Executive Director, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride, CO

Ah Haa School for the Arts
Colorado, United States
$100,000.00 - $120,000.00
Nov 09, 2020
Dec 08, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time

Position Summary

The Executive Director is responsible for the overall administration and management of the
Ah Haa School of the Arts (including the American Academy of Bookbinding) and works in partnership with the board and staff to provide leadership, vision and direction for the organization. The Executive Director reports directly to the board and is ultimately responsible for managing programs and business operations, supervising and empowering staff and providing support to the board.

Areas of responsibility include planning and evaluation, policy development and administration, staff supervision and management, financial leadership, fundraising and development and community relations. This is a full-time position, hired by and directly accountable to the board through the board president. The Executive Director effectively acts as the face of the Ah Haa School within the community.

Ah Haa History

With a small staff and eight visiting artists, visionary book artist, Daniel Tucker, opened the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride in June 1991. For its formative years, the school rooted itself in the town’s historic Silver Bell Building, offering diverse creative arts classes, gallery exhibits and community events to children and adults alike. In 2007, the school moved to a larger facility in Telluride’s historic train depot, enabling it to expand and nourish the ever-growing arts community.

Today, Ah Haa is a community and destination school, serving over 10,000 people annually. With nine staff members and more than 50 part-time artists and teachers, the school is a significant contributor to the economic and cultural diversity of the region. 

The mission of the Ah Haa School is to inspire all people to discover, nurture and celebrate creativity. Remaining true its mission, Ah Haa creates opportunities for people of all ages to experience the joy of personal expression and making things by hand. Ah Haa’s mission is defined by its name, “Ah Haa,” attracting participants who are intrigued by the prospect of unveiling something new about themselves.

The Ah Haa School is also home to the American Academy of Bookbinding, a nationally recognized and accredited school for learning the craft of bookmaking and related subjects. In addition, the Telluride Painting School is another prestigious Ah Haa program, offering intensive multi-week classes for serious painters to work with highly accomplished artists and instructors.

Soon, Ah Haa will expand again, moving into a brand new, state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot, purpose-built facility. The school is in the final stages of completing its new home in downtown Telluride, a move that holds great promise for continued growth and relevance as Telluride’s arts and education center.

As Ah Haa makes this important transition, its longtime executive director is stepping down and a new director will be hired to take over the operations of the school. This is an exciting time for the Ah Haa School, its current staff and all who take advantage of this Telluride institution.

Key Attributes

The new Executive Director will lead the Ah Haa School in this next phase of growth and change and manage the organization with integrity, passion, innovation and excellence. The ideal candidate for this role has the following qualities and attributes:

A passion for the arts and an understanding of its intrinsic value to the Telluride community. Has a dynamic vision for the Ah Haa School and the skills and experience necessary to work with the existing staff, board and stakeholders to confidently lead the institution into its next chapter in a new facility.

  • Enterprising and business minded, demonstrating competence and expertise in the all the areas of running a business. Has the acumen to analyze and interpret financial statements, create realistic budgets and assess operations as a whole, while acknowledging and addressing challenges with confidence, clarity, flexibility and professionalism.
  •  Strategic thinker, calculated risk taker and innovative leader. Works collectively with staff, board members, key stakeholders and the community as a whole to maximize the school’s relevance and impact. This person is open minded, inclusive, resilient and inspiring.
  • Excellent communicator, listener, connector and collaborator. Leads from a place of influence rather than authority, builds positive, productive relationships and sets and maintains clear goals and objectives. This person asks great questions, is unfazed by complex work environments, does not take things personally and is a superior organizational leader and manager of people. Operating from a place of empowerment rather than control, this person inspires confidence, creativity and respect while honoring people’s own contributions, talent and perspectives.
  • Familiar with the non-profit sector and demonstrates the skills necessary to successfully lead this type of organization. This person understands how to sell the vision of the Ah Haa School and inspire its support. Adept at all facets of fundraising, this person has compelling ideas, makes strategic connections and motivates supporters and donors through humility, honesty, integrity and gratitude.

