Job Announcement

Executive Director Open Position Announcement

Overview of the Position


Highlander Research and Education’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement-building in Appalachia and the South. Through popular education, participatory research, and cultural work, we help create spaces — at our center and in local communities — where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible.

We develop leadership and help create and support strong, democratic organizations that work for justice, equity and sustainability in their own communities and that join with others to build broad movements for social, economic and restorative environmental change.  Highlander is committed to building Southern people power. We are dedicated to building local, regional, and national power from the grassroots, in order to dismantle the system that continues to oppress our people.


Are you the person we’ve been searching for?

We’re looking for someone who “gets” Highlander, someone who loves the place and feels connected to its history, its trajectory, and/or has felt the impact of Highlander on their life, work, or spirit. We’re looking for someone passionate about the future of Highlander, with ideas about what it could look like. At the same time, we’re looking for someone willing to shape this future alongside others, and able to take into account the needs, ebbs and flows of a vast and diverse region.


We’re looking for a visionary who can both lead and accompany the organization into its next phase. The Executive Director gives direction and leadership to fulfill the organization’s mission and provides guidance to work teams. We are looking for someone who loves to listen: to the staff, to the people on the ground in our Southern communities, and to the land.


We’re looking for a director that is committed to the South and understands that the South has a crucial and unique role in self determining the future of this region. We are committed to social, economic, and restorative justice as a main avenue to our liberation and seek a director willing to join staff in building collective power and courage for our people.


Who do you work for? How does it work?

The Executive Director (E.D.), as Chief Executive Officer, is hired by the Board of Directors, acts on the authority of the Board, and is ultimately responsible to the Board.  The E.D. directly supervises and evaluates team coordinators – Education, Development and Communications, and Operations. Highlander does not have a flat structure, but mechanisms are in place to ensure that all voices are heard, and it’s important to us that the Executive Director understand those mechanisms and do their part to keep them running.


The E.D.  is an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of the Highlander Research and Education Center, Inc. and the Fund for Highlander Research and Education Center, Inc., as well as of each committee of the Board. With the Board Chair, support the Board to fulfill its governance role to support each board member to be as effective as possible. The E.D. ensures that the policies and decisions of the Board are implemented.




Mission and Programs


Organizational Culture


Resource Development and Management


Qualifications: We seek a highly qualified candidate who

  1. Will keep the purpose of our work and the people whom we serve at the center of our activities and decisions.
  2. Has a proven track record of resource development and financial management for an organization of comparable size and complexity
  3. Has a clear and well-articulated race, class and gender analysis
  4. Has extensive experience and deep commitment to the self determination of historically marginalized communities
  5. Can clearly articulate their leadership style
  6. Has at least 8 years of experience in social justice movement work, with increased organizational responsibilities
  7. Understands how systems function and has a systems approach to internal and social change
  8. Has a collaborative and inviting verbal and written communication style
  9. Brings a transformative/holistic approach to internal organizational culture and external mission and relationships
  10. Has a positive attitude and the capacity to work through challenges with persistence, resilience and humor
  11. Has experience with and knowledge of program evaluation and research methods
  12. Has excellent organizational and planning skills
  13. Has a deep commitment to personal growth and professional development for her/himself and their staff
  14. Is a strategic thinker
  15. Maintains a high standard of political and ethical behavior.
  16. Bilingual or bicultural skills desirable, but not required


COMPENSATION: Salary commensurate with regional salary range.  Very generous benefits package, including health, dental, vision, retirement and exceptional vacation time. This position is exempt and as such is not entitled to overtime.


To Apply: Submit cover letter and resume to; applications received by October 12, 2016 will receive highest priority.

The Highlander Research and Education Center is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ applicants.