Meet Jordan Huller, Operations Manager at Exceed Charter School
Tell me a little about yourself:
I’m from Monterey, California. I went to the University of California, Davis, where I studied Developmental Psychology and Linguistics. After graduating, I joined Teach for America and taught for two years in Philadelphia. I taught Kindergarten and 4th Grade.
How did you discover Explore Schools?
After my two years teaching, I decided to move to New York. I was searching for operations roles in charter networks, and luckily, one of my best friends from Teach for America had come across Explore Schools and suggested that I apply. I was excited to move to New York to become one of the founding members of Exceed.
Why did you decide to leave teaching for an operations role?
For me, teaching was great. It was transformative and certainly a special experience for me. I knew I wanted to remain in the realm of education and hoped to transition to non-profit management. When I was teaching, I was working in a traditional district school. I knew that the role I wanted didn’t exist in a regular district school –but it did in a charter school. There are lots of different ways to support the mission without being in the classroom. For me, Exceed was a logical step.
Tell us about your day-to-day at Exceed:
When I joined Exceed, I was a Pupil Accounting Associate. Because we were a brand new school, the mentality was all hands on deck, all the time. There was an atmosphere of wearing many hats to help develop and roll out processes for enrollment, recruitment, and more. I would handle the onboarding for new students, organize our data, and help out with IT. Because we were a new school, I made it a priority to create a strong flow of communication with families. In my second year, the Operations Manager position became available, and I was able to step into that role.
Now I manage some of our HR processes, benefits, and collaborate closely with the accounting team. I create systems for data tracking and serve as a liaison to the PTA. I feel very passionately about that work and we do so much outside the building. To me, to galvanize our community is of equal importance to what happens in the school.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of being on the operations team is that you get to have a job that really makes you a professional. In a school, you get to be the author of many different procedures, you get to shape things and be part of the improvement. It helps you develop so many skills that you’d get in a corporate environment, but you get to do it in such close proximity to the thing you’re working for. You see the kids come and leave school every day. It makes it feel real and it validates the work. It lets you be so close to the mission and the goal, and it allows you to engage with that so often that I really feel part of the students’ experience here.
Describe your relationship with the leadership team:
I also can’t say enough about our leadership team. They’re just incredible people. There is a lot of cross supervision in such a great way. I get great feedback and thoughtful supervision that I wouldn’t find in many other places. From them, I’ve learned how important intentionality is. You learn that you DO have to sweat the small stuff because the smallest things can make such a big difference.
What should future Explore Schools staff members know?
Our organization is good for someone who likes to be busy and who is a strong multi-tasker. You also need to be flexible. Working in a school requires that you always be attentive, and you need to recognize moments when you need to jump in and help your teammate. Humility is also crucial. You’ll make mistakes, but someone who can own them, remedy them thoughtfully, is going to be effective – and it will be someone who other people want to work with. Lastly, it’s hard work, so you have to love it and believe in it!
Tell us about a moment that brightened your day in the last year:
Last spring, I was doing canvassing to recruit kindergartners for our lottery. I was by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum handing out swag bags to families that walked by. It was an experience I had never had before. A mother and her son came by and I gave them an application. I saw them a month later for an info session, and now that student goes here now! When he remembered me on his first day of kindergarten, it really showed me how deep the relationship each one of our staff members have with the school.
When you’re not at work…
I live in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. My apartment is a 12 minute walk from school. I like to travel – Barcelona’s been my favorite city so far but my upcoming trip to Capetown might be the best yet!
What is your most memorable experience from when you were in school?
I was Sandy the dog in the “Annie” musical in middle school. That was a big moment for me!