Silicon Valley Urban Debate League, Executive Director

Silicon Valley Urban Debate League
Milpitas, California
Commensurate with Experience
Aug 17, 2018
Job Type

Through the rigor and thrill of the academic sport of debate, the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League (“SVUDL”) helps low-income youth tap the power of their voices to compete, excel, and change the world. A coalition of local educators and community leaders founded the group in June 2014 to fill a startling gap in opportunities in the high-poverty schools of San Jose and the Silicon Valley Peninsula. This year, SVUDL aims to serve 11 schools and change the lives of 200 students.

SVUDL’s strategy is to go deep, creating strong partnerships with high schools that leverage teacher trainings and full-campus events to grow large programs that reach and inspire students who are disengaged in traditional classrooms. In a short time, SVUDL programs have proven themselves uniquely capable of engaging a diverse base of students in a very rigorous academic activity, using three program components:

  • Competitive debate which builds strong analytical thinking, argumentation, communication, and public speaking skills;
  • Access to professional environments that show the students how their “debate” skills enable career success and give them opportunities to build networks of professionals who can support their future success;
  • Professional mentoring to help guide students towards professional careers.

For more information on Silicon Valley Urban Debate League, please visit

SVUDL is seeking a committed leader, proven fundraiser, effective communicator, and enthusiastic champion of the organization’s mission to join the community as the next Executive Director. The Executive Director is the primary leader of SVUDL, reporting to the Board of Directors and leading a team of staff including a Development and Communications Manager, four Head Coaches who work closely with teachers and administrators at school sites, an Administrative and Operations Manager, Marketing/Communications Specialist, Interns, and Volunteers.

The ideal Executive Director candidate will possess a deep belief in, and commitment to, SVUDL’s premise that education has the power to help every child reach his or her potential. In addition, a successful Executive Director will possess the character and confidence to provide motivational leadership to a high performing team and diverse external audiences.  The Executive Director will be instrumental in realizing the incredible potential of SVUDL’s growth and success.

The Executive Director’s key responsibilities include:

  • Fundraising:  Serving as an external ambassador, effectively engaging a sophisticated philanthropic and corporate community to ensure strong fundraising success and impact; working with Development and Communications Managers to manage annual fundraising campaigns, prepare grant submissions, and develop effective communications strategies with philanthropic and corporate communities;
  • Staff leadership: Remaining deeply committed to fostering an inclusive, inspiring work environment that maximizes the potential of SVUDL staff; supporting growth of the staff through regular guidance meetings, annual appraisals, and professional development plans while holding them accountable for their goals and the organization’s desired programmatic outcomes; promoting systems of communication and collaboration that help staff and volunteers meet their potential; Leading staff to build a vibrant and energizing team culture;
  • Strategic leadership: Engaging the Board of Directors along with students, teachers, school administrators, supporters, and a diverse range of stakeholders; building coalitions to develop and refine SVUDL’s multi-year strategy; writing and executing an operating plan that details a path and delegates to achieve that strategy; spearheading a communications plan that puts SVUDL at the center of regional conversations about education reform and youth development, further building its reputation as an innovative and vital force for youth;
  • Program: Overseeing the continued growth and refinement of the SVUDL program; working with the Head Coaches to develop curriculum, strategies, and tools for debate programming, including SVUDL and external debate competitions; building strong coalitions, partnerships, and connections with school boards, administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders; engaging with students, and modeling SVUDL values during events and site visits;
  • Administration: Developing the organization’s quarterly, annual, and medium-term budgets and communicating budget progress to the board; overseeing financial reporting and bookkeeping; ensuring SVUDL’s compliance with all legal requirements; ensuring a welcoming and productive office space.

In order to fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal Executive Director will be:

  • A seasoned non-profit leader with a minimum of 10-15 years of experience in education, innovation, or reform;
  • Someone who has a demonstrated track record of success in fundraising. This a fundamental piece of the role and s/he must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, serving as the public face of the organization;
  • Someone with strong people leadership and management experience, developing leaders while also holding them accountable to measurable results;
  • Experienced in coalition-building and program development, with the ability to represent SVUDL to its various stakeholders;
  • A dynamic and versatile communicator capable of engaging a variety of individuals and speaking in a clear, compelling, and authentic manner about the organization’s goals and priorities;
  • Knowledgeable of youth development, experienced with urban schools and/or the needs of students in under-resourced communities with first-generation college matriculation;
  • Unwavering in their belief in and support of SVUDL’s mission and deep commitment to its vision for growth and model for impact on communities in the San Jose/Silicon Valley region;
  • Culturally competent and a self-reflective leader who understands the effects of race, class, ethnicity, income, and other issues of difference in our society and is personally committed to ensuring all students have an opportunity to achieve their dreams of college and career success;
  • Understanding of the advantages of using debate as a tool for lifelong success, however, prior debate experience or knowledge of policy debate are not required; and
  • Entrepreneurial in their mindset, possessing a sense of urgency for increasing the impact of SVUDL’s model.

Please submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter addressed to​ the SVUDL Search Committee online at  For additional questions or more information, feel free to contact Serena Moy at or at (510) 575-9635.

Silicon Valley Urban Debate League is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this leadership position

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