Executive Director

The Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) is seeking a highly qualified Director of Policy and Legal Services that possesses the following key attributes:

KEES has been exclusively retained by the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) in its search for an Executive Director.

WSSDA seeks an Executive Director who is a consensus builder and an effective communicator with a passion for equipping the leaders who make a substantive impact on the education of over 1M children across the state of Washington. The Board desires a diplomatic and innovative Executive Director to steer the organization to the next level of impact and efficacy. As an advocate of all school board members across Washington state from districts with varying sizes, needs, and resources, the WSSDA Executive Director will need to seek balanced perspectives, engage all members as effectively as possible, and find common ground among stakeholders with competing or opposing priorities.

Accountable to the Board for carrying out the organization’s mission and achieving its goals, the Executive Director is responsible for overall planning, deployment, coordination, monitoring, improvement, and management of staff and operations. The Executive Director will lead a staff of approximately 15 full-time employees with 6 direct reports, which provide school board members research-based professional development opportunities, policy and legal services, and legislative advocacy supports based on the democratically determined member priorities of school board members statewide.

Some specific requirements include:

  • Passion for WSSDA’s mission and the children of Washington, augmented by demonstrated experience in similar programmatic and nonprofit service areas.
  • Exceptional ability to work across lines of difference and divergent perspectives with diplomacy and discretion, bringing people together around shared vision, goals, and civil discourse.
  • An open-minded approach that facilitates discussion and seeks to find common ground among all people and positions. Bring an unbiased perspective allowing all views to be considered.
  • Ability to cultivate and leverage strong external relationships with a variety of business, civic, and elected leaders on the state and local levels, as well as with state agencies, partner organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Track record in fiscal management, stewardship, and strategy. A record of integrity and inclusiveness in nonpartisan organizations is essential.
  • Proven success in building strong and productive work teams with a focus on mentoring and nurturing staff development.
  • Strong analytic and strategic-thinking skills, with a demonstrated ability to create, implement, and monitor complex plans and then translate those plans into goals and concrete strategies.
  • A minimum of 7 years of progressive experience in leadership and management in nonprofit organizations or public education. Direct work in legislative relations is a must, as well as demonstrated and effective leadership in public education.

This position offers a market-rate salary based on recent benchmarking and board review. The hiring range is expected to be in the low $200,000s. Strong benefits are offered through the Public Employee Benefit Board (PEBB), and WSSDA employees participate in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The team currently operates in a Hybrid format, with M/F as remote days and Tuesday-Thursday as in office days.

To apply, click the “Apply Now” box on page 7 of the Opportunity Guide. This will redirect you to the application system.

To assure confidential tracking of all applicants, no applications will be accepted via email. ALL INQUIRIES WILL BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE.

This search is being managed by Heather Eddy, President and CEO, and Megan Taylor, Project Manager of KEES. Questions may be addressed to mtaylor@kees2success.com.

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that buildsdiverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public entity sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

The Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) is a nonpartisan state agency formed in 1922 that builds leaders by empowering its members with tools, knowledge, and skills to govern with excellence and advocate for public education. Funded by public education money, and with a goal of serving as a unifying voice of the public education agenda, WSSDA is the premier resource hub and advocate for public education governance. WSSDA resources, materials, and opportunities are available to all WSSDA members. To learn more, please visit WSSDA.org.


WSSDA employee benefits packages are offered through the Public Employee Benefit Board (PEBB), and WSSDA employees participate in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)

Why Work at WSSDA

Equity is foundational to the work of WSSDA.
WSSDA’s member-adopted position is that educational equity can only exist when a student’s level of opportunity and achievement cannot be predicted based on race, characteristics, or circumstances. Therefore, we must identify and eliminate any discriminatory practices and prejudices within our state’s public education system.

We have a big impact on K-12 public education.
WSSDA supports and elevates the work of 1,477 school board members statewide, which is the largest group of elected officials in Washington state. They oversee the education of 1.1 million students in all 295 public school districts statewide. At WSSDA, you’ll have the opportunity to make a positive impact on education, supporting the development and expertise of individual school directors and board-superintendent teams.

We are dedicated to the value of public education.
Our members are the 1,477 school directors across the state, and we support them in having a positive impact on the students in their communities.

We value treating people with dignity, respect, and kindness.
WSSDA’s staff is small but mighty, and we work collaboratively with each other to do great things.  We consistently strive for relationships that support and uplift each other and the work we do on behalf of our members. We value diversity and equity.

We have fun together.
We value humor, joy, and positive relationships. We take our work seriously, and are serious about having fun while doing it.

There are some great benefits and perks.
Our work schedules allow for flexibility to ensure a healthy work-life balance, including regular telecommuting days and some remote work. As a Washington state employee, your compensation package includes paid vacation and sick leave, health insurance options, and access to retirement programs.

Sandy Hayes

WSSDA President

"This is an opportunity to work in a highly collaborative, fast-paced environment, serving those who serve Washington's 1.2 million students. I encourage you to apply and come work with us."

Ron Mabry

WSSDA Past President

"This is an opportunity for you to be involved with a team that operates at the highest levels of engagement between elected officials, the public, and our state’s K-12 public education system."

WSSDA’s Equal Opportunity Statement

The Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) is an equal opportunity employer.

As an employer, we strive to create an inclusive working environment that respects diverse backgrounds. Individuals from diverse gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religions and creeds, and national origins, individuals with any disabilities or the use of a trained service dog or service animal, individuals over 40 years of age, individuals in honorably discharged veteran or military status and individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Please include your name and preferred pronouns in your application, to ensure we address you appropriately throughout the application process