San Francisco, CA



The Institute for Applied Tinkering (IAT) is an organization dedicated to building a 21st-century model of education—one grounded in a partnership-based, co-creative relationship between adult and child, and on the deep valuing of being in community together. Over the past 15 years, through our programs Brightworks and Tinkering School, we’ve brought child-centric, collaborative, hands-on education experiences to children in many different ways: K-12 school, day camp, after-school programs, teacher workshops, and more. Thousands of kids, parents, and educators attest to the richness and lasting impact of the experiences we deliver.

We believe that all children deserve opportunities to engage with their world in creative and adventurous ways, in environments founded on “co-creation, not coercion”. We are committed not only to making our programs available to families of all income levels but also to sharing our learnings with parents, teachers, and schools around the world.


This is a unique opportunity for an experienced leader who is highly adept at managing multi-prong operations, who thrives working collaboratively with people and teams, and who brings models for organizational strategy that will support and exponentially grow an innovation-driven mission. This leader will be able to articulate our innovative pedagogy both externally to widen impact and internally through cultivating a culture that ‘walks the talk’. While deepening the organization’s impact through operational excellence, financial controls, and measurable outcomes, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to advance the global impact of our radical approach to K-12 education.



  • Responsible for overall leadership of IAT and its related entities, including the implementation of the organization’s vision, educational philosophy and strategic plan.
  • Provides organizational leadership through exceptional management and development of staff and program leads (including a visionary founder).
  • Develops and implements organizational strategy, working with staff and board to identify opportunities that solidify and grow the organization.
  • Serves as a lead storyteller and spokesperson for the IAT to external audiences, building and promoting the organization’s brand, culture, and impact in the field of education.
  • Collaborates with the board of directors on a variety of strategic functions including fundraising and development.
  • Ensures all programs are delivering a high quality experience without losing or diluting the unique vision and pedagogy of the organization.
  • Models antiracist and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) values, supporting operational policies and procedures that demonstrate the organization’s commitment to anti-racism.

Financial Management

  • Oversees and stewards the IAT’s business model and finances by executing on a financial strategy that ensures sustainability, healthy cash flow and adequate reserves.
  • Responsible for timely completion of the annual audit and financial reporting.
  • Leads budget development, rollout and accountability, including internal monthly reporting and regular board reporting.

Staff Management & Organizational Culture

  • Accountable for recruiting, retaining, and developing a high-performing leadership team, ensuring all departments are aligned and collaborating to achieve organizational results.
  • Builds and fosters trusting partnerships with families, students and organizations we serve, and serves as a role model for these types of relationships for staff.
  • Works closely with the board and program leaders to ensure all organizational systems and processes reflect our commitment to DEI including hiring, admissions, and financial assistance.
  • Accountable for program quality and satisfaction from families and students.

Fund Development

  • Serves as the lead fundraiser capital campaigns as well as annual fund campaigns.
  • Develops and oversees an organizational plan and team to meet annual fundraising goals.
  • Identifies and cultivates longer-term sources of funding from individuals, foundations, corporations, government agencies, and community leaders.


  • Demonstrate a strong alignment with, understanding of and excitement for the radical mission in education of the organization.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in progressively responsible roles like CEO, ED, or other senior management positions.
  • Entrepreneurial propensity: ability to identify resources to build towards a vision.
  • Experience managing teams of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • Demonstrated fundraising success with major donors, private foundations and institutional partnerships, comfortable requesting donations face-to-face.
  • Public speaking experience and skill.
  • Computer literate (Microsoft and Google Suite, database proficiency).
  • Master’s or Doctoral qualification in Education, Educational Psychology, or other relevant field of study a plus.


  • Growth mindset / lifelong learner.
  • Creative problem solver / outside of the box thinker.
  • Open and transparent communicator. 
  • Relationship-oriented management style.
  • Inspire and challenge others.
  • Collaborative work style, but knows how to drive to decisions.
  • Conflict resolution skills and experience.
  • Experience working in children’s education is a plus.


Salary range is $160,000 - $180,000. Excellent benefits offered including medical, dental, and vision insurance + retirement plan. 

Institute for Applied Tinkering is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances.

Envision Consulting was retained by Institute of Applied Tinkering to conduct the search for their incoming Executive Director.

Applicants needing accommodation for any part of the application process may contact Envision Consulting at 626.889.7905 to request and arrange for assistance.

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