Special Assistant/Operations Coordinator

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $41,700




1750 Columbia Road Northwest
District of Columbia
United States


Higher Achievement, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit organization working to close the achievement gap for motivated, yet underserved students from low-income communities, seeks a Special Assistant/Operations Coordinator at the National Office in Washington, DC.

Position Summary: Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the executive-level Special Assistant will provide high-level administrative support to both the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Additionally, this position will act as the Operations Coordinator at the National Office and help achieve cross-team and cross-company connectivity. They will also serve as the receptionist, lead the management of the national office facility, serve as the systems administrator for the organizational Sharepoint system, and support special priority projects. 


Duties are administrative, project-based, and often focus on key responsibilities for daily coordination as well as support for the CEO’s role in external relations and the COO’s role in internal management. This position is often privy to confidential information and as such, requires maturity, diplomacy and discretion. Success requires developing a thorough understanding of both the CEO’s and COO’s priorities and helping to support them by leveraging excellent organizational and communication skills. A congenial approach to working with others, an interest in advocacy, communications, marketing and fundraising, and a willingness to learn about the organization’s goals and programs are important to this position. 

The Organization

Higher Achievement believes that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We work to close the achievement gap for motivated - yet underserved - students from low-income communities. We intervene during the critical transition to middle school by providing year-round, multi-year support for students in the 5th – 8th grades. As students prepare to graduate from our program in the 8th grade, we help them transition successfully to advanced high school programs that keep students on track for college. On average, 95% of Higher Achievement scholars graduate high school on time.


Founded in 1975 in Washington, DC, as a grassroots effort to create learning opportunities for children in low-income neighborhoods, Higher Achievement has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young people and currently operates Achievement Centers in Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Baltimore, MD, Pittsburgh, PA, and Richmond, VA. Higher Achievement’s award-winning model of rigorous academic mentoring, individualization of services, and comprehensive academic support is guided by leading research for effective out-of-school time programs. More information about Higher Achievement may be found at: http://www.higherachievement.org. 


Key Duties & Responsibilities:

 Administrative Support to Executive Leadership

  • Maintain the CEO’s and COO’s calendars, including managing daily appointments and prioritizing schedules; provide scheduling support to other executive staff as needed
  • Ensure that the CEO and COO are prepared for appointments and meetings, including doing light research and preparing materials, liaising with external administrative staff, and providing proactive follow-up to ensure that the CEO and COO are able to execute next steps
  • Arranging domestic and international travel accommodations and logistics
  • Maintain the CEO’s and COO’s expenses and credit card reconciliation
  • Manage CEO’s mailing lists in database format, including updating Raiser’s Edge with new contacts 
  • Serve as an ambassador for Higher Achievement and act as a resource for program participants and their families, funders and partners.   

Operations Management


  • Act as National office receptionist, including greeting guests, answering the main office telephone line, fielding general inquiries about the work of the organization, scheduling conference rooms, setting up webinars and video conferences, accepting deliveries, and coordinating the National office calendar
  • Provide administrative support as needed for all departments, including Human Resources (personnel files management and hiring/onboarding support), Development/Communications (mailings, appeals, donor acknowledgement letters, and checks), Finance (processing check requests, vendor payments, and bank deposits) and Program (data entry)
  • Assist with preparation for Higher Achievement events and meetings, including board meetings, staff meetings, and annual fundraising and programmatic events
  • Act as the organizational lead on all issues related to company facilities, equipment and supplies

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Commitment to the mission and work of Higher Achievement
  • Minimum of two-four years working in an office environment, preferably in a role supporting senior management, development/fundraising, or external partners
  • Ability to work with internal and external stakeholders to facilitate calendar management and travel arrangements
  • Solid knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems. 
  • Comfortable learning and using technology; familiarity with Office365 strongly preferred, any familiarity with a database or accounting system is a plus
  • Exceptional oral and written communications skills required; ability to communicate professionally by phone, email, and in-person with senior management, board members, staff, scholars, and parents
  • Interest in working in a fast-paced environment with excellent time management and organizational skills; ability to reprioritize with constantly changing demands
  • Interest and ability to work as part of a collaborative team and support staff in making progress towards reaching Higher Achievement’s vision
  • Ability to solve problems creatively and a willingness to regularly learn new skills
  • Ability to maintain the confidentiality of information received


Higher Achievement Core Competencies: Higher Achievement values our core competencies, and as such, we expect that competitive applications will be able to demonstrate strengths in these areas:

  • Proactively builds relationships to advance Higher Achievement’s mission.
  • Uses candid communication to express ideas and to listen to the thoughts and feedback of others.
  • Persistently pursues excellence by holding oneself to high expectations and seeking the best.
  • Possesses a growth mindset for learning new things and stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
  • Maintains a solutions-oriented mindset during planning periods and when challenges arise.

Physical Requirements and Work Environment: Work is regularly performed in an office environment with occasional meetings off-site at community partners. Employee may spend long periods of time sitting, standing, and walking. Must be able to walk from one part of the worksite to another and climb stairs. Employee regularly lifts, carries, and positions objects weighting up to 20 pounds. Position involves regular use of a computer and keyboard, telephone, and face-to-face communication in small and large group settings; employee must be able to communicate clearly and professionally in all of these situations.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Additional Information: This position primarily works regular business hours (9am to 5:30pm) with occasional evening or weekend availability for special events and board meetings (approximately once per quarter). This position requires a criminal background check prior to hire.

To Apply: Candidates should submit cover letter and resume through www.higherachievement.org/careers. Candidates are strongly encouraged to address their interest in the mission of Higher Achievement in their cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Higher Achievement provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sex, gender identity or expression, age, medical condition, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, military status, caregiver or family status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.


Compensation and Benefits: The salary for this regular, full-time, non-exempt position is in the low forties is commensurate with skills and experience. Higher Achievement offers competitive benefits, including: company-paid insurance (medical, dental, vision, life, and long and short-term disability insurance); eleven paid holidays; five weeks paid time off; retirement plan with company match; tuition reimbursement and professional development funds.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply


To Apply: Candidates should submit cover letter and resume through www.higherachievement.org/careers. Candidates are strongly encouraged to address their interest in the mission of Higher Achievement in their cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.