Director of External Programs - Project Success

Rate of Pay: 
$71000.00 $79000.00

We are looking for a Director of External Programs to join our team at Project Success. Project Success is a youth development nonprofit organization that helps students connect their purpose. We work with more than 15,000 6th-12th grade students and their families in the Minneapolis Public School district and have more than 200,000 alumni around the world. Learn more at

The Director of External Programs ensures that Project Success executes engaging and meaningful programs that continuously evolve to meet the needs of our students, families, and school communities. The Director of External Programs is responsible for managing the External Programs team and supporting the planning, development, and execution of Project Success external programs, including Theater Experiences, Field Trips, College & Career Tours, Global Experiences, Middle School Musicals, and Outdoor Adventures. This position manages the Program Managers for each program component and oversees a department of Program Associates, Program Coordinators, and independent contractors. They also work closely with the Director of Schools & Curriculum and the Workshops Team to ensure programming is responsive to student, family, and school community needs. This position reports to the Executive Director and serves on the Director’s leadership team.

An individual will be a great fit for this position if they:

  • Have strong experience in program planning, operations, and execution, and strong experience managing and supporting a team
  • Utilize the values of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (I.D.E.A.) throughout the planning and execution of programs/events for students and families.
  • Are an operationally minded individual who has experience with and is committed to providing quality program and event experiences
  • Are a relationship-builder, who enjoys collaboration with current partners and developing innovative new partnerships
  • Are committed to centering the needs of students and families into program development
  • Love being the person that their team can call for problem-solving, support, and brainstorming, with a commitment to being on-call for questions when programs are happening
  • Enjoy finding creative solutions that can support each program or all external programs collectively
  • Have a dedicated growth mindset; valuing institutional knowledge, while also integrating new learning and ideas
  • Understand the life cycle and process of running successful programs/events
  • Are detail-oriented; with a love of creating systems, processes, agendas, and spreadsheets

This position will report to the Executive Director and will consistently interact with the External Programs Team (including Program Managers, Program Associates, and Program Coordinators), the Director of Schools & Curriculum, the Workshops Team, and the other Directors on the Project Success team. They will also work directly with program volunteers, independent contractors, and childcare workers.


Manage the External Programs Team:

  • Manage the External Programs team, including direct management of:
    • Program Manager - College & Career Tours
    • Program Manager - Outdoor Adventures & Global Experiences
    • Program Manager - Theater Experiences
    • Program Manager - Musicals
  • Oversee the External Programs Department – including Program Associates, Program Coordinators
  • Ensure the planning, development, and execution of programs/events aligns with Project Success’ mission, strategic plan, values, policies, and procedures
    • Support each Program Manager in the development and execution of the entire program cycle, including: creation, promotion, planning, communication, execution, evaluation, and integration of learnings into future programs
  • Build channels, both formal and informal, to seek and utilize student, family, and community input and feedback in program development
  • Ensure quality training, observation, and goal setting for the External Programs Team, aligning with training provided by the Schools & Curriculum Department
  • Work with Program Managers on planning and utilization of budgeted funds to support programming & approve expenditures for programs
  • Manage the schedules for External Program offerings, staffing assignments, and paid time off requests
  • Conduct or seek training for staff to support their growth and development toward creating and executing equitable programs that are intentional around accessibility and inclusion
  • Support the creation of systems for recruitment, communication, stewardship, training, and engagement of program volunteers, independent contractors, and childcare workers

Ensure excellent programs and event experiences for students, families, and community:

