November 13, 2015 | by Dawn Hicks

A Day In The Life of a Chief Program Officer


Want to know what a typical day looks like for Chief Program Officer? We asked Dawn Hicks to tell us a little more about what her daily schedules looks like now that the new school year has started. Here's what Dawn had to share:

7:45am:  I usually begin each day by checking my email, reviewing my calendar and schedule, and making any final preparations for meetings that I have to lead that day. Many days include interactions with a variety of stakeholders across the city and it’s important to make sure I have a clear picture of what lies ahead!

9:00am:  It’s time to lead the Directors and Officers (D & O) meeting. Our D & O is the leadership team of the organization and meets regularly to share updates on the various aspects of Umoja’s work and provide input for decisions.  

10:30am:  I’m on a conference call with our Director of Curriculum and Instruction and an Assistant Superintendent from a school district. We are discussing potential professional development opportunities for Umoja to provide to teachers in the district. They are interested in learning more about restorative practices and ways to improve school culture. They have seen Umoja’s work in other settings and are excited to discuss possibilities!

11:00am:  It’s time to head to a meeting with a nonprofit organization new to Chicago that’s supporting students as they transition to college. At Umoja, it is important for us to maintain strong relationships with other community partners so we can work together towards the common goal of postsecondary success. We discuss ways we could to collaborate now and in the future.

12:30pm:  I’m headed to Collins Academy High School in North Lawndale, one of our new school partners this year, where we are providing programming in SEL/Seminar and Restorative Justice (RJ).  While I am there, I meet with our RJ Specialist and and observe and participate in a meeting with a classroom teacher. The teacher is working on strengthening the relationships with students in her classroom. We brainstorm ways to build relationships, as well as ways to introduce Peace Circles in the classroom.  I finish the visit by joining a meeting with the principal, who is developing a plan for creating a strong culture and climate school-wide.

2:30pm:  It’s time to head back to the office for supervision with two of our directors.  We value supervision at Umoja and schedule supervision meetings weekly to celebrate growth and success, use each other as thought partners around challenges, and reflect on leadership development.

4:45pm:  I end my day by checking my task list and schedule for the following day. I’m off to two more new schools tomorrow – lots to see with five new school partners this year!