About Mississippi First

Mississippi First was founded in 2008 by Rachel Canter and her childhood friend, Sanford Johnson. Driven to change the fact that Mississippi has historically been last, our founders set a bold vision: a Mississippi first in education nationally. Mississippi First is a non-partisan, nonprofit, education policy organization. We champion transformative policy solutions, ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child.

Mississippi First has been an advocate for high-quality public charter schools for over a decade. As of March 2023, there are eight operating schools located in three communities—Jackson, Clarksdale, and Greenwood—while two more communities—Natchez and Canton—are expected to have schools by 2023. Together, over 3,000 Mississippi children receive their public education in a public charter school.

Last year, The U.S. Department of Education awarded Mississippi First a $19.3 million, five-year Charter Schools Program grant to grow high-quality public charter schools in Mississippi. This position will directly support the work of the Charter Schools Program.

Charter Schools Program Coordinator

Reporting to the Associate Director of Special Projects, the Charter Schools Program (CSP) Coordinator assists Mississippi First in managing the CSP grant. The Coordinator will be responsible for implementing a subgrant competition, providing training and technical assistance (TA), managing subgrant drawdown requests, supporting monitoring, and maintaining Mississippi First’s CSP webpage. The Coordinator will perform varied professional administrative and analytical work in developing, implementing, and administering these projects or policies. The Coordinator will also work closely with the Executive Director. This is a time-limited position intended to span the duration of the grant (five years). Continued employment after grant completion depends on a renewal of this grant, which is highly competitive. In general, all Mississippi First employees are at-will.

What You’ll Do (Implementation 100% of daily role)

CSP subgrant competitions for eligible applicants

  • Organize the annual CSP subgrant competition, including finalizing the application, timelines, and materials
  • Work with Mississippi First’s communications team to market the opportunity
  • Provide an initial webinar to prospective applicants to explain the opportunity, the requirements, and the process
  • Provide eligible applicants all needed application materials
  • Provide subgrant application TA and refer developers to Embark for authorization TA 
  • Select, train, and support peer reviewers, including finalizing and providing review materials, gathering MOUs and arranging payment, hosting the review training, and providing assistance as needed
  • Perform subgrantee eligibility checks, calculate final scores, and recommend applicants for subgrants to the Executive Director
  • Process subgrantee notices of award and grant agreements
  • Conduct post-award secondary risk assessment and recommend monitoring categories to the Executive Director

Training and TA

  • Provide mandatory in-person post-award training to subgrantees to explain the requirements, drawdown process, and monitoring
  • Provide day-to-day TA to subgrantees in complying with drawdown or monitoring requirements
  • Refer subgrantees to quality improvement TA for issues relating to the quality of their schools
  • Re-train subgrantees as needed, including after personnel changes

Drawdown request management

  • Review drawdown requests within 3 business days of receipt for completeness and compliance with requirements
  • Submit all complete and compliant drawdown requests, including all documentation, to Mississippi First’s accounts payable system for further scrutiny and approval
  • Track the status of requests to ensure that complete requests are paid within 30 days of receipt
  • Provide subgrantees with rationale for rejections, how to comply with rules, and facilitate re-submission
  • Communicate with subgrantees about the drawdown process

Monitoring support

  • Collect monitoring documents and prepare monitoring reports for review by the Director of Special Projects
  • Attend all monitoring meetings
  • Organize the annual meeting site visit
  • Maintain monitoring documentation
  • Track corrective action documentation, as applicable

CSP webpage management

  • Work with the communications team to manage the CSP webpage to ensure information is up to date every quarter and complies with CSP regulations

Other (as needed)

  • Perform other duties as assigned.

What You’ll Need to be Successful

  • Two or more years’ experience with administering or managing federal grants
  • Support for charter schools, the goals of the CSP grant, and knowledge of charter school policy
  • Preference is given to applicants with professional development related to federal grants management, such as completion of U.S. Department of Education online grants courses
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and a problem-solving mindset
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Support for Mississippi First’s education goals and ideas
  • Passion for Mississippi First’s mission, shared core values, and support for Mississippi First’s agenda

Location, Travel, and Commitment

The Coordinator is expected to work 40 hours per week every week, Monday through Friday, except for office holidays. Office hours are typically 9-5, but the Coordinator may set hours outside of this schedule with the approval of the Executive Director. Standard work hours (a regular schedule each week) are required. Travel for this role is expected to be occasional—no more than 10 daytrips per year—unless the Coordinator is based remotely, which may increase required travel. The Mississippi First Office is in Jackson, Mississippi. The Coordinator may apply for a hybrid office arrangement (partially in the office, partially at home) but must work at least two days per week in the office. Exact weekly schedules will be approved by the Coordinator’s supervisor.

Compensation and Benefits

This position offers a competitive salary, benefits, and paid time off.

Mississippi First pays salaries according to a compensation philosophy adopted by the Mississippi First Board of Directors. This compensation philosophy sets salaries based on a national compensation survey. The base salary for this position is up to $70,000 (no less than $60,000) commensurate with the candidate’s skills and experience. We also provide annual cost-of-living adjustments to base salary according to the adjustment recommended by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System except in years where an employee has received a significant base salary increase due to our national salary benchmarking process. A copy of Mississippi First’s compensation philosophy is available on request.

The Coordinator will also be eligible for health insurance, an FSA, retirement contribution (currently 7% of base salary), and a $50 monthly cell phone allowance. Travel reimbursement for work-related travel is offered to all employees, but home-to-work travel is not reimbursed unless the Coordinator is a fully remote worker who must travel more than 50 miles to the office.

Mississippi First offers all employees office holidays (approximately 12 days per year) as well as paid time off based on the number of years an employee has worked for Mississippi First. New employees are entitled to 20 days per year in accordance with the adopted paid time off policy.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Mississippi First is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the online application here.

Applications received by April 28, 2023, will receive priority. The application process will be rolling, so the position may be filled before this date. Questions regarding this position can be submitted to careers@mississippifirst.org. No phone calls, please.