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NSTA Executive Director Search

Search Description: Executive Director, National Science Teaching Association

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and works with elected officials and the Board to develop a strategic plan and vision for the Association and for carrying out the policies and directives formulated by the Board by overseeing overall operations of the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), including oversight of a 78-person staff and a budget of $25 million.

The Executive Director must work in close concert with a diverse group of stakeholders to ensure the Association remains a force for advocating for education professionals, advancing science education, and promoting equity.


Founded in 1944 (as the National Science Teachers Association), the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA has a current membership of nearly 40,000. The vast majority of members are K–12 teachers; however, members also come from the informal science education field, and are science supervisors, administrators, scientists, and business and industry representatives.

Mission and Guiding Principles

NSTA's mission is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

NSTA's Guiding Principles

  • Model excellence;
  • Champion science literacy;
  • Value scientific excellence;
  • Embrace diversity, equity, and respect;
  • Enhance teaching and learning through research;
  • Collaborate with partners; and
  • Exemplify a dynamic professional organization.

NSTA's Strategic Plan

NSTA's current strategic plan, NSTA Strategic Goals 2015 was unveiled in the fall of 2014. The plan identifies six overarching goals that have provided a road map to guide and prioritize the work of the association over the last five years. It is expected that a new strategic plan will be one of the high priorities for a new Executive Director.


The NSTA Board of Directors consists of elected officers and directors representing the ten divisions within the organization. The Executive Director is a nonvoting, ex-officio secretary and there is a nonvoting ex-officio treasurer. There are three elected members in the presidential chain: the president-elect, the president, and the retiring president. Each has a term of one year. The NSTA's Council is composed of one director elected from each of NSTA's 18 districts.

The NSTA Council serves as the advisory body to the Board of Directors. The Council makes recommendations for consideration by the Board of Directors and attends all meetings of the Congress as non-voting members. All members of the Council have the responsibility for promoting NSTA programs.

The Alliance of Affiliates consists of one voting delegate from the NSTA's Affiliate organizations. NSTA Affiliate organizations include national or international science education organizations whose goals and purposes largely overlap with those of NSTA

The Congress comprises one voting delegate from each Chapter and Associated Group which are state or regional organizations of science educators who are like-minded with similar interests in the improvement of teaching and learning.

Essential Duties

The Executive Director will be responsible for the overall strategic planning, operation, management, and administration of staff, headquarters, and field activities for the Association that include

  • Overseeing all aspects of the organization.
  • Creating and sustaining professional learning experiences through a variety of platforms and channels that will address the needs of all educators of science and position the Association for meeting these needs.
  • Creating the development, fundraising, and corporate relations functions necessary to support NSTA's mission.
  • Overseeing the continuous development of non-dues revenues necessary to support NSTA's mission.
  • Creating and sustaining key relationships with stakeholders in the business, industry, advocacy/political, and foundation areas who are instrumental in furthering the Association's mission and goals.
  • Raising awareness of NSTA and science and STEM education with stakeholders by implementing a sound thought leadership initiative.
  • Creating a sustainable outreach and collaborative model with similarly-minded state organizations and affiliate groups that will lead to benefits for all organizations.

According to the Bylaws of the National Science Teaching Association, the Executive Director shall have all powers and duties of a secretary of a corporation under the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act. Without limitation thereof the Executive Director's powers and duties shall include those hereinafter set forth:

The Executive Director shall

  • Attend all meetings of the Board of Directors, Council, and Congress.
  • Be responsible for the proper administration of the national office of the Association, and for the disbursement of funds.
  • Supervise the preparation of a proposed budget which shall be reviewed by the Budget and Finance Committee and submitted to the Board of Directors for approval.
  • Be in charge of the headquarters staff and consultants of the Association, subject to the supervision of the Board of Directors.
  • Be responsible for the preparation of monthly financial reports by the business office and for transmission of these reports to the Treasurer.
  • Execute, subject to the directions of the Board of Directors, for and on behalf of the Association, contracts and agreements including notes, bonds, deeds, mortgages, leases, and other legal instruments without limitation.
  • Maintain custody of the corporate seal and affix and attest the same and the proper execution of legal instruments when appropriate.
  • Be responsible for maintaining a full and adequate record of the official business, actions, and meetings of the Board of Directors, Council, and Congress.
  • Work under the general supervision of the President and within the budgetary limits established by the Board of Directors.
  • Endeavor to carry out the policies and programs of the Board of Directors for presentment to the membership.
  • Be responsible for proper accounting procedures and for the authorization of all payments of funds in accordance with approved budgets.

