CEO Succession Spotlight: The Hiring Process of Mastery Schools’ CEO, Dr. Joel D. Boyd
Mastery Schools has grown to be a network of 24 charter schools with 1,800 staff in Philadelphia and Camden. This network of schools provides a well-rounded, data-driven education to 14,000 students from kindergarten through high school.
Mastery is a fierce partner for students aspiring to reach their fullest potential. Guided by a resolute mission, this educational institution is dedicated to equipping its students with the academic and personal skills they need to thrive in their postsecondary pursuits. Within the past year, the team at Mastery Schools embarked on a new journey to hire a new CEO after its Founder, Scott Gordon, who had dedicated over two decades to growing student outcomes, decided to step down from the charter network at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. The challenge was not merely to find someone to fill an important leadership position but to identify the right leader to carry forward the organization’s legacy, values, and mission with unwavering commitment.
Honoring Core Values
In the quest for the ideal CEO, Mastery was crystal clear about the values that mattered most. First and foremost, the candidate needed to exhibit a deep, unshakable conviction for the institution’s mission, and be an ethical leader prepared to be relentlessly focused on student achievement, leaving no room for hesitation or compromise.
Mastery Schools is committed to racial equity as the foundational ethos of its work. The organization operates two dozen schools in Philadelphia and Camden and knows that equity is not merely a buzzword but an integral part of any educational environment. They sought a leader who understood the gravity of this commitment and could drive meaningful change toward a more equitable educational landscape.
To find a leader who could align with these values and meet the organization’s ambitious goals, Mastery partnered with Edgility Principal Hadley Kornacki and Associate Partner Jonathan Howard. Edgility’s services are grounded in equity, making us a perfect partner in Mastery’s search.
The team knew immediately that this engagement would need a unique touch and a hands-on approach. Mastery’s powerful community, commitment to their students, and the need to find a worthy successor to Founder Scott Gordon created a strong partnership that needed an equally strong advocate in the search for their next leader.
The process began with the Edgility team leading conversations with various stakeholders, including the Board, teachers, administrative staff, parents and families, and most importantly, students. Hadley and Jonathan surveyed these different groups to understand what they each believed to be the most important skill needed for the tasks the new CEO would undertake.
Once the discovery process was complete, Hadley and Jonathan had a clear understanding of what kind of leader they were looking for. Taking care to update the Mastery community throughout the process, they began to tap into Edgility’s network of educational leaders. This kicked off weeks of searching, with the team leading conversations with our expansive network to find the best potential candidates. There are plenty of CEO candidates searching for jobs right now, but finding leaders who possess the necessary skills, share the values held by the Mastery community, and are ready to take on a role of this magnitude, requires a more agile approach; one our team is familiar with.
Identifying Great Matches
Edgility engaged in a rigorous screening process to identify individuals whose qualifications, experience, and personal values aligned with the unique requirements of this role. They conducted in-depth interviews, reviewed candidates’ track records, and assessed their potential cultural fit with Mastery Schools.
Once the pool of candidates was narrowed down, Mastery was presented with a carefully curated selection of individuals who met the organization’s criteria. The final decision rested not only on qualifications but also on the alignment of values and the passion these candidates demonstrated for the institution’s mission.
The Mastery Team Decides
After an intensive and collaborative selection process, Dr. Joel D. Boyd emerged as the ideal candidate to lead Mastery Schools into a new era.
“As chair of the search committee, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the incredible talent and passion that many candidates brought to the table. Ultimately, it was Dr. Boyd’s well-rounded experience, demonstrated leadership, and unwavering commitment to educational excellence and equity that truly set him apart.”
– Sulaiman Rahman, Search Committee Chair
A Strong Future Ahead & A Celebration of A Strong Process
Dr. Boyd’s appointment as CEO of Mastery Schools marked the culmination of Hadley and Jonathan’s meticulous and thoughtful hiring process that underscored the organization’s commitment to its mission, ethics, and racial equity. It serves as a testament to the power of a well-structured and equitable hiring process, guided by core values, and fueled by the strength of a well-connected network.
With Dr. Boyd at the helm, Mastery is poised to continue its journey of empowering students to pursue their dreams, ensuring that every child receives the education and opportunities they deserve. In this inspiring engagement, we see how a rigorous hiring process can result in a visionary leader who shares the organization’s values and is determined to drive positive change in the world of education.
Meet the expert:
“I was privileged to attend some exceptional schools as a child. . . .This experience led me to a career dedicated to providing equitable and engaging educational choices for all students, families and communities.“
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