Chief Development Officer

Location Washington, DC 20001
Date Posted January 21, 2022
Job ID 8099
Employment Type Retained


The Council of Chief State School Officers

Chief Development Officer

Position Announcement


Scion Executive Search (SES) has been retained to conduct the search for a Chief Development Officer (CDO) on behalf of The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a mission-driven nonprofit membership association of state K-12 education leaders dedicated to ensuring all students in all communities within the purview of the United States (U.S.) public education system graduate ready for wherever their dreams take them in their educations, careers, and lives.


The incoming CDO will be responsible for maintaining accountability and compliance standards for all funding sources, along with analyzing, assessing, and recommending development strategies to implement CCSSO’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. This CDO will manage CCSSO’s broad fundraising and development arms, partnering with the rest of the leadership team to ensure that CCSSO builds and maintains strong partnerships to drive the powerful national work underway. An exceptionally talented leader whose dedication to cultivating and maintaining positive relationships both with colleagues and with existing philanthropic and organizational partners is unparalleled, this CDO will report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and work closely with the entire executive leadership team. Ideally, this CDO will have experience in K-12 or higher education, a keen sense of emerging state-focused education policy efforts, corporate sponsorship experience, endowment campaign-leading experience, and a proven track record of development and fundraising for an organization with an annual budget of $25M+.


This phenomenal opportunity is an exempt, full-time position requiring 35% travel. Location on the East Coast is preferred, but candidates from anywhere in the U.S. will be considered.





CCSSO’s vision, as detailed in their Strategic Plan Framework 2021-2026, is to ensure that all students participating in our public education system—regardless of background—graduate prepared for college, careers, and life. CCSSO’s mission is to assist state school officers and their organizations through leadership, advocacy, and service in achieving the vision of an American education system that enables all children to succeed in school, work, and life. Through leading, connecting, and influencing, CCSSO tackles their core priorities of response and recovery; equity, access, and critical infrastructure; and modernizing the education system (see CCSSO’s Strategic Plan Framework 2021-2026 for strategies to address these core priorities).


Building trust with national education leaders and driving collective action that will ensure policies and resources set the right conditions for state leaders to improve public education for all students, particularly marginalized populations, are key to CCSSO’s ability to influence the direction of systems-level changes. CCSSO seeks member consensus on major educational issues and advocates on their behalf to federal agencies, Congress, civic and professional organizations, and the public. CCSSO recognizes each state’s unique context and brings together education leaders to accelerate learning, share knowledge, and drive improvement within the K-12 education ecosystem across all U.S. states and territories. Through cultivating and amplifying state education leaders’ abilities to drive improvement, effectively navigate challenges, and think strategically, CCSSO creates opportunities for chief state school officers to collectively apply innovative solutions to common challenges.


Recently honored with the Annual Diversity Leader Award for the third year in a row by Profiles in Diversity Journal, CCSSO is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to ensure that state education leaders are equipped to provide an equitable, diverse, and inclusive education for all children being educated within the purview of the U.S. public education system. CCSSO’s members come from across the political spectrum, but all share a common aspiration to deliver a high-quality education to all students. Through leadership, advocacy, and service, CCSSO assists chief state school officers and their organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions in achieving an American education system that enables all children to succeed in school, work, and life.





The incoming CDO will lead and oversee CCSSO’s overall fundraising and development strategy— including philanthropic, foundation, and corporate partnerships—for the organization. Reporting to the CEO, the CDO will ensure that philanthropy and fund development are driven in alignment with CCSSO’s mission, vision, and strategic plan. The CDO will be genuine and authentic, communicate directly and clearly, operate with transparency, pivot as needed, and demonstrate investment in CCSSO’s long-term vision. This leader will also be team-oriented and at ease adapting to changing needs, practicing flexibility, and supporting collaborative thinking while leading the development team to ensure that CCSSO proactively seeks the sponsorship and funding opportunities necessary to support the organization’s work.