Key Challenges and Opportunities

The National Science Teaching Association seeks an Executive Director who is visionary and capable of transformative change. This person should be experienced in non-profit management with a proven track record in expanding organizational capacity, development and oversight of successful business operations, guiding/effecting positive change, and utilizing a data driven approach to influence change management. The candidate will need to prioritize the development of a financially viable business model, develop a new strategic plan which will focus on the next five years of NSTA, and build an effective staff to provide for the future growth of the Association.

The successful candidate will need to work with the elected officers and Board of Directors to restructure the governance structure of the organization and operations of the organization to ensure the future stability of the organization. Additionally, the incoming Executive Director will need to work collaboratively with the Board, Council, Affiliates, and Staff to transition from the current organizational strategies to developing a business plan that anticipates district needs for professional learning, membership trends and increased revenues, and incorporates the implementation of the new digital engagement strategy.

Additional challenges include advocating for appropriate funding for science education for both formal and informal science education sectors; raising funds for the Association with a focus on large-donor individual gifts and corporate sponsorships/giving; influencing science education and STEM education legislation; and leading the NSTA brand forward into our new digital engagement strategies.

The successful Executive Director will achieve the following:

  • Work in partnership with the NSTA's elected officers and Board to provide visionary leadership to transition from a membership association to an association that provides necessary, relevant, and current materials and professional learning experiences as it engages members on a variety of platforms.
  • Make engagement of science educators a key priority to increase revenues and grow membership.
  • Develop a business plan and multi-year growth plan that anticipates trends in the professional learning and publication arena and that increases revenues so that member programs and services are adequately funded.
  • Model a collaborative leadership style that supports equity, diversity, change management, and professional growth for the executive leadership and staff.
  • Develop, support, and promote effective external relationships with key stakeholders in the business, industry, advocacy/political, and foundation areas.
  • Create a path forward that incorporates development, fundraising, and corporate sponsorships.
  • Build, enhance, and steward productive relationships with state chapters and affiliates

Qualifications and Experience

The Executive Director will be the chief officer for the Association and will provide the vision and guidance for growth and development. It is expected that the Executive Director will position NSTA as the premier professional association for science teaching and learning. The incoming Executive Director will have the opportunity to build on the past successes and lead NSTA at a critical point in the science education forum. S/he will need to be attentive to the internal organizational needs and external opportunities. While no candidate will possess all of the desired experiences, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional experiences and personal characteristics:


  • An advanced degree in a relevant field to the position announcement. Candidates who have a combination of nonprofit management with science/STEM fields are preferred.
  • A commitment to the NSTA mission of "promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all" which includes advocating for science education and science education professionals.
  • Prior experience in the overall strategic operation, management, and administration of staff, headquarters, and field initiatives for an association or non-profit organization.


  • A number of years of non-profit management with positions of increasing authority and responsibility to include identified experience at a senior management level including budget preparation, analysis, and decision making.
  • Experience in education and/or working at an organization/institution with a STEM focus is preferred.
  • Proven track record of creating and sustaining key relationships with stakeholders in the business, industry, advocacy/political and foundation areas.
  • Experience working with a Board of Directors or governing body.


  • Proven leadership capabilities, a record of successful management skills, and major decision-making experiences.
  • Proven record of persuasive and ethical leadership with an open and inclusive management style.
  • Evidence of a strong reputation as a trusted leader who bases decisions on data, science, and factual evidence.
  • Strong leadership experience with change and risk management in order to maintain competitiveness.

Management Style:

  • A record of identifying, building, and supporting a positive work environment and a high-functioning team, including the supporting and hiring of staff, and the ability to delegate effectively.
  • Energetic, forward thinking and looking, resilient, transparent, flexible, nimble, ethical, and creative.
  • Established record of setting clear priorities in a previous organization that are realistic and have benchmarks.
  • Experience developing and implementing a fair method of holding people accountable with measurable metrics.

Personal Characteristics:

  • Ability to engage and respond to the perspectives of a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated a track record of being a strong communicator (spoken and written), collaborator, and leader who works to empower others for the betterment of the Association.
  • Strong interpersonal skills an aptitude for engaging a wide range of diverse stakeholders and a track record of building bridges and coalitions.

To Apply

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the application deadline of September 1, 2020. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent to Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged. For additional information, please contact Dr. Christine Royce, Search Committee Chairperson, at the above email address.

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