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.

Director of Operations

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Operations will ensure Mississippi First’s operational excellence so that the organization will be more effective in achieving its mission. This position is internally focused and supports not only the Executive Director but each staff member in implementing organizational policies, procedures, and practices.

The Director of Operations will play a critical role in the day-to-day operations to support the diverse staff and ensure a positive team experience and serve as the Executive Director’s right hand.

This role is for you if:

  • You’re a self-starter, strategic in approach and thinking, precise and detail oriented in execution, and eager for an opportunity to impact the growth trajectory of the organization.
  • You’re comfortable navigating financial operations and understanding the impact of decisions on the fiscal bottom line.
  • You want the opportunity to roll your sleeves up and contribute to different strategic efforts within the organization, including HR, finance, and management of external vendors (legal, accounting, etc.).
  • You’re comfortable getting into the weeds on the process and operational issues that underlie how a nonprofit function so that you can make recommendations on how to improve them.
  • You’re a go-getter, through and through, and experienced with and comfortable in fast-paced work environments.

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

Organizational and Performance Management

  • Create and send formal communications to the staff, board, and other internal stakeholders to inform them of policies and procedures as well as other important announcements.
  • Facilitate productivity management systems, including developing and guiding the use of tools such as Asana and Airtable for tracking day-to-day workflows; test and propose integrations or new tools; support staff in following workflows.
  • Format and maintain annual organizational work plans for each staff member aligned to the approved strategic plan; create calendars and tasks or milestones for work plans and report on progress.
  • Develop and implement project checklists, templates, and other tools for productivity for the most common tasks.
  • Organize strategic planning process in consultation with the Executive Director.
  • Create and enforce standard operating procedures for regular tasks at Mississippi First, including integrating project checklists, templates, tools, and systems; document operating procedures in a written operations handbook. 
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality.
  • Maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the Executive Director informed of all critical issues.

Human Resources

  • Facilitate hiring and onboarding of new staff.
    • Post positions, create hiring documents and screeners, conduct initial screeners, and schedule interviews with the Executive Director; correspond with candidates, including sending rejections or offer letters.
    • Develop first draft of offer letters and employment agreements for review by Executive Director.
    • Onboard new staff by conducting Day 1 orientation, facilitating paperwork completion, entering information into benefits systems, facilitating office needs (keys, permits, desk, etc.) and technology (assigning a computer, creating email, ensuring software), scheduling welcome events, and ensuring supervisors are ready to begin training.
  • Maintain an up-to-date handbook for human resources and suggest changes to the Executive Director; create any supplementary human resources materials including for special audiences like interns, contractors, or fellows.
  • Develop forms, checklists, Airtables, or spreadsheets to track important human resources information and/or manage systems.
  • Ensure staff members receive timely and appropriate training and development on Mississippi First policies and procedures.
  • Implement Mississippi First human resources policies, including enforcing frequently used policies such as those for paid time off, reimbursement, and travel.
  • Coordinate with benefit administrators for enrollment.
  • Ensure personnel files are up to date.
  • Maintain staff evaluation forms and schedule evaluations.


  • Plan and execute Mississippi First events and meetings, both in-person and online, in consultation with the appropriate staff person, including scheduling, ordering, set-up, etc. 
  • Conduct event planning for special events, such as anniversary celebrations, retreats, and other events.

Finance, Fundraising, and Reporting

  • Track grant obligations and deadlines and complete the first draft of reports for review by the Executive Director; ensure reports are submitted by appropriate deadlines.
  • Track spending of grants to ensure timely spending.
  • Track grant objectives and report status to Executive Director.
  • Develop and implement a fundraising plan for Mississippi First, including an annual calendar, annual giving campaign, and annual report.
  • Create content as needed for fundraising.
  • Send donor receipts and notify Executive Director when thank-you notes or other fundraising tasks should be completed.
  • Support financial management by completing deposit tracking and credit card reporting, making first review of the general ledger, and serving as a first approver of expenses.
  • Support the Executive Director in creating the annual budget. 
  • Maintain an up-to-date financial handbook and suggest edits to the Executive Director.
  • Organize paperwork for the annual audit and charities’ registration; ensure completion and submission by IRS and SOS deadlines.

Board and Office Management

  • Serve as the secretary to the board, including keeping minutes, scheduling board meetings, and maintaining documentation, including annual paperwork.
  • Organize the board memo for each meeting and create the agenda on behalf of the Executive Director and Board Chair.
  • Organize and maintain documentation for the organization and board, including by using platforms such as Google Drive and Board Effect.
  • Oversee the needs of the physical office, including ordering supplies, ensuring the office is organized and functional, liaising with the landlord, and maintaining utility contractors.
  • Complete paperwork for insurance and other vendors.
  • Manage problems that arise in the office, such as downed internet or equipment.

Other Duties

  • Perform other duties as assigned.

What You’ll Need to Be Successful

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Two years of experience in an operational or financial role.
  • Highly organized systems thinker.
  • Experience with operations management.
  • Experience with financial operations and fundraising.
  • Reliable and trustworthy; can be discreet with sensitive information.
  • Can work independently.
  • Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive.
  • Passion for Mississippi First’s mission, shared core values, and support for Mississippi First’s agenda.


Demonstrated knowledge of the field of education reform, especially Mississippi First’s current issue areas, strongly preferred.

Location, Travel, and Commitment

The Director is expected to work 40 hours per week every week, Monday through Friday, with the exception of office holidays. Mississippi First office hours are typically 9-5, but the Director may set regular hours outside of this schedule with the approval of the Mississippi First Executive Director. Standard work hours (a regular schedule each week) are required. Travel for this role is expected to be limited.

The Director is expected to work from the assigned office location during all scheduled work hours unless the Director is required to travel or the Executive Director has granted permission to work elsewhere. The Director may request a hybrid work arrangement in which in-office work occurs at least three days a week. 

Compensation and Benefits

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


Salary for this position will range from $70,000-$80,000 commensurate with candidate experience and education.


The Director will be eligible for employee benefits provided to all Mississippi First employees: health insurance, retirement, and a cell phone allowance. Travel reimbursement for work-related travel is offered to all employees, but home-to-work travel is not reimbursed.

Paid Time Off

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. 

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the online form by answering all the questions and uploading the following:

  • a cover letter explaining your interest in the role as well as why your skills and experience make you the best candidate for the job;
  • a resume; and
  • a minimum of three (3) references for whom you have worked, at least one of which must have been a supervisor, including for each the name of the relevant organization, name of contact person, email, and telephone number. 

Applications received by June 5, 2023, will receive priority. The application process will be rolling, so the position may be filled before this date. Questions regarding this proposal can be sent to careers@mississippifirst.org. No phone calls, please.

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.