Jun 01, 2021

Executive Director

$130,000 - $145,000 yearly
  • Boston Debate League
  • Boston, MA, USA
Full-Time Executive Management (CEO/ED) Fundraising/Development Strategic Planning

Job Description

The Boston Debate League seeks a new Executive Director – a visionary leader who will further advance its mission to integrate argumentation and competitive debate into public schools in Boston to develop critical thinkers ready for college, career, and engagement with the world around them.

The Boston Debate League (BDL) was founded in 2005 to offer Boston’s students access to debate and the transformational skills it cultivates. Since then, this small non-profit has annually engaged hundreds of middle and high school students in after school competitive debate programs and thousands of K-12 students through sustained coaching for their teachers and school leaders. An ally of school systems as it works to bring debate-inspired learning into classrooms across all curricular areas, BDL has become ever more broadly influential. Through professional development activities for teachers and school leaders along with support for rigorous after school debate teams and competitions, BDL provides coherent, sustained programs that promote the power of young people, analytic discourse, racial and social equity, and joy in life-long learning.

BDL’s work with students, debate coaches, and teachers in public schools is guided by research-driven principles of a strong education—authentic student voice and discussion, cognitive rigor, 21st century skills like critical thinking and communication, and high expectations for all students. BDL is deeply committed to serving students of color and other students who have been denied educational opportunities. Its programs, which are tailored to address educational inequities and strive to create inclusive learning communities, engage elementary, middle, and high school students, including students of color, English Language Learners, students experiencing poverty, and students with special education needs.

The Executive Director reports to BDL’s Board of Directors and leads and is supported by a diverse staff of 11 highly skilled, full-time employees who have experience in education, philanthropy, youth development, operations, and debate. BDL’s diverse 13-member Board includes leaders in public education, law, marketing, higher education, business, and finance.

The overarching charge for BDL’s new ED will be to lead BDL into the future, extending its visibility, reach, and impact. The ED will ensure that BDL regularly innovates its programs to meet the evolving needs of students and educators amid shifting priorities and opportunities in school systems and the larger society. As BDL’s chief fundraiser, the ED will lead efforts to sustain, expand, and develop complex partnerships and assure consistent financial support from corporate and individual donors, foundations, and public funds. The ED will also be at the center of BDL’s efforts to continue to refine norms, practices, and structures in ways that promote racial and social equity within BDL and in the communities it serves. Key to BDL’s success will be visionary leadership and preserving BDL’s culture of open debate and collegiality while ensuring high standards of accountability and evidence-based programs.

Hiring Organization

Boston Debate League


The successful candidate will bring both the wisdom to sustain this impactful organization and the strategic leadership skills to extend its reach and visibility, along with many of the following qualifications:  

  • Extensive experience with and commitment to the communities BDL serves
  • Capability and enthusiasm for building relationships that generate successful fundraising and collaborative partnerships across sectors
  • Experience as a teacher and/or school leader
  • Participation in competitive debate
  • Ability to partner effectively with a board of directors, including in development and implementation of strategic plans and budgets
  • Experience enhancing the capacity of an organization, sharing senior management responsibilities, building collaborative teams, and promoting inclusion, equity, and continuous learning and improvement
  • Experience providing guidance and direction on financial matters, operations, and staff development
  • A managerial style that is personable and collaborative yet decisively strategic and focused on accountability toward mission
  • Wisdom and courage to make difficult choices guided by the highest standards of honesty and integrity
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including active listening, intellectual curiosity, openness to debate, incisive analysis, inspiration, and persuasion
  • Deep understanding of and commitment to the human endeavor of life-long learning inside and outside of schools
  • Heart-felt enjoyment of young people and confidence in their potential, especially those marginalized by discrimination, and demonstrated commitment to helping them develop academically and personally
  • BA/BS required; advanced degree preferred.

Industry/Service Area

Education, Youth Development




  • Generous benefits, including health (75% employer paid) and dental (50% employer paid) insurance, pre-tax commuter benefit, and ample paid time off, including office closure the week between Christmas and New Years
  • A family-friendly and flexible work environment

Application Instructions

A more detailed position profile can be found at:  http://www.bostondebate.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/BDL-Executive-Director-Job-Profile.pdf.

In all BDL’s work, racial and social equity is a driving value. BDL knows that a diverse staff, including team members with lived experience in and commitment to the communities and students the organization serves is essential. As such, BDL encourages applications from BIPOC candidates, and candidates from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups.

To apply, please submit a current CV with a letter explaining why you are interested in becoming BDL’s next Executive Director and how your experience prepares you to succeed in this role. Application materials should be submitted electronically to edsearch@bostondebate.org.

To ensure full consideration, please submit application materials as soon as possible. Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue, on a confidential basis, until an appointment is made.

For more information about the Boston Debate League, please visit: http://www.bostondebate.org.

The Boston Debate League is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The BDL values having a diverse staff that reflects the experiences and backgrounds of the students and teachers it serves.


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