Executive Director

The Ayers Foundation
Tennessee, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Oct 7, 2022

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Position Type
Other Fields
Employment Type
Full Time
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Executive Director

The Ayers Foundation invites nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director. The Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for rural Tennesseans. Many decades of observation and over twenty years of Foundation activity have found that this is best accomplished by positively affecting the field of education. The Ayers Foundation principally provides grant and scholarship funds to further its goals and to ensure they are carried out in perpetuity.

The founders, Jim and Janet Ayers, believe that rural Tennessee is unique and beautiful, and it is primed for a 21st century economic renaissance – it can serve as a national rural economic model. They believe rural economic opportunities and vibrancy do not come at the expense of preserving the very qualities that make “rural” special. Toward this end, the Foundation has worked tirelessly to ensure that children in rural Tennessee have the same access to the postsecondary opportunities of their suburban and urban counterparts.

The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program (AFSP) is the Foundation’s signature program. The Scholars Program was created in 1999 with a focus on improving postsecondary education opportunities for high school students in rural counties. The program’s remarkable record of success has driven its expansion over time. A newly announced and recurring $5 million allocation of state funding will allow the Governor’s Rural Education Foundation and The Ayers Foundation to bring the Ayers Scholars Program to seven additional counties in Tennessee.

While the continued expansion of the Scholars Program will be a significant lift for the next Executive Director, the Foundation’s ambitions have never been to simply increase postsecondary education participation or student success through to degree completion. The larger project is to positively shape economic development and community thriving in rural areas across Tennessee as graduates from rural communities eventually return to these communities equipped with the tools needed to create economic progress and an enduring measure of community vibrance. As such, the Executive Director will develop and execute a strategic plan for the Foundation’s future that includes complementary initiatives to the Scholars Program while preparing for the next generation of impact through the Scholars Program.

The Executive Director of the Foundation reports directly to President Janet Ayers and is responsible for all aspects of management and program development. The Foundation has approximately 70 employees with plans to grow to 100 over the next several years. The Executive Director’s reports will include a Chief Operating Officer, a Chief Scholars Officer, and a Chief Economic Development Officer.

To be successful in the role, the ideal candidate will have a pioneering mindset, deep administrative and personnel oversight experience, a commitment to programmatic excellence, and a master’s or terminal degree.

For more in-depth information about the Foundation and the Executive Director role, please see the full position profile linked here. For best consideration, please send all nominations and applications in confidence to:

Jim Sirianni, Managing Director

Mark Halligan, Senior Associate

Chris Bernard, Associate

Storbeck Search


It is the policy of The Ayers Foundation not to discriminate against any applicant for employment, or any employee, on the basis of age, color, sex, creed, disability, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, veteran status, or any other category protected by state and/or federal civil rights laws.

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