Ascend Charter Schools

  • Director of Real Estate

    Career Area
    Ascend Network
    Ascend Learning
    Start Date
  • Overview

    Ascend Public Charter Schools equip every student with the knowledge, confidence, and character to succeed in college and beyond. Founded in 2007, Ascend comprises 12 schools in the central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Cypress Hills, and educates 4,800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, with plans to open six additional schools by school year 2022-23. By school year 2024-25, Ascend’s student enrollment will have doubled. Ascend is committed to operating truly public schools that enroll all students, fill every vacated seat through grade 9, and operate at current public spending levels. Its established schools have begun to not only close, but reverse longstanding racial and economic achievement gaps.


    By offering a rich liberal arts education in a warm and supportive environment, Ascend teachers animate children’s natural sense of curiosity and prepare students to think on their own, thrive on their own, and engage the world as informed, responsible citizens.


    Ascend’s ambitious curriculum and inquiry-based pedagogy fosters independence of thought and intellectual confidence; its innovative positive discipline model, based on Responsive Classroom and restorative practices, builds student agency and social and emotional competencies.




    The Director of Real Estate is responsible for the selection and development of facilities for Ascend Learning’s schools. This includes identifying potential sites, negotiating purchase contracts or leases with owners and securing and structuring the financing of acquisitions and construction. Ascend and its schools currently lease more than 500,000 square feet and anticipate occupying another 500,000 square feet over the next five years.. The Director shall report to the President of Ascend Learning and participate as a key member of Ascend’s Real Estate and Facilities team. The Director manages the relationships with Ascend’s attorneys, lenders, brokers, and developers.


    This is an ideal opportunity for an entrepreneurial, experienced leader with deep expertise in real estate acquisition and development to play an instrumental role in driving the growth of one of the highest performing Charter Management Organizations in Brooklyn.


    Responsibilities of the Director of Real Estate include, but are not limited to:


    • Manage real estate brokers and coordinate with area developers to identify and qualify potential sites for school facilities 
    • Analyze zoning, tax consideration, and other site-selection factors; together with the planning team, evaluate community demographics and demand for new schools
    • Make recommendations on ultimate site selection

    Lease Negotiations and Acquisitions

    • Devise real estate development structures, serving as the principal negotiator of leases, purchase agreements, and related real estate contracts, while partnering with outside counsel and the finance team
    • Serve as the principal point person during the negotiation phase with internal and external stakeholders and legal teams
    • Draft and revise term sheets, review final deal documents
    • Prepare transaction summaries for board of trustees and other key stakeholders, and present to school trustees for approval


    • Identify potential lenders and manage the relationship with existing lenders, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
    • Develop financial modeling for new projects
    • Together with the finance team, help to secure affordable financing packages for facilities acquisition and development through existing and new networks of lenders, taking advantage of all financial products available 
    • Partner with the finance team to ensure the financial feasibility of facility projects 


    The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

    • At least five years of experience, with expertise in real estate siting, leasing and acquisition, and financing 
    • Alignment with the education philosophy and core beliefs of Ascend Learning
    • Extensive experience in structuring, negotiating, and closing real estate transactions, whether as a tenant or developer 
    • Agile and skilled negotiating abilities, as well as the ability to inspire trust 
    • Creative and relentless pursuit of solutions to seemingly intractable obstacles to structuring and completing transactions
    • Financial expertise in a variety of debt transactions, such as CDFI loans, tax-exempt bonds, and New Markets Tax Credits; familiarity with a wide range of financial and non-financial deal features
    • A commitment to transparency in all dealings, exacting ethical standards, and a sensitivity to the level of scrutiny to which Ascend and its schools are subject, as recipients of public funds 
    • Superb organizational and self-management skills with an ability to juggle multiple responsibilities and plan and execute effectively; a goal-oriented and effective problem-solver 
    • A self-aware leadership style with respect for all members of Ascend’s community and its real estate development partners
    • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred



    Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
    Share on your newsfeed

    Not ready to apply?

    Join a talent pool and let us know your interests.