The executive director in a school is responsible to provide leadership, achieve school board goals and administer academic programs. They set the highest standards of excellence in operating systems and educational programs. The position typically includes the responsibilities of ensuring financial stability and proper budget management. They manage risk, maintain accountability, support a positive public image and cultivate support within the community.
Executive directors in schools provide leadership in the development of goals and implementation of strategic plans. They communicate with internal and external parties regarding the school’s mission, values and core beliefs. They translate the school board’s strategic vision into operational objectives. They also serve as educational leaders through providing the effective management of teaching, data analysis, curriculum development and professional development programs. They guide and direct members of the administrative and office support teams by promoting high standards of excellence.
Executive directors ensure that school rules and policies are objectively and consistently implemented with integrity. They promote a healthy culture, positive learning environment and community-friendly atmosphere. They are usually tasked with submitting mandatory reports to district, state and federal organizations. Executive directors maintain professional relationships with external partners, government representatives and educational experts.
Executive directors also provide leadership in fiscal management. They develop budgets that adhere to district limitations, school resources and expected grant funds. In order to secure financial resources, they establish and cultivate relationships with state funding sources, advisory committees and local partnership groups. They must identify adverse financial problems and submit actionable recommendations to the school board. Executive directors ensure that the accounting system is clear, accurate and maintained in accordance with GAAP, according to Investopedia.
Executive directors must ensure compliance with all legal contracts, government regulations and funding source agreements. In order to accomplish this, they establish and promote appropriate school financial policies and procedures. They strive to increase the school’s development income, increase the number of grant applications and link financial visions with strategic planning and execution. They cultivate potential donors and implement fundraising programs that meet the school district’s goals.
Executive directors have various human resource management duties. First, they must ensure that job descriptions are developed and remain current for staff. These documents serve as the basis for personnel evaluations. Second, they provide recommendations regarding promotions, demotions, hiring, firing and salary changes for employees. They indirectly supervise and evaluate all administrative and instructional staff.
Executive directors ensure that human resource practices and policies are compliant with state and federal employment laws. They assist HR managers with maintaining appropriate staffing levels and resources through forecasting needs and reviewing work schedules. They promote a performance-oriented culture, maintain an open-door policy for staff and implement strategies to attract and retain highly qualified employees. Executive directors must be masters of maintaining productive labor relations, negotiating union contracts and dealing with complex union practices.
Related Resource: Academic Advisor
An executive director in a school will be expected to have a master’s degree from an accredited university in educational administration. They will also need at least five years of related leadership and administrative experience within an academic setting.