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TESOL Executive Director

Detailed Position Description & Qualifications

TESOL International Association (TESOL) seeks applicants for the position of Executive Director.  TESOL seeks a proven senior executive, with verifiable successful experience in setting, implementing, monitoring, and adjusting strategic and innovative direction of a membership driven, nonprofit association, similar in scope, size, needs, and diverse global membership as TESOL. As part of its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, TESOL International Association invites qualified candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups to apply for this position. 

Scope of the Position

The Executive Director (ED) of TESOL International Association, Inc. (TESOL) is responsible for growing and sustaining the reputation, influence, membership, and financial soundness of the organization, and overseeing the implementation of all policies and actions approved by the Board of Directors. Serving as TESOL’s chief staff leader, the ED is also responsible for the execution and administration of services, programs, products, events, and operations of the Association. The ED attends all meetings of the Board of Directors as ex officio and prepares reports of those meetings. 

The Executive Director is responsible for maintaining and growing TESOL as a dynamic association that both leads global trends and responds to global trends, including a membership engagement model that is inclusive, welcoming, and meaningful to its global members.

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors. TESOL has approximately a $3.5 million budget and a full-time staff of 15. TESOL has a global membership of 15,000+ members. 

Key Responsibilities

I.  Strategy & Planning

  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, develops, plans, implements, and monitors strategies, objectives, programs, products, and initiatives that deliver on TESOL’s mission, goals, needs, and priorities.
  • Regularly reviews the Strategic Plan, measuring and reporting progress in order to ensure priorities and resources align.
  • Continually seeks to identify data-driven challenges and opportunities in TESOL’s priority areas and proposes strategic initiatives and strategic planning in response to those challenges and opportunities.

II.  Finance & Operations

  • Is accountable for financial management and ensuring financial stability of the Association.
  • Works with financial management consultant firm and TESOL staff to develop and propose an annual operating budget for Board of Directors’ approval.
  • Works with financial management consultant firm and TESOL staff to monitor the revenue and expenses associated with the annual operating budget.
  • Works with the Finance Committee and investment advisor to monitor short-term and long-term investment funds and makes adjustments if needed due to market trends.
  • Provides regular reporting to the Board and Finance Committee, including advance communication about any deviations from the budget.
  • Develops, implements, and monitors appropriate internal controls consistent with best practices for nonprofit accounting, including annual audits.
  • Identifies and recommends innovative and strategic revenue generation opportunities, including non-dues revenue opportunities to the Board for implementation.
  • Identifies potential challenges and opportunities to the Association’s financial position, clearly communicates this to the Board with data-driven statements, and proposes responsive strategic initiatives for the Board of Directors’ approval.

III. Membership

  • Develops and oversees membership and engagement models that are consistent with TESOL’s mission and strategy, and which respond to the needs of a diverse and multi-generational profession that works in varied educational contexts around the world.
  • Identifies potential challenges and opportunities to new member recruitment and current member retention, and proposes, develops, implements, and monitors strategic recruitment and retention initiatives that are responsive to those challenges and opportunities.

IV.  Staff Management & Engagement

  • Is responsible for the hiring, management, mentoring, development, evaluation, and termination of TESOL staff. 
  • Develops and administers staff policies, compensation, and benefits, and assigns responsibilities.
  • Develops, implements, and monitors employee engagement and collaborative practices that grow and sustain positive employee experiences, increase productivity, improve work quality, and retain top talent.
  • Is responsible for implementing the CEO Action Pledge.
  • Identifies potential challenges and opportunities to staff management and engagement and proposes strategic staff management practices that are consistent with best practices in workplace diversity, equity and inclusion and TESOL’s DEI initiatives. 

V.  Communications, Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships

  • Serves as a key internal and external spokesperson for TESOL disseminating verbal and written messages on behalf of the Association to the media and the public. 
  • Is responsible for regular and ongoing communications with the membership, collectively and individually. 
  • Internally, is responsible for regular and ongoing communications with the TESOL Board of Directors.
  • Externally, leads efforts to enhance organizational visibility and awareness, including further developing relationships with relevant partners.
  • Identifies potential challenges and opportunities to TESOL’s brand and proposes, develops, implements, and monitors strategic initiatives.

VI.  Advocacy & Policy

  • Collaborates with staff, Board, and member volunteers, overseeing and managing the development and execution of policy goals and priorities aligned with the strategic plan that promote quality language education and advance the professional needs of second language educators.
  • Encourages and leverages, with appropriate resources, member engagement in advocacy efforts aligned with TESOL’s goals.
  • Builds on and expands TESOL’s global advocacy efforts.

