Trio Founding Executive Director, Connecticut

Bridgeport or Hartford, CT
Application Deadline: 
Monday, October 3, 2022
Employment Type: 

Trio New College Network:

Founding Executive Director, Connecticut 

Location: Connecticut; Initial work sites in Hartford and Bridgeport

Preferred application deadline: October 3rd, 2022



Trio is seeking a founding executive director to launch and manage its Connecticut expansion. The ideal candidate would be excited to roll up their sleeves in the first year - leading a small founding team, in partnership with Trio’s national team and local partners, to build the Connecticut expansion site from the ground up - with a vision towards managing a multi-site, statewide program with 15+ employees serving hundreds of students by year 5.


About Trio

Trio New College Network is a national nonprofit that helps low-income working adults gain the skills and degrees they need to advance in their careers and to meet their personal goals. We are currently operating through deep local partnerships in Detroit, MI; Newark, NJ; and Camden, NJ and are planning to launch two sites in the next six months in Connecticut.

Trio builds on three strategic pillars:

1. Serving working adult strivers

We are dedicated to the population we serve: working-age adults, primarily in their 20s, 30's and 40's, primarily Black and Latinx, who seek to advance in their careers and fulfill their own vision and potential. Nationwide, there are about 40 million working adults with "some college, no degree" and even more who never attended college because the traditional system is not set up to meet them where they are in their complex, busy lives. We seek to change that system to meet the needs of today’s students and make the dream of a college degree more attainable for more people.

2. Offering locally-delivered, culturally-responsive coaching and support 

In each community we serve, our program is led by a local leader and a staff of coaches who understand our students’ unique situations and contexts and help them plan and meet their goals with support across academic, personal and logistical challenges. Effective coaching is our "secret sauce" and a well-proven way to help people meet their goals in life.

3. Leveraging innovative, next generation higher education offerings

Trio offers access to a new generation of degrees and credentials enabled by online access, self-paced flexibility, and novel pedagogies such as project-based learning and competency-based education. These new pathways to skills and degrees are far more flexible, personalized, relevant, and cost-efficient than traditional, in-person, on-campus, scheduled courses. Trio’s Connecticut expansion site will initially partner with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to offer competency based AA and BA degree programs (and potentially expand to other programs over time).


The Trio Network Comes to Connecticut 

Thousands of working age adults have already thrived and succeeded using this combination of local coaching and the SNHU online curricula as documented in this recent Harvard research, which Trio helped conduct. Trio's mission is to partner with local communities to bring this revolutionary approach to more students across the country. 

We do this work by combining a national network offering a variety of design, launch and ongoing support functions with locally-driven and operated sites with their own local advisory boards led by passionate committed teams. Together, this approach offers the best of local commitment, knowledge and authenticity with the efficiencies and expertise of a national team and network. We only launch new sites once we have raised funding for initial two years of operations and have achieved the support of several key local civic, community, and education partners. 

In 2021, Trio launched programs in Detroit, Newark, and Camden and is now planning its next round of expansion into Connecticut in early 2023. The Connecticut launch will be our first statewide initiative - a multi-city model enrolling students from Greater Bridgeport and Greater Hartford that operates under the broader leadership of a statewide Executive Director (ED).


About the Role 

The Trio Executive Director for CT will be the founding leader of Trio’s newest state. The ED will have the opportunity to build up from scratch a significant statewide network of sites (already fully funded for the first two years of operation) that deliver outstanding support to hundreds of working adults seeking the skills, degrees and credentials they need to immediately increase their earning potential while exponentially increasing their lifetime earning capability. Looking back in two to three years, the ED will see a team they built across multiple CT cities and regions and think to themselves: “I led and helped make all of this happen, and now can scale to help thousands over the next decade.”

Initially, the statewide ED will be responsible for the launch and operations of the first two sites in Greater Bridgeport and Greater Hartford in 2023, followed by 1-2 additional site launches over the next several years. The ED role is ideal for an entrepreneurial and equity-focused leader passionate about dismantling barriers and innovating to expand college and life outcomes for students that traditional higher education has failed to serve. This person should be equally interested in and adept at the high-level visionary work of building a team and a network of allies, supporters, and partners statewide and the detailed work of the day-to-day operations alongside their staff. The ED will need to thoughtfully build and lead a team that understands the needs of a high-expectations, results-oriented nonprofit while remaining highly community-focused and connected to the students we serve. 

The Trio CT ED will have broad responsibilities but will not be in this work alone. Trio has been working with a CT-based nonprofit sector leader for a year who will continue as a Senior Advisor to the work, and together we have recruited multiple CT funders and likely civic and community partners who are already excited to see Trio flourish in CT. Trio also brings a national team with the experience of successfully launching the first three sites and a network that includes the ED's of those three sites, the leadership of the most established program in this field (Boston-based Duet -, and others.

