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Executive Director

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About the GLSI

The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) ( is on a mission to develop knowledgeable, active stewards of the Great Lakes and their ecosystems. With a 16-year track record of excellent service and support to K-12 schools and communities, the GLSI is one of the largest networks for place-based education in the world. Three key strategies drive our work: place-based education, sustained professional development for educators, and school-community partnerships.

The GLSI is a nonprofit organization comprising a highly engaged network of regional hubs and a small central staff. Our hubs can be hosted by a variety of organizations (e.g., university, intermediate school district, nonprofit organization). A hub’s operating practices are determined largely by its host, while its affiliation with the GLSI is based on fidelity to the GLSI’s model and strategies. The GLSI’s small central staff, including its Executive Director, work in the service of hubs; help plan and facilitate the GLSI’s state-level programming; tend to the GLSI’s organization; and provide leadership and advocacy for place-based education in Michigan, the Great Lakes, and beyond. The GLSI has organized seven Place-Based Education Conferences; the eighth will be held in November 2023. These multi-day convenings attract attendees from around the United States and several other countries.

The GLSI will soon launch a new statewide infrastructure that complements the work of its hubs and extends certain services and support for place-based education to areas of Michigan not currently served by a hub. Planned offerings include virtual courses and communities of interest; customized support from accredited, experienced guides; and a bank of curated resources.

The Executive Director’s Role

The Executive Director is hired by and reports to the GLSI’s board of directors. Many of the Executive Director’s responsibilities are “standard” for a nonprofit executive, namely:

  • Work closely with the GLSI’s board to accomplish the GLSI’s strategic goals
  • and mission.
  • Oversee the GLSI’s general operations and finances.
  • Hire/manage the GLSI’s central staff and contractors.
  • Establish/steward professional relationships with members of the GLSI Network.
  • Represent the GLSI to a broad array of audiences.

Two responsibilities take on special importance as the GLSI continues to develop as a nonprofit organization and launches a new infrastructure to support place-based education. The first involves formalizing/supporting existing collaborations, both within the GLSI’s own network and between the GLSI and other organizations.

The second relates to development. Hubs fund some of their operations with grants they receive through their host institution. Hubs and GLSI central staff also collaborate on grants, with most proceeds passing through the GLSI to hubs to support hubs’ direct programs and services. A top priority for the GLSI’s board is to secure sufficient funding to sustain a GLSI central staff who can provide essential support for the GLSI Network and strong leadership for shaping and expanding place-based education across Michigan, the Great Lakes, and beyond.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for Executive Director of the GLSI will have:

  • Bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in a field related to the GLSI’s core work or management.
  • Minimum of three years of experience serving in a leadership position (e.g., executive director, lead administrator, associate director, area lead), preferably at a nonprofit organization.
  • Effective time-management and problem-solving skills, including an ability to manage a diverse and substantial workload that often involves deadlines and input from others.
  • High-level skills in strategic thinking and planning, coupled with an ability to advocate for desired changes and form collaborative partnerships within and external to the GLSI.
  • Ability to work cooperatively and respectfully with others.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including grant-writing and public speaking.
  • Experience in project development and management.
  • A track record of generating and managing diverse revenue streams that help ensure a relatively stable funding base for the GLSI’s operations.
  • A working knowledge of grant-based and donor-based fundraising.
  • Familiarity with or willingness to learn about Michigan’s state-level agencies and organizations that are active in K-12 education and/or the environment.
  • Experience and skills in working with K-12 educators, including designing/facilitating professional learning opportunities for K-12 teachers (and/or those who are positioned to support them), preferably related to place-based education or inquiry-based learning.
  • An understanding of and commitment to environmental stewardship, and an appreciation of the interdependence of human society and the natural world.

Specific Roles and Responsibilities

Leader and Manager

  • Provide leadership and support to the GLSI board and its committees.
  • Serve as the GLSI’s primary spokesperson to the organization’s constituents, the media, and the general public.
  • Hire, manage, and support GLSI central staff and consultants; help develop and support GLSI hub leaders and hubs’ staff as members of the GLSI Network.
  • Set the tone for professional relationships, both within the GLSI and between the GLSI and other organizations; steward relationships in ways that enhance the work, impact, reputation, and sustainability of the GLSI.
  • Maintain consistent quality of the GLSI’s financial and administrative practices, fundraising, communications, and organizational systems—in partnership with GLSI central staff/contractors.
  • Ensure the ongoing fidelity of hubs’ services and support for place-based education through prescribed processes—in partnership with the GLSI’s evaluator.
  • Oversee a program of evaluation that measures the impact of the GLSI’s work; ensure that results are effectively communicated to the Board, funders, and other constituents and stakeholders; help establish effective systems to track progress on any desired scaling of services and support—in partnership with the GLSI’s evaluator.
  • Actively contribute to the quality and impact of the GLSI’s emerging statewide infrastructure to support place-based education across Michigan, including specific opportunities offered through it—in partnership with GLSI central staff/contractors.

