Position Profile




Chief Executive Officer

Raleigh, NC/Arlington, VA


The Organization

East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (ECMHSP) establishes, provides and promotes continuity of Head Start services to the children of migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families along the East Coast of the United States. Through enabling children to develop their full potential, parents are challenged to become more self-actualized by being involved with their own child's development and in decision making structures throughout ECMHSP. Ongoing program and fiscal monitoring and training and technical assistance assure the continual growth of quality child development services at the center level and the promotion of staff development activities on a regular basis.

East Coast Migrant Head Start Project is committed to preparing children – especially the children of migrant and seasonal farm workers – for success. We do this by providing holistic, high quality early childhood education services for children and families in a nurturing, culturally sensitive environment and by advocating for those children and families in their other areas of need.

By way of background, ECMHSP will receive approximately $54 million from the United States Department of Health and Human Services in the 2011-12 grant year to provide services to 4,996 children. Of this total, 4,263 funded slots will be reserved for the children of migrant farm workers; 733 funded slots will be reserved for the children of seasonal farm workers. In total, ECMHSP will operate fifty-six Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Centers and more than 380 classrooms in locations ranging from Lake Okeechobee, Florida to Lake Erie, New York. ECMHSP is a nonprofit organization and has been providing services since 1974.

ECMHSP delivers Migrant and Seasonal Head Start services pursuant to two separate models: (1) ECMHSP directly provides services to 2,265 children in service areas located in parts of Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama; and (2) ECMHSP contracts with nine delegate agencies that provide services to 2,731 children in services areas located in parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

The Headquarters Area

Note: The CEO position could be located in the ECMHSP corporate headquarters in Raleigh, NC, or in the ECMHSP office in Arlington, VA.

Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, the three cities form the internationally-known Research Triangle. Research Triangle Park is home to corporate giants and serves as the destination for many corporate relocations. The Triangle is one of the nation’s fastest growing areas, with a current total metro population of 1.3 million.

Situated in the beautiful rolling hills of North Carolina’s central piedmont, Raleigh lies a short drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic coast beaches. The climate is mild with an average high of 88 degrees in mid-summer and 52 degrees in mid-winter. We boast an average of 220 sunny days every year!

The Triangle is an area of outstanding educational resources offering seventeen universities and colleges, and where cultural and performing arts organizations thrive. Major institutions include the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Museum of Art, Marbles Kids Museum, Nasher Museum of Art, Morehead Planetarium, North Carolina Theatre and American Dance Festival.

For more information about the Triangle area visit http://triangle.citysearch.com/ and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visitraleigh.com.

The Candidate

The CEO reports to the Board of Directors. He/She is given responsibility for managing the growth and effective implementation of the mission of the organization. The CEO responds to the assessed needs of the Migrant Head Start communities and supervises the Senior Management Team.

The successful candidate will have the following qualities:

  • Work with passion, integrity, vision and empathy as an advocate for early childhood education and migrant family issues
  • Self-confident strategic thinker who can balance competing priorities and make difficult decisions
  • Business acumen and inclusive management style in the areas of finance and budget, information technology, goal setting and accountability
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to work effectively with diverse audiences and build collaborative relationships

The work environment at ECMHSP is cultivated by the individuals who balance advocacy for children and families and passion for the mission with strong program management and achievement of goals. ECMHSP’s existing senior management team is knowledgeable, dedicated and collaborative.

The Position

The CEO provides leadership, management and oversight to the implementation of the ECMHSP Mission, Vision and Values. The CEO is accountable to the ECMHSP Board of Directors for the proper management of the organization and will work closely with all Board-level committees to ensure the success of the programs. ECMHSP has an elected Board of Directors, which has legal and fiscal responsibility over the organization, and a Policy Council composed of parent representatives.

The CEO plays a critical role in the progress toward achievement of ECMHSP’s 2011-2013 Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives:

  • Create and maintain exemplary centers for all eligible migrant and seasonal children of farmworker families.
  • Recruit, hire, develop, train and retain staff with skills and qualifications to create developmentally appropriate environments for young children.
  • Raise the level of technology to strengthen organizational effectiveness and to improve communication with all stakeholders.
  • Expand organizational capacity by exploring and accessing multiple and diverse funding sources.
  • Assume leadership role in increasing communication and collaboration among providers of services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers at all levels.

The objectives and activities for the CEO position are:

  1. Organizational Effectiveness

    • Assure compliance with Head Start Performance Standards and applicable federal, state, local and ECMHSP policies and regulations.
    • Ensure that ECMHSP activities, at all levels, are directed to high quality services for families and children.
    • Assure sound management practices and accountability of program and fiscal operations.
    • Oversee the development and implementation of internal reporting systems.
    • Set direction for the annual proposal development including program plans and budgets and assures appropriate implementation.
    • Sets direction for ECMHSP Strategic Planning process and assume ultimate accountability for effective implementation of the strategies established and for the achievement of the goals and objectives identified.
    • Organize and motivate the internal and external resources needed to effect these strategies. Inspire all concerned to do the best of which they are capable.
    • Assure monitoring systems are in place and are uncompromised at all levels.
    • Promote meaningful relationships with all stakeholders.
  2. Mission Implementation

