Executive DirectorThe Boston Debate League’s mission is to integrate argumentation and competitivedebate into public schools in Boston to develop critical thinkers ready for college,career, and engagement with the world around them.The SearchIn a fractious world that can make almost any subject contestable, the Boston DebateLeague (BDL) uses the power of argumentation to create transformative learningenvironments shaped by student leadership, collaboration, and critical discourse.The BDL supports active learning and rigorous research through professionaldevelopment for K-12 teachers and after school debate programs for middle and highschool students. As they debate, students learn to study multiple sides of contentiousissues, hone cogent arguments backed by evidence, and present their casespersuasively even while attending closely to opposing views. The BDL tailors itsprograms to engage young people who have been denied rigorous educationalopportunities due to persistent racial and social inequities. Teachers and debatersregularly proclaim that debating with peers transforms students, as they learn fast,connect their studies with everyday experience, develop their voices fluently andforcefully, believe in their own agency, and take the lead as advocates in theircommunities.For 16 years, this small non-profit organization has annually engaged hundreds ofmiddle and high school students in after school competitive debate programs andthousands of K-12 students through sustained coaching for their teachers and schoolleaders. The BDL has become ever more broadly influential, an ally of school systemsas it works to bring debate-inspired learning into classrooms across all curricularareas. Through its professional development activities for teachers and schoolleaders along with its support for rigorous after school debate teams andcompetitions, the Boston Debate League provides coherent, sustained programs thatpromote the power of young people, analytic discourse, racial and social equity, andjoy in life-long learning.The Boston Debate League seeks an Executive Director who has both the wisdom tosustain this successful non-profit organization, and the strategic leadership skills toextend its reach, impact and visibility. BDL innovates, analyzes, and grows. As part ofBDL’s current strategic plan, it is conducting collaborative research to codify thesuccessful components of its programs and to develop rigorous assessments of theirimpacts. Fueled by a superb staff and a collaborative board, BDL has thrived duringthe past tumultuous year. It pursued its goals to prioritize equity both internally andexternally, succeeded financially, and adapted its educational programs to online

Boston Debate LeagueExecutive Director Position ProfilePage 2learning for students, teachers, and school leaders. With the right leadership, BDLwill enhance the impact of its effective programs, serve more students and educators,and become more widely recognized as an essential contributor to analytic discourseand equity in Boston’s proactive community of learners.Opportunities and ChallengesDefine and steer toward the north star of the Boston Debate LeagueSuccessful organizations are clear about the large purpose they aim to serve andcontinually adapt their activities to steer toward that beacon. The BDL regularlyinnovates its strong programs to meet the evolving needs of students and educatorsamid the turbulence of shifting priorities and opportunities in school systems and thelarger society. A perennial challenge is to steer toward the overarching goal bybalancing retention of practices that work with change for the better.The new director will begin at an inflection point as educators and the larger worldstruggle to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, reconsider their guiding purposes, andrefine their work accordingly. The BDL is beginning the final year of a 3-year strategicplan developed by staff and board after careful redefinition of the organization’smission, vision, values, and commitments. Working closely with board and staff, theED must assure that BDL completes the ambitious goals in its current strategic plan,seriously evaluates lessons from that work, and then collaboratively develops,refines, and implements a new plan for expanding BDL’s impact.Maintain and develop relationships that grow financial resources and sustainedcommitment from multiple stakeholders and raise BDL’s visibilityThe new ED will be the chief fundraiser for the organization (likely requiring 50-60%of the ED’s time) and will lead efforts to sustain, expand, and develop complexpartnerships that are essential to BDL’s impact and growth. For example, the BDLdepends upon district and school leaders to champion and support programs bothfinancially and politically over years despite the systemic turmoil and competingpriorities that beset educational systems. The ED must be able to attract and maintainthe commitment of educational leaders in order for students and teachers to realizethe full benefits of BDL programs. The organization’s success also depends upon theED’s leadership in assuring consistent financial support from corporate andindividual donors, foundations, and public funds.The new director will also guide development of innovative collaborations withindividuals and organizations to leverage the impact of BDL’s programs. One exampleis a successful dual-enrollment program mediated by BDL that allows Boston highschool students to earn college credit in Suffolk University courses. BDL also enjoysmutually beneficial alliances with corporations and foundations that generate crucial

