congress, civic and professional organizations, and the public. Understanding that student success is dependent on access to the right resources and the academic rigor they need, CCSSO is committed to advancing equity for each and every child by serving traditionally underserved populations and establishing the platforms necessary to provide the support all students need. Working together and through CCSSO, state education leaders are taking the lead to create a more equitable education system for all students. Among their priorities, CCSSO advocates for the design and administration of highly effective accountability systems as a core state responsibility, working with educators and policymakers to implement high-quality assessments that will lead to improved teaching and student learning, and creating continuous improvement systems that drive dramatic improvement for students, especially those attending lowest-performing schools or schools with the greatest achievement gaps.

CCSSO also works to increase the leadership capacity of educational leaders and their agencies to increase effectiveness, deliver results, and create a service-oriented culture. To that end, CCSSO offers multiple networks that provide state chiefs and their leadership teams with technical assistance, opportunities to learn from their peers around the country, and access to national experts. The Council also seeks to celebrate and honor success and pioneering efforts in the classroom: each year since 1952, CCSSO has selected the National Teacher of the Year and supported Teachers of the Year in every state to focus public attention on excellence in teaching.

Position Summary:

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will lead and oversee the Council’s overall fundraising and development strategy, including philanthropic and industry partnerships, for the organization. Reporting to the Executive Director, the CDO will provide strategic direction and development oversight internally as a contributing member of the Executive Leadership Team. Working closely with the Executive Director and leadership team, the Chief Development Officer will be responsible for creating short- and long-term development goals and strategies to ensure the organization’s growth, sustainability, and success.

Key Chief Development Officer Responsibilities:

Lead Our Strategic Partnerships Team:

  • Create and execute a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable development plan that includes corporate, foundation, and government grants to ensure the continuation of necessary financial support for CCSSO’s programs and initiatives.
  • Overseeing CCSSO’s Strategic Partnerships Team, plan, coordinate, and successfully implement strategies to develop future and continued partnerships and contributions.
  • Set fundraising goals and establish appropriate metrics to measure performance and progress towards goals; monitor and report on the progress of the comprehensive development strategy on a regular basis.
  • Increase internal capacity while striving to maintain the Council’s strong financial health and fund programmatic and core priorities.
  • Conduct market research to stay abreast of emerging trends in funding sources and development while analyzing, assessing, and recommending new development plans for the programs of the Council.
  • Collaborate with the Council’s programmatic staff to streamline and enhance internal strategies and processes that will prioritize development needs across the Council and manage philanthropic relations and grant management systems efficiently and effectively.
  • Meet weekly with the Executive Leadership Team and ensure that philanthropy and fund development are carried out in ways which align with the organization’s values, mission, vision, and strategic plan.
  • Provide strong leadership, encourage and support staff to grow professionally, integrate effective feedback loops, and ensure core values are embodied in how CCSSO executes its work.
  • Maintain accountability and compliance standards for partners and funding sources.
  • Perform other duties and assume additional responsibilities as assigned by the Executive Director.

Engage with Partners and the Community:

  • Provide support for the Executive Director in fundraising and partnership opportunities, making available necessary background information and giving advice or counsel on communication and fundraising strategies.
  • Serve as an organizational representative at conferences and in meetings with partner and philanthropic officers.
  • Lead the Strategic Partnerships Team to ensure CCSSO proactively identifies new, innovative, diverse, sustainable strategies to create and execute a comprehensive development plan for current and future grant funding and industry partner opportunities.
  • Collaborate with the communications team and other teams across the Council to masterfully and effectively communicate the importance and full scope of the Council’s work with external audiences.

Provide Executive-Level Finance and Operations Expertise:

  • Work closely with CCSSO’s Chief Financial Officer to monitor and establish budgets, setting budgetary expectations and ensuring employee understanding of programmatic finances.
  • Contribute to the development of the operating budget by working with the Executive Leadership Team and other staff to determine potential program and budgetary needs.


  • A passion for CCSSO’s mission, as outlined in the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, as well as an ability to establish and achieve the organization’s vision by championing organization-wide development strategy, cultivating and stewarding crucial partnerships, and expanding the reach of CCSSO’s work.
  • 5-7+ years of leadership experience in fundraising, development strategy, partner relations, grants management, and grant proposal development, with a track record of success in these areas at an organization with an annual budget of $25 million or higher.
  • Strong nonprofit and/or federal grants experience.
  • Must have the ability to work in a nonpartisan, membership organization on behalf of all state members.
  • Experience in successfully securing individual financial commitments that fund organizational work in a substantial way.
  • Persistent yet patient approach to development, in addition to experience coaching and mentoring internal staff in development best practices and strategy.
  • A big-picture approach to development strategy and a detail-oriented approach to execution; a strong ability to anticipate major shifts and proactively course correct.
  • Outstanding communication skills, both orally and in writing, with an ability to effectively engage with individuals from all walks of life.
  • Experience working with senior/executive leadership to set organizational goals and implement strategy.
  • Ability to work within an exciting, fast-paced environment while multitasking and meeting deadlines in a results-driven fashion; demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities and guiding investments in people and systems.
  • Proficiency in using Microsoft Office suite and creating charts, spreadsheets, and databases.
  • Ability and willingness to travel; approximately 35% required.


This role is offering a competitive base salary—dependent on experience—as well as exceptional benefits, including: health insurance, a generous vacation program, paid holidays, and a rewarding job you will love!

Our client is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made. Nominations, applications, and inquiries should be sent in confidence to:

Rebecca Hu-Van Wright

Scion Executive Search

(888) 487 - 8850

Electronic submission is required for formal consideration. Please submit your cover letter and CV, in either PDF or MS Word format, through the application page linked above.

The Council of Chief State School Officers is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity and equity in all facets of the organization’s work. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

About our Firm:

Scion Executive Search is a retained executive search firm connecting executive nonprofit leadership to nonprofit organizations and foundations across the country. Born out of the nonprofit sector, we provide expert search strategies and leadership for organizations. Our executive candidates are true agents for change, and we are experts at matching their talents, motivations, and passions to the right organization’s mission. Scion Executive Search has led hundreds of successful executive searches. Information about our firm and successes can be found online at

Scion is an equal opportunity employer and service provider committed to not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or belief. We are committed to the principals of Equal Opportunity Employment and are dedicated to making employment decisions based on merit and value, for ourselves, our client companies, and for the candidates we represent.