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Executive Director


Executive Director / CEO

Contact: Catherine Bradshaw
Address: The Foraker Group 161 Klevin Street, 101, Anchorage AK 99508
Phone: (907) 743-1218
Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, Thrivalaska is a community-based nonprofit organization committed to helping children and families thrive.

Job Summary

Date Posted:   2 months ago Closing Date:   December 31, 2020
Location:   Fairbanks, AK Salary: $75,000.00 - $83,000.00 Exempt; salary
Status:   Full time
Thrivalaska offers a competitive benefits package.
How to Apply:
To apply, email your credentials to Applicants should include a resume and cover letter describing interest and qualifications.

Job Description

Position Profile

Executive Director |Thrivalaska |Fairbanks, Alaska

The Position: Executive Director

Thrivalaska seeks a dynamic, relationship-based leader to work in partnership with the board to continue the legacy of delivering high-quality programs, while building a strong, financially stable future for the organization. Building upon Thrivalaska’s decades of service to the community, the ideal candidate will be a gifted communicator and advocate with a true passion for early childhood education. Using their demonstrated business acumen and experience, the new leader will steward the organization through the current challenges of COVID-19 while planning to meet the future needs of Thrivalaska and the families it serves.

The Organization

Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, Thrivalaska is a community-based nonprofit organization committed to helping children and families thrive.  For over 45 years, Thrivalaska has been a leader in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, providing a variety of holistic family-centered programs serving children birth to 12 years of age and their families. It is unique in providing a full range of wrap-around supports to families, including child care information and referral, child care assistance, and high-quality education. Additionally, Thrivalaska partners with early childhood programs to offer professional development opportunities and joins with community agencies to ensure children are supported to be ready for success in school and life.

Serving more than 6,000 children, families, and early childhood providers annually, approximately 50 dedicated staff operate four major programs with an annual budget of $4M. Thrivalaska is governed by a 14-member board of directors and is advised by a parent-led Policy Council. Thrivalaska’s stated values of education, relationships, play, resilience, best practices, and diversity are reflected throughout the organization’s culture, policies, and practices. Thrivalaska’s commitment to relationship-based practice guides its actions and decision-making. This investment in building genuine relationships with families and staff is a hallmark and strength of the organization.

Services and Programs

·        Head Start Birth to Five is a comprehensive early childhood program for income-eligible families with children from birth to five years of age. Head Start builds nurturing relationships, connects families to community networks, fosters parents’ role as their child’s primary educator, and ensures school readiness by increasing the social competence of young children.

·        Pearl Creek Elementary school age program (K – 6th Grade) provides engaging school-based, before- and after-school care. This fee-for-service program emphasizes social opportunities, recreational sports and age appropriate activities to support independence, literacy, science, and math.

Subgrant Programs

Thrivalaska partners with thread, Alaska’s child care resource and referral network, and other early childhood advocates across Alaska to strengthen statewide support for quality early care and education.  This strategic partnership with thread allows Thrivalaska to function independently while delivering thread-sponsored services under a subgrant:

·        thread Resource and Referral program supports families, early educators and the community by providing resources in locating quality care, and training and technical assistance to early educators. Additionally, this program works to improve early childhood systems and generates resources that will increase the availability, quality and affordability of early care and education options in Alaska. 

·        thread Child Care Assistance Program is the Fairbanks area State of Alaska grantee providing financial assistance to eligible families working, going to school or looking for work, to help with child care expenses based on a sliding fee schedule.

Strategic Priorities

Thrivalaska produced a strategic plan in August 2020 with a vision for high-quality, family-focused services that advocate for and strengthen children, families, and staff.  The incoming executive director will have the opportunity to partner with the board and staff in executing the plan.  Long- and mid-term goals include:

·      Ensure sustainable funding for all programs; develop effective fundraising and fund development strategies and establish an endowment.

·      Establish an Early Head Start Lab School in partnership with University of Alaska, Fairbanks Early Childhood Education.

·      Improve wages and benefits for staff.

·      Continue collaboration with thread and its Anchorage board to determine the long-term future of the thread sub-grant.

·      Increase advocacy efforts at the local and state level, including telling our stories, identifying champions for children, and strengthening external relationships.