VII. Content & Learning

  • Engages volunteers and staff to oversee the development of learning resources, tools, and activities for English language teaching professionals to enhance the membership’s expertise and practice. 
  • Oversees professional development programs and activities in light of current and future trends.
  • In conjunction with volunteers and staff, revitalizes a Research Agenda for the TESOL profession. 
  • Oversees development and dissemination of TESOL publications and products.
  • Further develops and manages TESOL’s signature programs and strategic events, aligning resources and staff responsibilities to ensure strategies and objectives are achieved. 
The position requires travel, including internationally. Requires evening and weekend work, on occasion.  

Experience & Qualifications

  1. A Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation
  2. A graduate degree is required. An MBA, or relevant PhD/EdD preferred. 
  3. At least 3 years of successful executive-level leadership and management experience in a professional membership association, with demonstrable increasing levels of responsibility and impact.  
  4. Experience working with a nonprofit board of directors and governance structures.
  5. Demonstrated experience in organization-wide, multi-year strategic planning, development, measurement, and monitoring is required. Provide examples. 
  6. Demonstrated at least 3 year’s financial experience and business acumen, managing financial resources, budget, and expenditures of an independent organization of the size and scope of TESOL. Familiarity with the US tax code, as related to non-profit associations.
  7. Experience cultivating non-dues revenue and new revenue sources.
  8. Experience and demonstrated ability in engaging new and current members.
  9. Experience and demonstrated ability in external outreach, including growing and sustaining strategic partnerships, and attracting sponsors.
  10. Demonstrated commitment to multiculturalism, multilingualism, diversity, equity, and inclusion and experience in successfully growing and responding to the needs of a diverse membership base.
  11. Experience and demonstrated ability to create and develop diverse and inclusive environments for staff, Association members, and other stakeholders.
  12. A proven record of leading and managing staff, including development and oversight of policies, procedures, and processes for operational effectiveness and efficiency.
  13. Proven effective communication skills, both verbal and written.
  14. Competence with information technology tools and capabilities, including workplace collaborative meeting technologies.
  15. A commitment to TESOL’s mission and the English Language Teaching profession.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Having served for at least one year as Executive Director, or proven similar level of responsibility, such as an Acting ED or Deputy ED, for a nonprofit professional membership association of similar size and scope as TESOL.
  2. Demonstrated impact as a responsive global leader in international environments is a plus. 
  3. Ability to speak more than one language is preferred.
  4. Intercultural experience and/or experience living and working internationally is preferred.
  5. Proven ability and impact as a change agent who demonstrates respect for legacy and ability to build on recent successes, while being responsive to new opportunities. 
  6. Teaching experience is a plus.
  7. A demonstrated understanding of the breadth, depth, and impact of the English language teaching profession, or similar profession.

Personal Qualities

  • A respected, ethical, and trusted leader.
  • A lifelong learner.
  • A strategic thinker.
  • Approachability, including effective and collegial interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to have fair and impartial interactions with Board, members, and staff.
  • A diplomatic, yet firm and decisive manager, with an ability to execute decisions.
  • An active listener with strong emotional intelligence and compassion.
  • An honest, transparent, intercultural and intergenerational communicator with integrity and relationship-building abilities.
  • A team player and collaborative problem-solver.

How to Apply

Please submit your application to with a subject line:  TESOL – Executive Director with the following attachments:
  1. Cover Letter, titled as: Name - Cover
  2. CV/Resume, titled as: Name-Resume
  3. Professional bio (not to exceed 300 words), titled as: Name-Bio
  4. Names and contact information for three references (Names will be held in confidence)
  5. Responses to each of the following questions (up to 300 words per question)
    a) VISION: Describe your vision for member-driven global associations in a current environment.
    b) FINANCIAL COMPETENCY: Describe your experience in financial management and the impact of your financial management on the health of the organization. What were some difficult decisions?  Why did you make those decisions? What were the results?
    c) PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITY: Describe a significant challenge that was faced by an association or organization that you worked for. What was the challenge, why was it a problem, and how did the organization resolve it?  What was your role? 
    d) DEI COMPETENCY: Describe your experience working in and with diverse populations. What was your role in contributing to workplace equity, inclusion, respect, and successful teaming? What was your role in promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion among members in a professional association? 
Deadline for applications: 15 July 2021