Job Title: Special Assistant for Strategy and Development
PVN ID: VA-2306-005655
Category: Managerial and Professional

Job Description

General Description


Children need to spend their most critical years with dedicated, educated, trained, and well-compensated individuals in order to thrive. The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute leads the work to establish and implement an early childhood workforce system to ensure funding, standards and competencies, career development resources, qualifications and credentials, professional development (training and strengths-based coaching), and program quality assurance and improvement for individuals who work with young children throughout New York. Housed at the City University of New York, the Institute is a fast-paced, dynamic public/private partnership that is committed to the early childhood workforce across New York State.


The Institute is searching for a Special Assistant for Strategy and Development who will report to the Executive Director and will play a key role on the senior leadership team. The Special Assistant will join a passionate staff at the Institute who are committed to support early childhood workforce systems and program quality across New York State. The Special Assistant will have a leadership role in strategy development and implementation for the Executive Director. The Special Assistant will optimize internal team structures to advance the Institute’s overarching vision and impact across New York State and will play an important leadership role in furthering the Institute’s strategic growth and effectiveness.

The Special Assistant will work closely with the Executive Director and the senior leadership team, including the Director of Communications, Senior Policy Advisor, and the Director of Operations, to implement the organization’s strategic vision, lead project management, support fundraising and grant tracking, design and execute events, and act as the senior liaison with external stakeholders.

This role, available immediately, is based in our downtown Brooklyn office and is eligible for telework for up to two days a week. The Special Assistant reports to the Executive Director of the Institute and supervises the Director of Communications.



Administrative Leadership

  • Lead internal work to build alignment around strategic plans and translate strategic goals into team and individual work plans, including facilitating team meetings and retreats
  • Build and manage key internal and external relationships to increase efficiencies, support clear and efficient decision making, and advance the priorities of Institute teams and the Executive Director
  • Create, manage, track and refine the execution of project plans for multiple projects, including coordinating project reporting to funders
  • Contribute to development work, including drafting grant reports and proposals, analyzing grant impact, and in some cases managing funder relationships
  • As needed, liaise with the Director of Operations on operational matters, including fundraising, finance, and human resources
  • Advise on and develop internal and external communications with the Director of Communications and the Institute leadership team
  • Prepare policy briefings, talking points, presentations, and proposals in cooperation with the Executive Director, Director of Communications, and senior leadership team as appropriate
  • Conduct research and prepare background preparation documents on a variety of topics and projects


Organizational Strategy

  • Partner with the Executive Director to support the vision-setting process across the organization and bring that vision to life
  • Develop systems and methods for measuring and regularly evaluating the Institute’s impact and progress against goals
  • Work closely with the Executive Director and the senior leadership team to develop clear annual and quarterly priorities and ensure that the Executive Director’s time is put toward these priorities
  • Collaborate to ensure team alignment on critical organizational outcomes, policies, and processes
  • Manage strategic projects that position the organization to continue and grow our leadership within the state around early childhood equity
  • Work closely with the Director of Communications to review the Institute-wide communications plan and release calendar. Review scheduled releases and events to ensure alignment across teams and partnerships.
  • Plan regular touch points with the Director of Communications to ensure the strategic engagement of stakeholders and partners.

Staff and Team Development

  • Collaborate with the Executive Director and Senior Project Associate to foster a learning and growing culture, for individuals and the Institute, by coordinating senior leadership team meetings and other relevant staff professional development opportunities
  • Ensure intersectional equity is at the core of our staff leadership and development practices
  • Support organizational growth through internal pipeline development and external recruitment

Other Duties

  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director



Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in an appropriate field of study (public administration, higher education administration, business, or related field).
  • At least 8 years of relevant experience with increasing levels of responsibility, including supervisory experience, with a preference for nonprofit management experience
  • Significant familiarity with early childhood education policy in New York State
    • Strong leadership capacity with experience in project management, strategic planning, capacity building, evaluation, grant and report writing, and comfort using data to monitor progress and motivate a team.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills, with demonstrated grants management experience.
  • Proven leadership track record, with experience leading systems change, motivating large teams and disparate audiences to achieve a goal.
  • Proven ability to develop a strong vision and identify the scope and sequence of project-level activities necessary to achieve success.
    • Intellectual strength and experience as evidenced in progressively responsible research/work experience.
    • Ability to work on a team as well as independently.
    • Ability to integrate a large or complex project with the work of Senior Directors and Project Coordinators in order to resolve conceptual or practical issues and ensure a strategy for overall project success.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Previous experience with higher education is considered helpful.


Physical Requirements

  • This position operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, smart phone, photocopiers, filing cabinets and other presentation equipment.
  • While performing these duties, the employee is required to perform physical activities such as, but not limited to, lifting items (up to 20 pounds), bending, reaching, sitting for prolonged periods of time. Reasonable accommodations will be made for employees with disabilities or other needs per RFCUNY policies.
  • Ability to travel to other sites as needed.


How to Apply

Provide a resume and cover letter specifying your qualifications, experience, and interest relevant to this position.


EEO Info 

We are committed to enhancing our diverse academic community by actively encouraging people of any race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expressions, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, disability, age, or protected veteran status to apply. We take pride in our pluralistic community and continue to seek excellence through diversity and inclusion.  CUNY is an EEO/AA Employer.

About the Research Foundation

The Research Foundation of The City University of New York (RFCUNY) was established as a not-for-profit educational corporation chartered by the State of New York in 1963. RFCUNY supports CUNY faculty and staff in identifying and obtaining external support (pre-award) from government and private sponsors and is responsible for the administration of all such funded programs (post-award).

RFCUNY stands between CUNY’s principal investigators (PIs) and the sponsors who support them and strives to fulfill its essential responsibilities to both groups. Working closely with individual PIs and Grants Officers on the campuses, RFCUNY oversees employment, accounting, audit, reporting, purchasing, and special responsibilities that include management of a planned giving program; liaison with governmental agencies and foundations; negotiation of agreements; facility construction and renovation; protection and commercialization of intellectual property; and compliance with applicable standards in research involving human subjects, animal care, environmental and radiological safety, and conflicts of interest.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The Research Foundation of the City University of New York is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Americans with Disabilities Act/E-Verify Employer. It is the policy of the Research Foundation of CUNY to provide equal employment opportunities free of discrimination based on race, color, age, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, national origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, domestic violence victim status, arrest record, criminal conviction history, or any other protected characteristic under applicable law.

Key Features

Full Time
Annual Salary Range
$95,000.00 - $105,000.00
Closing Date
Jan 31, 2024 (Or Until Filled)
Bargaining Unit