Duties and Responsibilities

Fundraising and Development

  • Lead fundraising efforts, including supporting the board’s involvement in fundraising, supervising development staff, personally cultivating and soliciting donors and implementing fundraising plans and policies.
  • Create an annual written resource development plan that supports and sustains operations and programming.
  • Prepare, submit and manage grant applications and seek funding and/or resources from a broad range of sources.
  • Collaborate with development staff on fundraising efforts and processes, including cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major donors.

Business Management and Financial Leadership

  • Work in partnership with the board and staff to develop strategic and tactical plans for achieving the organization’s mission, strategy and goals and create a written business plan annually.
  • Maintain overall responsibility for financial performance of the school and fiscal accountability for all programs and projects.
  • Focus on organizational growth and increasing revenue through diversified income streams including expanded programming and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Lead the staff and board in developing a realistic annual budget and make financial decisions consistent with the budget as approved by the board.
  • Create and interpret monthly financial statements, including a minimum of a Balance Sheet and Income Statement (Profit & Loss) and with comparisons to budgets and previous year(s) and present meaningful data to board and staff.
  • Plan for adequate cash flow to cover operational needs.
  • Conduct multi-year financial analysis, analyze trends and engage the board in strategic discussions about financial stability and sustainability, including the development of adequate operating reserves.
  • Complying with all local, state and federal legal requirements. 

Operations and Program Management

  • Ensure that an optimal level of oversight and communication exists to promote the smooth operations and the development and implementation of programs and facilities.
  • Hire, manage and supervise staff, including the implementation and ongoing revision of personnel policies approved by the board and evaluate staff performance annually.
  • Develop a unifying force to inspire team spirit and maintain a culture that attracts, motivates and retains high-quality staff.
  • Inspire and lead the team to develop innovative and relative programming that meets the needs of an ever-changing community and world.
  • Support and provide staff training and professional development opportunities that ensure qualified human capital necessary for the achievement of the organization’s mission and goals.

 Community Relations 

  • Promote the visibility and impact of the organization to the general public, serve as the chief spokesperson and ensure proper representation to various constituencies.
  • Communicate in a clear and compelling manner about the organization’s goals and priorities.
  • Build positive relationships, connect personally and quickly gain confidence with partner organizations, funders, elected leaders, instructors and other key stakeholders.
  • Establish effective community partnerships and promote external and internal collaboration.
  • Understand and maintain a pulse on the culture and climate of the town and surrounding region.  

Board Partnership  

  • With the president of the board, develop agendas and materials for board meetings to ensure the opportunity for the board to fulfill all responsibilities effectively.
  • In partnership with the governance committee, facilitate the orientation of new board members and involve each board member at an optimum level and stimulate each to reach the highest potential as a board member.
  • Work with the board president to ensure effective and efficient board committee structure and recommend the composition and commission of board committees.
  • Keep the board fully informed on the condition of the organization and assist in developing policy recommendations and setting priorities.
  • Serve as the liaison between the board and staff.  

Qualifications and Expectations  

Required Experience  

The Executive Director will have:  

  • Passion for the arts
  • Demonstrated success in nonprofit or corporate management
  • Experience in growing an organization
  • Substantial experience in staff supervision and leading leaders
  • Successful fundraising and grant writing track record
  • Experience thriving in a fast-paced, collaborative environment
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Desire to develop and empower others  

Knowledge and Skills  

The Executive Director will be:  

  • Familiar with the nonprofit sector
  • Enterprising and business-minded
  • Dynamic, visionary leader
  • Skilled strategic thinker and planner
  • Adept at budgeting and financial management
  • Exceptional relationship builder
  • Creative problem solver
  • Innovative, inspirational, authentic, adaptable and fearless  

Location and Travel  

This position is based in Telluride, Colorado located in the beautiful San Juan mountains and requires occasional domestic travel to meet with donors and artists.  

Compensation and Benefits  

This is a full-time, exempt position, with a comprehensive benefits package. The annual salary is $100,000 - $120,000. It also offers the opportunity to live and work in a unique mountain town offering skiing, hiking, mountain biking, summer festivals and a genuine sense of community.  

To Apply

If this position description excites you, please submit a resume and cover letter explaining your interest in the executive director job and why you are an ideal fit for this position to https://apply.workable.com/j/4E29537DB3

Equal Employment Opportunity  

Ah Haa School for the Arts is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. All aspects of employment, including the decision to hire, are based on merit, competence, performance and organizational needs.