Chief Operations Officer

School on Wheels is a nonprofit organization with hundreds of volunteers who give their time, talents, and support to the educational needs of unhoused children. School on Wheels aims to enhance educational opportunities for children — kindergarten through twelfth grade without a home. Our mission since 1993 has been to shrink educational gaps and provide students with the highest quality education possible.

Since 1993, we have

  • Provided mentoring and tutoring for more than 50,000 students.
  • Reached six counties in Southern California.
  • Partnered with 400+ sites, including shelters, school districts, and after-school programs.
  • Supplying approximately 5,000 students with school supplies yearly.

School on Wheels is an Equal Opportunity Employer encouraging inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director, this position is responsible for overseeing and ensuring the effective financial, operational, program, and regional activities of School on Wheels (SOW). This includes management of the regional teams, Skid Row Learning Center, coordinating with the Leadership Team in program development and fund development, overseeing financial management,  human resources, and all office administration.

Major Responsibilities

As a member of the Leadership Team, provide input to the Executive Director in the development of SOW’s strategic plans, policies and budgets.

Leadership Team

  • Work with Executive Director to ensure the organization’s ability to successfully fulfill its mission into the future.
  • Interact with and guide functional leadership team to achieve SOW’s strategic plan and goals.
  • Work with Leadership Team to build and lead staff to strengthen and support School on Wheels’ programmatic, financial, funding, and operational goals.
  • Act as Executive Director in their absence, with assistance from the Executive Advisor.

Regional Management

  • Work with the Executive Director and Director, Students and Volunteers to manage all regional teams geographically assigned in six counties in Southern California.
  • Establish annual goals and objectives based on the strategic plan: set the tone and motivation to achieve those goals, evaluate results and performance and hold teams accountable for those achievements.
  • Manage Director, Students and Volunteers overseeing all SOW regional, volunteer and student coordinators.
  • Oversee and ensure the Skid Row Learning Center (SRLC) remains a vibrant learning environment and facility suitable for foundation and funder site visits.
  • Work closely with leadership team to strategically plan and facilitate engaging and informative site visits for individuals, corporations, and foundations.
  • Ensure the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the learning center facility, prioritizing its upkeep to create a welcoming and functional environment for all stakeholders.

Financial Management & Administration

  • Coordinate with Executive Advisor to manage budgeting and financial reporting, compile the organization functional budget, employ strategies to safeguard assets, and ensure appropriate cash flow.
  • Analyze and oversee monthly financial reports (P&L; Balance Sheet; Operating Expense; Revenue/Donor) for Board distribution.
  • Maintain accurate records of School on Wheels’ operating expenses and income and review monthly budget variance reports.
  • Oversee bookkeeper’s role in managing payroll, accounts payables, and receivables.
  • Work with accountant/auditor to generate year-end financial statement and tax returns.
  • Oversee general operations/administration activities to ensure efficiency and economy, including facilities and equipment maintenance, purchasing, material donations, telecommunications, technology, office systems.

Fund Development

  • Work with the Executive Advisor, Chief Development Officer, and Grants Manager to ensure adequate funding is in place to meet School on Wheels’ mission, programs, and organizational goals.
  • Coordinate with Executive Advisor, Grants Manager, and Grant Writer to identify and prepare foundation grant applications, reports, and budgets.

Program Management

  • Work with Program staff to ensure the development, implementation and evaluation of programs and plans that reflect organizational and program priorities.
  • Coordinate with Program staff to ensure programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent program quality.

People Management

  • In coordination with the Executive Director and Leadership Team, promote a culture that reflects School on Wheels’ values and create a positive work environment designed to attract, retain, and motivate a diverse, talented staff.
  • Coordinate with Executive Advisor to update and improve the Career Path Program to encourage continuous learning and development.
  • Manage and enhance the human resources function.
  • Establish credibility throughout the organization as an effective listener and problem solver of people issues.


  • Strong belief in the mission and culture of School on Wheels. Interest in working for a mission-driven nonprofit organization and exemplifying SOW’s values, integrity and ethics.
  • Significant operational experience in evaluating, developing and implementing organizational policies, systems and structures in a nonprofit environment.
  • Superb business acumen and sound understanding of business strategies, financial planning, analysis and budgeting.
  • Successful track record in staff development, coaching and mentoring. Ability to inspire teams and work effectively with people of all levels in the organization.
  • Accustomed to prioritizing, executing, and achieving results in lean environments; always ready to engage and lend a hand where needed.
  • Working with at-risk children and people experiencing homelessness a huge plus.
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) skills a definite advantage.

Approximately seven to ten years of increasing responsibility in business, operational, financial, and management experience in the nonprofit sector.