Executive Director Search



The board of directors of the Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC) seeks a proven organizational leader to drive this unique nonprofit to new heights. Located on the Bold Coast of Maine, the CCLC began almost 20 years ago as a community development initiative to create responsive educational opportunities that strengthen personal, community, and global well-being. It has grown to provide leading-edge learning and teaching models, an array of distinctive programs, and a state-of-the-art retreat center.

At this important stage in the CCLC’s development, the board seeks an executive director with business acumen and deep experience in strategic planning and execution – a passionate yet practical leader, who will work collaboratively to build sustainability in pursuit of the CCLC’s ambitious vision: a community that respects people and planet, and inspires, supports, and sustains people to achieve their greatest potential.

Organizational Overview

In 1999, a group of community members from the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Euro-American community, and our neighbors from nearby New Brunswick, Canada, came together to find an answer to the question, “What would improve life in this rural region, which has the highest overall poverty rate in Maine and where nearly one in three children live in households with incomes below the federal poverty level?” They weren’t missionaries seeking to “do good to people.” Rather, they sought to provide programming to address the region’s real needs and to drive the community forward through innovative, collaborative and often disruptive strategies. This founding ethos continues to resonate.

Today the CCLC serves as an energetic hub of educational opportunity with three key features:

1. Cobscook Experiential High School Program. Based at the CCLC campus in Trescott Township, Cobscook is a public four-year high school program delivered through a partnership with Calais High School that brings together students who are self-motivated, outdoor-oriented, community-minded learners. Cobscook offers Washington County teens a transformative, inspired, and unique path to a high school diploma. The program uses an experiential, place-based, environmental, and interdisciplinary approach. Cobscook students participate in embedded expeditions; community service projects; field work with local experts; and individualized, small-group, and hands-on learning. Cobscook is here for the students who have a desire to join with others to create a community that learns by doing—in and out of the classroom and on the road. The program is an outgrowth of the classes and workshops the CCLC has provided to community members of all ages from the earliest years.

2. TREE (Transforming Rural Experience in Education). This initiative of the CCLC is designed to develop a model for transforming schools in rural communities like ours, to better support the children and families who live here. Its mission is to create learning environments that support children challenged by adversity, stress, and trauma in high-poverty rural schools and communities. To support trauma-informed systems change in rural schools, TREE provides schools with a full-time resource coach dedicated to building on the strengths of local schools and communities by deepening existing relationships, leveraging partnerships and resources that build resilience, and creating healthier ecologies for all young people. The TREE coach, in partnership with a part-time in-school mental health service provider, focuses on (1) meeting children’s basic physical and emotional needs with appropriate supports; (2) scaffolding youth self-determination and skill-building through student-empowered social emotional learning (SESEL); and (3) encouraging all adults in children’s lives to become trauma-aware and equity-literate. Currently focused on its initial five-year pilot project in three rural elementary schools, TREE is poised for long-term growth as a professional development center for rural educators and leaders.

3. Heartwood Lodge. Nestled in the Downeast woods of coastal Maine on the CCLC's 50-acre campus, Heartwood Lodge is designed to be an efficient, comfortable, and affordable place to stay while attending educational events, conferences, and retreats. Classroom construction at this beautiful, eco-friendly facility is nearly complete, and strong leadership is essential to optimize the opportunity to engage learners statewide, across the nation and around the world. The Lodge accommodates up to 50 people in 13 dormitory-style bunk rooms, each with a private bathroom, and includes a studio/efficiency apartment, lobby space and library. Along with our conference, dining, and classroom spaces, it's a perfect venue for groups to gather for focused, creative time together.

A more comprehensive description of the CCLC can be found on the website: www.thecclc.org.

Position Requirements

Overseeing the strategic development of the CCLC’s wide-ranging initiatives requires a broad set of attributes and skills. Responsibilities include business planning and financial management, public relations and fundraising, oversight of program development and implementation, regulatory compliance, and stewardship of the CCLC’s buildings and land. We expect that the successful candidate will embody our values – peace, honesty, respect and empowerment – and bring the following to our organization:

• A passion for our mission and utmost respect for the people and culture of our region

• Proven experience in building a sustainable organizational model and managing through a period of growth

• Financial acumen

• Knowledge of the K-12 educational landscape, including key policy issues and best practices

• An entrepreneurial spirit rooted in realism

• Demonstrated strength as a good listener, collaborative partner, and bridge-builder

• Experience in building an organizational culture of transparency and collaboration

• Cultural competence across class, geography, race, ethnicity and gender, with particular sensitivity to issues impacting Maine’s rural, low-income, and Native community members

• High energy, authenticity and good humor

• Exceptional communication skills and the power to inspire

• Attention to detail and the ability to multitask, make sound decisions and manage critical-path timelines

• The highest level of recommendations from references, collaborative partners, and peers

In addition to the expectations listed above, preference will be given to candidates who can also demonstrate the following:

• Deep understanding of successful alternative education and social justice models

• Experience in leading a place-based event/educational/environmental center

• Nonprofit experience

• Interest in issues of environmental sustainability


The compensation package includes a competitive salary commensurate with experience and health benefits. This position reports directly to the board of directors. The successful candidate can expect a formal review after six months as well as an annual review.


The CCLC does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, national origin, ancestry, public assistance, ethnic background, religion, marital status, economic class, age, disability or handicap (mental or physical), sex, creed, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and any other legally protected characteristics in admission or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. The CCLC complies with all applicable national, state and local laws pertaining to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity and will take “affirmative action” measures to ensure the enforcement of its policies.

To Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Starboard Leadership Consulting at the following address search2@starboardleadership.com. The cover letter and resume should contain detailed information concerning work experience, past successes, leadership experience and qualifications. Please be prepared to provide contact information for professional references upon request.

Paper copies may be sent to Lisa Belyea, Starboard Leadership Consulting, 84 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine, 04401, but electronic submission of materials is preferred. No phone inquiries, please. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.