Director, New York City Programs – Bard Prison Initiative (BPI)

Bard Prison Initiative
March 11, 2020
New York, NY
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
DJ Cervantes


About BPI:

Formed in 1999 to address the mass incarceration crisis, the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) defies expectations of who college is for and where it might lead. For twenty years, BPI has reimagined and redefined questions of availability, affordability, and expectations typically associated with college in America. One of the most rigorous and effective college-in-prison programs in the country, BPI is now extending its radical intervention in educational inequity outside of prison through the Bard Microcollege. BPI currently enrolls 400 women and men across six New York State prisons and two microcollege campuses. To date, students have earned 550 Bard college degrees.

About the Opportunity:

Over the last twenty years, BPI has established an array of programs in and around New York City. As this community of students, alumni, and staff grows, there is increasing demand for BPI alumni in the workforce and a prime opportunity to meet this demand. With this momentum and the current national movement of investment and activism around criminal justice reform, BPI is building city-based infrastructure to support its work in areas such as housing, parole navigation, wellness, continuing education, professional and career development, and alumni affairs.

In addition, with this demand and momentum, BPI has increasingly complex management needs, requiring deeply seasoned programmatic leadership to bring together all of the disparate pieces of our work and ensuring program team members have the clarity, supports, structures and systems for cross-team collaboration which allow them to be optimized in their work.

The Director of NYC Programs brings the leadership, coherence and systems to support the development of this programmatic team, infrastructure and network. Ultimately, the Director is responsible for making sure that BPI NYC staff have the tools they need to be successful, in order to ensure that: NYC students and alumni are connected to BPI and one another; have resources and support to continue their education, advance their careers, and achieve in ways meaningful to them; and take on leadership roles in a diversity of fields within NYC.

Key Responsibilities & Outcomes:

Team Leadership:

  • Deeply learn BPI’s work on the ground and build relationships with alumni, staff and students, ensuring solutions and initiatives develop from the ground up and center the community
  • Develop the systems and structures across the NYC programmatic verticals to create role clarity and definition, cohesion and cross departmental collaboration, and link individual work to the overall organizational vision and priorities
  • Specifically ensure that all of the program moving parts cohere and that the program team functions as a synchronized team
  • Ensure clear processes for transparent communication and decision making
  • Serve as project lead for establishing a NYC headquarters and office space that is vibrant, welcoming, and useful for BPI alumni

Program Leadership & Partnerships:

  • Build the relationships and structures to create coherence and community among the entire community of staff, alumni and students
  • Collaborate with the BPI leadership team and staff to set and lead BPI strategic priorities
  • Leverage the NYC communities of reentry, social service, and housing providers to create inroads and connections for students and alumni
  • Develop the internal systems of support for program team members to advance the careers, housing, health, and civic lives of alumni
  • Develop a depth of knowledge about BPI’s existing NYC programs and begin to identify areas for development and improvement
  • Build relationships and partnerships with other relevant NYC organizations and allies
  • Collaborate on areas of overlap between BPI’s work with current microcollege students and its work with alumni, most notably in continuing education, career development, and community building


Key Qualifications:

  • Deep belief in and commitment to BPI’s mission of defying expectations of who college is for and where it might lead; as well as the value of a liberal arts education
  • Understanding of the experience and impact of incarceration
  • Significant experience building and leading multi-layered teams is required, with a track record of creating the systems and culture for collaboration
  • Experience mentoring and developing early career team members is preferred
  • Significant experience managing, building, or expanding programs, overseeing multiple program functions, with a preference for specific experience in workforce development
  • Expertise in social service networks and navigation, ideally in NYC, in re-entry, housing, career development, or other relevant services is preferred
  • Exceptional relationship, community, and culture builder
  • Track record building effective partnerships that benefit core constituents or participants
  • Sound decision making and judgment
  • Strong project management and organization practices; ability to manage multiple projects and priorities simultaneously

BPI’s Benefits & Culture:

  • This position is fully benefits-eligible through Bard College. Staff benefits include health insurance with prescription, vision, and dental, as well as employer contributions to a retirement plan.
  • A private institution serving in the public interest, Bard College is committed to critical inquiry, civic engagement, and the expansion of educational access to underserved communities.

How To Apply

To apply, please submit resume and cover letter here.

Comments are closed.