Executive Revolutionary

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $45,000.00
Maximum: $55,000.00
Details: Approximate range, based on experience



Start Date:


Application Deadline:



672 Broad Street
Rhode Island
United States


The Search:

           The Rhode Island Urban Debate League (RIUDL) uses academic debate as a social justice strategy to fight educational inequity and empower young people in Rhode Island’s least privileged communities. 

           We’re seeking an entrepreneurial institution-builder to bring our “RIUDL Revolution” to the next level. Our 2017-2018 after-school Debate League supported six high schools with just under 100 participating students in a season of six local interscholastic tournaments plus trips to regional and national competition. In 2015, we created a school-wide, in-school program to vastly expand our impact by bringing the rigor and academic impact of evidence-based thinking to thousands of students during their regular school day.

           With 3 FTE and an operating budget of just over $215K, we’ve worked hard to build one of the best Urban Debate Leagues in the United States, to create innovative programs and build an excellent staff and Board team. Teaching fact-based argumentation has never been more important to empowering young people to effectively engage in our democracy. Demand from schools is high, and we’re poised to multiply our program scale and find new ways to extend our impact.

This search process is the result of a well-planned succession strategy following an 8-year tenure of the organization’s first-ever Executive Director. The Board is implementing an established plan that proposes some overlap between the current and new leader.

The new Executive Director will lead the development of RI Urban Debate League into a sustained, substantial and powerful force for innovation and student success in Rhode Island’s urban schools.


Our rigorous program designs have been extremely successful at a small scale with generous investments in innovation from key funders. Teachers and student debaters tell us that our programs offer a unique opportunity to engage educators and students in creating fundamental changes in urban public school cultures and outcomes. Demand for both our programs is very strong. With sufficient resources we are ready to multiply our size and impact. This is the “RIUDL Revolution” we’re asking our new Executive Revolutionary to lead.

The most critical challenge we face is creating a longer-term revenue model that supports our ambition to help more urban students overcome structural inequity and achieve academic and life success. We have tremendous assets around which such a business model may be created:

·      Research-based evidence of effectiveness, rigorous program design and excellence of execution by our staff

·      A high degree of alignment with innovative educational strategies, including those adopted by Rhode Island school districts, the state Department of Education and thought leaders in educational change

·      Strong and productive relationships with teachers and school administrators

·      Amazing student debaters and leaders, with a wealth of personal testimony and stories about our impact

·      A legacy of support from Rhode Island’s legal community, based in part on a mutual commitment to expanding minority access to legal education and practice

·      Sustained support from philanthropic leaders in Rhode Island


The Position:

           RIUDL’s leader serves as chief executive. In partnership with the Board of Directors, s/he is responsible for the organization’s success and overall awesomeness.

Together, the Board and Executive Director ensure RIUDL’s relevance to the community, accomplishment of its mission and vision, adherence to its values, and accountability to its various constituents–students, teachers, partner schools, parents, donors, volunteers, partner agencies/orgs., and its communities.

           The Board delegates responsibility for management and day-to-day operations to the Executive Director. S/he has the authority to carry out these responsibilities, in accordance with the direction and policies established by the Board.

Reports to: Board of Directors


·      Mission, policy, and planning: see the North Star, and keep us moving toward it.

o  Works with the Board to develop short and long-term strategy to achieve RIUDL’s mission, and ensures timely progress in carrying it out.

o  Leads the development of programmatic, organizational, and financial plans in partnership with Board and staff, and carries out plans and policies as authorized by the Board of Directors.

o  Helps the Board monitor and evaluate RIUDL’s mission, vision, values, community relevance, effectiveness, and impact.

o  Keeps the Board and its committees fully informed on the condition of RIUDL and on all important factors influencing it.

o  Keeps informed of developments and trends in education policy/practice, non-profit management, governance, philanthropy, and fund development.

·      Financing: plant, water, prune, and harvest the tree. (And sometimes sing to it, maybe).

o  Promotes programs and services that are cost-effective, employing economy while maintaining high quality standards.

o  Oversees the financial operations of the organization including budgeting, bookkeeping, reporting, and annual compilation/review/audit.

o  Works with Board to ensure financing to support short- and long-term goals and strategies.

o  Develops cost proposals and negotiates fee and service agreements with schools and school districts.

o   Ensures an effective fund development program by serving as the chief development officer:

§ Helps guide and enable the Board, its fund development committee(s) and its individual Board members to participate actively in the fund development process.

§ Helps the Board and its development committee design, implement, and monitor a viable fundraising plan, policies and procedures.

§ Participates actively in identifying, cultivating and soliciting donor prospects.

§ Ensures the availability of materials to support solicitation.

§ Ensures the effective operation of donor management systems.

§ Ensures production of regular reports to enable quality decision-making to the Board and its committees.