The ED will report to Trio national leadership on outcomes and growth and coordinate with a local advisory board and the CT-based Senior Advisor in Connecticut to ensure excellence and community fit. 


Executive Director Responsibilities: 

Recruit, Hire, and Develop Site Staff

  • Build and manage a team across multiple sites within Connecticut (2 sites with 3-5 people and dozens of students in year 1, expanding to 3-4 sites over five years with 10-15 staff and hundreds of students)
  • Identify unique human capital needs of sites, based on assessment of existing strengths and opportunities
  • In partnership with Program Directors (PDs) selected to recruit and coach in each site, lead local recruitment and hiring for each site; leverage and cultivate local relationships to grow a pipeline of mission-aligned diverse potential staff members
  • Foster an equity-centered, results-oriented inclusive and caring performance culture to deliver for students and communities and to attract and retain high-performing, mission-aligned staff
  • Build relationships with and motivate staff to achieve on behalf of students
  • Manage, coach, and develop staff and ensure professional growth of team; offer support and thought partnership

Manage Site Operations, Ensure Financial Health of Sites, and Build Strong Programmatic Outcomes

  •  Recruit and build a continuous pipeline of prospective students
  •  Oversee the PDs’ implementation of a targeted and effective coaching program
  •  Provide modeling and guidance to PDs in support of strong programmatic outcomes
  •  Ensure that necessary supports for student success are in place, including academic support, financial aid, and counseling
  • Support the evaluation of programming efforts; undergo ongoing data analysis and continual improvement, iterating until outcomes are achieved
  • Establish high-quality site infrastructure to support student enrollment and programming, human capital, and finance/development functions in collaboration with Trio and to-be-hired staff
  • Collaborate with PD in each community to identify and open a physical office space for local sites
  • Support PDs with robust and meaningful general operations to enable site success including technology, supplies, systems, and processes
  • Monitor site health and ensure compliance with all local and national regulations
  • Collaborate on financial priorities and develop a plan to monitor and address in partnership with the Trio national team
  • Oversee the budgeting process for site; manage all earned revenues, other funding, and the budget closely throughout the year
  • Research, identify, and apply for diverse funding sources, achieving a high rate of success to support site in partnership with the Senior Advisor 

Build Community Partnerships

  • Grow continuously your understanding of the Connecticut landscape, communities, and stakeholders
  • Identify strong-fit partners for each site; leverage existing knowledge and relationships in building connections
  • Develop and maintain strategic community partnerships to support the success of the site, particularly to ensure growing stream of participating students
  • Play active and positive role in education community; create strong brand recognition and positive publicity for site
  • Act as leader, spokesperson, and the face of the organization to staff, students, and community; express a clear and compelling vision of the sites’ strategic goals and objectives to all stakeholders; build and steward the brand within the community
  • Cultivate champions of the CT network and sites; develop and manage a local advisory board
  • Partner with Trio, advisory board, champions, and other community stakeholders as needed to accomplish goals


Desired Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

  • At least 5 -7 years of relevant work experience including prior work launching an organization and/or a track record of delivering success in a service-oriented organization preferably in education or training, but other service fields may also be relevant 
  • At least 3-5 years of demonstrated experience managing a team
  • Deep knowledge of and respect for the Greater Bridgeport and Greater Hartford communities, in addition to the broader Connecticut landscape 
  • Deep commitment to the mission and values of Trio, including equity, entrepreneurship, humility, and excellence
  • Commitment to ensuring increased college access and success; experience in this work preferable but not required 
  • High levels of cultural competency, empathy, and humility
  • Demonstrated excellence in building, managing, and leading teams
  • Proven operational experience in a services-oriented role 
  • Strong results orientation and sense of ownership; eagerness to embrace feedback, improve quickly, and do whatever it takes to get the job done
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and an ability and desire to develop and maintain deep relationships with a variety of diverse stakeholders
  • Exceptional communication skills, including the ability to instill confidence in and build buy-in from staff, students, partners, and community
  • High levels of adaptability and excellent strategic thinking skills to understand and lead in a shifting, complex environment



The compensation for this position is between $140,000 and $155,000 annually. Please note that we rarely start individuals at the top of a salary range. Trio also offers a competitive benefits package including health, dental, vision, and 401(k).


How to Apply

Please submit your application here. Note: the priority application deadline is October 3, 2022. After this date we do not guarantee review of submissions.


Trio is an equal-opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

We value diversity and encourage candidates from historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply.