Company: The Literacy Project

Job description:

The Literacy Project is an independent, educational nonprofit based in Greenfield,  Massachusetts, founded in 1984. We are the only Adult Basic Education provider in Franklin and Hampshire Counties, a rural region of Western Massachusetts that stretches over 1500  square miles. At our five classroom centers in Greenfield, Orange, Northampton, Amherst,  Ware, and online, we provide the educational opportunities our adult students need to build a better future for themselves and their families.  

Over 200 adult and out-of-school youth enroll in The Literacy Project each year, seeking to complete their high school education and prepare for college and careers. In warm and welcoming classes, students work with our staff Instructors and volunteer tutors to build basic skills, explore career options, and develop the confidence they need to take their next steps. In  the words of one graduate, “The teachers at The Literacy Project believed in me until I could  begin to believe in myself.”  

Community partnerships are central to our mission: The Literacy Project works closely with local human services to provide the wrap-around support many students need, such as stable housing, reliable childcare, or individual counseling. We collaborate extensively with the workforce development system (the MassHire Career Center and Workforce Investment  Opportunity Act partners) to help students find a pathway to a living wage. We coordinate with the local public schools and the community college network to ensure that students who need an alternative path can get back on track with their education and career goals.  

The Literacy Project is a fiscally robust nonprofit with a budget of $1.2 million. We are funded in part through a 5-year competitive grant from Adult and Community Learning Services, a  division of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We also receive Community Development Block Grants and grants from other public and private sources, and conduct community fundraising events and direct appeals to our community of supporters.  

The Literacy Project attracts high-quality educators who are united in our dedication to student success, and our employee retention is excellent. We strive to provide competitive wages and benefits, a flexible and supportive workplace, family-friendly policies, and a positive work/life balance. The majority of our 18 employees have full-time positions and our educational staff are unionized through UE, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. 

A Board of Directors, composed of 11 community members, oversees the operations of the  nonprofit. The Literacy Project’s Administrative Office is in Greenfield, MA.  

The Opportunity 

The Literacy Project’s Executive Director (ED) stands at the helm of a dynamic, innovative,  resilient agency. They are the primary representative of The Literacy Project in the greater community, building public support and partnerships to benefit our students. They raise funds to invest in programming and our educators and provide desirable jobs at a competitive wage.  The ED serves as the collaborative leader of a team of professional educators, cultivating a  workplace culture of inclusion, transparency, compassion, creativity, and continual growth.  And, they carefully oversee the fiscal and administrative systems that support the life-changing mission of The Literacy Project.  

The next ED will assume responsibility for a thriving, well-run, and beloved organization with  deep roots in each of the communities we serve. Some of the agency’s ongoing priorities and  challenges include: 

  • ensuring ongoing access to high-quality adult basic education for all adults in our rural  region 
  • expanding our donor base through community events and direct appeals
  • sustaining and growing our philanthropic support from private foundations
  • offering a competitive salary and benefit package that keeps up with the cost of living
  • attracting a diverse teaching staff that better reflects our student population
  • ensuring that our educational program effectively prepares students for the post-COVID  economy and workplace 
  • exploring creative strategies to increase student outreach, enrollment, and attendance
  • expanding programs and partnerships to support next steps for students, including  college and careers  
  • expanding funding to support the holistic development of our adult learners, such as  health education and arts programming  

The ED works out of the Greenfield Administrative Office and oversees a staff of 17, who work at 5 classroom sites. The ED reports to the Board of Directors. The work year is 45 weeks from the end of August through the second week of July. The ED travels regularly throughout the  Pioneer Valley, with occasional travel to Boston and eastern Massachusetts. There is flexibility daily in working remotely, but we do expect that the ED will reside in our region. 

About the Transition 

Our current Executive Director, Judith Roberts, joined the organization in 2007. After a highly successful 16-year tenure, she will retire from TLP at the end of June 2023. We plan for the new hire to start on June 1, 2023, to allow for a one-month overlap with Judith. 

Profile of the Ideal Candidate 

The Literacy Project’s next ED will be a seasoned organizational leader with a passionate commitment to the transformative power of education and a deep respect for our adult learners.  

The ideal candidate will demonstrate their ability to be:  

  • a trusted community builder, who fosters mutual respect and unity among staff while  serving as the primary ambassador of TLP in the greater community  
  • an entrepreneurial leader who thinks strategically about the role of Adult Basic  Education in ever-changing economic, political, demographic and technological terrains,  and help us make thoughtful and brave decisions  
  • an attentive listener who gracefully builds consensus among a wide variety of  stakeholders (including staff, students, volunteers, the union body, the Board of  Directors, community partners, donors, and supporters) 
  • an exceptional public speaker who connects authentically with diverse audiences and  builds support for ABE by elevating and celebrating the voices of our students  
  • a tireless and innovative fundraiser who engages creatively with the community to  leverage financial support 
  • a respectful bridge-builder who fosters collaborative relationships with community  partners in K-12 and higher education, the workforce development system, human  services, elected officials, and the local business community 
  • a meticulous grant writer who pursues new funding opportunities from public and  private sources  
  • a skillful and experienced nonprofit administrator who can manage a complex budget  with multiple funding streams and maintain efficient systems 
  • a collaborative decision maker who prioritizes inclusive and transparent practices and  seeks out the widest diversity of views on the question at hand  
  • a compassionate employer who works collaboratively with the Union and strives to  provide flexible, equitable, family-friendly working conditions for all staff  
  • a supportive supervisor who enables each staff person do their best work  
  • a self-reflective advocate for social justice and ADEI (anti-racism, diversity, equity,  inclusion) who regularly looks for opportunities to embody our commitment to our  principles 
  • a flexible and willing team player who happily engages in the wide variety of tasks  required to run a small nonprofit 

Desired Credentials and Experience 

  • A minimum of five years of senior leadership experience in a nonprofit organization,  educational setting, or the equivalent, required; experience in ABE and ESOL a plus
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree required 
  • Demonstrated commitment to being a lifelong learner, invested in the exploration of  nontraditional educational and career pathways  
  • Nuanced understanding of the challenges facing undereducated adults from diverse  populations, especially in rural areas; experience with bilingual, ELL and immigrant  communities a plus  
  • Successful experience managing a complex budget with multiple funding streams
  • A proven track record of success in grant writing, fundraising events and direct appeals
  • Experience supervising a highly experienced professional staff 
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills 
  • Fluent computer literacy (Google Suite, grant management platforms, donor software,  social media) 

Application Guidelines 

Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of TLP. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Send required documents to: https://eostransitions.applicantpool.com/jobs/ 

The salary being offered is a range of $80,000-$100,000 for a 45 weeks work-year, with benefits extending through the summer. The benefits package includes health insurance (80% covered),  a Flexible Spending Plan for Medical, a 401 b TIAA retirement fund, generous time off policies,  cell phone allowance, and life insurance. 

TLP does not discriminate in its programs, activities, facilities, employment, or educational opportunities based on race, color, age, disability, sex/gender, gender identity, religious beliefs,  national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, genetics, or military status and does not tolerate any form of discrimination, intimidation, threat, coercion, and/or harassment that insults the dignity of others by interfering with their freedom to learn and work. 

This executive search is being conducted by Eos Transition Partners consultant Nancy Jackson.  All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions must be emailed to Nancy at njackson@eostransitions.com.

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