Position Description

Position Description

San Diego Center for Children

(San Diego, CA)

Title: President & CEO

View Position Brochure Here


The San Diego Center for Children (the Center) has cared for children and strengthened families since its establishment in 1887 and is one of San Diego’s most trusted leaders in the provision of comprehensive services for children struggling with mental, emotional, and/or behavioral disorders and their families. With twelve programs and seven sites anchored by a 12-acre main campus (which houses our residential, hospital diversion, and therapeutic school programs), the Center serves over 1,000 at-risk and underserved individuals every day.

Over the past four years, the Center has developed the most comprehensive continuum of pediatric mental health and education services in the County. The Center provides life-changing support for both youth and their families, including integrated care in pediatrics, outpatient and in-school services, wraparound in-home support, intensive clinical services, a therapeutic school, and residential treatment. The Center has also significantly improved access to care by establishing contracts for most services with Managed Care MediCal and Commercial Insurance companies, in addition to the County of San Diego and all school districts in the region. This comprehensive and diversified approach represents an innovative way to bring much-needed services to more families and children in need. The Center’s Theory of Change, which drives each of its programs, focuses on the prevention and early identification of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders—followed by timely and accessible clinical, educational, and family-centered interventions wherein families feel empowered and children reach their full potential.

The Center’s current operating budget is approximately $29 million with a dedicated staff of over 350 Full Time and 69 part time employees. To learn more about the Center, please visit www.centerforchildren.org.


The President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) serves as chief executive of the Center and, in partnership with the Board, is responsible for the success of the Center. Together, the Board, and President & CEO ensure the Center’s clients and families receive the best care and are treated with respect and dignity. The President & CEO is the face of the Center to the community promoting its mission, vision and values to all its constituents: clients, families, donors, sponsors, media and partners. The Board delegates responsibility for management and day-to-day operations to the President & CEO, and the President & CEO has the authority and obligation to carry out these responsibilities, following the Center's by-laws and policies. The President & CEO keeps the Board informed of related industry trends that may impact its decisions as well as guides to ensure it effectively carries out its governance functions. Specific duties include but are not limited to:

I. Board Relations:

  • Represents the organization at the Board of Directors’ meetings
  • Provides information and reports about all operations as determined by the Board
  • Seeks and provides advice and direction in conjunction with the Board
  • Carries out directives of the Board and communicates appropriate information to staff
  • Serves as a member of the Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees and related committees

II. Financial:

  • Monitors, manages and evaluates the fiscal performance of the organization to assure quality service within projected expenditures
  • Develops the annual capital and operating budget for the organization and monitors the receipts and expenditures with the Board
  • Supervises the business affairs of the organization to assure that its funds are expended to the best advantage possible
  • Represents the organization in business negotiations; enters into business agreements/contracts on behalf of the organization

III. Planning:

  • In conjunction with the Board of Directors, Senior Staff and Directors, develops, implements, assesses and communicates strategic plans, including short-, medium-and long-range goals for the organization to ensure that community and organizational needs are being met
  • Develops and monitors annual operations plans
  • Plans and directs all investigations and negotiations of mergers, joint ventures, the acquisition of businesses, or the sale of major assets with the approval of the Board of Directors

IV. Community Affairs:

  • Serves as liaison between the organization and the community, with charitable and other organizations, legislative bodies, and regulatory agencies
  • Promotes a positive organizational and personal image; is available to clients, and their families; develops and maintains contacts with individuals who are important to the organization
  • Stays abreast of industry/market needs and shifts, recommends and implements modifications to meet changing needs; manages government relations
  • Represents the organization with state and county personnel, major donors, benefactors, regulatory agencies, the financial community, and the public

