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REAL School Gardens creates learning gardens that grow successful students. We work with a school community to build a rich outdoor learning environment in just one day, and then guide teachers through the outdoor lessons and teaching techniques that make their learning garden as important to academic success as a library or a computer lab. To date, our organization has reached more than 100 schools, 4,000 educators and 100,000 students.

Each staff member contributes to an inclusive work environment by valuing other people regardless of differences and takes an active role in promoting practices that support diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence.  Our work is guided by our core values, qualities we seek in new team members.

Also, we're always looking for volunteers. To volunteer in our Fort Worth, TX or Washington D.C. offices, please contact

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Director of Finance 

Location: Washington, DC 

Reports to: Title Chief Executive Officer 

FLSA Status: Exempt

Job Type: Full Time, Regular Staff Position 

About REAL School Gardens 

REAL School Gardens creates learning gardens that grow successful students.  To achieve this, we do two things -- build learning gardens in low-income schools, and train teachers everywhere to use gardens for academic instruction.  We have recently launched an aggressive, 5-year growth strategy and are expanding our impact in Texas, the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas Region, and additional new regions and markets.

Position Overview

REAL School Gardens’ Director of Finance will be a key member of our leadership, working closely with a talented team working every day to improve educational opportunities for children in low-income elementary schools across the country. We are seeking someone with an entrepreneurial drive to partner with the CEO and team to continue to build a rapidly growing organization. This is a great role for a mission-focused individual to utilize their financial and operational leadership talents to make a real impact.

The Director of Finance reports to the CEO and is the key executive responsible for the management and oversight of finance, accounting, and key areas of operations (IT, facilities, compliance, legal, etc.). The successful candidate will have a proven record in Finance and experience with public and philanthropic funds. She/he will have excellent interpersonal skills, a strong customer service focus, and a team-focused approach with the ability to influence outcomes across a range of functions. 

The Director of Finance works in close collaboration with the Board of Directors, VP of Regional Operations & Impact, regional offices, and departmental teams to develop a robust financial plan that drives business planning, fundraising, decision-making, cost management, and growth. She/he also works closely with internal stakeholders to shape and lead the organization’s facilities, operations, and technology functions. 


The Director of Finance will have a variety of responsibilities in the areas of finance, business operations, and growth. Key responsibilities are highlighted below:


  • Manage team of outside vendors and consultants to effectively support the day-to-day financial systems, planning, & analysis for a growing organization;
  • Lead annual budget planning and monthly forecast process with emphasis on consolidated analysis; works with each region to understand key variances, risks, and opportunities and drive analytical support;
  • Prepare monthly and quarterly reporting packages for senior management, Finance Committee, and Board of Directors;
  • Work with financial teams and operations to develop tools to improve reporting and analytics for revenue and key expense items, financial statements, and key metrics;
  • Support creation of board and senior management presentations providing an overview of the company’s quarterly results and updates to the financial budget;
  • Develop new budgets and provide financial support for revenue team;
  • Provide financial analysis and modeling support for various ad hoc analyses;
  • Coordinate timely payment of vendors and employees with adherence to government regulations and internal policies;
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state, and local law requirements for all accounting and financial reports;
  • Ensure internal controls and financial governance of the organization;
  • Safeguard the assets of REAL School Gardens.

  • Operations (HR, IT, etc.)

    • Work closely with the VP, Regional Operations and Impact to shape and implement sound, strategic operational plans;
    • Negotiate and approve contracts, agreements, and leases; manage relationships and compliance for the organization; develop processes and systems across the organization;
    • Oversee facilities across the organization;
    • Ensure national, state, and local compliance for operations is met;
    • Manage procurement of goods and services across the organization, identifying areas of cost savings and efficiencies;
    • Work with administrative staff across the organization to ensure consistency of administrative processes and create greater efficiencies;
    • Work with outside vendors to manage HR administration and insurance;
    • Manage compensation, benefits, and HR compliance;
    • Manage IT vendors and implements technology solutions and training that improves workflow and productivity, and drives efficiencies and growth;
    • Track and pursue necessary business licenses, sales tax exemptions, fundraising and other registrations.

