Program Lead

Candidate Profile & Core Values

Spark seeks a Program Lead for our Chicago Region.

Successful candidates will demonstrate exceptional partnership development, staff management, relationship building, and facilitation skills, complemented by fluency in innovative thinking, and a make-it-work mentality. Candidates will also embody Spark’s Core Values: being a student and a mentor, working with passion and compassion, committing to collaboration and diversity, aiming high and true, and trusting/respecting each relationship.

Reporting to the Program Director (PD), the Program Lead (PL) will lead the implementation of Spark’s program to provide career exploration and self-discovery opportunities that help middle school students understand, experience and pursue what’s possible. A successful PL drives Spark’s day-to-day implementation at four to six partner schools, resulting in consistently engaged students, supportive families, collaborative school partnerships, and enthusiastic volunteers.


• Bachelor’s degree required
• 3+ years of work experience, ideally in the non-profit or education sectors; for-profit experience welcomed;
• Experience managing volunteers or staff in a fast-paced, growth-oriented organization;
• Experience managing projects in partnership with school administration, teachers and families;
• Sophisticated relationship building and networking skills;
• Results-focused, highly organized self-starter who works effectively in teams and independently with a high degree of resourcefulness;
• Ability to confidently manage a high-volume, deadline-driven workload with poise and optimism;
• Significant cross-cultural competency and strong interpersonal skills;
• Exemplary time management, organizational, and analytic skills;
• Proficiency in Google and Microsoft products (e.g. Drive, Docs, Sheets, Word, and Excel), and managing donor databases (specifically Salesforce experience a plus);
• Spanish proficiency a plus;
• Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided.

• In addition, to be successful as a member of the Spark team in this role, you will:

  • Be an independent, results-focused, highly-organized self-starter; o Have a strong desire to impact an up-and-coming nonprofit organization;
  • Thrive in fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment, operating with a results-orientation and exceptional attention to detail;
  • Have a proactive personality; no work is ‘beneath’ you and you are eager to serve others, rolling up your sleeves when necessary;
  • Demonstrate mature judgment, with a high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness;
  • Have a sense of humor, even under stress;
  • Be comfortable giving and receiving honest, constructive feedback;
  • Value relationships and accountability, empowering others to achieve superior results.

Core Responsibilities

Supervise Program Fellows

• Directly manage assigned Program Fellows to energetically engage students and families, effectively manage student dismissal and travel, implement Spark’s evaluation processes, and facilitate program workshops;

•Ensure consistent application of Spark’s quality monitoring and safety policies, supporting quality program experiences through overseeing regular program assessments, including frequent site visits;

• Oversee Spark’s evaluation methods, including ensuring reporting and integrity of all participation, impact, and quality data, as well as compliance;

•Prioritize the development and performance of Program Fellows, giving attention to both formal and informal feedback and reviews;

Manage 4-6 School Partnerships

• Develop and grow school partnerships to ensure successful implementation of Spark programing and increasing collaboration and depth of partnership;

• Develop and maintain a strong system of communication and support with school staff to ensure successful management of program operations and continued recognition of the value Spark brings to students;

Lead Program Engagement with Volunteers

•Facilitate Spark Lab workshops at company sites, successfully engaging students  and volunteers in building skills and exploring careers;

• Lead support for mentors to ensure high-quality experiences, provide coaching as needed, and document efforts in Spark’s database;

• Support the growth of Spark’s program through donor visits to program in action at schools and/or company locations and external communications.

Compensation & Benefits

• Salary: $35-40K, Commensurate with experience.

• Health Benefits: Full health coverage is provided, including medical, dental and vision no more 30 days after an employee’s first day. Spark covers up to 100 percent of monthly premiums, and a portion of the monthly premiums for dependents. Employee-funded flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care are offered. A life insurance policy providing $50,000 of coverage is also included.

• Learning Benefits: Spark highly values staff’s personal learning pursuits. Priority is placed on opportunities to pursue your choice of professional training opportunities, including workshops, conferences, and more.

• Retirement Benefits: For all contributions through Spark’s 401K plan, Spark will match retirement contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 4 percent of total salary in 2018.

• Paid Time Off: Spark has a unique flexible time-off policy, which empowers staff to collaboratively determine and schedule time off as needed. Spark staff may take time off based on the status of their work- related goals and results within the organization. This policy is part of Spark’s focus on a balanced and healthy life for staff.

• Non-Monetary Compensation: The opportunity to be an integral member of an energetic, innovative, hard-working and rapidly growing team, within an organization that has the potential to significantly change the trajectory of middle-school education nationwide.



We want to hear all about you and your experience. Apply now! 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with a targeted start date of mid- November.
Spark is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, and evaluate all candidates based on merit; we strongly encourage and seek qualified applications from underrepresented groups.
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Please note that unless otherwise noted on the job description, Spark requires employees to be located in one of our operating regions and does not provide relocation assistance.

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