Executive Director (RS)

Rainier Scholars seeks an exceptional Executive Director committed to educational equity to lead the organization into its third decade.

Applications submitted by October 15 will be given full consideration. Interviewing will begin in October. Please see full announcement with application link here.

Rainier Scholars offers a pathway to college graduation for hard-working, low- income students of color by providing access to transformative educational opportunities. Our scholars engage in a proven, 12+ year program – from 5th grade through college graduation and beyond – that brings together the academic preparation, leadership development and personalized support they need to graduate from a top-tier four-year college and develop into career professionals and leaders in their communities. We serve students who are most underrepresented on college campuses and have the greatest number of barriers to achieving a college education; 90% of graduates are first in their family to earn a college degree. Our program provides access to exceptional educational pathways and the opportunity for our scholars to realize their full potential.


Rainier Scholars is most interested in candidates who:

  • Are knowledgeable and passionate about educational pathways for low-income students of color
  • Bring the vision and creativity to drive thoughtful program expansion, with a focus on impact and results
  • Have experience leading a mature mission-driven organization, managing budgets and a complex scope
  • Are inspiring storytellers and fearless about seeking support for students of color
  • Are a successful manager who develops and manages consistently high performing teams
  • Embody the values we ask of our scholars: excellence, perseverance, integrity, and courage


This is a pivotal moment in the fight for racial equity and a more just society. Rainier Scholars’ next Executive Director will guide an organization with a national reputation for excellence through an exciting period of expansion, impacting the lives of students, families, and communities for years to come.





Rainier Scholars cultivates the academic potential and leadership skills of hard-working, low-income students of color. By creating access to transformative educational opportunities and providing comprehensive support to scholars and families, we increase college graduation rates and empower new generations of leaders.



Our vision is a legacy of successful and inspiring leaders who make a positive impact in our community and our world through:

  • Greater number of diverse students successfully graduating from top tier colleges
  • Increased diverse pool of qualified candidates for high-level leadership roles
  • Growing number of families of color who are advocates for quality education



Rainier Scholars achieves its mission and vision using educational approaches grounded in research. We are committed to our scholars attending four-year colleges because research shows that for low-income kids of color, these schools provide the best access to careers, networks and positions of leadership. Similarly, we provide access to independent, parochial, boarding, and Advanced Learning public school placement because these pathways are the most likely to provide scholars with choices in colleges, careers, and leadership opportunities. This model has demonstrated success: each year, nearly 100% of our high school seniors are accepted to and matriculate at four-year colleges and universities, and 93% have graduated or are on track to graduate from college.



Rainier Scholars is proud to be celebrating 20 years of significant impact, growing new generations of diverse college graduates, career professionals, and community leaders. The next Executive Director will lead our organization into an exciting period of growth and expansion, even as

we address the new challenges and opportunities brought about by the pandemic, the shifting economy, and the current national dialogue about systemic racism. We have launched a plan to significantly expand our programs in the South Sound/Tacoma area, which will require developing new partnerships and improving our infrastructure. We will also continue our focus on increasing recruitment and retention for multigenerational African American students (“MGAA,” as disaggregated from recent African immigrant students who are also classified as African American). Moreover, the organization will develop its next strategic plan for 2021 and beyond under the leadership and vision of the new Executive Director.



The 12-year journey of a Rainier Scholar begins at the end of 4th grade, with a challenging 14-month Academic Enrichment Program (AEP) designed to provide the skills and support to thrive in the most competitive academic programs. Scholars build and strengthen foundational academic skills, cultural identity, and resiliency over the course of two summer sessions and on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays during their 5th grade year. As members of a ~60 student cohort, our scholars belong to a community of highly motivated and hardworking peers who share a vision and expectation of college success. Each year, nearly 100% of our scholars in grades 6-12 are on college prep pathways in independent, parochial, or public schools. Whatever path they and their families choose, they are supported by Rainier Scholars staff who provide personalized support and programming in Academic Counseling, Leadership and Career Development, College Counseling, and Mental Health Counseling and Support.



Founded in 2000, Rainier Scholars is welcoming its 20th cohort of determined 5th graders this fall. The organization currently serves more than 800 scholars and their families, with an annual operating budget of ~$4.5 million. There are 38 year-round FTEs; during the summer the staff expands to 60-70. The organization is served by a 22-member Board of Trustees as well as a Resource Council of commited supporters.

The entire Rainier Scholars community is grounded in four core values, referred to as EPIC: Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity and Courage. We promote these high standards among staff and students alike.

Our inclusive, collaborative work culture, based on authentic communication, the desire to always keep

learning and innovating, and an unwavering commitment to our mission of educational equity, remains key to our organization’s success.

For more information about Rainier Scholars, please visit www.rainierscholars.org.



