Org Design for Scaling Schools

Last month, the Learner Success Guild hosted a Masterclass on Org Design for Scaling Schools.


We were lucky enough to get a behind the scenes look at how three fast growing schools designed and grew their teams. We heard firsthand from Karina from Ironhack, Bob from CareerDash and Ali from Re:Coded on how they architected their team structures and the lessons they learned along the way.


Here were four pieces of advice you can apply today:

  1. Even in Org Design, put the learner first. For some, that may be mapping key roles to align directly with the student journey. For others, it was about consolidating the end experience under one leader or cross-functional squad. These structures not only allow for a more consistent and cohesive learner experience but they also allow teams to optimize for student success rather than competing local goals.

  2. One person should own a student’s success from end to end. Sure, a learner may have multiple staff touchpoints throughout their program but it’s best to put one person in charge of the holistic journey. Designating this person from the get-go and giving them the tools and time to build a relationship with the learner produces better outcomes and a better student experience.

  3. Get good at giving away your legos as you grow. As schools scale, founders and early teams have to get comfortable with others taking over pieces of their jobs. If you’re a founder, you have to be honest about your own skills and interests and find great leaders to fill in your gaps. As an early team member, you have to see the specialization (or narrowing) of your role as a necessary evolution for how to best deliver a consistent and high caliber student experience.

  4. Transparency over clarity. In moments of turbulence, especially when org changes are coming, it’s sometimes more important to just start communicating than to have everything all figured out. Simply saying: “this is an evolving process and here is exactly what we know right now. If you’d like to contribute to this decision as it’s being made, let us know.” can go a long way. People care about being kept in the loop and feeling emotionally supported.

We hope this advice is helpful to you and your growing team. And if you’re interested in joining the Guild, apply at learnersuccessguild.com.