  • Serve as an actively engaged, highly-invested member of CCSSO’s executive team.
  • Ensure that philanthropy and fund development are executed in alignment with sector best practice, organizational values, mission, vision, and strategic plan.
  • Directly support the CEO in fundraising opportunities through development of talking points and background information, determining most effective strategies based on the audience, and providing advice on organizational and fundraising strategies.
  • Serve as a representative with and for the CEO in various situations, including discussions with philanthropy, foundation, corporate and education partners.
  • Plan and manage the successful implementation of strategies to develop continued corporate sponsorships and contributions in support of revenue that includes corporate and state services and foundation and government grants.
  • Analyze, assess, and recommend development strategies for the implementation of CCSSO’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.
  • Set fundraising goals and ensure appropriate metrics are in place to measure performance and progress towards the five-year financial plan. Monitor and report regularly to the CEO and executive team on the progress of the comprehensive development strategy.
  • Work in collaboration with CCSSO’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to ensure the organization’s fiscal practices and approaches result in timely and accurate budgets, adequate/strategic funding, and employee understanding of programmatic finances to achieve CCSSO’s strategic goals.
  • Contribute to the development of the operating budget each year.
  • Understand the full scope of CCSSO’s work and effectively communicate that scope of work in a coherent way.
  • Participate in short- and long-term strategic and operational planning for the organization.
  • Conduct market research on funding sources and trends to help inform the development of CCSSO’s strategies.
  • Lead the fundraising team to ensure CCSSO proactively prospects innovative, new, and current grant, funding, and corporate sponsorship opportunities to support the work necessary.
  • Ensure that internal strategies and processes for funder relations and grants management are efficient and effective.
  • Serve as a key partner and primary contact for corporate sponsors to understand their needs, as well as ensuring CCSSO is effectively providing a strong return on investment.
  • Maintain accountability and compliance standards for all funding sources.
  • Lead the fundraising and sponsorship opportunities for the two hallmark annual programs: National Teacher of the Year and National Conference on Student Assessment.
  • Provide oversight and direction for the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) endowment campaign, working closely with the NTOY and communications teams to reach full funding by 2025.
  • Perform other duties or responsibilities as directed by the CEO.





  • A passion for CCSSO’s mission, as outlined in the 2021-2026 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 $25M or higher ($35M or higher preferred).
  • Strong nonprofit and/or federal grants experience.
  • The ability to work in a nonpartisan, membership organization on behalf of all state members.
  • Experience in successfully securing financial commitments that fund organizational work in a substantial way, particularly in terms of corporate sponsorship and endowment funding.
  • 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 verbally and in writing, with an ability to effectively engage with individuals from all walks of life.
  • Experience working with executive leadership to set organizational goals and implement strategy.
  • Ability to work within a fast-paced environment with a results-driven focus on managing multiple tasks and meeting deadlines.
  • 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.





In addition to a competitive annual base salary of $190,000 - $220,000 (DOE), CCSSO also provides employees with a generous benefits package which includes 401(k) with 10% employer contribution (3% safe harbor & 7% profit sharing); health, dental, and vision insurance; 16 days of paid time off (PTO)/annual leave; 14 days each year for paid sick leave (PSL); 2 days each year for paid personal leave; 11 paid annual holidays; employee assistance program (EAP); life and accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) insurance (at no cost); short term disability (STD); long term disability (LTD); flexible spending accounts (FSA); monthly cell-phone stipend; tuition reimbursement; and a monthly transportation allowance.






CCSSO 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. For immediate consideration, please apply with your resume and cover letter, formatted in Microsoft Word, via


Please address applications to:


Krista Sietsema, Executive Search Principal

Scion Executive Search

(888) 487-8850 Ext 140


Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made.


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 protected class.





Scion Executive Search (SES) is a national award-winning executive search firm. Since 2006, we have had the pleasure of successfully placing hundreds of exceptional leaders in organizations with incredible missions and programs. Our track record and recruitment process has made us one of the top recruitment firms in the nation!


We are proud to be part of the Forbes lists of the Best Executive Search Firms and the Best Recruitment Firms in America. Additionally, we have been recognized as a recruitment leader by ClearlyRated, as well as a top recruitment firm by The Business Times for over ten years running. Additional information about SES can be found online.


SES, a division of Scion Staffing, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and service provider and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or belief, or any other protected class. We are committed to the principles 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.

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