Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC), a highly respected state leader in essential child advocacy and education reform, is seeking a mission driven, strategic and collaborative leader. The next Executive Director of MAC will have the opportunity to join a dynamic organization with a creative, family-friendly culture and make a significant impact on the lives of some of the Commonwealth's most vulnerable children and families.
MAC's mission is to remove barriers to educational and life opportunities for children and youth. MAC's core values shape the work it does, from its internal policies and practices to its advocacy with children and families: Equity, Inclusion, Racial Justice, Systemic Impact, Self-Advocacy, Independence and Accountability, Whole Child Approach, Collaboration.
In 1969, MAC founder Hubie Jones, started noticing some inequities in Boston schools. An increasing number of parents were being told that their children should not return to school. Hubie created the Task Force on Children Out of School and released a report revealing 10,000 or more children were systematically excluded from Boston's public education system, warehoused in classrooms or placed in schools that provided inferior or custodial care. The report led to the nation's first bilingual and first special education laws and to the creation of MAC.
MAC's current strategic directions include the following:
- Protect and expand educational rights of all students with disabilities, particularly those with autism;
- Transform school cultures to be inclusive, safe and supportive, and trauma-sensitive for all students;
- Keep children in school and out of the “school-to-prison pipeline”;
- Advocate for the educational rights of immigrant and Latinx children with disabilities;
- Eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps by advocating for racial equity in education;
- Promote self-advocacy for families and youth;
- Expand inclusive pathways to higher education and employment for older youth with disabilities;
- Address the educational challenges faced by children and youth with behavioral health needs and / or those impacted by traumatic experiences
MAC's major programs include:
- Disability Education Justice Initiative
- The Racial Equity and Access Project
- Advancing the Education Rights of Immigrant Children
- Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline
MAC was launched in response to the widespread and systemic exclusion of disabled children and children of color from school and MAC remains committed to racial equity today. Since 2016, MAC has been engaged in an organization-wide Racial Equity Initiative designed to make it better equipped to identify, name and respond to the effects of structural and other forms of racism in the Commonwealth's educational systems. This has required an ongoing and deep transformation in the organization's external programs and internal policies and practices, as well as in the composition of its board and staff leadership. Some concrete ways MAC uses a racial equity lens to guide its work include:
- Building a team that reflects the diversity of constituents and supporting a culture that reflects the values of equity, inclusion and belonging
- Providing frequent learning opportunities focused directly on structural and institutional racism and racial bias
- Strengthening relationships with partners working toward racial justice and organizations led by and primarily made up of people of color
- Using disaggregated data to uncover and address racial disparities
- Prioritizing client cases that address racial inequities
- Advocating with and on behalf of students of color with equity and belonging as guiding principles
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures required major changes in how MAC does its work, but the organization's mission has remained unchanged. The organization has adopted a hybrid structure with staff able to work from its Boston-based office or virtually from home.
MAC has a diverse, 10-member board of directors and an impassioned, committed staff of 14 with a flexible culture that values and promotes creativity. MAC is a financially solvent organization with an annual operating budget of approximately $1.6M.
Executive Director Kevin Murray transitioned out of his role in April, 2022, and The Honorable Jay Blitzman is currently serving as Interim Executive Director. MAC has budgeted for the addition of a Deputy Director to enable the next Executive Director to focus on strategic and programmatic opportunities. The new Executive Director of MAC will have the opportunity to lead an experienced and committed staff and join a well-established organization that is nationally recognized and respected as an advocate for system change.
Immediate key priorities for the Executive Director include:
Strategic Plan Implementation
The Executive Director will implement the organization's recently completed strategic plan that includes driving the implementation of MAC's Racial Equity Initiative and ensuring that MAC is accountable to children, youth, and families in its advocacy work.
Expand Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives
The next Executive Director will bring a strong equity lens and will lead diversity, equity and inclusion work with staff, programs and communities. Internally, they will strategically build and develop staff and board centered on DEI principles. Externally, they will address the widening inequities experienced by BIPOC children in a post-Covid environment.
Support and Strengthen Organizational Culture
The next Executive Director will lead and inspire a positive organizational culture in which staff enjoy an equitable, trusting and respectful climate. They will promote healthy work-life boundaries for a hard-working staff. They will continue to evaluate and navigate shifting needs of a hybrid workforce in a post-Covid world.
Bolster Organizational Structure
Many of MAC's key positions are held by talented and long-tenured staff; however, some turnover of key operational positions during Covid has required the examination of organizational structure. MAC 's Interim Director has helped strengthen MAC's infrastructure and the next Executive Director has the opportunity to further evaluate the current organizational structure to support a sustainable future.
Additional longer-term priorities for the next Executive Director include:
- In concert with the Board of Directors, refine MAC's vision, strategy and scope of work; and assess how and where to develop future programs.
- Cultivate and manage key collaborations to increase MAC's community presence; increase state-wide visibility; and increase key relationships, especially with communities of color.
- Increase fundraising; encourage the board's increased role in fundraising; align fundraising efforts with organizational strategy; further develop relationships with donors and volunteers.
This position requires a bold visionary leader with a strong connection to the work that MAC does as well as a passion for working with the communities that MAC serves. The successful candidate will be a forward-looking, strategic and innovative thinker. They will show a demonstrated commitment to advocating for the rights of children and young adults with disabilities, addressing issues of racial inequity, and working for social justice.
A Bachelor's degree is required and experience working with legal professionals is highly desired.
Massachusetts Advocates for Children's ideal candidate will demonstrate the following skills and attributes:
- Strong equity lens and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and experience spearheading that work; cultural competency; lived experience with communities of color is strongly preferred
- Nonprofit management acumen, including fundraising, financial management, team leadership
- Collaborative relationship builder with internal team and external partners
- Excellent operations management skills and experience with strengthening organizational infrastructure
- Excellent communication skills with a variety of audiences; effective and passionate spokesperson for the work that MAC does
- Experience fostering an internal culture that values all staff and encourages growth
- Strategic thinking and the understanding of how to operationalize strategy
- Familiarity with Massachusetts local and state government with an understanding of special education law and policy is preferred
Guidelines for Applicants
This executive search is being conducted by TSNE in partnership with Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Interested candidates should submit materials via the application link provided in this posting.
Electronic submissions sent through this link are preferred. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential within the search committee.
Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that includes salary requirements and describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of Massachusetts Advocates for Children. All submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled.
The Executive Director role is a full-time, exempt position. Location for the role is a hybrid model with some required on-site work. Salary is commensurate with relevant experience, within the framework of the organization's annual operating budget, and in the approximate range of $120,000 - 140,000. MAC offers a flexible, family-friendly culture and generous benefits including health insurance and paid time off.
Massachusetts Advocates for Children strives to achieve excellence through a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment that embraces all of our individual and collective differences. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Middle Eastern and North African, Bilingual and/or Bicultural candidates, and LGBTQ2SIA+ candidates and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. MAC prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, creed, color, religion, native language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, race-based hairstyles, or any other protected characteristic stated by federal and state law. Regardless of any class' protection under the law or lack thereof, MAC celebrates diversity and values the strengths that come with having a diverse team of employees.
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Since 1969, removing barriers to educational and life opportunities for children.