Colorado: James Walton Fund Is Looking for an Education Director
It seems that Walton grandson, James, is trying to spread the Walton Family Foundation vision for corporate ed reform via Montessori schools in Colorado.
Apparently the older Waltons are positioning James to operate his own “fund” in Colorado, temporarily named the James Walton Fund, with the purpose of proliferating the Walton vision of what Montessori schools should be. (Given the Walton penchant for expanding charter schools under the umbrella of test-centric education– and for the Walton affinity for drive-thru “education” organizations like Teach for America and Relay Graduate School of Education– it stands to reason that the Walton goal for Colorado’s Montessori is to process and expand it while melding it with test-score-driven reform.)
As such, the Walton Family Foundation is advertising for an education director to run the James Walton Fund. The following is the complete job advertisement as posted in the September 28, 2016, Chronicle of Philanthropy (note that the same ad appears in Joining Vision and Action and ColoradoNonprofits.org):
Education Director, James Walton Fund (Name TBD) of the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation
Posted: September 28, 2016
Location: Colorado, United States
Field: Advocacy, Education, Other fields, Research
Salary: Not specified
Application Deadline: Open until filled
Category: Other administrative
Employment Level: Full-time
About the Walton Family Foundation and James Walton
Sam and Helen Walton had an unshakeable belief in the power of people to transform their lives. As Sam said, there is no limit to what individuals can accomplish if “given the opportunity, the encouragement and the incentive to do their best.” Today, that “no limits” philosophy is carried forward by their descendants through the Walton Family Foundation. Learn more about the foundation at http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/who-we-are
One of the foundation’s three program areas is K-12 education, with this ambitious goal: improve K-12 outcomes for all students, especially those of limited means, by ensuring access to high-quality educational choices that prepare them for a lifetime of opportunity.
This goal has been embraced by Sam and Helen’s grandson, James Walton.
As an engineering undergraduate at Colorado School of Mines, James regularly volunteered with local schools, working directly with students. One day, he walked into a Montessori charter school that had been a previous WFF grant recipient. Observing a group of children independently engaged in learning within a structured environment, it occurred to him:
- This seems to be a unique and important way of helping children succeed
- Why is this school model wildly underrepresented within the public school system?
Since that moment, James has devoted his time and his investments to better understanding child-centered approaches. He has worked on the ground as a Montessori high school apprentice and dedicated observer. He started a Montessori teacher-training center. His grants have expanded beyond Montessori to organizations and research that serve students in a holistic way and support diverse school options.
The result? A long-term vision: That all students have viable access to a healthy variety of instructional models, each with an intentional and aligned approach to meeting the unique academic, cognitive and developmental needs of its students.
The opportunity: As education director of this fund, you can join James in the realization of this vision and make a significant difference in the lives of all children.
The Walton Family Foundation is seeking an education director for the James Walton Fund. The fund’s education director will help to build this new fund/program focused on advancing cutting-edge systems and instructional models in the public school environment that increase parents’ ability to choose schools that include all effective instructional models, particularly non-traditional models such as Montessori.
Ultimately, the goal of this work is to build an evidence base and a network that is integrated into the larger Walton Family Foundation K-12 education work within the next three years. The fund’s education director will work closely with the foundation’s education staff to coordinate, share learnings and adjust accordingly.
- Refine and operationalize a newly developed strategic plan created to reflect the vision and priorities of James Walton in improving educational choice and quality, and increasing the diversity of instructional models
- Develop a brand identity for the fund/program that is consistent with James Walton’s vision, values, priorities and philosophy
- Develop local and national presence for the program that reflects the brand identity within the education reform community and particularly the Montessori community. Serve as champion and spokesperson for the fund/program
- Develop partnerships with key stakeholders and reach out to key decision-makers within the education reform movement and particularly the Montessori community to build a cohesive community of actors working together toward a shared set of objectives and metrics for success
- Build systems to reward collaborative engagement among branches of the program
- Oversee grant-making, including due diligence on organizations, their leadership and capacity to carry out programs; defining grant terms and expectations; obtaining agreement on reasonable outputs and outcomes, including how they will be measured and reported; reviewing budgets for appropriate expenditures; conducting site visits; reviewing reports; and ensuring timely payments
- Identify opportunities to secure additional funding to help grantees fulfill their mission
- Develop job descriptions, hire and manage an initial staff of four to oversee critical areas of the fund’s work
- Facilitate ongoing internal communications and professional development of staff within the fund
- Coordinate and collaborate with the Walton Family Foundation’s K-12 education staff to ensure mutual learning and added benefits, and avoid duplication or competition of efforts
- Construct measures of success for the fund, the staff, the programs and the mission; track and report progress on those measures
- Manage the operational budget for the fund
Qualifications Sought Personal strengths and characteristics
- Relationship builder. Must have the ability to manage change by building a network of actors and motivating them toward common goals.
