Founded at the University of Michigan Medical School, TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) is among the most innovative and rapidly-growing school-based mental health solutions in the country. After a decade in the academic setting, TRAILS spun out from the University in 2022 and launched as an independent organization with approximately 35 staff. Within a year, our staff size had more than doubled. Today, our growing team is working toward the TRAILS mission of transforming the landscape of youth mental health care delivery by equipping school staff with the training and resources they need to provide evidence-based and culturally responsible programming to their students.
To date, TRAILS has brought essential skills and resources to more than 14,000 teachers, administrators, and school mental health professionals. Our best-in-class program materials are built specifically for the school setting, and our unique training model is driven by research from the field of implementation science. Our website and library of materials are utilized by educators and clinicians across the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. While our impact today is greatest in our home state of Michigan, TRAILS is expanding nationally with strong support from education and health sector leaders, public offices, and state policymakers.
As we work to respond to massive demand for TRAILS programming from schools and districts throughout the United States, our team is guided by a core commitment to equity: The TRAILS growth strategy identifies Title I designated schools as our broadest target population, and we aim specifically to impact students who experience high risk for poor mental health outcomes and disproportionate barriers to quality care. As we grow our team, we seek candidates who share our commitment to equity in health and healthcare access, who practice cultural humility, and who thrive in and contribute to an inclusive working environment.
THE TRAILS 3-TIERED MODEL
TRAILS program offerings align with the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework common within the educational setting. Currently, TRAILS equips school staff to provide three tiers of programming for students:
- Tier 1 Social and Emotional Learning Program: Training for educators and a comprehensive curriculum designed for delivery in the classroom setting to promote mental wellness for all students
- Tier 2 CBT and Mindfulness Program: Training and resources for school mental health professionals that equip them to deliver effective supports for students experiencing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety
- Tier 3 Suicide Prevention and Risk Management Program: Differentiated trainings for the whole school community and resources that promote effective policies and practices for navigating student suicidality
Together, these three tiers enable schools to build a comprehensive system of mental health supports, providing a foundation of self-care and wellness skills for all students, while offering higher intensity interventions and services for students with more significant mental health needs.
The Vice President of Implementation Science is accountable for overseeing the national TRAILS program delivery strategy, fundamentally grounding all aspects of the program operating model in implementation science and modular design, while ensuring both scalability and impact. TRAILS is at a moment of significant, rapid growth and evolution, and the individual in this position will play a major role in establishing a long-term, visionary direction for the TRAILS implementation approach and team that anchors this work in empirically-driven practices for supporting the adoption, implementation, and sustainment of effective mental health practices in partner schools across the United States.
A central responsibility of the individual in this role will be to (a) catalog primary barriers to evidence-based practice (EBP) delivery in schools and (b) establish the set of corresponding implementation strategies that TRAILS offers responsively as these barriers present in partner districts. Common barriers to EBP delivery observed in schools reflect a variety of factors, including individual educator/provider characteristics (e.g., clinical skills) as well as broader contextual factors (e.g., administrator support, logistical and practical challenges). Therefore, success will entail strong communication and collaboration with a number of leaders and staff across the organization, including the TRAILS Clinical Team and Technology Innovations Team.
To promote the success of this innovative and necessarily collaborative work, the Vice President of Implementation will work closely with other senior leaders within the organization, collaborating in areas of program intersectionality and cross-functionality, and generating process improvements. They will serve as the primary leader of a fast-growing department, and provide direct supervision, strategic management, and support to several teams. In particular, the Implementation Team is responsible for cultivating and managing school- and district partnerships, identifying barriers to the adoption / delivery / sustainment of evidence-based mental health practices in partner schools, and deploying appropriate trainings, materials, and implementation supports to overcome these barriers in tandem with the TRAILS clinical team.
Given the central importance at TRAILS of employee satisfaction and wellbeing, cultivation of an optimal work environment through intentional leadership, best-practice management approaches, and stewardship of a safe and inclusive workplace culture and climate will be essential aspects of the role.