·      Legal compliance: keep it legit.

o  Ensures all legal and regulatory documents are filed. Monitors compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and stays informed of changes/potential changes.

o  Maintains official records and documents as per RIUDL policy and federal, state and local regulations.

·      Management and administration: be a unicorn and inspire the magic.

o  Provides general oversight of all RIUDL activities, manages the day-to-day operations, and ensures a smoothly functioning, efficient, and kick-butt organization.

o  Ensures program quality and organizational stability through development and implementation of standards and controls, systems and procedures, and regular evaluation.

o  Recommends staffing and financing structures to the Board. In accordance with Board action, recruits personnel, negotiates professional contracts, and sees that appropriate salary structures are developed and maintained.

o  Manages all RIUDL personnel.

§ Maintains an organizational culture that aligns with RIUDL’s values and brand standards, and attracts and motivates a diverse, top-notch staff.

§ Ensures that sound human resource policies are in place and practiced.

§ Specifies accountabilities for management personnel (whether paid or volunteer).

§ Provides regular performance feedback/evaluation and ensures that staff and volunteers have access to professional development/opportunities for growth.

o  Establishes and maintains mutually beneficial working relationships with participating schools, higher education partners, and partner organizations/agencies in accordance with RIUDL’s Principles of Partnership and other relevant policies/procedures.

·      Governance: help the Board make and keep things awesome.

o  Helps the Board articulate its own role and accountabilities and that of its committees and individual members, and helps evaluate performance regularly.

o  Works with the Board Chair to enable the Board to fulfill its governance functions and facilitates optimum performance by the Board, its committees and individual Board members.

o  With the Board Chair, focuses Board attention on long-term strategic issues.

o  Manages the Board’s due diligence process to assure timely attention to core issues.

o  Works with the Board officers and committee chairs to get the best thinking and involvement of each Board member and to inspire each Board member to give his or her best.

o  Recommends volunteers to serve on the Board and its committees.

·      Community relations: make the RIUDL Revolution a point of community pride.

o  Ensures that RIUDL has and executes a communications plan supporting our organizational goals for program, revenue and educational transformation in urban schools.

o  Serves as chief spokesperson and public face for the organization, ensuring proper representation of RIUDL to the community, its various constituencies, and the media. 

o  Facilitates the integration of RIUDL into the fabric of the community by using effective marketing and communications activities. Ensures community awareness of RIUDL’s response to community needs.

o  Acts as an advocate for issues relevant to RIUDL, its services and constituencies.

o  Listens to students, volunteers, donors and the community in order to improve services and generate community involvement. Initiates, develops, and maintains cooperative relationships with key constituencies.

o  When feasible/as time permits, works with legislators, regulatory agencies, volunteers and representatives of the nonprofit sector to promote legislative and regulatory policies that encourage a healthy community and address the issues of RIUDL’s constituencies.


As chief executive officer, the RIUDL’s next leader will be a proud fundraiser, a visionary change-maker, a business-savvy negotiator, a big league team player, and an inspirational motivator.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required.


·      Commitment to RIUDL’s values, mission, and vision

·      Proven ability to motivate and inspire others to do their best work; demonstrated ability to co-create

·      Passion for urban education, education reform, and a genuine belief that all young people have the ability to succeed and thrive

·      Demonstrated success in planning and executing fundraising and other revenue-generating activities necessary to support our operations.

·      Commitment to customer-centricity (student, teacher, donor, etc.)

·      Visionary systems thinking capabilities

·      Self-starting, goal-driven entrepreneurial spirit

·      High degree of discretion and integrity

·      Knowledge in the following areas: education; finance and personnel; planning; program design and evaluation; and governance.

·      Advanced project management and sense-making skills: the ability to convert multiple inputs into a coherent strategy/plan and ensure follow-through

·      Sophisticated relationship-building skills/ability to earn respect and trust of all RIUDL’s constituencies

·      Exceptional interpersonal, written, and oral presentation skills; the ability to tailor the presentation of complex ideas to any audience

·      Knowledge of current teaching methods/educational trends, and use of new technologies

·      Zest for ongoing learning

·      Sense of humor and absurdity

·      Belief that anything is possible

Nice to haves:

·      Understanding of policy debate fundamentals

·      Spanish language proficiency

·      A demonstrated ability to work in collaboration with both school administrators and teachers

·      Knowledge of change-management theory and/or social psychology/behavioral psychology

·      Urban debate experience

·      Unicorn horn and pockets full of glitter


Health benefits and paid vacation.

Level of Language Proficiency

English proficiency required; bi-lingual (English/Spanish) would be amazing.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply



Please email a resume and a detailed cover letter (PDF or Word, please) by June 8, 2018 outlining how skills and experience demonstrate an ability to meet the challenges and opportunities of this position with the subject line “I’m your Revolutionary” to the Search Committee:


The Rhode Island Urban Debate League is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

We seek an applicant pool that reflects the diversity of our community and the students we serve.