Executive Director

Whole Earth Nature School

Job Description

Whole Earth Nature School is looking for an Executive Director who thrives in a dynamic, collaborative work environment and who can lead our efforts to foster youth development through mentored outdoor experiences. All staff work as valued members of our community in service of local youth. 

Whole Earth is an equal-opportunity employer. We welcome the unique contributions that you bring to Whole Earth including your culture, ethnicity, race, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages, veteran status, religion, ability, sexual orientation, and beliefs. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment for all students, volunteers, and employees. Visit our about and employment pages to learn more. Some ways we commit to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion include:

  • normalizing pronoun use during meetings and programs
  • providing needs-based scholarships to students
  • offering affinity camps for girls, boys, and gender-diverse students
  • providing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion training to all staff
  • decolonizing curriculum and incorporating land acknowledgments in programs 
  • amplifying Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) voices and perspectives
  • using trauma-informed, culturally responsive student support strategies
  • providing accommodations for students to participate in our programs and for staff to lead programs


Whole Earth Nature School is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2009 to foster human-nature connections. We provide mentored outdoor experiences to students in pre-K through high school on the traditional homelands of the Kalapuya people, in Eugene/Springfield. Whole Earth serves thousands of students annually at summer camps, Outdoor School, homeschool and afterschool programs, and advanced mentorship experiences.

At Whole Earth, we learn from the land, share gratitude, practice outdoor skills, tell stories, challenge our edges, honor our whole selves, and lift up our community. Our programs center children as leaders of their learning to cultivate curiosity and deepen their connection to self, community, and the land. Through camouflage, they learn stillness and observation. Through fire-making, they learn resilience and patience. Through wildcrafting, they learn caretending and healing. Through group challenges, they learn teamwork and empathy. 


Under direction from and in collaboration with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s overall management, mission, strategic direction, short and long-term plans, legal compliance, finances, policies, and procedures. The Executive Director shapes the organization and models effective leadership while prioritizing the needs of staff, volunteers, students, families, and the local community.

Whole Earth is seeking an Executive Director to lead our organization during a period of strategic evolution. During 2022, the Whole Earth staff and board collaborated on changes to our organizational structure, operating principles, and communication practices. As a result, the staff and board agreed that we would operate in a hierarchical structure with clear leadership and support lines, while centering our students and intentionally weaving non-hierarchical practices into our organization, like collaborative decision-making, service leadership, role autonomy, and other teal principles. The Executive Director will lead efforts to continue the implementation of this organizational development work. 


  • Guide the mission, vision, and goals of Whole Earth to mentor youth in inclusive, student-centered outdoor experiences; develop strategic plans that include Whole Earth community members in decisions that impact them; implement improvements using assessments, input, and research
  • Develop the annual organization-wide project management calendar in collaboration with teams, board members, and other leaders; complete individual projects and lead project teams  
  • Manage legal and 501(c)(3) compliance work; liaise with legal professionals; support departments in legal needs, including contract development and approval, liability insurance, and employee laws
  • Direct financial operations, including banking, billing, procedures, budgets; liaise with accounting firm; develop organizational budget with Board and department directors; lead regular budget assessments; and provide regular reporting to the Board
  • Hire and support all director-level staff, including the Outdoor School Director, Programs Director, Development & Outreach Director, and Equity & Engagement Director
  • Collaborate with the Development & Outreach Director on fundraising initiatives with individual fundraising goals in both key roles; act as a liaison and spokesperson with select donors and funders
  • Collaborate with other directors on key organizational operations, including community engagement, policy development, employee services, equity initiatives, program planning, and partnerships 
  • Lead staff and organization from a mentorship, support, and people-first approach, ensuring staff have manageable work expectations, autonomy in decisions, clear direction, and accountability systems
  • Facilitate organizational development projects and create systems to ensure long-term organizational health aligned with organizational values and priorities
  • Develop, support, and implement crisis management plans, policies, and communications
  • Model organizational leadership values, including active listening, direct communication, conflict resolution, and balancing collaborative processes with efficient implementation
  • Visit and support Whole Earth programs on-site as needed or requested by staff

Note to potential applicants: Research shows that people of color, trans and non-binary people, and women are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe that they meet every qualification listed in a job description. Your skills, experience, and education can come from personal interests, self-directed learning, community roles, and life experiences. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are interested in the position, even if you do not believe that you meet all of the qualifications.


