Middle School Academy Director

Tenacity’s Mission:

To provide a Pathway to Post-Secondary Success for Boston’s youth by combining literacy, life skills, family engagement and fitness/tennis to improve their scholastic, character, and physical development.

Tenacity Today:

Tenacity has a national reputation and is recognized by business and scholastic leaders as one of the most impressive and largest youth development programs in greater Boston. Boston’s Office of the Mayor and the district’s Superintendent of Schools, have embraced Tenacity as a critical asset to resolving the achievement gap for at-risk youth in the Boston Public Schools. What began as a principally after-school and summer fitness/tennis program in 1999 has been transformed into a leading education program that now serves over 1,000 students in its school-based Pathway to Post-Secondary Success programs and over 5,500 in the Summer Tennis & Reading Program each year.

The Next Chapter:

The “Next Chapter” calls for doubling of the number of students in the Pathway to Post-Secondary Success from 1,000 to 2,000+ and for working with community partners to develop and build multi-purpose learning and recreation facilities. Tenacity leaders, with the support of the Board, feel strongly that this level of growth will have two very substantial impacts:

  • The increased size will be of sufficient scale to make a substantial impact as a partner to the Boston Public Schools.
  • The “Next Chapter” Plan will move Tenacity’s own high standard of organizational performance from increasing rates of high school graduation to increasing rates of “post-secondary success” and enabling students to be productive citizens.

The Opportunity:

Tenacity is looking for a seasoned educator or youth development expert who has experience working with 6th, 7th and 8th graders from under-served neighborhoods to run its core pathway program, The Middle School Academy (MSA) as its Director. The Director will lead the Middle School Academy through this Next Chapter growth plan which will double both the number of students and schools served over the next 5 years.

The MSA Director is an ideal position for an experienced manager who knows how to develop and inspire a young staff, who has a deep understanding of what is required to reach and motivate middle-schoolers to be successful and appreciates the value and necessity of metrics and data to improve outcomes.

Tenacity Pathway Programs:

Tenacity offers three core “pathway” programs leading to post-secondary success, all of which are free: the Elementary School Program, the Middle School Academy, and College Prep & Alumni Services, which operate during the school year; and the Summer Tennis & Reading Program, which operates from June through September.

The Elementary School Program (ESP)

Tenacity launched the ESP in the fall of 2011 to extend its pathway by two years, starting in 4th grade. We are serving over 500 students in 4 schools. This program helps identify “right fit” youth at Tenacity’s partner K-8 schools for the subsequent intensive Pathway programs, introducing college as a goal while providing reading instruction and introduction to fitness/tennis.

The Middle School Academy (MSA)

Working in close partnership with the Boston Public Schools, MSA is an intensive three year literacy instruction, homework help, study-skills, life-skills and fitness/tennis program which serves at-risk middle school students 4 days/week for 3 hours/day. Programming is equally divided between academics and fitness/tennis. MSA teaches 250 low-income youth in partnership with five schools where 90% of students receive free or reduced lunch: Dever-McCormack (ELT), Frederick (both Dorchester), Umana Academy (ELT) (East Boston), Curley (Jamaica Plain) and the Jackson-Mann (Allston). Youth are 36% Latino, 30% Black, 20% White, 9% Asian and 5% other/bi-racial.

College Prep & Post-Secondary Support Services

All participants who complete MSA are offered continued support and opportunities through College Prep & Alumni Services. Tenacity’s longitudinal Pathway encourages graduates to remain connected to Tenacity by supporting them in a variety of ways throughout the transition into the 9th grade, high school, college, and beyond.

Students are first introduced to College Prep & Alumni Services as part of their 8th grade year in MSA, when College Prep program staff members partnering with MSA staff provide individualized assistance with the high school selection and transition processes.

Later, as they graduate from MSA and move into high school, alumni have access to: an incentive based college scholarship offering; ongoing academic support and educational enrichment resources including tutoring, homework help, study skills workshops, and writing assistance; SAT prep; assistance with the college process including the application, selection and financial aid processes; job, internship, volunteer and leadership opportunities; ongoing fitness/tennis opportunities; opportunities to serve as leaders and mentors for current MSA students and in their communities; and fun, social and recreational alumni events combined with a positive peer network.

Summer Tennis & Reading Program (STRP)

In 2012, Tenacity’s Summer Tennis & Reading Program celebrated its 14th summer with more than 5,500 youth in Boston and Worcester from ages 6-16. Tenacity provides reading instruction, fitness/tennis, and wellness programs in partnership with the City of Boston’s Centers for Youth & Families and the Parks Department throughout the summer at more than 25 Boston neighborhood sites. Many MSA graduates over the age of 14 are employed as fitness/tennis and literacy instructors during the summer.