    • Growth 

      • Maintain financial model and prepare financial analysis related to growth and business opportunities;
      • Serve are a key member of the revenue team
      • Join pitches and donor discussions as needed
      • Provide timely, accurate financial reports to donors

      • Qualifications 

        To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

        • Proven record overseeing the financial management of an organization;
        • Strong analytical, problem solving, project management and financial skills;
        • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate at all levels;
        • Ability to learn quickly, multi-task, and work in an environment of growth;
        • Exceptional attention to detail and highly organized;
        • Strong computer/systems experience including planning and forecasting tools, financial software, databases, and spreadsheets;
        • Proficiency in QuickBooks and Microsoft Office Suite.
        • Ability to solve problems and consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment;
        • Ability to think strategically, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan;
        • Ability to develop strong, simple, transparent systems and processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly;
        • Balance use of analysis and input gathering with a bias to action; ability to multi-task and manage multiple projects simultaneously, on time and on budget;
        • Experience in contract review, negotiations, and compliance.

        • Education and Experience

          Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Business or related field or equivalent experience;8+ years of relevant and proven work experience managing the finances and accounting of an organization (nonprofit experience is a plus)

          Physical Demands 

          The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

          Ability to work after hours and on weekends as needed.

          Work Environment 

          The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Normal demands associated with a deadline-driven office environment. The noise level is generally moderate. REAL School Gardens has an open office environment. Daily contact with external customers, vendors, colleagues, associates, supervisors, and staff at all levels of the organization.


          This position requires limited travel.


          REAL School Gardens has retained the executive search firm LeaderFit to lead this search.  Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter here.


        Position Title: Regional Executive Director, Texas

        Reports to Title: VP of Regional Operations & Impact
        FLSA Status:Exempt
        Job Type:Full Time, Regular Staff Position

        REAL School Gardens, an innovative nonprofit organization committed to growing successful students in low-income schools, is seeking a Regional Executive Director. This strategic, passionate and thoughtful leader will be responsible for the guidance and direction of an existing team, setting a strategic growth plan, ensuring sustainability, stewarding key stakeholders, ensuring successful program outcomes and expanding the organization’s impact in multiple markets in Texas. This key position reports directly to the Vice President, Regional Operations and Impact. 

        Duties and Responsibilities: 

        The Regional Executive Director will have a variety of responsibilities, including but not limited to: 

        • Lead the organization’s growth strategy, identifying new markets, anchor partners and early investors. 

        • Lead annual planning in the region, including development and oversight of the regional budget. 

        • Lead the region’s program and fundraising efforts, ultimately building thriving teams in multiple cities in the region. 

        • Lead the region’s finance, operations and HR functions. 

        • Identify and recruit new school district partners throughout the region, and renew existing partners. 

        • Ensure compliance with all contracts, memoranda of understanding, and agreements. 

        • In collaboration with the VP, Regional Operations and Impact, , the Director of Training and Curriculum Development and regional team, ensure that programs meet the highest quality standards in program design, implementation, customer service and management. 

        • Serve as a thought leader, spokesperson and driver of strategic partnerships in experiential learning. 

        • Manage and motivate staff to achieve their objectives by providing necessary resources, professional development, performance management, and a positive work environment that supports excellence, cultural competency and mutual respect. 

        • Identify, build, engage and lead members of the regional advisory board to leverage their talents and energy across relevant aspects of the organization. 

        • Maintain and elevate organizations brand and reputation in the region among public, private and nonprofit stakeholder groups. 

        • A track record of successfully raising funds for an organization or cause. 

        • Innovative and entrepreneurial background. 

        • A proven ability to move initiatives forward, identify opportunities, take reasonable risks, manage challenges, and achieve desired results. 

        • A strategic thinker and visionary with experience operationalizing a vision into a realistic work plan. 

        • A skilled leader with ability to motivate, coach, and develop an experienced staff and board. 

        • Superb strategic communication skills and the proven ability to empower a diverse set of key stakeholders. 

        • Positive, optimistic, and energetic personality. 

        • Confident and inclusive leadership style. 

        • A sense of humor and perspective. 

        • Advanced computer skills and expertise in Microsoft Office (Word; Excel; Power Point; Outlook) and Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge (preferred). 

        • Ability to travel within the region, estimated 30% of the time. 

        • Ability to work after hours and on weekends as needed. 


        Bachelor’s degree required. Five or more years of leading program delivery and/or development for a nonprofit organization. 

        No agency or third party candidates will be considered for this position. No phone calls please. 

        To apply for this position only, please submit a cover letter and resume, including your salary history, in a Word or PDF format to