Launch - Executive Director

Seattle, Washington, United States | Full-time


 Comprehensive Position Profile


Launch, formerly Community Day School Association (CDSA), is a Seattle based nonprofit whose mission is to lead the charge to brilliant outcomes for children in our community by ensuring equitable access to the highest quality learning and care.   It does this by providing affordable, high-quality before and after school, preschool and summer programs at 12 locations in Central, Southeast, and West Seattle. 


Since 1977, Launch has been guided by its values of inclusiveness, balance, excellence, engagement, honor, and safety.  By providing a safe, fun, nurturing place, children develop the social-emotional and academic skills they need to be successful throughout their lives.  Launch serves nearly 1,000 children ages 3-12 annually and is the largest provider of the Seattle Preschool Program.  It has an annual budget in excess of $5 million and 125 full and part-time employees.


Launch has formed strong partnerships with the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, and a wide variety of local nonprofit organizations.  Launch is a leader in the fields of early learning and youth development and has earned respect from local families, partners, and the community at large. 

Learn more about Launch programs, impact and mission here.


The Opportunity

Launch is poised for growth.   We seek an inspiring, authentic, visionary, and inclusive leader passionate about our mission and aligned with our values to work in partnership with the Board of Directors to define and implement Launch’s next chapter, leveraging high-quality programs existing relationships, respected brand, strong financials, and dedicated staff to scale Launch’s programming within King County. 


Critical to Launch’s work is the pursuit of racial equity, as Launch’s programs work to eliminate the opportunity gaps caused by historical and systematic biases. 


This is an excellent opportunity for a strategic, results-driven, compassionate, engaging, and experienced leader with a passion for bridging the opportunity gap through early childhood education.


The ideal candidate will bring strong racial equity awareness, business acumen, data savviness, and life experience to inform strategy and take calculated risks to scale programs and deepen organizational reach and impact.  Candidates should have established professional networks and be interested in expanding these throughout the early learning community.  Excellent communication and networking skills, plus the ability to advocate to further Launch’s mission are a must.


Opportunities for Impact 

  • Promote and build a culture of teamwork, learning, continuous improvement, and excellence.
  • Engage as an effective and sensitive student of the organization’s history and future potential through careful listening and connections with stakeholders.
  • Lead the creation and implementation of Launch’s first racial equity framework to guide the organization’s mission success.
  • Develop strong, positive relationships with the Board of Directors, staff, parents, children, and community partners.
  • Ensure Launch recruits, retains, and develops our exceptional team of diverse, highly skilled, and committed staff.
  • Update and implement Launch’s development plan.
  • Lead data analysis in the organization to promote strategic, informed decision-making.
  • Build capacity and excellence in our programs. Cultivate new ideas, pilot those ideas, then scale as applicable.   Use data and life experience to determine and measure key performance indicators and return on investment. Adjust as needed. 
  • Assess early childhood learning and expanded learning opportunities (ELO) systems and external landscapes. Leverage learnings to inform Launch’s strategy and work.
  • Develop an acute understanding of the challenges facing early learning organizations both locally and nationally.


Longer-Term Opportunities

  • Bring and extend quality educational opportunities and support to children and youth.
  • Build capacity through partnerships and program replication that expand Launch’s reach and impact. Treat other early learning organizations as partners rather than competitors; participating in and working to expand local coalitions and initiatives that impact systems change for children and youth, bridging opportunity gaps.
  • Extend Launch’s reputation as a leader within the early learning community and expand learning opportunities to include new communities in Western Washington and beyond. Use data and results to tell Launch’s story.  Develop strong relationships throughout King County.
  • Guide Launch’s growth trajectory while maintaining quality programs and service, community connection, reputation, and impact.
  • Cultivate corporate, foundation, and individual donors with the goal of growing revenues in order to advance the mission of Launch.

 .The Position

Accountable to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for staff, programs, finances, and execution of Launch’s mission. They are the chief spokesperson focusing on leadership, management, racial equity, advocacy, external relations, programs, revenue development, communications, and relationship building within established policies.


We seek a candidate who is aware of systemic racism and educational equity issues as they apply to organizational structure and programming and has the capacity and motivation to be a leader within such a framework. They will be responsible for collaboratively making strategic decisions, managing a team of experienced and talented staff, and serving as a liaison between Launch’s staff and board. They need to be a dynamic leader with the ability to create a strong and lasting network of community connections with empathy developed through life experiences. They will exhibit strong communication skills and can work well with the board and staff.


Candidates will be evaluated on the full range of their lived and learned experience, professional background, volunteer experience, and direct and transferable skills.  Launch is seeking candidates with a compelling combination of demonstrated experience and skills in some, or all, of the following areas:


Commitment to:

  • Be passionate about and a steward of Launch’s mission, values, and culture. Bring high integrity, courage, and authenticity to the role. Earn trust, inspire others and build stakeholder commitment towards common goals through vision and purpose.
  • Provide successful oversight of multiprogram organizations with dispersed locations and staff.
  • Build capable teams and capacity. Inspire quality performance with leadership to build, nurture, and retain a strong team of professionals focused on excellence, accountability, connection, diversity, and efficiency.
  • Lead preschool and early learning programs that actively address systemic racism and work toward educational equity for individuals representing historically underserved communities.
  • Accomplish a smooth leadership transition with transparency, openness, sensitivity, and visibility.
  • Identify and evaluate new, innovative, and creative approaches to fulfilling the organization’s mission.
  • Expand programs and organizational capacity. Initiate new relationships with relevant organizations and negotiate with decision-makers when appropriate.
  • Lead an organization through change with sensitivity, clear vision, excellent communication, and strong emotional and social intelligence.

Ability to:

  • Be the positive face of the organization. Build and foster strong, collaborative community connections in support of Launch's mission.  Gather and leverage data to tell Launch’s story and expand its reach and impact. 
  • Anticipate educational changes, trends, regulations to lead changes that ensure all students of programs are school-ready.
  • Develop, set, share, and implement a strategic vision informed by data for the organization.
  • Apply strong business acumen and good judgment to establish the necessary trust and credibility with the Board of Directors, staff, parents, children, community at large and partners.
  • Lead with humility and have a strong understanding of power dynamics across constituencies.
  • Be knowledgeable and familiar with equity frameworks and be able to create and lead within such a framework.
  • Build trusting and nurturing reciprocal relationships with communities of color and people of color-led organizations, especially in Seattle and King County.
  • Lead the fiscal management of $5+M budget and 125 staff dispersed over multiple locations.
  • Diversify and expand current funding sources; develop a systematic process for donor engagement.
  • Lead with courage, compassion, understanding, resiliency, empathy, and patience.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full time, exempt position with a target starting salary range of $115,000 – $140,000 depending on experience. We also offer a generous benefits package including employer-paid medical, dental, and vision coverage; paid time off that includes vacation and sick leave, paid holidays, and a 401(k) with employer match; and life and disability insurance.

To be Considered

The position is open until filled. Due to the impact of COVID 19, the priority deadline has been extended to April 27, 2020. Candidate materials are reviewed on an on-going basis and initial interviews will begin by early March.  Please submit a resume and a two-page (or less) cover letter addressed to the Search Committee.  Please upload the resume and cover letter as a single, combined WORD or PDF document.   You may direct questions to Amy Burton, or 206.718.5122.

Launch  is a progressive, equal opportunity employer committed to creating a welcoming work environment. Launch and the Valtas Group do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, gender, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. We are committed to a diverse, socially just, and welcoming work environment and people of color, people with varying abilities, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply.