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Executive Director


South of Market Child Care
790 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Start Date: September 16, 2019

Description, Responsibilities, & Duties



ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND: SOUTH OF MARKET CHILD CARE was founded in 1970 and will be celebrating next year a half century of distinguished service. Noted for its Reggio Emilia curriculum and its dedication to low income children and families, SOMACC has earned its reputation as a leader in the provision of highest quality early childhood education, and support services to children and families.

SOMACC is one of the very limited number of organizations in this field with a business model dedicated to a socioeconomic classroom mix of subsidized children and private-pay children, reflecting the blighted/gentrifying neighborhoods served, projecting the deeply-felt institutional commitment to social justice, and believing that such a socioeconomic mix of children and families amplifies the value of the educational experience. In its Judith Baker Center, 20% of the class is private-pay; in the Yerba Buena Center, 50% is private-pay; in the soon-to-be-opened Transbay Center, a 50% private-pay balance is planned. The total number of children served in the first two centers is 132, with an estimated 40-80 children to be added when the third center opens later this year. Pre-school services include children from 2 ½ – 5 years; infant and toddler services include children from 3 months – 2 ½ years. Because of the quality of services and the reputation of SOMACC, the demand for services far exceeds their availability (e.g., more than 200 private-pay families are on the waiting list; City-wide waiting lists for subsidized families are far longer).

SOMACC places a premium on its philosophies of child development and early childhood education. The infant-toddler programs are guided by the Resources for Infant Education (RIE) approach; the pre-schools by the Reggio Emilia approach – both emphasizing the reinforcing power of parental/teacher relationships with children, together with the sense of self and capacity of explorative learning, self-direction, and the natural power of curiosity in children. There is a considerable body of research and practice since the mid- 20th century in the international early childhood development field supporting this “constructivist” approach. The classroom environment, the relationships between teachers and their children, the pre-service and in-service training of teachers, and the involvement of parents and families are all defined by these philosophies.

The new Executive Director of SOMACC will find a board and staff eager to maintain the high level of service for which the organization is known, and to build upon these services in the future. A values-grounded entrepreneurial leader, dedicated to RIE and Reggio Emilia principles, with a high level of business acumen, will be capable of shaping effective responses to the challenges above, and others – and will cherish this institution-building opportunity.

RELATIONSHIPS: The Executive Director reports to a dedicated 7-member Board of Directors. Direct reports to the Executive Director include the three site managers (Judith Baker, Yerba Buena, Transbay child development centers), the Director of the Family Resource Center, the Finance Director, the Business Manager, the Human Resources Manager, and the Development/Admissions Manager. In a very flat organization below the Executive Director, most of SOMACC staff are direct service providers.

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will have:

• Sincere affection for low income children and their families, understanding of their challenges and needs, and an infectious passion – the proverbial “fire-in-the-belly”- for early childhood education and mental health. Will be committed to RIE and Reggio Emilia principles of curriculum and teacher engagement, promoting the empowerment of children of all ages to master their learning. Multicultural sensitivity, dedication to social justice, and comfort surrounded by diverse stakeholders. Expertise in early child development and dedication to the education of inner-city children, understanding of the clinical needs of children and their families, appreciation of the special needs of traumatized children. Ideally, extensive classroom experience and understanding of such organizations at every level.

• A history of and reputation for uncompromising integrity, inspiring trust in SOMACC, its board, its staff, its relationships with students and families, partnering organizations, funders, the community at large.

• Visionary ability to conceive new, expanded, improved services, both comfort with and ability to strategize and scale, and the capacity to execute on plan.

• Fundraising skills and the ability to recruit and fuel the efforts of volunteers.
• Extensive non-profit and/or philanthropic leadership experience, ability to manage the boundary between executive leadership and a governing board, and a lifelong history of public service.

• Profit and loss experience, a strategic perspective, entrepreneurial ability, and proven leadership, with a broad array of skills transferable to a mid-sized non-profit organization.

• Comfort with information technology and the ability not only to employ new technologies but to engage internal and external technical expertise to update infrastructure in support of efficient and effective operations.

• Exceptional communication skills, most importantly with a highly evolved capacity for active listening; facility with synthesizing information, and promoting interactive processes eye-to-eye, in groups, before audiences, in writing. Appreciation of the importance to leadership of high visibility to all staff and parents, of frequent presence in classrooms, in meetings, at stakeholder events, projecting an image of total involvement at all levels. Sincere enjoyment of community-wide activities, promoting a high profile of the SOMACC as the face and voice of the organization.

• Ability to identify, recruit, and engage able staff, and to motivate and mentor colleagues. A genuine understanding of and commitment to staff development through internal trainings and external associations. Commitment to high level performance of staff, of accountability by staff, ability to reward quality performance as well as to make difficult personnel decisions when necessary.

• Ability to delegate to staff and to micromanage only when necessary; ability to maintain a healthy executive balance among managing up, managing out, and managing down responsibilities; ease with completing any task, however minor, if the interests of SOMACC are served.

• Flexibility to be accessible and present to all constituencies; the ability to lead from behind or by example; the mature judgment and confidence to follow and to give credit wherever due; the internal strength and humility to inspire respect.

• Persistence, sensitivity, and attention to detail.

• High energy, durability, a healthy sense of humor.

Minimum Qualifications/Requirements

EDUCATION: Lifelong learning and educational achievement appropriate to the complexity of the position. Ideally, will be qualified or able quickly to qualify with a Child Development Program Director Permit (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing). Advanced degrees in teaching, early childhood education, counseling, child development, management are preferred. Experience as a teacher with Reggio Emilia education a major plus.

Salary & Benefits

COMPENSATION: Competitive and negotiable, based on experience, up to $140,000 plus generous benefits.

Application Procedures

Robert M. Fisher and Michael Loscavio of Rusher Loscavio Fisher Nonprofit Executive Search (see are privileged to provide transition management and search counsel to the Board of South of Market Child Care (see All discussions with prospects for this position will be treated with utmost discretion.

We would be grateful to receive inquiries, expressions of interest, nominations and applications (transmittal and resume) at the following address:

Program Description

Contact Info

J. Michael Loscavio
Founder & Managing Partner
Rusher Loscavio Fisher Nonprofit Executive Search, LLC
369 Pine Street, Suite 221
San Francisco, CA 94104

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