Center Director-Calumet Heights


Chicago Youth Centers seeks a highly motivated leader to open and oversee our newest youth center in more than three decades, located in the heart of the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. The Center Director is responsible for the full scope of early learning and youth programming, staffing, community relationships, and family engagement. With and through a talented team, this person will oversee hiring and ongoing staff development, curriculum/program coordination, budgeting and administrative tasks, and compliance with licensing standards and public funding requirements. They will also work directly with the Local Advisory Board to ensure that the community remains actively involved in promoting the Center, and that CYC remains responsive to the needs of the neighborhood. 

A successful candidate will have a deep dedication to working with children and their families and will be excited to help shape the direction of this new Center. CYC’s work is done with an emphasis on social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices, and the Center Director ensures that these commitments are consistently developed and sustained in our program environment. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: The crucial roles of the Center Director will vary in the first 1-2 programmatic years, as we seek to open this new Center in a new community and establish long-standing community and family partnerships. In the first 1-2 years, the Center Director will oversee the hiring of up to 19 people in various roles and will be responsible for creating a strong team culture in accordance with CYC’s organizational mantras. This person will also help establish our first multi-generational program model while launching a full-suite youth program. The ideal candidate is a natural leader and will be able to balance the relationship-building requirements with a commitment to excellence when it comes to the compliance side of managing a dynamic youth center. After the first 2-3 years, the Center Director-Calumet Heights will shift from building the program to ongoing implementation and sustainability. 

Curriculum & Programming

  • Design a comprehensive annual program plan in collaboration with staff and relevant organizational leaders; plan, coordinate, implement, and supervise a child-centered curriculum in accordance with Head Start Performance Standards, Chicago Early Learning Standards, and City and State regulatory agencies.
  • Provide leadership for an effective program implementation process; develop and implement program quality improvement initiatives, in accordance with agency quality improvement process; make maximum use of property to meet needs of service population and community. 
  • Recruit, identify, and enroll eligible families for programs; expand program within community in accordance with strategic and operating plans. 

Licensing & Oversight

  • Ensure that recordkeeping and reporting systems are maintained in an up-to-date and accurate manner, consistent with agency standards.
  • Ensure that Center achieves and maintains compliance with all funding source requirements; complete all program related reporting as required; facilitate the implementation of the health and nutrition program functional areas. 
  • Oversee management of Center property and facility; ensure that facility complies with all applicable city and state licensing standards and building codes; ensure that maintenance concerns are addressed; adhere to agency safety and risk management procedures. 

Hiring & Talent Management 

  • Recruit, hire, and onboard direct reports and lead others through a thorough and inclusive hiring process. Prioritize ongoing staff development; develop staff goals and performance expectations; and set an example for a what it means to be an employer-of-choice. 
  • Supervise assigned staff including employees, independent contractors, interns, work-study students, and volunteers. 
  • Attend community-based events and local recruitment fairs to ensure a strong pipeline of qualified candidates. 

Community Partnerships

  • Lead community relations activities including developing partnerships and collaborative efforts with local schools and other community stakeholders; attend community group and partner meetings toward the goal of service coordination to meet community needs most effectively.
  • Organize and manage a Local Advisory Board for the purpose of assessing community assets and needs, and connecting with local businesses to support the Center. 
  • Develop and implement marketing and public relations plans to ensure high center and program visibility in community.

Ongoing Center Operations

  • Develop Center budget (alongside CYC Finance Team); manage and control budget(s) related to programming expenses, grants, and fees. Ensure program operates within budget. 
  • Manage local and agency-wide youth development contracts and grants; ensure that center complies with all contract and grant program standards and funding source policies and procedures.
  • Develop and meet fundraising goals through community events, in-kind sponsors, and broad outreach.
  • Oversee the van fleet; ensure ongoing maintenance and adherence to the CYC vehicle policy; drive the van for pick-ups and drop-offs as necessary. 

  Education & Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree with 21 hours of Early Childhood Education courses; degree in Education, Early Childhood Education, Child Development, or related field is preferred 
  • Minimum of 5 years of youth development or related experience, preferably in a community-based setting with 2-3 years’ experience including in a supervisory role

Skills & Abilities:

  • Strong organizational skills, including ability to create and manage complex schedules, multi-task, maintain accurate records, prepare reports, and manage budgets.
  • Strong interpersonal and relationship management skills, collaborative mindset, diplomatic, strong verbal and written communicator
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office (e.g., Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access?)
  • Ability to collect and analyze data and make recommendations accordingly
  • Ability to work with diverse populations

Certifications & Clearances:

  • Criminal background checks and child abuse clearances are required 
  • Driver’s License required
  • Willing to get Level 1 credentials (which includes health and safety requirements) and certified in CPR/AED First Aid 
  • CLASS Reliable preferred but not required

COMPETENCIES: The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following competencies or that will be necessary for success in this role:

  • Project Management: develops detail-oriented plan to achieve priorities; develops project managements processes and coaches staff on using them; demonstrates superior decision-making skills including timely decisions and ability to navigate stakeholders; regularly evaluates solutions to challenges 
  • Effective Teaming: delegates effectively and builds shared ownership for achievement of goals; fosters a culture that encourages productive relationships; models high level of vulnerability-based trust in the workplace; translates high expectations into actionable development goals
  • Relationship Management: develops mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships based upon trust; demonstrates advanced listening skills and seeks to understand; values diversity
  • Achievement Orientation: demonstrates high expectations; takes initiative; focuses upon results and uses research to inform practices; values and encourages creativity; makes timely decisions and takes follow-up action 
  • Commitment to CYC’s Mission and Mantras: Care For Real; Attitude Matters; Push Forward; Own It