Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Executive Director, New York, NY



Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility seeks an Executive Director to lead a thriving organization that is a trailblazer in the movement to create a more just and peaceful world through education.

Morningside Center, a national leader in social and emotional learning and restorative practices, partners with educators to make our schools kind, equitable, and effective for all students. Morningside Center is now using this expertise, built over decades, to take on one of the nation's greatest challenges: achieving racial equity in schools.

We seek an Executive Director with a fervent conviction that racial equity is imperative, that it is possible to achieve, and that schools have a key role to play in bringing it about. Our new Executive Director will passionately support Morningside Center's mission, and will ensure that the kindness, caring, and commitment to justice that we promote in schools and in the world is lived out in the organization's own culture.

THE MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES The Bedrock of Morningside Center

Morningside Center is passionate about transforming the world into a place where people treat each other with respect; where no one is subjected to persecution or discrimination for any reason; where everybody has enough to eat, clean water to drink, a home, and adequate medical care; and where all enjoy the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their families, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and countries. In the world we envision, conflicts whether between individuals, groups, or nations are resolved collaboratively, fairly, and nonviolently. War and weapons of mass destruction are obsolete. And all people understand the fragility of our natural world, and are doing their share to create an environment in which all life can flourish.

Morningside Center's special contribution to this vision is to engage and support educators in fostering social responsibility in young people.

Social responsibility is a stance toward life characterized by:

  • Caring that begins with ourselves, our family, and friends, and extends in ever-widening circles to embrace the whole world;
  • Vision of new possibilities locally and globally;
  • Awareness of suffering and injustice, of the gap between the world as it is and the world as we want it to be;
  • Hope that a better world is possible and that we can help bring it about, that the future is ours to shape;
  • Understanding of human conflicts and challenges in their complexity, avoiding simplistic dichotomies (we vs. them, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong) and taking multiple perspectives into account;
  • Collaboration and nonviolent problem solving;
  • Critical thinking to prevent manipulation by propaganda, fear mongering, obfuscation, and false promises.
  • Action to bring vision to life in the here and now action that is nonviolent, collaborative, courageous, self-critical, pragmatic, intelligent, creative, and hopeful.

To foster social responsibility in young people through the public schools, Morningside Center has long focused on fostering social and emotional learning in young people and adults. We define social and emotional learning as the process by which people develop their capacity to understand and manage feelings, relate well to others, handle conflict and other life challenges, make good decisions, and take responsibility for improving their communities from the classroom to the world.

We partner with educators to help all students develop their social, emotional, and academic skills; become partners with adults in creating vibrant learning communities; and learn to care about and respect other people, including those different and far away. In caring communities such as these, educators embrace restorative approaches to problems instead of punitive and reactive approaches that so often push students of color into the school-to-prison pipeline. Students, educators, and parents can also have brave and productive conversations about race and racism that are the starting place for envisioning and working toward truly kind and equitable schools.


Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility is a New York City-based nonprofit organization started in 1982 that has over the last 36 years, developed and implemented proven programs and whole-school strategies focused on social and emotional learning and racial equity in education. As an example, during the past eight years, Morningside Center has partnered with the New York City Department of Education to introduce restorative practices to hundreds of schools, providing an alternative to punitive discipline policies that disproportionately target students of color and feed the school-to-prison pipeline.

With offices in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, Morningside Center works primarily in New York City, with a growing presence outside of New York City in Ohio, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. The organization has an annual budget of $5.5 million, 17 full-time staff, 26 per-diem staff developers, and over 100 part-time staff in our afterschool programs. Last year, Morningside Center did $1.63 million in contractual work in the New York City public schools, training and coaching over 2,000 educators from over 400 schools, to support them in providing instruction based on our curricula for some 24,000 students.

Our classroom programs cover the entire spectrum of grades: The 4Rs (Reading, Writing, Respect, and Resolution), for gradespre-K to five; C Squad: Together for the Journey for grades six to eight; and Building Belonging: Community and Skill-Building Circles for grades six to 12. All three provide training and coaching to support teachers in building community and developing students' social and emotional skills.

Our work is distinguished by our whole-school approach. Our Restore360 program, grades pre-K to 12,builds on our curricular programs to foster systemic schoolwide transformation, including rethinking the school's discipline policies, developing student and parent leadership, and fostering brave conversations about race and racism as a foundation for continuous progress toward a truly equitable school.

Morningside Center's programs are validated by rigorous scientific research and highly ranked by national leaders in the field. Two major scientific studies have shown that Morningside Center's SEL programs improve the classroom climate for learning, as well as students' social and emotional competency, their wellbeing, and their academic performance. Morningside Center's collaboration with researchers continues two additional major studies are underway, including a federally funded randomized controlled trial studying the effectiveness of our Restore360 Program. The organization's success has been featured in The New York Times, Education Week, Edutopia, and PBS News Hour.

TeachableMoment, Morningside Center's free online teacher resource center, provides K-12 educators with timely classroom lessons and activities they can use to foster social responsibility in their students. TeachableMoment lessons encourage students to learn about, discuss, and engage in current issues, and develop essential social and emotional skills, from active listening to standing up to bias. TeachableMoment was created in the wake of 9/11 to help young people grapple with both emotional and political issues related to the tragedy. The site now includes hundreds of lessons and activities on a wide range of topics, and draws nearly 400,000 people each year.


  • Leadership Lead with an inspiring strategic vision while attending to day-to-day operations, services, and activities.Lead and support a committed staff with a shared vision and sense of purpose, creating ongoing opportunities for learning, growth, and creativity. Serve as a thought leader in the field, staying abreast of new developments.

  • Fundraising and Earned Income Generation/Marketing Grow earned income revenue streams through new contracts (including contracts with school districts outside of New York City), and develop new services and programs to address emerging needs. Cultivate, broaden, and secure a diverse funding base from foundations, corporations, government, and individual donors. Build a strong culture of philanthropy within the organization in which Board and staff serve as ambassadors and engage in relationship building.

  • Product Development Ensure that Morningside Center continues to produce the practical tools educators need to foster social and emotional learning, social responsibility, and racial equity in their schools and classrooms. These include such things as teaching guides, implementation manuals, videos, webinars, training designs and manuals, coaching manuals, digital versions of our teaching guides, and lessons for TeachableMoment, our free online resource center for teachers.

  • Board of Directors Establish a strong working partnership with the Board of Directors, bringing forth their best ideas and efforts in support of Morningside Center, and continue to strengthen the Board through the recruitment of new members, as needed.

  • Communication Oversee communication of the organization's vision for social justice and positive social change. Increase the organization's visibility as a national leader in social and emotional learning, restorative practices, and racial equity.

  • General Management, Administration, Finance, and Planning Oversee Morningside Center's administrative and management systems, internal policies, and procedures. Ensure fiscal sustainability and health through accurate accounting, budgeting, record keeping, and reporting.

  • Quality Improvement Assess and evaluate the organizational structure, staff, and functions. Define organizational and staff goals and performance expectations, providing guidance and conducting regular performance evaluations. Make changes where necessary to make programs and operations more effective. Measure efficacy of service delivery with clear metrics. Implement strategies for promoting continuous programmatic improvement.

  • Collaboration with Researchers Continue Morningside Center's long and fruitful collaboration with researchers to improve the quality and impact of our programs, validate the effectiveness of our programs for funders and clients, and contribute knowledge to the field.

  • Strategic Alliances Build upon existing partnerships and seek new strategic alliances to promote the Morningside Center's mission and work.

  • Movement Building Serve as a passionate and persuasive advocate, spreading the message, philosophy, and methodology of Morningside Center's transformative work. Build a united movement and network of school communities.


The Executive Director will:

  • Be a champion for justice dedicated to helping all young people, regardless of their demographic group, thrive socially, emotionally, and academically and realize their strengths as community leaders to bring about a world free of injustice, racism, and war; who has experience in and knowledge of movements for social justice.

  • Be a knowledgeable and experienced educator who will be able to establish credibility immediately with education officials, school leaders, and faculty; who understands and sympathizes with the challenges educators face, while tirelessly engaging them in finding creative ways to meet the real needs of their students; who will create or oversee the creation of a continuous flow of top-quality educational resources to foster social and emotional learning, culturally responsive education, and racial equity.

  • Be an inspiring, persuasive, and influential communicator with diverse audiences. A concise and effective writer.

  • Be a leader who listens with understanding and treats everyone with respect; who is available and approachable; who is inclusive and a consensus builder; who is, however, willing and able to make tough decisions when necessary.

  • Inspire trust through integrity, competence, and follow-through.

  • Have deep understanding of the fields of social and emotional learning, culturally responsive education, and racial equity.

  • Have strong social and emotional skills and an openness to learning new things and seeing things in new ways.

  • Have proven managerial, problem-solving, and strategic-planning skills as a results-oriented executive in a growth-oriented environment; the creativity to break free from established structures and try new approaches to solving problems.

  • Have demonstrated success as a steward of responsible growth in scaling an organization; a belief that anything is possible and the ability to get it done.

  • Have demonstrated ability to balance long-term strategic vision with daily operational responsibilities; the ability to attract and hold top people to work for the organization and to nurture high-performing teams; the ability to share responsibility for leadership of the organization and partner with the Board to set goals, track progress, and assess effectiveness of the organization.

  • Have the sophistication to build the contract service business, cultivate, and seize new opportunities for revenue generation; a gifted and talented fundraiser who enjoys the opportunity to secure resources and rises to the occasion.

  • Have demonstrated strategic ability to leverage digital channels to advance an organization's goals.

  • Laugh, have fun, and enjoy collaborating with others to develop creative ideas and approaches.

For more information about the organization and its programs, please visit www.morningsidecenter.org.

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility seeks a diverse pool of candidates. Salary will be negotiable commensurate with experience.

Applications, including cover letters and resumes, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Paul Spivey at Morningside@PhillipsOppenheim.com.