Chief Executive Officer, Monarch School Project

Compensation: $175,000 – $200,000 DOE/neg.
Location: San Diego, CA
Reports to: Board of Directors
Direct Reports: 3 (Senior Director of External Affairs, Senior Director of Student Services and Senior Director of Finance and Operations)

Our Story

Founded over 30 years ago, the Monarch School is the largest and most comprehensive K-12 program of its kind for homeless students in the country. Our school serves up to 300 students daily and is a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Monarch School Project (MSP) a 501(c)(3) corporation, and the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). The Monarch School provides accredited education, counseling, afterschool programs, and college and career preparation, as well as wrap-around programs and services ensuring access to basic needs such as food, clothing, and mental and physical health care. Four pillars of student success guide our commitment to addressing the holistic needs of youth experiencing homelessness:

  1. Academic Growth: To accelerate student learning, Monarch provides trauma-informed and student-centered instruction.
  2. Emotional Support: Monarch delivers comprehensive wraparound services that address students’ basic needs, emotional and mental health, and family well-being.
  3. Social Growth: Monarch offers clubs, events, athletics, and creative arts programs that enable students to explore their passions and engage with their school community.
  4. Life Skills: Through internships, coursework, coaching, and mentorship, Monarch provides life skills training focused on college and career readiness.

For more information, please visit:

Position Summary

Reporting to the Board of Directors and managing a $4 million budget, the Chief Executive Officer of the Monarch School Project will be involved in almost every aspect of our organization. The CEO will work closely with the Board and staff members to update the strategic plan, increase the breadth and depth of services provided to children experiencing homelessness, and work to secure and increase revenue sources. They will be highly visible in the community, serving as the chief spokesperson and advocate for the organization’s mission and goals. The role requires a skilled public speaker and storyteller who can passionately and authentically communicate the critical need for and impact of our work with children affected by homelessness.

Anticipated focus allocation:

  1. Program development and strategic planning
  2. Fundraising
  3. Board relations
  4. Internal management and operations
  5. Community, government, and public relations

Duties & Responsibilities

Program Development and Strategic Planning:

  • Provide vision and oversight for all goals, objectives, and activities.
  • Lead the strategic planning process, developing and incorporating new ideas, programs, and exploring ways to meet or exceed goals.
  • Work closely with Board Members in all areas of strategic planning, including organizational growth and change management, with the ability to plan and act ahead of potential growth and expansion.
  • Participate in nationwide initiatives, programmatic innovations, and best practices; adapt these standards to create maximum impact within the organization’s environment.
  • Achieve programmatic excellence by establishing operational benchmarks, setting timelines, and obtaining the resources needed to achieve strategic goals.


  • Build loyal and long-term relationships with key donor segments based on mission, cultivation and stewardship, program outcomes, and sound fiscal management.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of top donors and prospects; solicit and close major gifts.
  • Create and implement innovative strategies for securing new and untapped resources.
  • Integrate development and marketing/communications strategies to maximize Monarch’s brand exposure and fundraising opportunities.
  • Increase the culture of philanthropy across the organization, demonstrating how employees can be stronger advocates for the Monarch School in the community.
  • Build out Monarch’s fundraising efforts to build awareness of Monarch’s work and expand the reach of our brand.

Board Relations:

  • Create an open, thoughtful, and dynamic relationship with the Board of Directors, working collaboratively to set a strategic direction.
  • Engage the Board to fully leverage each member’s strengths and connections.
  • Partner with the Board in the strategic planning process and work closely to ensure goals and milestones are met or exceeded.
  • Ensure the Board receives timely and useful reports, information and access to staff and students to enable them to form appropriate judgments.

Internal Management, Administration and Operations:

  • Ensure students accessing our programming receive the highest level of services possible.
  • Provide inspirational leadership to the MSP team and partner closely with the SDCOE team to achieve and sustain excellence.
  • Foster a collaborative work environment where all staff are engaged, informed, and empowered.
  • Ensure operating policies, programmatic commitments, financial standards, and legal requirements are met.
  • Manage the Project’s budget and ensure fiscal discipline, budgetary control and financial integrity of all functions.
  • Ensure all programs are executed with a data-driven focus and program impact data is used to refine and redesign programs.

Community, Government, and Public Relations:

  • Raise the organization’s public profile by acting as the MSP spokesperson and advocate and serving as a high-profile visionary and influential leader in the community.
  • Maintain effective relationships with a range of public agencies, specifically the San Diego
    County Office of Education.
  • Represent MSP by frequently attending events and speaking in public.
  • Recruit supporters, partners, and funders.
  • Build relationships with key individuals and organizations throughout the greater San Diego region and utilize these relationships to strategically enhance Monarch’s mission.
  • Serve as a high-profile advocate for homeless youth education at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

Education & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred.
  • 10+ years of senior nonprofit or corporate leadership experience.
  • Experience working with children/families impacted by poverty and/or K-12 education preferable.
  • Solid business acumen including budgeting, financial planning, forecasting, and operations.
  • A successful track record in growing and diversifying funding sources.
  • Proven ability to create compelling, mission-driven vision, and successfully implement it.
  • Ability to drive innovative marketing and communications strategies to build our brand awareness and organization footprint.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets, ideally at the level of $5+ million.
  • Experience working with a board of community leaders, including reporting, advising and board member recruitment.
  • Ability to engage staff and develop each team member to their fullest potential.
  • Impressive communication skills (written and verbal), including strong listening skills.
  • Skilled at public speaking and presentations; capable of passionately and effectively telling our story and inspiring others to action; must enjoy public events.
  • Proven success in creating lasting and impactful relationships/partnerships with a wide array of individuals and organizations.
  • Demonstrated success working in a complex organization with multiple stakeholder groups (i.e. board, staff, donors, volunteers, regional partners).

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director
550 West B Street, Fourth Floor
San Diego, CA 92101