Future Growth Plans:

Tenacity staff and Board of Directors have been working with partners at The Parthenon Group and the consulting firm, The Wayland Group, to develop a plan for growth through 2019. Ambitious goals are being set to double the number of students in our Pathway programs from the current 1,000 to 2,000+ by 2019. These goals will be achieved in the following ways:

  • Increasing the number of elementary school students served to 1,000
  • Doubling the number of MSA students served to 500
  • Enhancing the Middle School Academy to include even more targeted English Language Arts MCAS preparation, character and study skills development, and expanded family engagement
  • Building on College Prep & Alumni Services by enhancing academic support and educational enrichment resources for both high school and post-secondary Tenacity students
  • Working with partners across the City to develop and build multi-purpose learning/recreation facilities


As Tenacity grows to meet the critical needs of Boston’s children, it offers a unique opportunity for a talented professional who understands the development of the whole child. The successful candidates will be entrepreneurial, collaborative, “willing to go the extra mile”, have a strong desire to lead, possess a willingness to accept full responsibility for the MSA program’s success and be deeply committed to enabling Boston’s youth to achieve excellence in the classroom and on-court while imparting life skills and promoting character development to lay the foundation for their pathway to college.


Lead the Middle School Academy (MSA) site teams in the design, delivery and success of the MSA program – ensuring improved student outcomes in academic performance and parent engagement in the short term (through the school year) and preparing them for success in high school in the mid-term.

Duties of this position will include:


  • Offer weekly supervision to all Tenacity Site Directors through formal meetings.
  • Perform quarterly “rubric reviews” of all MSA staff on their performance.
  • Perform individual staff check-ins once per semester.
  • Perform Performance Review and Goal Setting of all staff.
  • Along with AmeriCorps Director ensure that AmeriCorps members are well supervised and performing at a high level.
  • Oversee the recruitment of new students and families.

Professional Development

  • Create a “core competency” development plan for MSA staff
  • Organize and implement professional development for MSA staff. This includes:
    • Curriculum Development
    • Classroom Delivery
    • Child advocacy skills and Family Engagement
      • Build trusting relationships between parents, Tenacity staff and the partner school.
      • Identify best practices for engaging parents and families in ways to support learning and develop a strategy for sharing these practices across MSA Sites.
      • Behavior Management
      • Supervisory skills
      • Relationship Management
      • Organization and Time Management
      • Identify and recruit outside experts who can provide training to staff

Curriculum Development and Delivery

  • Oversee lesson plan development and execution
    • Analyze standard test results and supervise creation and execution of student development plans for academic improvement
    • Oversee Site goal setting for academic performance and engagement.
    • Curriculum Delivery Review ; provide classroom observation feedback and improvement strategies
    • Supervise and standardize classroom/behavior management strategies and tools
    • Guide the development and execution of Parent Workshops
      • Develop essential parental follow-up and impact strategies to gauge results of workshop content
      • Recruit outside experts to complete program audits

Relationship Management

  • Build and expand the relationships with the Boston Public Schools Central staff.
  • Guide development of principal/Tenacity Site relationships
    • Attend regularly scheduled status meetings with principals
    • Ensure strong relationships are developed between Tenacity, parents and school counseling resources.
    • Oversee, with site directors, the planning and implementation of teacher relationship building

Ensure Tenacity “Brand Presence” in Partner Schools

  • Tenacity signage placed in all schools in a prominent location
  • Branded clothing is worn regularly by staff
  • Equipping site staff with 30 second elevator speech and materials

Hiring and Recruiting

  • Create and Implement an “external marketing plan” of continuous recruitment/networking to secure best possible candidates for open MSA positions
  • Review current company policies and propose adjustments that could attract a wider range of potential candidates to Tenacity
  • Work with Operations Department to ensure that systems and processes are in place to recruit diverse candidates across all Tenacity programming

Programmatic Systems and Processes

  • Create system of “site reporting” to MSA management
  • Lead transition process of students in elementary program, who are eligible, into MSA
  • Create/maintain calendar and/or system for site observations, performance feedback and quarterly “rubric” reviews
  • Create a system for implementation of “summer working groups” in particular areas in which programmatic improvement is deemed necessary
  • Work with AmeriCorps Program Director to enhance system for “member development” that culminates in a members’ ability to lead a Tenacity Summer Site

Data Analysis and Reporting

  • Continually review the “value” of the metrics we use to measure our results to determine their impact on our ability to improve our outcomes.
  • Work with Operations to ID data to be collected and help drive analysis and continuous improvement of output
  • Coordinate processes with Development/AmeriCorps/Management Team to identify internal metrics necessary for outside reporting
  • Work with Operations to procure BPS and school data


  • Belief in Tenacity’s mission and model
  • Master’s Degree in education, youth development or related field.
  • Minimum 10 years background/experience working with urban, under-resourced youth and families ; classroom experience preferred.
  • Substantive (5+ years) experience creating literacy curriculum for Middle School Children
  • Proven success in classroom/behavior management
  • Minimum 5 years experience supervising teams
  • Experience using and developing data/metrics to improve student academic and engagement outcomes.
  • Experience mentoring and guiding new/inexperienced staff
  • High effective presentation skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Ability to build and grow partner relationships
  • Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communications skills
  • Strong Analytic Skill
  • Well versed in Microsoft office skills ; Word, Excel, PowerPoint

How to apply

Send a resume and cover letter to msadirector@tenacity.org. Please include “#5; Middle School Academy Director” in the subject line of your email.

Boston, Massachusetts

38 Everett St, Boston, MA, 02134, US