Boston Debate LeagueExecutive Director Position ProfilePage 3financial support while enriching BDL programs. Partnerships with current debatersand their families, as well as BDL alumni and volunteers, are perhaps the mostimportant relationships for BDL’s success. The next ED must bring passionatecommitment, deep understanding, and contagious enthusiasm to conversations withall these constituencies in order to sustain and grow BDL’s networks of support.Key to building effective relationships is publicizing a resounding case for thetransformative impact of BDL on students and educators. BDL is highly esteemed byits participants, but many of them say it is one of Boston’s best kept secrets. The newED will play a leading role as the external face of the BDL, promoting its visibility, andbuilding diverse, collaborative relationships that lead to sustained impact.Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion internally and externallyBDL has been committed to educational equity since its founding. The staff and boardmembers have worked deliberatively for the past three years to combat racism alongwith other long-standing inequities and the systems that sustain them. The newdirector will be at the center of the organization’s efforts to continue to refine norms,practices, and structures in ways that promote racial and social equity within BDL asan organization and in the communities that it serves.One recent focus is recruitment and retention of debaters in BDL’s After SchoolDebate League. Currently, only about one third of after-school debaters continuebeyond one year, while those who make debate a big part of their lives reap largebenefits. The retention challenge is most apparent with young men of color. BDL isexperimenting with a new approach that introduces debate as a toolkit for addressingproblems that young people identify as important in their lives. The ED will promoteefforts like this one to test the organization’s current thinking and bring in new ideasthat motivate sustained engagement in BDL programs and incorporate high-impactchanges to advance educational equity.Preserve collaborative leadership while pushing to improve BDL’s impactBDL’s current staff is accustomed to pursuing ambitious goals with intensecommitment and will welcome a leader who preserves the culture of open debate andeffective collegiality. They will also welcome a visionary leader who guides them tohold one another accountable for continual improvement and documented impact.For example, with funding from a national foundation, BDL is currently collaboratingwith university professors on a multi-year evaluation of its school-based professionaldevelopment programs called Debate Inspired Classrooms. One challenge is definingvalid measures of impact on educators who participate directly in these programsand on the students they teach. Another is developing practical assessment processesthat simultaneously help program participants guide ongoing improvement whilealso yielding credible evidence of impact. A leader who guides staff to meet these

Boston Debate LeagueExecutive Director Position ProfilePage 4challenges can accelerate BDL on an evidence-based path to adapt its programs andscale them up for much greater impact.Qualifications and ExperienceAlthough it is unlikely that any one individual will bring all of the experience andqualifications listed below, the successful candidate will have many of the followingattributes: BA/BS required; advanced degree preferred Extensive experience with and commitment to the communities that BDLserves, including Boston public schools and students who have experiencededucational inequities Capability and enthusiasm for building relationships that generate successfulfundraising and collaborative partnerships across sectors Experience as a teacher and/or school leader is valued as is participation incompetitive debate Ability to partner effectively with a board of directors, including collaborativedevelopment and implementation of strategic plans and budgets Experience enhancing the capacity of an organization, sharing seniormanagement responsibilities, building collaborative teams, and promotinginclusion, equity, and continuous learning and improvement Experience in providing guidance and direction on financial matters,operations, and staff development A managerial style that is personable and collaborative yet decisively strategicand focused on accountability for achieving BDL’s mission, coupled with thewisdom and courage to make difficult choices guided by the highest standardsof honesty and integrity Excellent oral and written communication skills, including active listening,intellectual curiosity, openness to debate, incisive analysis, inspiration, andpersuasion; ability to explain BDL’s programs and success to diverseaudiences Deep understanding of and commitment to the human endeavor of life-longlearning both inside and outside of schools Heart-felt enjoyment of young people and confidence in their potential,especially those who have been marginalized by discrimination, and

Boston Debate LeagueExecutive Director Position ProfilePage 5demonstrated commitment to helping them develop academically andpersonallyCompensationThe salary range for this position is 130,000 - 145,000 annually plus competitivebenefits, including health/dental insurance and generous paid time off. The highestpay will be offered to a finalist who most fully brings to BDL the experience andqualifications described above.Applications and Nominations:The Boston Debate League is committed to serving students of color and otherstudents who have been denied educational opportunities. In all BDL’s work, racialand social equity is a driving value. BDL knows that a diverse staff, including teammembers with lived experience in and commitment to the communities and studentsthe organization serves is essential. As such, BDL encourages applications from BIPOCcandidates, and candidates from traditionally marginalized and underrepresentedgroups.To apply, please submit a current CV with a letter explaining why you are interestedin becoming BDL’s next Executive Director and how your experience prepares you tosucceed in this role. Application materials should be submitted electronically [email protected] ensure full consideration, please submit application materials as soon as possible.Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will beginimmediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made. Formore information about the Boston Debate League, please visit: Boston Debate League is an Equal Opportunity Employer.The BDL values having a diverse staff that reflects the experiences and backgrounds ofthe students and teachers it serves.