    • Serve as chief steward of the organization’s mission and core values, and evolve and pursue ways of continually refreshing its commitment to them.
    • Inspire and foster innovative thinking about best programmatic means to achieve mission.
    • Meet and interact with Administrative Team members on a regular basis to provide direction and leadership to the accomplishment of the mission.
    • Ensure the development and implementation of a comprehensive training and technical assistance system, enabling staff to understand the role of parents and promote their involvement at every level.
    • Ensure a comprehensive continuity system is in place and functional and that it promotes parent empowerment for their families.
  3. Policy/Governance Development

    • Serve as guide and resource person providing factual data and expertise required for effective Board and Council deliberation and decision-making.
    • Establish a system that ensures coordination of Policy Committees and Delegate Agency Boards of Directors with ECMHSP Policy Council and ECMHSP Board of Directors.
    • Oversees the development and implementation of a procedure for shared-decision making between the ECMHSP Policy Council and ECMHSP Board of Directors.
    • Provide reports and information to both the Board and Council which will enable effective shared decision-making.
    • Oversee the development and implementation of an Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure for the Board and Council.
    • Foster the growth and development of members of the Board and Council by providing training and technical assistance as needed.
    • Respond to the established expectations of the ECMHSP Board of Directors.
  4. Partnership and Public Relations

    • Represent the organization and its mission to all relevant stakeholders (families, staff, Delegate Agencies, Policy Council, Board) and constituencies - community organizations, business, labor, foundations, governments, peer organizations.
    • Establish mutually reinforcing alliances with stakeholders, funding agency and key constituencies, and, in general lead the ongoing effort to mobilize resources from both public and private sources, including fund development and grant writing.
    • Establish collaboration with farm worker organizations - i.e; Migrant Health, Migrant educators, Department of Labor and agricultural groups.
    • Participate in the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and National Head Start Associations.
    • Represent ECMHSP at national conferences and meetings.
    • Provide relevant information to national and state legislators on needs of migrant farm workers and the work that ECMHSP is engaged in.
    • Explore potential avenues of collaboration on an on-going basis.
  5. Coordination/Integration and Communication

    • Oversee the development of process for meaningful and timely communication systems for: ECMHSP Policy Council, ECMHSP Board of Directors, staff, Delegate Agencies, Federal Government. Promote and facilitate the implementation of these processes.
    • Insure meaningful feedback vehicles are in place to receive information from all stakeholders.
    • Facilitate the integration and coordination of ECMHSP internal activities (Program, Finance, Human Resources) that will result in a service delivery system effectively meeting the needs of staff and families.
  6. Staff Management/Supervision and Development

    • Facilitate the development of an organizational structure that best meets the needs of the organization.
    • Insure the development of meaningful and purposeful job descriptions with input from staff and supervisors.
    • Hire and orient Directors, work with them to establish annual goals.
    • Meet regularly with Directors to review operations and integrate efforts.
    • Provide informal performance feedback periodically, and conduct annual performance evaluation with Directors.
    • Coach, develop, and serve as a resource for Directors. Work with each to establish personal development goals.
    • Work with Directors to sustain and enrich staff diversity throughout the organization.
  7. Organizational Development and Future Direction

    • Inspire and foster innovative thinking.
    • Continually seek new and better ways of serving targeted population.
    • Stay abreast of ways to expand existing services, support creative endeavors.
    • Support the on-going Strategic Planning Process.
  8. Interactive Participation

    • Provide leadership to the development of Self-Directed Work Teams.
    • Provide direction to, and participate in, ECMHSP Policy Council, ECMHSP Board of Directors, and Corporation meetings.
    • Facilitate the meetings of the Administrative Team.
    • Guide the planning of regular staff meetings and meetings with Delegate Agencies.
    • Attend state and national meetings related to organization’s mission.
    • Participate on committees as appropriate.

Additionally, the CEO will:

  • Promote and support a positive work environment recognizing the value of every employee, and
  • Identify potential resources and solicit, on an on-going basis, in-kind contributions (non-federal match) in accordance with ECMHSP in-kind guide.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to demonstrate competencies as well as the experiences that will result in leading the chapter to new levels of success. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

  • Masters Degree in Business, Early Childhood, Human Services or related field.
  • Minimum 5-10 years executive leadership experience in Head Start or related field, Head Start preferred.
  • Proven ability to work successfully with diverse cultures.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to negotiate, persuade, analyze, interpret and implement decisions made.
  • Knowledge of communication styles, relationship building and organizational behavior.
  • Strong computer skills, with proficiency with communication technology.
  • Bi-lingual (Spanish-English) preferred.
  • Typical office conditions with extensive independent travel requiring vehicle transportation, frequent travel out of state (2-3 times/month) for 2-3 days or more. Weekend and holiday work may be necessary.

ECMHSP is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.

To Apply

ECMHSP has retained Capability Company, an executive search firm serving nonprofits, to conduct this search. Submit your cover letter, resume, list of three professional references and salary requirements to:

Sherry Heuser, President
Capability Company
e-mail address: ECMHSP@capabilitycompany.com
web address: www.capabilitycompany.com
Telephone: (919) 791-3700

Submission of resumes by e-mail is requested. Please include only your last name in the subject line.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]