Position Profile

Executive Director

Wake County Smart Start


Raleigh, NC

The Organization

Wake County Smart Start (WCSS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is part of the Smart Start initiative across North Carolina. WCSS receives its primary funding from the State of North Carolina through the Smart Start and NC Pre-K programs, with additional funding received from private grants and contributions. Founded in 1996, our mission is to build the capacity of families and the community to prepare children, birth to age five, for success in school and in life. WCSS works collaboratively with community partners to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of child care, provide preventive health and early intervention services and offer family support services—all delivered as part of a strong, diverse integrated early childhood system.

The Candidate

The Executive Director of Wake County Smart Start, Inc., serves as a catalyst for community partners, funders, and government entities to collaborate, agree upon, and work toward common goals. This role looks toward building friends and funders and focuses on the visionary portion of where the organization will go.

The Executive Director must be a consensus-builder, focusing on relationships. A seasoned professional with strong Board experience, the Executive Director will represent the organization’s collective voice, through taking initiative, identifying opportunities, and leading fundraising and advocacy efforts among stakeholders.

Our work is truly collaborative. WCSS’s programs and funded partners provide direct services for children and their families. Community volunteers, staff members, child care providers, schools, civic organizations and local businesses all strive to realize WCSS’ mission and build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development beginning at birth.

The Position

The Executive Director functions as the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation. In this capacity, the incumbent is responsible for the implementation of policies set by the Board of Directors as well as strategic goals and objectives, and financial, program and administrative management of the corporation. The Executive Director enables the Board of Directors, with the assistance of the Board Chair, to fulfill its governance function and gives direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s mission, strategic plan, annual goals and objectives.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Responsible for overall leadership of staff in the development and implementation of short and long range plans and policies and other activities; leverage of staff and resources to achieve goals.
  • Ensures sound financial operations, internal control environment, budget management and financial reporting, according to current laws and regulations.
  • Assists the Board of Directors in setting goals and developing the strategic plan.
  • Oversees the development and delivery of high-quality programs and services that meet critical needs and incorporates nationally recognized, tested models and interventions.
  • Responsible for liaison with other state and community organizations, such as the NC Partnership for Children, Division of Child Development, Department of Health and Human Services, and others.
  • Responsible for providing information, advice and counsel to the Board Chair, Board committees and Board of Directors in the creation of policies, programs and strategic direction of the organization, including fundraising.
  • Responsible for support of all activities associated with the Board of Directors, including staffing for all Board and committee meetings, meeting schedules, locations, development of agenda and meeting materials.
  • Responsible for administration of overall operation of the organization, including reviewing and evaluating the results of program activities; ensuring that continuing contractual obligations are being fulfilled; allocating resources for program effectiveness and efficiency; developing organizational and administrative policies and program objectives for Board consideration.
  • Responsible for listening to and communicating effectively with multiple audiences using a variety of formats; presenting at local meetings and to outside groups regarding issues affecting the work of the organization; establishes and maintains an effective system of communications throughout the community and represents Wake County Smart Start in its business relationships with the child and family services community, government agencies, the media, professional organizations and similar groups.
  • Provides county-wide leadership to develop strong, diverse, connected and integrated early childhood systems in Wake County. Strengthens connections between stakeholders. Works toward the development of a county-level impact framework that includes a common vision, aligned goals, and shared data and outcomes for children, birth to five and their families.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES: Responsible for supervision of all assigned staff. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring and training employees; planning, assigning and directing of work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems. Ensures optimum staffing and utilization of competent staff, recommending policy changes to benefits, compensation, employment, training and other areas as appropriate.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and ability required.

EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE: Attainment of an advanced degree in early childhood, business, non-profit management or a related field and five years of increasingly responsible administrative experience, at least three of which shall have been in a supervisory capacity, or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood, business, non-profit management or other related field and seven years of increasingly responsible administrative experience, at least five of which shall have been in a supervisory capacity.

LANGUAGE SKILLS: Ability to read, analyze and interpret professional journals, financial reports, legal documents, technical procedures or governmental regulations; write reports, business correspondence and procedure manuals; efficiently respond to questions from Board, staff, the media and members of the community; communicate effectively in both written and oral form; and, effectively present information to the Board and committees and the public.

REASONING ABILITY: Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts and draw valid conclusions; exhibit independent judgment in the development, implementation and evaluation of plans, procedures and policies. Ability to understand and relate to community concerns around early childhood education and to incorporate salient concepts into existing and new programs.

OTHER KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES: Knowledge of the principles and techniques of grant administration, contract administration and negotiation, fiscal and organizational management, principles and practices of marketing and public relations. Extensive knowledge of child and family services methods/strategies, education networks, emerging issues and the major challenges and opportunities in the field. Demonstrated effective management/administration of a non-profit or educational organization. Demonstrated ability to provide vision and leadership for a complex organization; excellence in problem-solving and leading effective change. Proven ability to effectively collaborate and to convene leaders and organizations around issues and opportunities.

COMPUTER SKILLS: Excellent computer skills, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and social media.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

An individual in this position will be exposed to conditions typical of traveling office staff. Travel to multiple sites and community meetings, approximately 25% of time. Position requires occasional overnight travel, usually within the state.

To Apply

Please send cover letter, resume, target salary requirements, and three references to: WakeSmartStartED@CapabilityCompany.com. Only applications received through this address will be considered.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Applications will be accepted until November 25, 2018.