V. Administration:

  • Promotes an open communication system at all organizational levels and can develop a strong management team that is capable and comfortable working with people with diverse backgrounds and abilities
  • Organizes the administrative functions of the organization, delegates duties, establishes formal means of accountability on the part of subordinates; designates in writing other individuals by name and position who are, in order of succession, authorized to act during any period of absence from the organization
  • Ensures that a solid system of policies and procedures exists to guide the day-to-day operations of the organization; ensures that appropriate decision-making procedures exist in the organization
  • Oversees the program areas of the organization, ensuring that programs are administered in compliance with local, state and federal standards; reacts to regulatory mandates
  • Oversees special projects and performs other duties as needed to fulfill the goals and objectives of the organization
  • Oversees the selection, employing, and discharging of employees, and the development and implementation of personnel policies and practices
  • Establishes and maintains an effective system of communications throughout the organization
  • Completes required training, seminars and certification programs


As President & CEO, this individual will demonstrate critical competencies in five broad categories: commitment to results, business savvy, leading change, motivating, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Commitment to results:

The President & CEO is a systems thinker who is consumer-focused and goal driven. An initiative-taker and team player, this individual identifies relevant information and helps transform it into individual and organizational knowledge and learning. The successful candidate will be action-oriented, innovative, and able to translate broad goals into achievable steps. The President & CEO anticipates and solves problems and takes advantage of opportunities. The President & CEO understands evidence-based and outcomes-oriented results as it relates to client and program evaluations and is committed to strengthening these activities at the Center and in the industry.

Behavioral Health Business Savvy:

As the Center's leader, this position requires an individual with knowledge of and experience in mental health, management and administration. The position requires demonstrated experience in integrating and coordinating diverse areas of management and payers such as managed care MediCal, commercial insurance, County Behavioral Health, Child Welfare and School Districts Knowledge in the following areas is required: human services finance and personnel management; delivery of evidence-based mental health and special education services, oral and written communications; planning and evaluation; and governance. A high level of personal skill is required to make formal, persuasive presentations to groups and to effectively communicate with people from all segments of the community. The ability to successfully moderate divergent business challenges and achieve conflict resolution is essential.

Leading Change:

The chief executive possesses the skills and implements the functions of a leader. The CEO consistently displays integrity, models the Center's core values through their behavior, develops people, builds teams, and achieves results. This individual is entrepreneurial by seeking new opportunities that benefit their clients and the community while supporting the organization's strategic plan. The CEO manages demanding situations effectively and brings people together to achieve a common goal through strong communication skills. The successful candidate recognizes the unique challenges and complexities facing those working in the mental/behavioral health field and understands how to advocate and collaborate to bring about systems change.


The chief executive manages continuity, change and transition. This individual knows how to influence and empower others to achieve positive results. The CEO addresses the impact of attitude and action on the Center and its participants to ensure an encouraging and constructive environment. This individual will have the ability to develop and deliver persuasive presentations as well as the aptitude to communicate complex ideas to various stakeholders. Above all, the President & CEO must be passionate about the mission of the Center.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

This position requires an individual with the knowledge to effectively champion institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The position requires a commitment to and demonstrated experience in integrating and coordinating DEI principles and best practices into all management and service delivery areas.


The ideal candidate will have a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible executive experience, including a proven record of success managing a large staff and external constituencies. The incoming President & CEO’s career should include experience with the day-to-day operations of nonprofit organizations and the advocacy and fundraising relationships needed to meet the Center’s goals. The incoming CEO will have experience developing and managing budgets and successful experience with individual, corporate, government and foundation fundraising. Exceptional financial, organizational, administrative, and verbal and written communication skills are essential and expected. Experience in the fields of philanthropy, not-for-profit management and governance, and community relations are preferred. The ideal candidate will have experience working in community-based organizations, commercial insurance contracts, and knowledge of special education and specialty mental health services.


An advanced degree in mental health, public health, human services management, or a related field is preferred.


The salary range is $240,000 to $265,000 based on experience. Relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable. A comprehensive benefits package will be provided.


To apply for this position, visit www.morrisberger.com/searches.php

Morris & Berger
500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 2150
Glendale, CA 91203-1923

1 (818) 507-1234