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Chief Talent Officer

Chicago Public Schools - CPS-1
Chicago, IL, US
Closing date
Nov 26, 2021

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Job Category
Administrator, Human Resources, Product, Services & Policy, CEO / President / Executive Director
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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third-largest school district in the United States, serving over 340,000 students in more than 600 schools and employing nearly 40,000 people, most of them teachers. We have set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career, and civic life. To fulfill this mission, we make three commitments to our students, their families, and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability, and integrity. The district's six core principles are within these commitments: student-centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership, and continuous learning.

About the Chief Talent Officer Role

As the Chief Talent Officer and member of the CEO's cabinet, you will lead a diverse team of professionals to implement CPS' human resource systems. Your role is to support the entire district with consistently responsive and relentlessly detailed service in recruitment and staffing, employee engagement and compensation, benefits and leave administration, leadership development and performance management, and employee customer service. The Chief Talent Officer spearheads the execution of strategies designed to foster a high-performance culture that emphasizes employee empowerment, models equity, and demonstrates accountability. Your experience of leadership in organizationally and politically complex environments puts you in an ideal position to provide strategic leadership and expertise for the full scope of Talent Office functions.


Essential Responsibilities & Functions

Strategic Human Resource and Talent Management Leadership

  • Develops and leads the implementation of a coherent strategy to attract, hire, develop and retain effective, racially representative talent for schools and central office teams.
  • Manages the performance and effectiveness of the Talent Office, including the successful monitoring and achievement of the team's shared goals, and the creation and management of the department's budget.
  • Engages school leaders, teachers, senior leaders, Board members and other employee groups as partners in developing and continuously improving talent management systems and strategies for CPS.
  • Works closely with executive leaders as a strategic thought partner to support effective talent-related decisions that result in positive student outcomes.
  • Demonstrates comprehensive support to CPS Network Chiefs in developing strategies for talent and performance management that lead to equitable access to excellent learning for all CPS students.
  • Provides appropriate supervision, mentoring, and development opportunities to Talent Office staff, including regular performance reviews and professional growth plans.
  • Promotes and models a positive culture and brand for the Talent Office and district by ensuring efficient systems, timely customer service, and accurate, transparent information for all CPS stakeholders.

Human Resource Operations Management

  • Ensures efficient and effective leadership of the district's key HR functions, including:
    • Recruiting, Staffing & Talent Management
      • Implements strategies to build a strong, diverse, and representative pool for talent that meets forecasted school and district needs.
      • Develops short-and long-term HR planning strategies with hiring managers.
      • Oversees effective screening processes and tools to support strong hiring decisions, and attract highly effective staff to hard-to-staff and/or high-need schools.

Employee Engagement and Labor Relations

    • Design and implement tools for measuring and improving employee engagement districtwide, and support principals and hiring managers in the implementation of those tools.
    • In partnership with CPS' Labor team, strategically engages and partners with unions to support student achievement goals.
    • Implements processes to efficiently investigate and resolve staff concerns.
    • Performs and promotes compliance with equal employment and nondiscrimination policies and follows federal and state laws, Board policies, and corresponding professional standards.
    • Ensures timely, professional, and courteous service to all CPS customers including employees, school leaders, parents, students, members of the Board of Education, community organizations, and public officials.

Compensation and Employee Benefits

    • Oversees the district's wage, salary and benefits structures; consistently reviews labor market patterns to maintain district competitiveness for quality talent.
    • Oversees unemployment, Worker's Compensation, and management of employee leave requests.

Performance Management and Professional Development

    • Ensures that processes for new staff onboarding are smooth and efficient.
    • Oversees professional development of all CPS staff in compliance with state and federal laws and to focus on key priorities for student achievement.
    • Ensures that professional development is timely, relevant, job-embedded and differentiated based on individual and team needs.
    • Works with managers to establish and communicate annual performance goals for team members. Advocates for performance systems that support frequent communication and actionable feedback.
    • Leads district staff in the development, implementation, and documentation of improvement plans, policies and procedures to ensure positive outcomes for students.

Key Competencies

The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:

Exceptional Communication

  • Connects authentically, purposefully and thoughtfully with diverse stakeholders in the spirit of inclusivity and equity. Communicates with clarity, respect, and awareness in conversations and interactions with others.
  • Embraces opportunities to push a group's thinking and challenge ideas to enable better decisions.
  • Listens intently and actively to stakeholders; understands nuance, and skillfully interprets motivations and perceptions.

Organizational & Team Leadership

  • Fosters a culture of high expectations with shared strategic goals around measurable outcomes and continuous improvement in HR operations and HR leadership capacity-building in key stakeholders.
  • Prepares the Talent Office and leadership team for effective decision-making conversations, anticipating and organizing key questions and data that support productive discussions about HR priorities.
  • Partners with key leaders, departments, and teams to collaboratively develop and execute a strategic plan that aligns with CPS' five-year vision for increased student outcomes.
  • Builds coalitions and works collaboratively with diverse stakeholders at all levels, including district personnel, students, families, community and political leaders, and advocacy groups.
  • Ensures targeted, differentiated professional development is delivered to members of the Talent team.

Advancement of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • Holds self and team accountable for extraordinary academic achievement of all students. Collaborates with central office and site-based leaders to ensure equitable access for every student to effective teachers who represent the stakeholder community.
  • Fosters, promotes, and drives inclusion across the district and community. Collaborates with district leaders to develop and implement DEI performance indicators as a key aspect of assessing organizational health.
  • Demonstrates skill, respect, and honesty in addressing matters of equity, race, and bias in talent decision-making.

Human Resource Expertise & Effective Execution of Strategy

  • Maintains a focus on goals and results; establishes clear metrics for success for how HR plays an essential role in the district meeting its defined student outcome goals
  • Demonstrates excellent execution and leadership skills, including acute attention to detail; the ability to balance overarching district goals with detailed steps to achieve academic objectives.
  • Develops innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of how to develop and implement effective systems for attracting, hiring, developing, and retaining a highly effective, diverse, racially representative talent pool for CPS.
  • Establishes high standards for excellence in a staff recruitment, selection and hiring process.
  • Leads from the perspective of a service provider, policy advisor, thought partner, and capacity-builder for school leaders.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in Human Resources, education or a related field from accredited college or institution; Master's degree preferred
  • Five years (5+) of supervisory/administrative/leadership experience required; senior Human Resources experience at the executive level in a school district or other large organization preferred
  • Knowledge of applicable federal and state laws and regulations in Human Resources
  • Certification as a Senior Professional or Professional in Human Resources (SPHR/PHR) preferred

Residency Requirement: As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), employees are required to live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago within six months of their CPS hire date and maintain residency throughout their employment with the district.
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