Executive Director

Posted 2 months ago


The Oak Park Education Foundation (OPEF)– an independent nonprofit that delivers innovative, hands-on learning experiences to K-8th grade District 97 students in-class, after school and during the summer– seeks an Executive Director to lead this growing, 30+-year-old organization. Working closely with the Board of Directors, staff, District 97 leaders and teachers, parents, volunteers, and other local organizations, the Executive Director will advance OPEF’s mission of serving as an incubator for innovative, hands-on, STEAM-focused enrichment.

OPEF builds sustainable partnerships with committed organizations and creative educators – scientists, artists, engineers, architects and poets – who step up to help thousands of K-8th graders make connections between what they are studying in school and the real world. The organization runs in-school and afterschool programs for Oak Park District 97 students. It also operates a popular summer program, BASE (Build A Summer Education) Camp, to give students from our region a fun STEAM-focused enrichment experience, while also providing a significant source of OPEF’s funding.

Located in Oak Park, Illinois, OPEF is governed by a 14-member Board of Directors, has 10 staff and program consultants, and a $750K budget.


To bring hands-on STEAM opportunities to youth that inspire a life-long love of learning


The Oak Park Education Foundation develops and supports programs that embody these guiding principles:

  • Equity and inclusion
  • A sense of belonging
  • Inspiration
  • Real-world Connections
  • Innovation
  • Community Engagement
  • Fun


Every child served by OPEF has the opportunity to explore curiosities, dream big and find their passion and purpose in life.


The Executive Director functions as chief executive and plays a leadership role in working with the Board of Directors, staff, parents, District 97, and volunteers to promote OPEF in the community and advance its mission. The public face and main contact of The Organization, the Executive Director is responsible for overall day-to-day management; the development, management and evaluation of programs and carrying out the mission, vision, values and policies as established by the Board of Directors. Primary functions include:

Program Development and Awareness: Plays a leadership role in developing and marketing the mission, messaging and branding of OPEF’s programs.

  • With oversight from the Board of Directors, assists staff in developing and executing programs that fulfill OPEF’s mission;
  • Cultivates strong relationships with D97 leaders and other community partners to ensure student access and equity, success of programs, increasing content relevance and alignment with the curriculum;
  • Working closely with marketing/communications staff/consultants, promotes OPEF and its programs to target audiences;
  • Serves as chief spokesperson and advocate for OPEF in the community and with local media.

Team Management: Manages OPEF’s staff, consultants and operations.

  • Hires and develops staff that support the fundraising, program development, marketing and administrative functions of the organization;
  • Hires, directs, motivates, and supervises staff and contracted program personnel; performs performance evaluations of the management team and recommends personnel and salary administration policies to the Board of Directors;
  • Creates a collaborative environment that results in a knowledgeable, responsive and motivated team.

Governance: Plays a critical role in the ongoing governance of the organization.

  • Ensures Board engagement in establishing long-term goals and strategic direction; leverages the Board’s skills and connections;
  • Assists the President and board committees in developing and presenting strategic issues to the Board of Directors;
  • Works with the Internal Committee and advises the Board on governance issues and the recruitment of new members;
  • Maintains bylaws, policies and procedures that promote effective governance, and follows up on their implementation;
  • Works with the President of OPEF to prepare Board agendas; develops materials and minutes for Board meetings.

Fundraising: Plays a leadership role in the success of OPEF’s fundraising initiatives, consistent with the goals and objectives established with the Board of Directors.

  • Develops annual fundraising goals with development director and oversees implementation;
  • Ensures sustainability of BASE Camp scholarship program through targeted outreach, special events and grant writing;
  • Works closely with development director to generate ideas to enhance fundraising plans, execute special campaigns and events, and actively identify, cultivate and nurture relationships with donors in collaboration with Development Director.

Financial Oversight: Plays a similar leadership role in ensuring the success of OPEF’s financial management, consistent with the goals and objectives established with the Board of Directors.

  • Prepares the annual budget, in coordination with the operations manager and Board Treasurer, for timely presentation to the Board of Directors and ensures compliance by staff and consultants;
  • Directs the preparation of financial, operational and other management reports for the Board of Directors and ensures adherence to fiscal policies and legal compliance.


  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree;
  • Leadership experience in a nonprofit, volunteer or academic-related organization, to include financial and staff management;
  • Understanding of schools and education enrichment; expertise in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programming a plus;
  • Experience working with volunteer Boards ; knowledge of governance procedures and Board recruitment;
  • Experience with long-term annual planning, budgeting, and overseeing project plans; confident in financial forecasting and budgeting;
  • Demonstrated experience in developing and executing fundraising strategies; ability to actively cultivate a strong donor base;
  • Inclusive leadership style and strong team building skills; a collaborative decision maker with demonstrated ability to empower a team of direct reports and stakeholders;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; ability to establish good working relationships with community groups and speak publicly as needed;
  • Innovative and forward-thinking, with demonstrated commitment to OPEF’s mission, vision and values;
  • A demonstrated commitment to strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion and access across the organization;
  • Must be able to work outside of normal business hours as needed, including evenings and weekends.


Those interested in applying should prepare a confidential resume and a cover letter outlining specific qualifications related to this position profile, using one of these options:

  • Complete the resume submission form below, and include your resume and cover letter.
  • Email your resume with cover letter to: Jill Christie, President, Tuft & Associates, c/o cbabjak@tuftassoc.com; phone 312-642-8889

Job Features

Job CategoryOpen
LocationOak Park, IL