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Managing Director, East or Southern Africa Region

Nova Pioneer seeks an outstanding leader to spearhead the growth of our school network across Africa by building and leading our growing team in one of our regions (currently Southern and East Africa). This is an opportunity to deliver a transformative inquiry-based learning experience at scale with the future of Africa’s youth at stake.

ABOUT NOVA PIONEER

Imagine a world in which every young person across Africa attends a school that truly sets them up for success in the 21st century. A school that cares about individual students and allows them to explore the world around them. A school that focuses more on developing skills than on memorizing content. At Nova Pioneer, we have done more than just imagine this future, we are bringing it to life. Nova Pioneer is a pan-African, independent network of schools offering high quality, accessible education from pre-primary through secondary school. Nova Pioneer uses a unique, enquiry-based learning approach that encourages students to ask “why” instead of telling them the “what”. It allows them to form their own thinking through exploration, investigation and collaboration. Nova Pioneer currently has 6 schools in South Africa and Kenya with a vision to launch 100 schools and reach tens of thousands of students across the African continent in the next decade. To learn more visit www.novapioneer.com.

ABOUT THE ROLE

As the regional Managing Director you lead the expansion of the Nova Pioneer network across one of our regions. You assemble and lead the team that delivers excellence across all the ingredients of a powerful experience for students and families, including academics, school operations, talent, marketing and student enrollment.

Ultimately, we believe that the biggest driver of our success will be people and culture. We have started to build a distinctively strong culture that helps us attract and retain a special group of people. You will inherit the nucleus of a very strong regional management team and continue to build your leadership team as grow. You have the lead responsibility for continuing to bring our organizational culture alive across our team—through role modeling, leading culture rituals, and narrating the organization’s journey to staff. Just as importantly, you help create a professional development "machine" to make large-scale delivery possible: systems through which staff at Nova Pioneer get higher-quality and more intensive on-the-job coaching than they have ever experienced before. This starts with the way you model what great management looks like through your supervision of your direct reports.

You also lead our strategic thinking on the main challenges and questions we face as we grow across Southern Africa, including:

  • What is the right pace for our growth in the region? How do we strike the right balance between rapid expansion and delivering exceptional quality?
  • Which nearby cities and countries are the optimal targets for our next waves of growth in the region?
  • How can we establish the systems and teams that enable us to successfully launch five or more schools each year in the region? What are the biggest potential stumbling blocks—how do we anticipate those and learn quickly from mistakes?
  • Who are the rising leaders within your regional team, and how do we support their growth and fulfillment at Nova Pioneer?
  • How do we differentiate our brand as relevant competitors continue to emerge?

As we grow, you build key strategic partnerships in each new region and lay the groundwork for expansion. Working closely with the regional and company-wide functional leaders, you develop and constantly refine the “playbooks” and systems that will enable us to grow with programmatic and operational fidelity.

You report directly to the CEO and work closely with the other founders and members of the company’s global leadership team. You are based in the region’s hub (Johannesburg for Southern Africa; Nairobi for East Africa) with regular travel to other parts of the region as we expand.

Additional specific responsibilities include:

  • Develop and rally staff behind a vision for the growth and impact of Nova Pioneer across the region
  • Lead the development and execution of expansion strategy throughout the region
  • Develop and manage senior relationships with investors, government officials, real estate developers, and other partners in the region to enable our strategy
  • Recruit the key functional and school/instructional leaders who will form the backbone of your team, collaborating with the Talent team to source and interview candidates
  • Provide intensive coaching to your regional leadership team
  • Spearhead the People Review process across the regional team and deliver performance reviews for your direct reports
  • Serve as member of Nova Pioneer leadership team and contribute actively to organization-wide strategic decisions and management issues
  • Help source and negotiate key real estate deals to secure sites for future Nova Pioneer schools in the region
  • Manage annual budget for the entire region
  • Find ways to remain directly involved in the learning experience at Pioneer schools (e.g,, teacher coaching, model teaching, school walkthroughs) in order to stay connected to the student experience over time
  • Cultivate relationships with thought leaders and advisors in education across the region

ABOUT YOU

  • You have at least 10 years of work experience including significant experience leading teams and managing complex operations;
  • You see yourself as a future CEO or COO and want experience leading a large team in a situation where you will get close mentorship from a world-class leader;
  • You are a team builder and draw energy from supporting your supervisees to grow. Your past team members see you as an inspiring leader and manager;
  • You strive for excellence in every detail of your work and inspire and challenge everyone around you to do the same. You take pleasure in excellence more than credit or status;
  • You know how to thrive in hyper-growth situations; you have probably worked at or with a rapidly scaling company or school network;
  • Your past supervisors have consistently perceived you as one of the rising stars in the organization;
  • You are unusually effective at developing clear strategy and translating it into sweat-the-small-stuff execution You love building things and are hungry to operate at large scale;
  • Our culture resonates deeply with your values—and in particular, you are excited to challenge yourself by embracing mutual vulnerability and a firehose of feedback.

HOW TO APPLY:

Does working at Nova Pioneer excite you? If so, then apply now!

To apply, please complete the form on the right hand side of this page. We cannot process applications that are emailed to us.

Please note: Where a copy of your resume is required, copying and pasting from a formatted document e.g. Microsoft Word may not result in the formatting transferring correctly to the final resume. You are encouraged to attach your resume in Microsoft Word® or PDF format to protect formatting.

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the right candidate is identified. Only qualified candidates will be invited for interviews. 

WORKING AT NOVA PIONEER

Nova Pioneer is a place where our people experience tremendous growth, fast! We invest heavily in the growth of our people because it leads to greater mastery in both us and our students. “Novaneers” work harder and work longer hours than at most schools but as a result, the growth they experience is extraordinary. We offer consistent and ongoing professional development and provide clear career pathways that ensure that our people are always achieving their personal and professional best. Nova Pioneer has a highly energetic, entrepreneurial environment where our people get to bring their creative and innovative ideas to life. We look for people who are flexible and who are able to adapt and respond quickly to adversity with a positive, can-do attitude (there are no problems, only solutions!). We welcome challenges and roll with the punches because it makes us, and our students, better. There is no problem too big for us! We work hard but we also have a lot of fun together. We bring infectious energy and enthusiasm to everything we do because joy fuels the hardest work and learning. Read more about our culture principles here.

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