We’re Hiring!

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The Mississippi Early Learning Alliance is seeking an entrepreneurial Executive Director who can work with a diverse group of people to develop and implement a plan to pursue our vision, maximize our impact on policy, and drive systemic change in early childhood. The Executive Director will inspire and motivate the team while creating a culture of innovation, sustainability, and alignment with our core values, in addition to balancing our short-term work and long-term efforts.


  • Develop and maintain relationships with lawmakers, philanthropists, key informants, academia, opinion leaders, early learning providers, community leaders and statewide organizations to maximize our impact and expand the scale of the organization.
  • Provide executive management by attracting, hiring, and developing a team of diverse and talented staff members; ensuring that the proper infrastructure exists to maximize staff performance; managing a team to reach ambitious goals; and executing the fundamentals of nonprofit management (board management, fundraising, and fiscal management, etc.).
  • Chart the course for the organization by leveraging your entrepreneurial spirit to develop annual operating plans and budgets with clear goals that are aligned with MELA’s vision, mission, and strategic plan.
  • Lead and manage a diverse funding base to support the work of the organization.
  • Report to and advise the Board of Directors by analyzing and presenting information regarding internal and external issues that affect MELA’s work.
  • Make decisions and demonstrate good judgment when facing new challenges and enact a suitable, timely course of action. View situations through multiple lenses; lead with integrity in ambiguous and/or paradoxical situations; and construct decision-making processes to engage multiple perspectives.
  • Build and maintain a culture that is grounded in our core values and creates an environment that fosters diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Build strategic partnerships in service of the mission by seeking, listening to, and discerning diverse perspectives. Acquire firsthand public and expert knowledge to deepen insights and approaches; navigate and leverage structures and relationships to gain support; and demonstrate knowledge of political and policy landscapes


  • Degree in early childhood education or ten years’ experience in early childhood development or education
  • Entrepreneurial leadership experience (minimum of 5 years) or relevant skills to manage a high performing team toward ambitious outcomes in a mission-driven organization.
  • Ability to develop plans to implement goals as approved by the Board of Directors, and experience working with a volunteer Board of Directors.
  • Demonstrated achievement in fundraising.
  • Demonstrated achievement in partnership development, or external affairs, including an ability to mobilize people and create champions to support an organizational mission.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and an ability and desire to develop and maintain deep relationships with a variety of diverse colleagues, employees, and constituents.
  • An understanding of the complexity of the local political climate in Mississippi.
  • Excellent strategic skills to understand and lead in a complex environment.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong alignment to, passion for, and commitment to MELA’s mission and values.
  • Extraordinary leadership skills and credibility among stakeholders in the field.
  • Strong sense of self-awareness and understanding of one’s strengths and areas for development.
  • Ability to thrive in environments involving ambiguity and conflict.
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends.
  • Ability to travel within the region frequently and attend in-person meetings outside the region as required.


MELA offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a high quality benefits package (401K, health benefits, dental, vision, time off/vacation management).


While the day-to-day work of MELA is conducted virtually, the executive director must reside in Mississippi.


The Mississippi Early Learning Alliance is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, parental status, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member) or any other basis prohibited by applicable law and encourages individuals of all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds to apply for this position.

This job description reflects MELA’s assignment of essential functions and qualifications of the role. Nothing in this herein restricts management’s right to assign, reassign or eliminate duties and responsibilities to this role at any time.


To apply for this position, please submit a copy of your resume and a cover letter detailing the experiences that that demonstrate you can fulfill each of the core responsibilities of the position, and the approach you would take to ensure that MELA remains deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. References will be required by finalists.

Application materials can be sent as attachments to the chair of the committee at board@msearlylearning.org.

For more information about the position or application process contact the Board Chair, Dr. Devon Brenner at: devonbrenner@gmail.com.

Review of applications will begin November 21, 2022 and interviews scheduled for December with the expectation of a Board decision by the end of December and a start date of February 1, 2023.