Chief Development Officer (CG)

City Garden Montessori School (City Garden) is the only Montessori charter school in Missouri, and we are one of the highest-performing charter schools in the state. Our team possesses passion and determination to implement the Montessori approach to educating children in a diverse, public school environment. City Garden is committed to being an anti-biased, anti-racist community and seeks others who are passionate about these values. We are committed to continuous learning and growth for adults in the community, to foster excellence for all City Garden children.

Located in St. Louis, City Garden just renewed its second 10 Year Charter with the state of Missouri. We began in 2008 with 53 students; now, we have 278 children in preschool through eighth grade. As we grow, we continue to seek individuals to join us who share our vision for academic excellence for all children and holistic Montessori education, rooted in equity and social justice.

City Garden has attracted support from the Opportunity Trust, and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is writing a case study about City Garden’s innovative model.

Chief Development Officer

As City Garden embarks on this ambitious growth plan, we’re seeking to hire a talented and strategic leader who will lead City Garden’s development department, significantly growing City Garden’s philanthropic support.

The Chief Development Officer will be responsible for achieving City Garden’s fundraising goals. She or he has direct responsibility for raising funds through major gifts, annual giving, corporate and foundation grants, planned giving and special events. The Chief Development Officer will also oversee marketing, branding, public relations, advertising and other communications initiatives. In this role, she or he will work closely with the entire leadership team, the Board of Directors and various Board committees, including the Development Committee, to build and implement a successful development strategy. She or he will also work with client groups, media and other audiences as necessary.

The priorities for the CDO over the next two years will be:

  • Building upon City Garden’s current development structures, systems and procedures, to ensure a healthy, robust, effective and efficient development program that will be sustained over time.
  • Increasing City Garden’s Annual Fund campaign by 15%. (The Annual Fund currently brings in $830,000 in gross revenue.)
  • Overseeing the launch of a comprehensive campaign, which will include approximately $5 Million in capital fundraising.
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of an effective marketing and communications plan that reflects City Garden’s mission and values.
  • Working in partnership with the CEO and the executive leadership team to thoughtfully and effectively lead City Garden through a period of significant growth and change.

The ideal CDO candidate will have a track record of success in fundraising, having led a development department for at least eight years, realizing significant growth in revenue and donors. They need to be strongly collaborative in order to work within City Garden’s culture of radical hospitality and communication. The right candidate will be able to put a stake in the ground on decisions and to push back on the board and staff when necessary.    

Reporting directly to City Garden’s Chief Executive Officer, the CDO will serve on a leadership team along with the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Operating Officer, and will manage at least one other staff member, with potential to grow the Development Department over time.

What does success in this role look like?

Success in the first five years for the CDO will mean that City Garden will have increased annual fundraising revenue by at least 15%, and will have secured $11 Million to support its growth plan.


The CDO’s Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Work with the Board, the Board Development Committee and staff leadership to meet fundraising targets on the yearly scorecard. Report fundraising results compared to budget to the CEO and to the Board throughout the year.
  • Create a comprehensive annual plan that consists of a number of efforts, with a specific focus on major gifts (contributions of $1,000 or more), set quantifiable goals and objectives and see to their successful fulfillment. This includes identifying prospective major donors, cultivating meaningful relationships with them, directly soliciting support, ensuring that gifts are used according to donors’ wishes and that donors are recognized appropriately.
  • Provide direction and oversight to the annual fund campaign, including case development, budget oversight, creation and production of communications.
  • Provide direction and oversight to special events dedicated to fundraising.
  • Direct grant-request process and, when appropriate, build relationships with foundation officials.
  • Work with the organizational leadership team, identify funding priorities and opportunities within the organization.
  • Direct public relations and marketing initiatives. Ensure continuity of tone and message, shepherd and oversee branding process organization-wide, direct communications and marketing efforts related to organization programs.
  • Serve as the spokesperson for organization to the media, as appropriate.
  • Direct and oversee fundraising database administration.
  • Supervise fundraising staff, fundraising consultants and communications consultants.
  • Work with the CEO and the Board of Directors to help develop the Board: facilitate the selection process; facilitate committee process; act as a Board liaison to build strong, lasting relationships between the organization and Board members. Help keep the Board regularly informed about the meaningful work being done at the organization.


Candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Education and certification: Bachelor’s degree required; CFRE preferred.
  • Experience: At least eight years of successful fundraising experience, preferably at educational organizations. Successful experience with an organization having an annual budget of at least $10 million.
  • Deeply grounded in racial equity, having strong alignment with anti-bias, anti-racism values, and able to lead from this place, with an emphasis on justice in philanthropy.
  • First-hand experience in directing a development department responsible for raising at least $1 million annually. Proven ability to work with major funders, corporate funders, grant makers, and Board members.
  • Experience effectively supervising and managing a staff of at least two other people. Proven ability to set goals, coach others, and effectively evaluate employees.
  • Proven ability to direct a successful annual fundraising campaign, including experience with direct solicitation of mid-level and major donors.
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships.
  • Dedication to stewardship of donor gifts: prompt and accurate reporting of the uses of contributions; support of donor wishes; appropriate donor acknowledgement.
  • Ability to direct multiple vendors and staff to achieve specified goals; ability to translate programming opportunities into successful marketing efforts as appropriate.
  • Ability to determine marketing and communications goals; ability to direct the implementation of marketing and communications plans.
  • Proficiency in managing systems and software to track and cultivate donors and prospects, specifically donor databases, Microsoft Office Suite, and wealth screening tools.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret data and prepare reports, statements, and/or projections.
  • Ability to motivate staff and to enlist staff organization-wide in helping with development efforts.
  • Understanding of PreK-12 education and its political and policy landscape.

In order to fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal CDO will also possess:

  • Demonstrated success as a visionary leader
  • A strategic mindset, with the ability to craft and align a team around a compelling vision for excellence;
  • Effective management and leadership experience with a track record of effectively coaching, developing, and evaluating staff and holding them accountable to measurable results;
  • An ability to manage organizational change effectively;
  • Ability to understand and analyze data to inform work;
  • Versatility and dynamism, able to engage a variety of individuals in dialogue
  • A child-centered, flexible approach, being willing to do whatever it takes for our students;
  • A growth mindset and commitment to proactive, self-directed continuous learning;
  • Humility, vulnerability, and a willingness to speak and hear constructive and candid feedback.

Compensation and Benefits

This position offers a salary range of $106,000 to $118,000 and robust benefits including medical, dental, retirement and generous personal time off. More details can be provided upon request.

What It’s Like to Work at City Garden

Our work is a calling. We are implementing a very unique, specialized approach to education. City Garden is also much more than a school–we have a deep commitment to doing “whatever it takes” for our children and families, and we educate our children in the context of an active, vibrant, diverse community. All of this requires a special kind of commitment. Staff must also have a high level of cultural competence, and be committed to constant growth in this area.

Our work requires being coachable, an ongoing desire to learn and a sense of egoless-ness. Our work is not easy. Our guides (teachers) individualize curriculum for every student, and have mixed age groupings. We are constantly aligning Montessori with the Missouri Learning Standards, and we strive to implement the Montessori approach with fidelity while meeting the requirements of teaching in a public school. Administrative and support staff must be able to think “outside the box” and have a relentless commitment to creating new ways of doing things, that lead to equity. 

Our work requires flexibility, independence and initiative. We are a young organization; things change fast, and we are still developing programs, systems and structures. We are looking for people who are excited to create, innovate, and constantly learn new things!

Our work is profoundly rewarding!!!  Our children love to come to school. They are joyful, funny and engaged, and they love all of the adults at City Garden. Wey have an incredible community of support beyond our walls, which includes parents, neighborhood residents, other organizations, businesses, foundations, corporations and lots of individuals who believe in us and our mission.

To Apply

Please apply by submitting your resume and detailed cover letter which highlights your interest in the position, relevant experience, and how you meet the qualifications and qualities sought for the position at [email protected]. For additional questions about this position or to speak with someone about your interest, please contact Christie Huck at [email protected].

City Garden Montessori School is an equal opportunity employer and an organization that values diversity, equity and inclusion. Recruiting staff to create an inclusive organization is a priority, and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status, or other statuses protected by law. All candidates are evaluated solely on their qualifications to perform the work required.


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