Director of Finance and Operations 

Position and Organization Description 

Accelerate Institute is seeking a talented Director of Finance and Operations. Reporting to the CEO, the Director of Finance and Operations is the key liaison for oversight of financial management, IT, and Legal: monitoring the organizational budget, human resources, programmatic support, and general office administration and management. This person should be able to see beyond the numbers to identify trends and suggest new possibilities. 

The Director of Finance and Operations has a proven track record of improving and maintaining operational systems, processes, and policies in support of the organization’s mission. The successful candidate will have demonstrated skills in managing and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of support services (HR, IT, and Finance), through improvements to each function as well as coordination and communication between support and programmatic functions. She or he will be self-motivated, results-oriented, creative, entrepreneurial, highly energetic and intelligent, with exceptional interpersonal and organizational skills. 

About Accelerate Institute 

Founded in 1991, Accelerate Institute’s mission is to close the achievement gap by creating high-impact school leaders who accelerate student achievement. Grounded in the belief that demographics are not destiny and that all children can achieve at high levels given equal access to quality education, Accelerate Institute identifies and develops high-performing, results-focused leaders with a passion for closing the achievement gap in urban education. Through The Ryan Fellowship, The Accelerator, and Leadership Team programs, we draw on the leadership model used to achieve success at our nationally-recognized school, Alain Locke Charter School. 

Accelerate Institute has trained more than 100 school leaders who are currently working in more than 20 cities across the United States. Our work is grounded in Accelerate Institute’s core values: 

  • Students First: We make decisions in which student achievement and wellbeing are prioritized while honoring individual student experiences. 

  • Absolute Excellence: We bring our best work, are productive, are present, and get accelerated results. 

  • Synergy: Our interactions and cooperation produce a combined effect greater than the sum of the separate effects. 

  • Equity and Inclusion: We value all dimensions of diversity and seek to model the fairness and justice that we want to see in the world. 

  • Gratitude: The work is hard. In that, we find joy and are thankful to each other and show appreciation for all stakeholders. 

Position Responsibilities 

  • Financial Management: Oversee budgeting and financial forecasting; Monitoring existing processes and analyzing their effectiveness; Support business decisions by providing forecasts and financial modeling to aide in decision making of program support; Monitor budget to ensure a balanced budget approach; Implementation and oversight of employee and participant expense reporting 

  • Earned revenue: Maintain infrastructure to support $5M budget; ensure organization has the process/procedure to execute on proposed business model; maintain MOU process for Accelerator program and Ryan Fellowship program 

  • Legal Liaison: Work with legal team to ensure organization is meeting legal obligations 

  • Oversight and liaison for Human Resources: Oversight of employee hiring and onboarding process; oversight for tracking vacation and person days; implementation of HR handbook 

  • Oversight and liaison for Technology: Key liaison between organization and outsourced IT support; On-site troubleshooting- reboot server, reset phones; Maintain all hardware and software needs for the organization; Ensure compliance for websites/online payment processing; Negotiate contracts with vendors; Assist with system integrations 

  • Programmatic Support: Provide administrative and operational support to program teams around key events throughout the year. 

  • Oversight of facilities/repairs: Maintain a clean and professional office environment 

  • Oversight of Ryan Award: Create process to collect nominations and data; Serve on committee to finalize winner; Coordinate logistics of visits for award presentation 

  • Supervision of Office Manager: Ensure completion of tasks assigned; Provide guidance, direction, leadership, and support necessary to ensure accomplishment of goals; Follow up to ensure the plan to achieve goals is being carried out in such a way that goals are achieved 

Required Qualifications and Skills 

The candidate must have: 

  • Minimum of 3-5 years of non-profit administration and/or operations 

  • Bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting required 

  • Demonstrated ability in project management and skill to move organizational projects forward in an inclusive and streamlined manner 

  • Ability to lead multiple long- and short-term projects simultaneously, meeting all related deadlines with the ability to plan, prioritize, coordinate, and manage own work 

  • Exceptional communication and writing skills and strong oral communication skills 

  • Extremely detailed oriented and organized, with the strong ability to proof and edit documents 

  • Proven ability to work unsupervised and solve problems independently, effectively, and creatively 

  • Advanced knowledge of MS Office and Outlook365 email systems 

  • Results-oriented team player with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and to produce high-quality work in a timely manner 

  • A strong commitment to education reform and the mission of Accelerate Institute 


Accelerate Institute offers a competitive salary based on prior experience and qualifications as well as a full benefits package. Benefits include: health, dental, and vision insurance; 15 days of vacation; 9 paid holidays with paid days off between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays; a paid floating holiday; paid sick and personal leave; paid parental leave; retirement plan options; long-term disability coverage; and basic life and personal accident insurance. 

To Apply 

Qualified candidates can apply via email to Nora Ligurotis, Please include “Director of Finance and Operations Search” as the subject of your email and submit the following: 

  • Cover letter describing your skills, interest, and passion in creating equal access to education for all children 

  • Resume that clearly articulates your qualifications to the required skill sets defined above 

Our Commitment to Diversity 

Accelerate Institute embraces diversity. It is something we have believed in and supported from day one. Having a diverse organization aligns with our commitment to an equal opportunity workplace. We celebrate equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity, Veteran status, or other legally protected status. We are also ready to accommodate physically challenged or special needs individuals who require any special assistance. Accelerate Institute is proud of our history of diversity and is a strong supporter of the community. 

Accelerate Institute is located in Chicago, Illinois.