- Strategic thinker who has the ability to articulate a big vision and influence people to join a movement
- Innovative and creative thinker
- Extraordinary relationship and network building talents
- High energy individual who is secure and confident in self and in decision-making
- Interest in learning and teaching others; someone who can be both a mentor and a student
- Sense of humor
Values and beliefs
- Strong belief in opportunity and equity for all children
- Passion for, and commitment to, the Walton Family Foundation mission
- Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity
Skills and professional experience
- Ten to 15 years of experience in K-12 education reform (in school, district or other settings) or in education systems; work with diverse instructional models a strong plus
- Demonstrated experience with the interaction of research, policy advocacy, community engagement and systems building in community and social change
- Significant track record of partnership and network development
- Exceptional oral and written communications skills, especially public speaking
- Ability to listen and respond well to feedback
- Ability to influence without formal authority
- Experience in understanding and managing power dynamics
- Experience in managing up, down and laterally
- Financial and financing expertise
- Bachelor’s degree or higher
- Experience working with grant-making institutions
- Political experience a plus
- Compensation: The Walton Family Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a salary that is commensurate with experience.
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- Work environment: The office will be located in a co-working space in Denver’s RiNo district, which will house other Walton Family Foundation staff who are located in Denver.
- Reporting relationships: The James Walton Fund education director will report to the director, Individually Directed Program of the Walton Family Foundation, with a dotted line relationship to James Walton.
- EEO Policy: WFF is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive employment consideration without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, status of protected veteran, among other things, or status as a qualified individual with a disability.
Applications should be submitted online. Here are the steps:
- First, get your cover letter Write a cover letter that tells us why you’re interested in this position. Address each point in the Qualifications Sought section. List the name and contact information for three professional references who can give us more insight into how you are a great fit for this position.
- Get your resume
- Identify a brief, relevant writing sample.
- Fill out our short online application, and upload your cover letter, resume and writing sample.https://form.jotform.com/62644328831963
- Click on the “SUBMIT” button.
Questions? Please leave us a confidential message at 720.407.8373. We will call you back within 24 hours.
Become the James Walton Fund education director, and you get to help another Walton impose his privileged vision upon education, this time, Montessori– and scale it, to boot.
But where has James Walton been all of this time?
It almost appears that James Walton has come out of nowhere. Not quite. James Walton has been in Colorado circa 2008. And that “one day” that James Walton “walked into a Montessori charter school” has been several years ago for James, who is now in his late 20s.
But the press on his Colorado-Montessori involvements has been largely nonexistent until now.
Very little is available on the web regarding James McNabb Walton, son of Jim Walton. Furthermore, what is available appears to omit James. For example, this Forbes bio on Jim Walton indicates that he has four children. This Celeb Family bio also mentions James in one place but then lists three children by name. This NNDB bio also only mentions three of Jim Walton’s children by name. James is omitted.
There appears to be a reason for that. It seems that James Walton found himself on the wrong side of the law during his time as a student at Virginia Tech. The following is from an October 2011 discussion thread regarding James’ aunt, Alice Walton’s, 2011 DUI:
This is not the only Walton that seems to have an alcohol problem and knack for staying out of jail. James [McNabb] Walton (grandson of the Walton clan) was arrested and charged with misdemeanor DUI and felony hit-and-run in February of 2008 in Blacksburg, VA. Mr. Walton was underaged at the time, and had just flown into the Virginia Tech campus on a private plane after a hunting trip in TX. The incident occurred at 4:45pm on a Monday afternoon, when Walton slammed into the driver’s side door of an attended vehicle and then fled the scene. The felony charge was ultimately not upheld (thanks to the joke of a Commonwealth’s Attorney in Montgomery County), and Mr. Walton was allowed to quietly withdraw from the university. During one court appearance (at which his mother, father and siblings were in attendance), he admitted to the court that he was attending AA meetings in Denver CO, though still drinking socially; it was at this hearing that the felony charge was effectively dropped pending a 1-year probationary period.
While this incident wasn’t highly publicized, I can provide all of these details because I was the victim of Mr. Walton’s crime. I was also the victim of egregious harassment by the sleazy attorney, Chris Tuck (Blacksburg, VA), whom Mr. Walton’s parents quickly retained to resolve the incident. Mr. Tuck not only made unsolicited, surprise visits to my residence, but continued to call my phone after I had expressly asked not to be contacted.
DWI/DUI may generate state funds, but these laws are critical and should be enforced to protect the safety of other citizens.
I sincerely hope that the Waltons will invest a few of their billions to get help and/or cages for their reckless and careless family members.
Posted by emmyallyn on October 14, 2011
Following his exit from Virginia Tech, James Walton attended Colorado School of Mines.
That’s how James Walton ended up in Colorado.
Watch out, Colorado Montessori educators. If you take the Walton cash, you’ll have to bend to the Walton will.