Executive Director Job Description

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The Mary Lyon Foundation (MLF) is a local education foundation based in western Franklin County, Massachusetts.  Established in 1990 and incorporated on March 8, 1991, the foundation is a community based 501(c)3 non-profit organization, supporting all aspects of quality education in the towns of Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne, We serve three distinct schools districts: the Rowe Elementary School (part of another school district): the Hawlemont Regional School District (Heath, Charlemont and Hawley students); and the Mohawk Trail Regional School District (Buckland-Shelburne Elementary, Colrain Central, Mohawk Trail Regional and Sanderson Academy).  Our signature programs include 1) grants to teachers for innovative, replicable, educational projects, 2) financial support for emergency services for children and families in need 3) a gift program to provide teachers with badly needed classroom supplies, and 4) scholarships and other funds that benefit students and schools in West County. (For many years in the past, the MLF organized a Special Education Conference and raised significant funds for computer labs, playground equipment, library collections and much more for schools in the district.)


Reporting to the Board of Trustees, this part-time, salaried position will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the foundation’s operations, staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission and five-year strategic plan adopted in 2019. She or he will initially develop deep knowledge of the organization and its core operations, programs and strategic initiatives.

Leadership & Management

  • Provide educational leadership to the Board of Trustees, community and local schools.
  • Maintain a close working relationship with the Board of Trustees to provide strategic planning and timely information, which will assist with decision-making.
  • At the directive of the Board, serve as an ex-officio member of committees of the board.
  • Collaborate with the board in monitoring, revising and executing the five-year strategic plan for ongoing and future operations.
  • Effectively manage current operations, programs and services in accordance with the goals of the Mary Lyon Foundation.
  • Utilize an external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities. 
  • Ensure ongoing local programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve these goals.
  • Actively engage and energize MLF volunteers, board members, event committees, alumni, partnering organizations, and funders.
  • Ensure effective systems to track scaling progress, and regularly evaluate program components, to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.
  • In collaboration with the Board, establish and oversee non-Board committees, volunteer groups and partnerships with other entities to enhance local education.
  • In collaboration with the Business Manager and Finance Committee, recommend and maintain a balanced budget in keeping with the goals of the organization.
  • Supervise and oversee the work of the Business Manager, the Office Assistant and any future staff.

Fundraising & Communications

  • Expand local revenue-generating and fundraising activities to underwrite existing and future operations.
  • Develop, deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to social media and external relations to promote a stronger, more relevant brand and marketing strategy.
  • In collaboration with the Development Committee, procure funds for educational purposes and organizational expenses through 1) annual fundraising, 2) grant writing, 3) major- and principal-gift solicitations, 4) planned giving, and 5) sponsorship of donor events related to friend-raising, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
  • In collaboration with the Development Committee, manage major- and principal-gift donor cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities.


  • Think creatively and make recommendations that will enhance the work of the MLF and benefit the community.
  • Design and implement high-quality programs and services that reflect the mission of the MLF and address the educational needs of the community.
  • Evaluate current programs and make recommendations to improve and/or modify them.
  • Evaluate, monitor, and implement the five-year strategic plan that the MLF Board approved in November 2019, and suggest changes as needed.
  • Continue to build partnerships, maintaining or establishing relationships with school administrators, faculty, donors, and political and community leaders.
  • Be an external, local presence that effectively communicates operational and program results via all platforms (website, social media, email blasts, in writing and via phone) to promote and market the accomplishments and successes of the MLF.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree required, advanced degree ideal.
  • Proven track record of successful senior management experience in for-profit or non-profit management.
  • At least 3 years of involvement with a non-profit organization.
  • Proven organizational management skill and experience in hiring/coaching/supervising staff, developing and managing high-performance teams, and setting/achieving strategic objectives.
  • Proven track record in accounting, developing and managing a budget, as well as setting five-year budget goals and general financial management.
  • Demonstrated competency in state-of-the-art computer hardware and software systems, including but not limited to Google Suite, Quickbooks, MS Office and cloud-based data management.
  • Demonstrated successful track record in developing and executing annual and campaign fundraising strategies.
  • Demonstrated success working with Boards and Committees with the ability to cultivate existing and new board member relationships.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • Strong communication skills, i.e., written, verbal, web-based, and via social media.
  • Demonstrated leadership and management skills, including the ability to set priorities, manage time and tasks efficiently, coach and motivate staff, and develop best practice for organizing daily operations.
  • Ability to attend evening meetings and events.

Other Qualifications

  • Teaching and administrative experience in K-12 education preferred.
  • Proven track record of effectively leading and scaling a performance- and outcomes-based organization and staff.
  • Ability to point to specific examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth.
  • Unwavering commitment to high-quality programs and data-driven program evaluation.
  • A persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed.
  • Total commitment to the mission of the Mary Lyon Foundation.

To Apply:

This part-time, salaried position reports to the Board of Trustees; compensation is commensurate with experience.  Some work time in the office is required, coupled with the flexibility to work from home.

Apply via email to resumes@marylyonfoundation.org with a cover letter and resume.  The position will remain open until filled.  Application review will begin 9/21/20; interviews will  begin mid-October.