Developer and Communicator

  • Seek new revenue streams to secure funding for a GLSI central staff that is right-sized to the organization’s activity and impact.
  • Explore the costs and benefits of a donor-based fundraising structure for the GLSI, distinct from ones offered regionally by some GLSI hubs.
  • Where possible and desired by hubs, support the maintenance or expansion of regional fundraising in areas served by hubs—in consultation with interested GLSI hubs.
  • Identify and pursue grants to support GLSI programs, collaborative work of GLSI hubs, and statewide expansion—in partnership with GLSI central staff/contractors.
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of GLSI’s communications, from web presence to external relations, with the goal of creating a strong brand—in partnership with GLSI central staff/contractors.
  • Broadly communicate program results with an emphasis on the success of a regional infrastructure and models for replication—in partnership with GLSI central staff/contractors.
  • Consistently leverage the GLSI’s reputation, track record, and relationships to garner new opportunities in the areas of development and communications.

Planner and Program Provider

  • Oversee the collaborative development of strategic plans and recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals—in partnership with the GLSI board and central staff.
  • Actively participate in selected offerings of the GLSI’s infrastructure (e.g., virtual courses, discussion groups, and convenings); contribute as needed to other contracted services offered by the GLSI.
  • Support hubs’ programming and development by occasionally attending or participating in hubs’ offerings, fundraising events, or meetings with funders; in this capacity highlight the value of the GLSI Network and the ways that the GLSI’s central organization supports regional hubs.
  • Provide pre-event support and on-site leadership for the GLSI’s biennial Place-Based Education Conference.

Schedule and Location

The Executive Director is a full-time, non-exempt employee of the GLSI. Some responsibilities may involve occasional evening or weekend effort. The GLSI does not maintain a central office. Instead, its central staff and contractors work at places of their own choosing, typically their homes. GLSI central staff use standing meetings to support communication and collaboration as we do our work. Strong, supportive relationships among GLSI central staff/contractors and their solid relationships with GLSI hubs are points of pride for our organization.

Networking and building relationships with state-level stakeholders is an important element of the Executive Director’s work, as is familiarity and firsthand experience with Michigan’s K-12 education system, communities, and natural resources. For those reasons, strong preference will be given to applicants who either reside in Michigan or are willing to relocate.


The annual salary range for this full-time position is $80,000-$100,000 (commensurate with experience) and includes FICA, 9 paid holidays, and 20 paid vacation days. The Board is committed to increasing compensation/benefits as our nonprofit organization continues to develop.

About the GLSI

The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) ( is on a mission to develop knowledgeable, active stewards of the Great Lakes and their ecosystems. With a 16-year track record of excellent service and…

Resumo dos Detalhes

Comprometimento de Tempo
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Carga Horária Integral
Data de Início
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15 de agosto de 2023
Prazo para Inscrições
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12 de junho de 2023
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Ensino Superior Requerido
Nível de Experiência
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USD $80.000 - USD $100.000 / ano
Salary is commensurate with experience. The GLSI Board is committed to increasing compensation/benefits as our nonprofit organization continues to develop.


The GLSI ED salary will include:

  • FICA
  • 9 paid holidays
  • 20 paid vacation days

The GLSI ED salary will include:

  • FICA
  • 9 paid holidays
  • 20 paid vacation days


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O trabalho pode ser executado em qualquer lugar de Estados Unidos
Local Associado
8325 Troup Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740, USA

Inscreva-se: Emprego


All applications received will be acknowledged.

Strong preference will be given to applicants who either reside in Michigan or are willing to relocate.

The priority application deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST, June 12, 2023. The selection process involves a thorough review of all applications received by the deadline; a phone/videoconference interview with a subset of applicants; and in-person interviews of finalists in Detroit or Grand Rapids, Michigan. (The GLSI will cover approved transportation/lodging costs for interviews.)

The nominal start date is August 15, 2023, which allows for a two-week overlap with the current Executive Director to support a smooth transition of leadership. (An earlier or later start date is negotiable.)

In its hiring practices, the GLSI does not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

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