Executive Director

Edible Schoolyard NYC




Management / Leadership: General Management/Administration


NY - New York metropolitan area

About the Organization

Edible Schoolyard NYC (ESYNYC) believes that all New York City students deserve access to an edible education – hands-on gardening and cooking classes as well as family and community engagement activities – that connect students to food, their communities, and inspires them to create change in the world around them. We do this by partnering with NYC public schools to lead classes with their students and school community, supporting educators to implement food education in their classrooms, and advocating for long-term, sustainable changes for a better future for New York City.

If you are passionate about food and making a difference, this is the place for you. While edible education is our core focus, we connect to the food world in many different ways. We work with top chefs and restaurants on partnerships that support our work and collaborate with diverse brands to increase awareness of our mission. Many of our staff are passionate foodies and cooks, and we enjoy swapping recipes and food whenever possible. As an organization, we are guided by core values of Community, Equity, Stewardship, and Adaptability.

Inspired by the philosophy and model of Edible Schoolyard Berkeley and its founder, acclaimed restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters, ESYNYC was founded in 2010 to serve the specific needs of students in historically underserved New York City public schools. We currently work with 22 schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, providing hands-on cooking and gardening classes during the school day, extracurricular activities and community events, food distributions, and more – reaching over 4,000 elementary and middle-school students across four of the five boroughs. With a program that is fully integrated into the school day, ESYNYC staff teach hands-on garden and cooking lessons, facilitate family programs, and support a culture of health and wellness throughout the school through multiple targeted interventions. ESYNYC also leads a robust Professional Development program, through which it provides training and resources for all types of educators to incorporate gardening and cooking lessons into their own classrooms; over the past year, ESYNYC has provided professional development to 600 educators and 10 schools. In total, through our various initiatives, ESYNYC is reaching nearly 17,000 students across New York City.

The ESYNYC program is unlike any other in its comprehensive nature, data-driven innovation, flexible approach and long-term presence in school communities. Our highly committed and engaged Board of Directors is ready to partner with our next leader to elevate our work, our culture, and our impact even further. ESYNYC has a new staff union, and this leader will work closely to foster a strong working relationship with this group, as well.

About the Position

ESYNYC is now at an inflection point and ready for its next committed, results-oriented, and strategic change agent to develop and lead the organization, including through spearheading its strategic plan and stewarding and supporting its organizational culture. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) has overall strategic and operational responsibility for ESYNYC's staff, programs, fundraising, expansion, and execution of its mission. They will develop deep knowledge of the field, and weave a commitment to social and racial justice into execution of its core programs, operations, outcome evaluation, strategy, development, and communications.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Organizational Leadership and Management

  • In partnership with Board and staff, lead the iteration and execution of ESYNYC's ongoing strategic plan.
  • Manage and measure the growth, implementation, and continued excellence of ESYNYC's programs.
  • Partner with the organization's program team to drive innovation; facilitate robust evaluation.
  • Ensure the organization has an approved budget each year; manage expenses to budget.
  • Maintain good financial controls and systems, including overseeing the annual audit process.
  • Lead HR and administrative operations in partnership with ESYNYC's external HR partner.
  • Maintain a meaningful presence at program sites and special events.

Mission and Culture Leadership

  • Foster an inclusive, mission-driven organizational culture and a values-driven environment, leading with curiosity, a listening and learning orientation, and a strengths-based approach to management.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to social and racial justice and the capacity to lead ESYNYC's continued growth as an anti-racist organization.
  • Use exceptional active listening and a commitment to learning to honor and leverage the team's deep knowledge, cultivating a culture of recognition and appreciation and celebrating wins.

People and Relationship Management

  • Demonstrate exceptional communication skills and the ability to build authentic connections with a range of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Lead, coach, develop, and retain ESYNYC's team across administrative, development, and program functions.
  • Develop leadership team members to serve as strong managers.
  • Develop, maintain, support, and engage a strong board; serve ex-officio of each board committee, ensuring clear goals and expectations.
  • Act as the liaison between staff and board, fostering connection and understanding.
  • Engage and energize partner organizations, policymakers, and funders.
  • Establish relationships with political, health, education, and community leaders in each borough of New York City to expand and scale ESYNYC's model and advocacy initiatives.
  • Lead and serve on the management committee that negotiates union contracts.

Fundraising and External Relations

  • Partner with the VP Development & External Relations, ESYNYC staff, and the board development committee to create and implement an annual fundraising plan, including strategies for revenue diversification and growth.
  • In collaboration with ESYNYC leaders and board, identify, cultivate, solicit and steward individual donors, foundations, corporations and government agencies; raise funds from these sources and act as "asker in chief" as appropriate with major donors.
  • Serve as ESYNYC's chief representative, speaking publicly about the organization's work to the media, at conferences, and at other public/private events.
  • Maintain and deepen a strong ESYNYC brand and presence through website, online presence, media & public relations, and thought leadership.

Candidate Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree and at least 10 years of professional experience required, ideally in related fields such as education or food systems.
  • Deep commitment to racial and social justice, with experience integrating these values into all aspects of their work
  • Strong cultural competence and a proven ability to engage and lead diverse groups in support of a common mission with a shared sense of team and culture.
  • Compassionate, empathetic, collaborative leadership style with a strengths-based approach to management.
  • Demonstrated fundraising track record, including success raising funds from a variety of sources (e.g. institutional, individual, government, events, etc.).
  • Proven experience scaling a team, program, or organization effectively and strategically, with sustainability in mind.
  • Demonstrated listening and learning orientation when approaching change management.
  • Relevant content knowledge, such as knowledge of health, education and/or public policy issues related to food system issues and education.
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation; comfortable and experienced in setting success metrics and tracking data over time.
  • Excellence in organizational and people management with the ability to coach staff, manage and develop high-performing teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget.
  • Exceptional listening and communications skills, including strong written and verbal communications, excellent interpersonal skills, and demonstrated learning orientation.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and external relations acumen with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • Strong knowledge and experience of all aspects of fundraising, including closing major gifts.
  • Experience and general knowledge of HR; union management experience preferred.
  • Experience leading teams and programs in a hybrid work environment.
  • Ability to travel around NYC and have a presence at program sites and events as needed.

Location: Edible Schoolyard is based in Brooklyn, NYC, and staff work in a hybrid fashion.

Compensation and benefits:

The salary range for this position is $170K - $200K annually, with exact salary to be determined based on relevant experience.

Edible Schoolyard NYC is committed to a diverse workplace. People of color, racial and ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQ+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Edible Schoolyard is an equal opportunity employer committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, unemployment status, or any other legally protected basis. Edible Schoolyard NYC provides reasonable accommodation to applicants and employees as required by law. Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation at any point in the employment process.

Like Edible Schoolyard NYC, On-Ramps is deeply committed to equity. We believe social change happens when people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and identities come together with common purpose.

On-Ramps is committed to the inclusion of all qualified individuals in the hiring process, including but not limited to those with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation(s) to participate in the application or interview process, please contact info@on-ramps.com.