Founded by educators for educators, ATPE is the leading educators’ association in Texas and the largest independent educators’ association in the United States. As a member-owned and member-governed professional organization, ATPE exists to serve the needs of Texas teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and all public education employees, and fights for Texas public schools on the local, state, and national levels. The ATPE philosophy is simple. The organization believes it takes everyone working together to improve Texas public schools. ATPE works with all stakeholders in public education, regardless of political party or platform. ATPE works collaboratively with all sides of any debate to find the best solution. And it represents the priorities defined by its members – working educators who are passionate about Texas public schools.
With its headquarters in Austin, ATPE has more than 100,000 members, nearly 70 staff members, and an operating budget of around $15 million. The organization, which was founded in 1980, provides its members with liability insurance, legal services and benefits, and continuing education opportunities. ATPE also advocates for public education in Texas, deploying experienced lobbyists at the state and national levels to safeguard educators’ priorities and rights and to defend public education. Key components of the organization’s success include its strong in-house legal team and its 3,500 volunteers who serve and represent educators in each of the state’s 20 districts.
The ATPE executive answers to the organization’s 25-member board of directors, which works closely with the ED on issues involving the year-round operation of the business and the budget of ATPE.
As the preeminent public educator association in Texas, ATPE makes a difference in the lives of educators and schoolchildren. In partnership with all stakeholders, ATPE is committed to providing every child an equal opportunity to receive an exemplary public education. For more information on the organization, visit www.atpe.org
ATPE is seeking an experienced leader to succeed its current executive director, who is retiring. Key responsibilities include:
Managing the organization’s day-to-day operations. Departments include membership services, member legal services, finance/accounting/IT, government relations, marketing and communications, and administration/human resources.
Assessing and improving processes and procedures throughout ATPE. Bringing best practices to all operations.
Strengthening the ATPE team through people and organizational development, overseeing all aspects of team-building, including hiring, training, and communication. Bringing best practices to team development, assessing strengths and weaknesses to improve efficiency and develop clear career paths within the organization. Providing individuals with appropriate professional and personal growth opportunities.
Improving communications and interaction with ATPE’s board of directors. Helping to build a more functional overall organization with stronger communication.
Shepherding ATPE’s efforts to recruit, retain, and enhance volunteers, a vital part of the organization.
Serving as face of ATPE and its primary liaison with the Texas legislature.
Improving collaboration with state and federal agencies and other external entities.
The executive should be able to use best practices from business thoughtfully, applying them to a non-profit that is run as a business with a strong customer-service focus. The executive should be able to strike a balance: answering the business needs of ATPE and respecting the sensibilities of ATPE’s membership – the educators who make up the organization.
While ATPE is financially sound and has a seasoned and fully functioning staff, the organization and the new executive will have numerous future needs to address.
Non-profit organizations across the board are experiencing challenges to membership, volunteers, and relevancy, and ATPE is no exception. The executive will need to work with the board to address these realities.
ATPE needs to revise its governance structure to become more responsive and nimble in decision-making.
The current political climate has public education on the defense, including a legislative attack on payroll deductions for professional associations, which (if passed) will further affect ATPE’s membership efforts.
Shifting trends within the industry and its professionals are affecting ATPE. For example, fewer individuals stay in teaching as a lifelong career and many enter the profession through alternate certifications, rather than having studied education in college.
The new executive will likely need to engage in considerable in-state travel to visit the regions and get to know the leadership around the state.
Qualifications & Requirements
Experience in education, policy, and issues affecting public education.
Understanding of Texas politics and how public education funding works in the state.
At least 10 years of leadership experience; at least five years of leadership (CEO, executive director, COO) at an industry association or other non-profit organization. Experience running an organization of similar or larger size/scope preferred.
Outstanding business acumen and strong financial background to help guide the organization to business success while respecting its membership. Clear understanding of ATPE’s revenue sources.
Experience in an organization with a strong customer-service focus.
Ability to balance the need for organizational change with ATPE’s “go-slow” nature and bylaws, working with the organization to effect change in a palatable, but still timely way.
Experience in leading senior management; able to motivate, empower, and hold team members accountable.
Experience serving in an advocacy and/or “face of the organization” role with media, state legislature, state agencies, and other entities.
Well-rounded grasp of technology. Able to understand and rationally discuss topics ranging from data warehousing to analytics.
Experience with successful use of social media.
Undergrad degree required; advanced degree or certification preferred.
Desired Personal Traits
Bridge-building personality. Ability to effectively work with groups that have different agendas or desired outcomes.
Empathy for educators; respect for the profession.
Patience to work with an organization that is in need of some changes but requires time and a well-thought-out solution for change that walks hand-in-hand with its governance and its culture.
Ability to implement change without causing conflict.
Strategic thinker. Able to understand the big picture while paying attention to detail.
Emotional intelligence – level-headed, flexible, and dependable. “Tough skin” without a “tough guy” personality.
Strong work ethic and personal commitment to timely delivery. Self-starter who knows what needs to be done and does it.
Ability to use empathy to find common ground and build consensus with negative factions.
Integrity and honesty above reproach, with a passion for serving in a collaborative environment. Self-assuredness without ego. Accomplishment without drama.
Proven problem solver with strong analytic skills. Able to exercise sound judgment and make decisions based on accurate and timely analyses.
Excellent negotiation and communication skills (written and verbal). Able to recognize different personality styles to communicate effectively with all. Well-honed skills in diplomacy.
Multi-faceted and able to work with and engender trust in a variety of stakeholders, including membership, board, staff, and legislature.
Please DO NOT contact ATPE or its board members directly about this opportunity.