Boston Debate LeagueExecutive Director Position ProfilePage 6Appendix:The Boston Debate League IncorporatedThe OrganizationThe Boston Debate League was founded in 2005 to offer Boston’s students access todebate and the transformational skills it cultivates. Through its debate teams andclassroom argumentation programs, BDL creates spaces for young people to harnesstheir voices, conduct in-depth independent research, analyze complex materials,express their opinions using evidence, and be heard and respected by adults in thecommunity. BDL’s programming upholds research-driven principles of a strongeducation—authentic student voice and discussion, cognitive rigor, 21st centuryskills like critical thinking and communication, and high expectations for all students.The BDL works with students, debate coaches, and teachers in public schools inBoston, Chelsea, and Somerville. The organization offers debate and argumentationprograms for young people in Greater Boston, with a commitment to serving studentsof color and other students who have been denied these educational opportunities.BDL tailors its programs to address the educational inequities they experience andstrives to create inclusive learning communities where all participants are welcomeand supported in achieving the transformative, lifelong benefits of debate. BDLprograms engage diverse elementary, middle, and high school students, includingstudents of color, English Language Learners, students experiencing poverty, andstudents with special education needs. The BDL envisions a future where all youngpeople are engaged in critical discourse, informed by evidence, and empowered tolead.Programs and ParticipantsThrough two anchor programs, After School Debate and Debate Inspired Classrooms,the BDL upholds high expectations of rigor and engagement, centers learning onstudents, and offers young people a platform where their voices are heard and valued.Since its inception, the BDL has grown from a grassroots organization serving 25students at only three schools to a 501(c)3 non-profit that reached nearly 5,000students, 350 teachers, 560 community volunteers, and 41 middle and high schoolsduring the 2019-20 school year. After School Debate serves students who attendpublic middle and high schools in every neighborhood of Boston, as well as studentsfrom Chelsea and Somerville.In mid-March 2020, in light of the COVID-19 public health crisis and followingguidance from state and local officials, the BDL closed its office and switched to awork-from-home model. BDL also cancelled all in-person programming, includingtheir final debate tournament of the season and the annual end-of-year awards

Boston Debate LeagueExecutive Director Position ProfilePage 7ceremony for its debaters. Throughout the unprecedented and ever-evolving crisis,the BDL staff was creative at finding ways to keep our work going, and to keep ourteam connected and supported while adapting programs to the changingcircumstances in schools.Organization—Staff and BoardThe BDL has a staff of 11 full-time employees who have experience in education,philanthropy, youth development, operations, and debate. Led by its ExecutiveDirector, the BDL Senior Leadership Team also includes a Director of Operations,Director of Programs, Director of External Affairs, and Director of Culture andEngagement. The program team includes a Debate Inspired Classrooms InstructionalCoach, two Assistant Directors of ASD, and one ASD Program Manager. The ExternalAffairs team includes a Senior Volunteer Manager and a Senior DevelopmentManager. BDL staff members are 64% White, 27% Black, and 9% Latinx. The SeniorLeadership Team is 80% female; the overall BDL staff is 73% female. A cohort of BDLalumni also join our team part-time to support the debate tournament season fromOctober-March.A diverse 13-member Board of Directors oversees the BDL, bringing a wealth ofexpertise in fields including leaders in public education, law, marketing, highereducation, business, and finance. The Board helps refine mission-focused strategies,raise funds, build relationships, and extend program impacts. The Board of Directorsis 54% female and 46% male. Members of the Board are 54% White, 31% Black, and15% Asian-American.In 2019, the board and staff collaboratively developed a 3-year strategic plan. Its goalsinclude evaluating current program models with practical yet rigorous assessmentsthat guide potential improvements and document programmatic impacts, with aspecific focus on serving BDL’s diverse student population. The board and staff havealso explicitly engaged in efforts to accelerate diversity, inclusion, and equity, bothinternally and externally, across all aspects of BDL’s work.FinancesThe Boston Debate League’s annual budget is about 2 million. Approximately 30%of BDL’s annual revenue comes from school partners and other program servicesrevenue, 65% is supported by philanthropy from organizations, individuals, andfoundation grants; the remainder consists of government support and income from asmall endowment. BDL expects to end its 2021 fiscal year with a little more than sixmonths cash on hand.

The Boston Debate League was founded in 2005 to offer Boston's students access to debate and the transformational skills it cultivates. Through its debate teams and classroom argumentation programs, BDL creates spaces for young people to harness their voices, conduct in-depth independent research, analyze complex materials,