  • Passion for the mission and work of Whole Earth with the ability to co-create the big picture vision and simultaneously implement detailed plans to provide inclusive outdoor programs to youth
  • Experience leading and managing staff with demonstrated ability to motivate, mentor, and inspire teams; Experience hiring and training staff and supporting staff to adapt to changing priorities
  • Experience in financial management, including accounting best practices, budget development, assessment, reporting, and oversight, preferably leading a non-profit organization’s budget
  • Demonstrated ability or transferable skills in executive-level administration, including running non-profit or business operations, using business software, strategic planning, fundraising, public speaking, facilitating meetings, managing projects, writing reports, and developing policies and procedures
  • Competency in risk management, crisis response, and conflict resolution, preferably using trauma-informed or restorative practices
  • Interest or experience creating equitable and inclusive environments that are sensitive to people’s needs, interests, identities, and experiences; Commitment to create just policies, systems, and programs
  • Compassionate and responsive interpersonal skills to build relationships and create shared purpose among diverse groups, including staff, volunteers, partners, families, students, and community members
  • Strong skills in self-accountability to achieve work goals while meeting personal needs; skilled in active listening and critical self-reflection to make personal and organizational improvements 


  • Leadership experience at a non-profit organization with the following: implementing legal needs, managing finances, engaging the board of directors, facilitating community relations, or creating policies and procedures
  • Experience successfully leading an organization during transition; Experience leading organizational development projects and establishing clear roles, responsibilities, and effective collaboration 
  • Experience in fundraising, outreach, marketing, communications, and/or media relations
  • Education, training, or experience in outdoor programs, youth education, educational theory, wilderness skills, environmental studies, or justice, equity, and inclusion
  • Experience implementing or developing employee services systems and policies; knowledge of best practices
  • Proficiency or fluency in languages that are used in our community, particularly Spanish


Reports to: Board of Directors

Salary range: $70,000-$80,000 base annual salary, depending on experience; potential for higher pay with fundraising incentives 

To apply: Complete our application at forms.gle/hdw5eDbWNxJFqfn19 to be considered for this position. Please feature your interest, skills, and experience in 1. youth development & outdoor programming, 2. mentorship & leadership, 3. equity & inclusion, 4. executive administration, and 5. strategic planning & direction.

Hiring timeline and process: The priority deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, February 28 at 9 a.m. We may continue to review applications after this priority deadline. The estimated start date is May 1, 2023. We will consider later start dates for qualified candidates. Whole Earth follows equitable hiring practices, including anonymizing all materials to reduce bias, using the same rating system and questions for all candidates, providing interview questions in advance, and considering a variety of experiences to meet qualifications.


  • Health insurance: Whole Earth pays 90% of employee premiums and 50% of dependent premiums.
  • Paid leave: 10 vacation days a year in first 1-5 years (proposal to increase vacation currently under review), 8.65 paid sick days a year with unlimited accrual, 10 paid holidays a year, 6 weeks paid parental leave (increasing to 12 weeks of family medical leave in 2023), 3 days paid bereavement leave; Unpaid leaves are available.
  • Stipends and discounts: annual professional development stipend, a monthly stipend for mobile phone and home internet use during remote work, dependent discounts on Whole Earth programs, and discounts on outdoor gear through “pro-deal” programs

Work requirements: In accordance with Oregon Department of Education policy, Whole Earth requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have a valid medical or religious exception. Finalists will complete a criminal history background check, and candidates with disqualifying criminal history set by the Oregon Department of Education will not be eligible for this position. 

Work schedule: This is a full-time, salaried position with flexible work schedules. The Executive Director is expected to work with other staff to have some overlap in their work schedule. Some work will be required on evenings or weekends, like board meetings, staff retreats, and work based on organizational needs.

Job location: The Executive Director is expected to work and reside in or near the Eugene/Springfield area with a regular presence in the Whole Earth office and at programs. Out-of-town candidates who need time to move to Eugene can work remotely for a limited time. Administrative staff typically work hybrid weekly schedules, both remotely and in person. All in-person work gatherings will meet or exceed public health recommendations. 

Type of work: Work is primarily sitting or standing at a desk while typing on a computer or using a mobile device to communicate (70%), gathering in-person or remotely for meetings, trainings, and socials both indoors and outdoors (25%), visiting Whole Earth programs, observing other programs or sites, and attending conferences indoors and outdoors (5%). We will make reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants to perform job functions. 

Contact us with questions about this position at [email protected].

Posted 4 months ago
Eugene, Oregon
Education Requirement
High School Diploma
Experience Requirement
1-5 years