  • Create staffing and logistical plans for programs with Program Managers that support an excellent event experience
  • Build a robust cross-training schedule, professional development opportunities, and observation strategies to ensure high quality performance at events for all staff, contractors, and volunteers
  • Be excited and capable of working a wide variety of programs/events throughout year, including theater events on evening and weekends, field trips during the school year, college and career tours on non-school days, overnight college tour experiences, middle school musical rehearsals and performances, and outdoor adventure day events and overnight experiences
  • Be on call during every program/event offering; ensuring staff have a resource for any questions, issues, or emergencies that arise
  • Assess and manage program risks, ensuring programs operate with the highest integrity and within all applicable guidelines and requirements
  • Ensure resolution of any issues that arise with students, families, or partners, including timely filing of accident and incident reports
  • Work closely in Salesforce with Database Manager and Program Managers to build registration forms, track student registrations, and monitor attendance numbers

Develop and deepen current partnerships, and seek new partnerships, to support the operations of current external programs and program growth

  • Develop partnerships and systems to address barriers to equity, inclusion, and access for students and families to participate in our programs, including in the following areas:
    • Language support
    • Transportation
    • Childcare
    • Food
    • Technology
  • Build and manage positive collaborations and partnerships with a variety of programming, transportation, and school partners – with a goal of expanding support and accessibility for our students
  • As appropriate and with the Executive Director and Director of Schools & Curriculum: identify, build, and implement growth initiatives in our existing programs

Collaborate and communicate across Project Success teams

  • Work closely with Director of Schools & Curriculum to integrate curriculum, align objectives, and build opportunities that meet the needs of our school communities
  • Work closely with the Development & Communications teams to tell the story of our programs and identify opportunities to seek additional funding
  • Work closely with the Workshops Team to make sure that events are effectively communicated, promoted, and staffed
  • Work closely with administrative and human resources staff to recruit, hire, and train staff, independent contractors, and volunteers


Project Success has listed preferred experience for this role but understands that no one person will necessarily have every item from the list below. We encourage applicants to apply if they think their experience and skillset is a fit for this role, even if they do not meet every qualification on this list.

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Master’s degree, certificate(s), or additional training in relevant areas a plus (Examples include: Event Management, Arts Leadership, Nonprofit Management, etc.)
  • 5+ years of experience in program/event planning and execution
  • 3+ years of experience managing a high-performing team
  • Experience with and commitment to building culturally responsive youth programming; demonstrated through experience cultivating effective partnerships and/or building new collaborations/events
  • Experience working with middle and high school students and families
  • Experience with the Twin Cities community, including program partners and school communities


  • Believe in the potential of all young people and have a desire to help them succeed
  • Understand the importance of equity, inclusion, accessibility, and cultural competency in the context of program/event management
  • Reliable, dependable, and trustworthy
  • Highly collaborative and energized by problem-solving and teamwork
  • Excellent communication, listening, and organizational skills
  • Tech-savvy and proficient with:
    • Microsoft applications, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook
    • CRM databases, preference for Salesforce experience
  • Ability to routinely handle objects weighing up to 25 lbs. and on occasion may be expected to lift objects weighing up to 50 lbs.
  • Must have reliable transportation and a driver’s license with current auto insurance
  • Travel required (20%), primarily local

This position is a full-time, salaried exempt position. The schedule will be primarily M-F during the day, with nights and weekends to attend programming/events. Overnight experiences will be assigned with advanced notice. This job will require in-person work, both in-office and at events. It will also have flexibility for remote work.

The compensation package includes the following:

  • $71,000-$79,000 salary range, based on experience
  • Generous paid time off, including PTO days, sick days, and paid holidays
  • Excellent Health Insurance (PS pays 100% of the monthly premium rate)
  • Dental, Short-Term Disability, and Life Insurance (PS pays 100% of the monthly premium rate)
  • SIMPLE IRA retirement plan with match
  • Free parking at the PS office in lot and on adjacent streets

Please email the following to, addressed to Adrienne Diercks, Executive Director:

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • References
  • Where you heard about us and/or found the job posting

To learn more and see all current job openings, visit: 

Project Success is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive team. We strongly encourage candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience levels to apply!

Contact information

Project Success
Caitlin DeVos
Web site

Respond by
Monday, January 31
Posted January 8