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Position: Executive Director of the SAY Detroit Play Center

The SAY Detroit Play Center is a premier training center for young people in Detroit, age 8-18, to improve their community, starting with themselves.  Located on 14 acres at Lipke Park on the northeast side of Detroit, SAY Play is the brainchild of best-selling author and philanthropist Mitch Albom and made possible through a unique partnership with the City of Detroit.  It features a new football field, baseball field and basketball court, as well as a recording studio, dance studio, art studio, robotics room, café, and a 7,000 square-foot digital learning center.

The mission of the SAY Play is to develop great readers and great people.  The successful candidate for this position will be asked to lead the organization’s growth, to help members increase their GPA to 3.0 and higher, and to better prepare the organization’s high school members for college or workforce development training and experiences. 

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will provide leadership, vision, and strategic planning needed to grow, sustain, and fulfill the mission of the SAY Detroit Play Center.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Model the mission every day and embodies the organization’s core values of building good relationships, working hard, and striving for excellence.
  • Ensure that all team members, partners and volunteers have what they need each day to create a consistent environment of achievement for our members
  • Motivate and maintain a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is strong internal communication, coordination, responsibility and accountability.
  • Bring a proven track record of developing staff to take on managerial and leadership roles.
  • Oversee, manage, and cultivate relationships with key staff at partner schools throughout the city, to best meet the social, emotional and academic needs of their students in an after-school setting.
  • Recognize and commit to providing staff with ongoing professional development opportunities for professional and personal growth.
  • Supervise, lead, inspire and mentor the staff to meet its priorities, strategic initiatives and fulfill the organization’s mission.
  • Develop and implement activities and educational curriculum with the director of academics to enhance the culture of the organization, consistent with its mission and values.
  • Develop and implement activities and programs involving sports, the arts, and other offerings with the director of programs to create a well-rounded student, consistent with its mission and values.
  • Create and manage the Center’s budget and oversee all expenditures of the center, utilizing a budget variance analysis.
  • Work with the director of operations to ensure the physical needs of the building and grounds remain in excellent condition at all times.
  • Track attendance data and patterns to ensure that the center is running at maximum capacity every day.
  • Oversee the recruitment and development of talent needed to execute the organization’s mission.
  • Handle the discipline needs of members consistently and fairly through a restorative practices approach.
  • Explore and create opportunities to more actively engage and equip parents to help their youngsters succeed.
  • Create a culture of individual accountability for quantitative and qualitative results, both from the staff and also from the members served.
  • Conduct regular, timely review of all staff members including both directors.
  • Represent and share the successes and needs of the organization and the community it serves with the larger community.
  • Report directly to the Executive Director of SAY Detroit.
  • Implement best practices for effective organizational management.

 Skills Required:

  • Must be a highly motivated and self-directed leader who is committed to helping the organization and its members reach their goals.  
  • Must possess at least a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years’ experience in the administration or leadership of a school, nonprofit or business.
  • An ability to meet both the pressing needs of managing the center daily so that every member has a positive experience and also to focus on the long-term development of programs and staff to ensure that the organization and culture continues to grow.
  • Extensive leadership experience in youth development in high-poverty contexts.
  • Excellent communication skills to effectively hear from and reach young people and their parents, as well as staff, volunteers and funders from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.  
  • A proactive team leader with a proven “take-charge” record of accomplishment.  
  • A good sense of humor, intellectual depth, humility, confidence, empathy, and a desire to serve.
  • Must recognize that achieving goals and objectives does not necessarily adhere to a typical 9-5 day or a 40-hour week

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

  • Champion and value equity, diversity, and inclusion on the staff as the organization strives to reflect the communities it serves.
  • Exhibit a high-level of cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with historically marginalized communities.
  • Provide a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Create a work environment that recognizes and respects the diversity and individuality of each employee.

To apply, please submit your cover letter and resume in the form below, to the attention of SAY Detroit Executive Director Richard Kelley,

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