Executive Director – Denver, CO

December 26, 2023
Application deadline closed.

Job Description

Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning (RMSEL) is seeking an Executive Director beginning on July 1, 2024, with a base salary range expected to be $140,00 to $170,00 (based on experience); other benefits to be negotiated.

A public school of choice, RMSEL is a vital partnership of Denver-area school districts: Aurora, Cherry Creek, Denver, Douglas County and Littleton; and a non-profit organization actively involved in the renewal of public education: the Public Education and Business Coalition. Expeditionary Learning captures the power of Outward-Bound principles and research about best practices and combines them in the classroom to promote high academic achievement and character development.

RMSEL was founded on the ideals of Outward Bound and organizes its curriculum around multidisciplinary learning expeditions. Academic achievement and character development are placed together at the core of the curriculum. Our standards-based K-12 portfolio assessment system makes explicit the criteria by which success can be measured and documents the accomplishment of high academic and character standards. We place a high value on:

  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Active engagement in real issues, content and skills
  • Development and demonstrations of deep knowledge, higher-order thinking skills and effective communication
  • Service and character
  • Community engagement
  • Physical health and wellness
  • Adventure and fieldwork

The school, housed in its own building in southeast Denver, was founded in 1993 and now enrolls nearly 400 students in grades K-12.  RMSEL serves a socio-economically diverse population comprising 25 – 30% non-white students, which reflects the diversity of the sponsoring districts. The campus was recently renovated and expanded in service of student learning funded in part by the Colorado Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program. RMSEL has consistently been rated as a program Accredited with Distinction by the Colorado Department of Education meeting and/or exceeding 74% of the standards assessed through the State Accountability: District & School Performance Framework over the past decade.

Visit the RMSEL website for more information:  RMSEL Website

This is an amazing opportunity for a dynamic, high-energy, hard-working leader to join a nationally recognized K12 school.   We are seeking a leader who can immediately manage all aspects of the current school’s operations, finances, and academic program.  The Executive Director must demonstrate a blend of inspirational leadership and management skills with a strong passion for Expeditionary Learning, the backbone of the school’s academic program. They will bring extensive past experience and a proven leadership style that efficiently and thoughtfully engages a broad spectrum of stakeholders – teachers, students, parents, the Board, etc. – to decisively yet collaboratively make and implement decisions.

The Executive Director will also demonstrate deep capacity with their organizational and project management skills; clear, crisp, and frequent communications to stakeholders;  strong setting of priorities combined with implementation; metrics- and data-driven focus; and willingness to make hard decisions, often with only partial information at hand.

The Executive Director will also be a highly visible leader both internally with staff, students, and families, as well as externally with student recruitment, fundraising, and community relations. We are seeking a strong, motivated leader who can continue and build upon the tradition of equity and excellence present at the school.


  1. Collaborate to establish and then be primarily responsible for implementing school performance goals and objectives, including student achievement, staff performance, enrollment, stakeholder satisfaction, operations, finance, and state reporting / compliance.
  2. Continue to maintain organizational procedures that keep the school operating efficiently and with high quality.  This entails ensuring continuous high performance for numerous primary work streams, including:  attendance, hiring, scheduling, security,  in-building and fieldwork safety, use of facility, performance evaluation, on-/off-boarding employees, budget, technology, procurement, inventory management, student assessments, IEPs, etc.
  3. Directly manage, coach, and evaluate not only next-level leaders at the school but also a variety of individual contributors, including operational support team members (e.g., front-office, technology), MTSS/ assessment, and instructors (e.g., teachers and learning aides).  You will share these duties with your School Level Directors as well.
  4. Develop and manage protocols, accountability measures, and communications for all students and staff to meet high expectations for performance and achievement.
  5. Lead and manage the strategic planning process to identify, assess, and recommend strategic directions for RMSEL in the near, medium and long term.
  6. Provide regular reports and meet with the board (“the BOCES”) and its representatives for Governance and Reporting/Accountability.  Collaborate with the board to develop and refine policies, including academic, safety, financial and operational controls. Build a relationship with board members to understand the priorities of each representative.
  7. Establish and maintain favorable relationships with internal and external groups, including parent organizations, the District Accountability Committee, local community organizations, business and civic leaders, and actual/prospective funders to engage in dialogue regarding mutual support for overall school objectives and programs.
  8. Be ready and able to do whatever it takes to meet the daily needs of the school (often unexpected and not on the radar) while also being held strictly accountable for completing strategic priorities and proactive initiatives.

You must be a proven leader in these vital areas:

  • Results-oriented
  • Collaborative yet decisive
  • High-energy, self-starter
  • Problem-solver extraordinaire
  • Can-do mentality
  • Motivational, inspirational, and empowering
  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Outstanding communicator in written / oral, group / individual, internal / external formats
  • Adventurous, someone who enjoys and appreciates the natural world, being outside, playing games and initiatives with the learning community.

Additional Qualifications:

  • Have previous administrative, management, operations, and academic experience to hit the ground running.  MBA, Administrative degree and/or Principal licensure strongly preferred.
  • Embrace the mission, vision, and goals of the organization, including having high expectations for all RMSEL students to develop fully and holistically.
  • Have experience working in an Expeditionary Learning or project-based learning culture whose cornerstones are depth of academic experiences, adventure/fieldwork, and character-building
  • Have experience working in an entrepreneurial, dynamic school environment
  • Have experience working with students with disabilities, multilingual learners, and others not traditionally represented in EL schools
  • Have experience working with families and community members
  • Technology / computer savvy (email, spreadsheets, Google docs, Web 2.0, etc.)

Application Process:
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), has been hired to assist the RMSEL Board of  Directors in conducting a national search for the position of Executive Director. All interested applicants must apply through HYA. Applicants need to register for an account through Frontline on the HYA website. Or, login to the HYA website if you already have an account created. Click the Login/Register button at the top of the page to get started. After logging in, click the Apply Now button at the top of this page. You will be redirected to the Frontline Education website. This is where you will submit your application.


  • Cover letter (stating interest and unique qualifications for the position)
  • Full resume/vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Contact information of three additional references different from the reference letters
  • All Administrative Licenses or Certifications regardless of what state

Candidates are asked to not contact board members directly. Any effort to do so will eliminate them for consideration. Application materials submitted by the candidate for the Executive Director position will remain confidential until the applicant becomes a finalist for the position.

Questions can be directed to: Mike Richie, HYA Vice President at mikerichie@hyasearch.com

Selection Timeline:

February 21, 2024 Application Deadline
February 23, 2024 HYA to present slate of Candidate to the RMSEL Board
Week of February 26, 2024 First Round of Interviews
Week of March 4, 2024 Finalists to spend a day at RMSEL
Week of March 11, 2024 Final interviews
By mid-April, 2024 Selection and announcement of new Executive Director
July 1, 2024 Contract begins


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How to apply for this job?

  1. Register for an account on the HYA website. Or, log in to the HYA website if you already have an account created. Click the Login/Register button at the top of the page to get started.
  2. After logging in, click the Apply Now button at the top of this page.
  3. You will be redirected to the Frontline Education website. This website is where you will submit your application. This website also will require its own unique login and password.