About The Organization
Founded in 2006 under the sponsorship of the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, the Black Education Strategy Roundtable (BESR) is the leading nonprofit organization working to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for Black/African American students across Washington state.
BESR is a group of advocates, educators and informers who act on the belief that every student has limitless potential. BESR’s mission is to drive systemic changes in public education that will result in excellence and equity for Black students at all levels of the education continuum. With an audacious goal that 100% of Black students graduate with a meaningful high school diploma that prepares them for college, work and productive citizenship, BESR is poised to lead the policy advocacy and public engagement needed to achieve this target.
Governed by an actively engaged Board of Directors, and each member brings extensive leadership experience in primary through post-secondary education. BESR’s membership has expanded from its original group of 32 community leaders and parents to include K-12 educators, administrators, higher education academicians and researchers, business and political leaders, representatives of community and civil rights organizations, parents, students, churches and concerned individuals. BESR and its supporters are committed to realizing educational reforms across Washington state with an unapologetic focus on the needs of Black students.
BESR’s office is in Federal Way, WA.
Learn more about BESR here.
BESR seeks an Executive Director at an exciting time of its growth who will build upon their success and will seize the opportunity to affect the changes that will empower a generation of Black youth. Reporting to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will serve as an ambassador for education reform, using BESR’s existing three-year strategic plan as a roadmap to solidify and grow the organization’s infrastructure, brand recognition, capacity, and impact on advancing equity in education.
The Executive Director will use a thoughtful, strategic approach to convene the right partners to advocate for equitable learning opportunities for students. The Executive Director will also:
- Plan and execute statewide conferences on education reform and equity.
- Provide key policy makers with BESR position statements highlighting compelling data regarding the current status of Black student achievement and make compelling arguments for policy change.
- Develop legislative priorities and work in collaboration with other organizations engaged in similar advocacy.
- Support efforts to implement more rigorous and culturally relevant curriculum at all levels in the Washington state school system.
- Advocate for Black representation on school boards, the State Board of Education, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Educational Service District Boards.
As the public face of the organization, the Executive Director will build upon and strengthen BESR’s relationships in the local communities of the students and families we serve. Community engagement responsibilities include:
- Hosting quarterly meetings, town hall meetings, and public forums on education policy issues in key Black communities across the state.
- Hosting listening opportunities for students about their educational concerns and proposed solutions to address the problems.
- Mobilizing Black students, families, and communities to become better informed advocates for improved educational outcomes.
- Participating in relevant community activities and speaking engagements as a representative of, and advocate for, BESR.
The Executive Director, with the support of the Board of Directors, will direct and lead all fundraising efforts to ensure BESR’s work is sustainable. The ideal candidate will have the ability to:
- Develop a robust annual development plan to pursue sustainable funding sources and increase support from foundations, corporations, and major donors.
- Direct and lead efforts that include annual appeals, major gifts, and other campaigns as needed to fund BESR’s work.
- Leverage the relationships and expertise of Board members for donor relations and fundraising endeavors.
The Executive Director will be responsible for fiscal management, building out the infrastructure and operations of the organization, and guide a passionate and motivated team. The Executive Director will:
- Ensure BESR has the staff, systems, and infrastructure in place for continued growth and success.
- Set priorities, develop a work plan, and work cooperatively and effectively with the team to move toward meeting BESR’s ambitious goals.
- Work with local colleges and universities to develop a robust internship program.
- Establish Advisory Councils to the Board that will be actively engaged in BESR’s work.
- Define and develop policies, procedures, and a dues structure for BESR membership.
The ideal candidate is a servant leader who is passionate about being the advocate for Black children to increase their success. This passion should translate into developing and implementing the action plan to achieve BESR’s goals and improve learning opportunities and outcomes for Black students in Washington state.
The successful candidate will be a strategic visionary, who can come up with innovative, big picture strategies while also being able to focus and prioritize tactical goals.
The successful candidate will also have:
- Inspiring and influential leadership that motivates staff, the Board, donors, volunteers, major stakeholders, and key policy makers.
- Credibility as an advocate for Black students in the public education system.
- Confidence and ease as a public speaker.
- Demonstrated success building rapport and trust and working collaboratively with diverse internal and external partners.
- Experience in grant writing, fundraising campaigns, individual donor outreach, corporate sponsorship, and managing special events.
- Strong project management and strategic planning skills and be a highly organized self-starter.
Defining characteristics include professional presence, adaptability, creativity, strategic thinking, integrity, positivity, and excellent interpersonal skills.
All candidates should have a minimum of five years of relevant experience working in nonprofit leadership, public education, fundraising, communications, partnership and program management, and/or operations. He or she will have exceptional speaking, listening and writing skills. She or he should have a passion for BESR’s mission, and a knowledge of education reform activities. Advanced IT skills are required, with a preference for candidates with experience using Content and Project Management applications and Accounting software. A Masters’ Degree or equivalent work experience is required.