Short-term Priorities

The incoming leader will be expected to focus on the following priorities over the next twelve to eighteen months:

·      Continue to serve families and respond to community needs through delivery of high-quality programs during COVID-19 and beyond, including reopening the school-age program at Pearl Creek Elementary.

·      Build and strengthen relationships with local, borough, and statewide decision makers, advocating for early childhood education and family-support programs.

·      Oversee and strengthen the fiscal stability of Thrivalaska in the face of COVID-19 and State budget pressures.

·      Build and strengthen internal relationships with families, staff and board.

·      Gain a firm grasp of Thrivalaska’s operations, of the political and social dynamics in its external environment, and of the diverse requirements and regulations governing its programs.

The Leadership Opportunity

Thrivalaska’s exiting executive director has provided strong leadership for the last 11 years and is leaving the organization with skilled staff, strong community partnerships, and a committed board of directors. The organization has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with resilience and flexibility; it was forced to temporarily close its school-aged program, but continues to provide quality early childhood education and its myriad of support services.

Building on this solid foundation, the new leader will bring innovation and leadership to maintain Thrivalaska’s strengths and position it to grow in the next phase of its important work, including increasing Thrivalaska’s advocacy voice and diversifying funding streams.  The incoming leader will embrace Thrivalaska’s values of education, relationships, play, resilience, best practices, and diversity. The incoming leader will work closely with a dedicated staff leadership team and board of directors to steer the organization through the turbulence of the COVID-19 environment, provide a nurturing environment for staff and families, and build greater resilience through expanded and diversified revenues.

Key Responsibilities

The executive director is the internal driver and external face of Thrivalaska who oversees its day-to-day affairs. Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

·      Support the mission and core purpose of Thrivalaska – Helping Children & Families Thrive.

·      Provide visionary and strategic leadership, and translate that vision into measurable strategies and concrete actions that advance the mission.

·      Advocate at the local, state, and federal level for successful child and family development experiences.

·      Participate actively in partnership with thread Alaska Child Care Resource and Referral Network.

·      Provide leadership, management, and oversight of programs, personnel, benefits, finances, services, activities, public relations, marketing and facilities.

·      Oversee the business operations of the organization and ensure fiscal responsibility and security, including grant management.

·      Monitor and maintain the profitability of all Thrivalaska programs.

·      Oversee the development of program budgets for submission to the Board of Directors.

·      Develop and expand strategies for sustainable revenue

·      Directly supervise, support, mentor, train, and evaluate leadership staff.

·      Actively seek out partnerships with community members and agencies to enhance program services and resources.

·      Promote positive communication and working relationships with community partners and funding agencies.

·      Promote positive communication and strong working relationships with the Board of Directors, Policy Council, and advisory groups.

Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate

While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:


·      Demonstrated passion for early childhood education

·      High emotional intelligence, with ability to create positive work relationships and environments

·      A compassionate professional who is a relationship-based, respectful, inclusive, and effective leader and developer of staff

·      A visionary leader who continually seeks opportunities and is open to new ideas

·      A collaborative nature eager to engage and partner with the board and community

Skills and Experience

·    Leadership experience in a nonprofit

·      Experience administering a complex, multi-source budget, and efficiently and strategically aligning and maximizing resources required

·      A bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position and/or to Thrivalaska’s mission and services required; Master’s degree preferred

·      Demonstrated success in diversifying and expanding revenue streams

·      Demonstrated ability to build relationships with parents/families

·      Experience securing and managing grants

·      Experience advocating for a cause at the local and state level

·      Demonstrated experience building community relationships and partnerships

·      Demonstrated skills in working effectively in partnership with a board of directors to carry out the mission of the organization

·      Confident communicator with exceptional written and verbal communication skills

·      Familiarity with the Head Start program – its regulations and program structure, and the management of this federal grant

·      Experience in and knowledge of Fairbanks, Alaska is desired

Application Process

The salary range is $75,000 and $83,000 annually, commensurate with qualifications and experience. Thrivalaska offers a competitive benefits package.  To apply, email your credentials to  Applicants should include a resume and cover letter describing interest and qualifications.  For questions, contact Catherine Bradshaw, lead recruiter, at . Communications will be treated in confidence and resumes will be accepted until position is filled. Resume review begins immediately.

Thrivalaska is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status.  Thrivalaska is especially interested in candidates whose background and experience have prepared them to grow to our commitment to engagement and inclusion with culturally diverse audiences.

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