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT (60%)
- Lead a process to define the most salient barriers to adoption, implementation, and sustainment of effective mental health practices in schools, consistently utilizing an equity lens and lifting up factors that contribute to disproportionate access to effective mental health care for students
- Remain fluent in the most current implementation science research, and utilize findings and guidelines to define the set of implementation strategies with the most promise for overcoming common barriers and improving the quality and accessibility of effective mental health practices in schools
- Set a visionary agenda and corresponding strategic plan for grounding TRAILS implementation practices in a modular framework, ensuring supports provided to schools are responsive to identified barriers and continuously monitored for impact
- Center equity within the TRAILS implementation approach, ensuring that strategies account for contextual factors that disproportionately impact Title I schools, and ensure that TRAILS supports reflect our organization’s overarching commitments to cultural responsibility, inclusivity, and identified target populations
- In coordination with internal research and evaluation teams at TRAILS, as well as with external partners, design and develop mechanisms that will enable ongoing quality assessment to determine whether implementation strategies provided to schools are appropriately responsive, delivered with fidelity, and effective
TEAM MANAGEMENT (30%)
- Provide strategic direction for assigned teams, ensuring that all team members are familiar with fundamental concepts of implementation science and modularity, and aligned with a mission to anchor TRAILS in these overarching frameworks
- Continuously assess organizational staffing, talent, and performance – particularly within assigned teams – proposing and leading strategies to improve workflow, cross-team collaboration, communication processes, efficiency, and effectiveness
- Provide leadership, management, and coaching to team members and engage in continual process improvement work to consistently achieve deliverables in a high-quality and timely manner
- Provide supervision and mentorship to team members, offering acknowledgement of achievements and helpful constructive criticism and guidance as appropriate, cultivating a pipeline of diverse talent and future leaders at TRAILS
- Engage in regular communication with other senior leadership and actively solicit feedback and input regarding the TRAILS program model and approach; act as a consistent driver of program evolution and growth
ORGANIZATION-WIDE LEADERSHIP (10%)
- As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, steward a culture of cross functional support and collaboration, operate as an unwavering team player for the benefit of the collective staff, and partner with other executive team members to set the vision, direction, and tone for the organization
- Set and foster a workplace culture and climate in which all staff feel safe, valued, respected, and empowered to grow professionally and are motivated to contribute meaningfully to the success of TRAILS and achievement of our organizational goals
- Represent TRAILS at the state and national level, garnering support for our vision and mission, and cultivating our reputation as the best-in-class school mental health organization globally
- Collaborate with the TRAILS Executive Leadership Team in refining and executing the organizational strategic plan, ensuring the achievement of equity-driven social impact outcomes consistent with the mission of TRAILS and in service of TRAILS-identified target populations
- Contribute to the planning and delivery of Executive Leadership Team and all staff meetings, retreats, workgroups, and other TRAILS meetings as appropriate
- Support the TRAILS team with all-hands-on-deck events as needed and other team initiatives
Our experience suggests that the following types of professional experiences lend themselves to this work:
- 10+ years of leadership experience in the following fields: K-12 Education, Mental Health, or similar public health systems
- 10+ years of experience leading large teams
- Demonstrated interest in or commitment to youth health or wellness, public health, education, social justice, equity and community empowerment, economic mobility, or other similar / aligned area of focus
- Demonstrated ability to successfully oversee large, complex implementation projects using an implementation science framework
- Proven experience building scalable structures, processes, and systems for a large organization
- Proficient in leading, attracting, hiring, retaining and developing high-performing teams and individuals
- Organizational change management: A visionary who has led through growth, with the vision and leadership skills needed to guide other leaders, balancing direction and compassion
- Willingness to work flexible hours to accommodate business hours in all US time zones as necessary
- Willingness to travel ~4-6 times per year
- School system experience preferred
- Non-profit experience preferred
Our experience suggests that the following types of skills lend themselves well to this work:
- Strong analytical skills and experience with the use of metrics to drive decisions and achieve strategic objectives
- Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to inspire trust, organize people into teams, and motivate team members to work well together
- Dynamic public speaker possessing the ability to communicate with and gain the confidence of people from a variety of sectors and settings
- Strong organizational and time management skills
- Strong project and program management skills
- Ability to strategize and problem solve
Our experience suggests the following certifications and degree(s) lend themselves well to this work:
- Degree in Public Health, Educational Leadership, Social Work, Psychology, or related field; or relevant experience translating implementation science into practice strongly preferred.
- Applicable experience and competencies may be considered in lieu of formal education.
The salary range for this role is $197,100-$219,000.
TRAILS offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and vision as well as a 403B with a safe harbor match and short and long term disability. We offer a generous holiday and paid time off package.
OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Addressing inequities in access to evidence-based mental health care is intrinsic to the TRAILS mission. The intentionality behind this approach is woven into everything we do at TRAILS, resulting in a staff-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all facets of our program. If this commitment is something to which you could positively contribute, we encourage you to apply, particularly if your voice represents a historically excluded perspective.
TRAILS, a project of Tides Center, is an “at-will” and equal opportunity employer. Applicants and employees shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy and gender expression) identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.
APPLICATION QUESTIONS & NOTES
- Our job descriptions reflect TRAILS’ assignment of essential functions and qualifications of the role. Nothing herein restricts management's right to assign, reassign or eliminate duties and responsibilities to this role at any time.
- We can only consider applicants who are legally authorized to work in the United States.
- Please note that all TRAILS employees are required to undergo a background check as performed by our fiscal sponsor, Tides Center. Findings do not automatically exclude candidates from the hiring process, but will be taken into consideration.