Working closely with the Rainier Scholars Board of Trustees, the Executive Director sets the strategic direction for the organization, oversees all staff and programs, and generates support for its growth. The Executive Director manages 6 direct reports and guides a Leadership Team of 8.


Critical responsibilities include:



Design and implement a 2021-2026 strategic plan for the organization in collaboration with the board and staff. Drive continued progress on strategic initiatives to increase MGAA recruitment and retention, and overall program growth.



In partnership with the board and the Director of Strategic Growth and Program Design, deliver on the plan to significantly expand Rainier Scholars in the South Sound region. Bring vision, creativity, resourcefulness, high standards, and relationship building skills to this major strategic effort.



Personally cultivate relationships with individual donors and other funding partners, and actively solicit their support for Rainier Scholars. Leverage increasing interest in social equity and creatively connect with new and existing donors to ensure sustainable revenue streams.



Recruit, develop, motivate, and retain top talent by supporting a workplace culture that values excellence, innovation, and inclusion. Motivate and inspire the Board of Trustees.



Promote Rainier Scholars’ vision and values with students and their families, schools, funders, and in the community at large. Build and deepen relationships, and serve as an external thought leader and spokesperson around issues of equity, education, access, and opportunity.



Together with the Leadership Team, provide sound fiscal and administrative management and oversight of the entire organization to ensure its healthy functioning.




Rainier Scholars seeks candidates who are both knowledgeable and passionate about serving low-income students of color and providing access to transformational educational opportunities.The successful candidate will be fully committed to educational equity and unwavering in their support for Rainier Scholars’ mission, programmatic approach, and values. They will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of educational equity, educational systems, school cultures, and the barriers that low-income students of color face. They will be able to make authentic connections with the students and families that Rainier Scholars serves, and be prepared to represent the organization and speak publicly about these issues.


Our next Executive Director will bring the vision and creativity to deliver on our mission and drive organic growth. We seek someone who works entrepreneurially, strategically, and systematically to drive sustainable growth, while continuing to deliver the highest quality programming. They will also have the ability to leverage technology to promote learning, increase access, and drive fundraising


We need an inspiring storyteller and confident fundraiser who is fearless in generating support for students of color. They must have experience, aptitude, and interest in attracting investments of time and money, and the ability to relate comfortably with funders, corporate leaders, and other partners. A natural connector with excellent listening, communication, and relationship building skills will be most successful in this job.


As a maturing nonprofit with a significant budget and a complex scope, we are seeking a leader with expertise in running a strong and healthy mission-driven organization.This skillset includes financial oversight and budgeting, human resources and staff management, strategic revenue development, marketing and communications, and board governance.


The next Executive Director will be an inspirational leader and collaborative manager who develops and manages consistently high performing teams. They will be experienced at creating a diverse and inclusive, purpose-driven, results-oriented culture. Experience working with a nonprofit Board of Trustees is strongly preferred.


Rainier Scholars is seeking a leader who embodies the values we ask of our scholars: excellence, perseverance, integrity, and courage. Like our scholars, this leader will demonstrate grit and determination to set and achieve ambitious goals. People who have personal experience as a first-generation, underrepresented, or under-resourced student like those Rainier Scholars serves are especially encouraged to apply.



This is a full-time exempt salaried position requiring the flexibility to participate in key organizational events on evenings and Saturdays.The expected salary range is $175,000 to $215,000+, depending on qualifications and experience. A stipend to cover some relocation costs will be offered as needed.


Employees are eligible for a generous and comprehensive benefits package including 4 weeks annual PTO plus 11 holidays, 100% coverage of health insurance including medical, dental, and vision, and access to a 5% employer-matched 401k retirement contribution.


Rainier Scholars is an equal opportunity employer, and is deeply committed to racial equity. We strongly encourage people of color to apply.




Online applications only, please no email or paper submissions. You will be asked to upload a cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please describe as specifically as you can how your experience, skills, and values are a fit with Rainier Scholars’ ideal candidate characteristics as described in this announcement.

Applications received by October 15, 2020 will be given full consideration. All applications will be acknowledged via an email receipt and will be held confidentially within the search committee. Consideration will be given to applications as soon as they are received; phone and Zoom interviewing will begin in October.


The search for this position is being facilitated by the team at Clover Search Works, a firm that provides a full range of search services to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Clover Search Works is honored to partner with Rainier Scholars in the search for a new leader to carry out their important mission of providing access to educational opportunites for students of color.


Questions regarding this opportunity are welcomed and can be directed to Julie Edsforth of Clover Search Works. Email: [email protected] | Phone: 206-979-0514


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  • Reed Young
    published this page in Job Board 2020-09-22 13:14:42 -0400