ISEA - Iowa State Education Association

Iowa State Education Association

Executive Director

Based in Des Moines, IA


Mission Statement: To promote quality public education by placing our students at the center of everything we do while advocating for education professionals.

"The ISEA, an equal opportunity employer, represents preK-12 educators, education support professionals, community college faculty, Area Education Agency professionals, retired educators and aspiring educators with contracts covering more than 50,000 employees in Iowa and is affiliated with the 3.2 million member National Education Association.

The ISEA, founded in 1854, is a professional labor organization with a mission to promote quality public education." ISEA is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Executive Director is the Association’s chief administrative officer and management agent who leads the staff, in coordination with the ISEA President, to ensure implementation of the full scope of policies, procedures, and programs approved and adopted by the ISEA Board of Directors. In collaboration with the President and Officers, the Executive Director develops and manages an annual organizational budget and is accountable to the Board for the long-term financial and fiscal health and sustainability of the Association.

Candidates should possess high emotional intelligence, excellent judgment, and creativity, with a proven record of strategic leadership, which includes formulating objectives and priorities and implementing long-term interests of the ISEA.


  • Institutional Leadership – exercise inclusive and decisive leadership to advance the mission and vision of Iowa in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.
  • Long-Range Planning – maintain focus on the strategic goals and priorities established by systematic and strategic planning processes.
  • Stewardship of Financial Resources – provide oversight and necessary due diligence to ensure the financial health of the Association.
  • Organizational Effectiveness and Accountability – drive for continuous improvement utilizing data and measurement to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of Iowa's programs and services.
    • Cultivate a culture that encourages reciprocal accountability by developing a team of staff and stakeholders that upholds the integrity of Iowa's mission and core values.
    • Encourage employee creativity, innovation, and independent decision-making, while establishing performance and success metrics to ensure that all team members successfully meet organizational goals. Lead with honesty, good judgment, and transparency.
  • Public Education Advocacy – championing public education and the union movement in Iowa, including building collaborative relationships between Iowa and external stakeholders to shape the highest professional standards for state and federal education policy.
  • Staff Management – support high professional standards of work on behalf of Iowa members and build effective relationships with management and staff.


  • ISEA is poised to continue its rich history of advocacy for the state's public school employees and supporting innovations to further children's growth, development, and education and shape the future of education and educators in Iowa.
  • ISEA is dedicated to building bridges, fostering collaboration, and advocating for pro-education legislation that aligns with our core values and mission, prioritizing public education while bridging political divides.
  • ISEA supports professional growth to build an environment where governance, management, and staff are empowered to achieve its mission.
  • ISEA is committed to racial and social justice in Iowa.
  • ISEA has the opportunity to continue to develop a solid and supportive staff culture that promotes transparency, and collaboration throughout the organization.
  • ISEA is committed to a member engagement and organizing culture, mobilizing membership to articulate, plan, and achieve local objectives and interests, with assistance from Iowa and NEA. This highlights the relevance of union participation and the benefit of a unified membership at local, state, and national levels.

To be considered for this position, the applicant must be prepared to share and validate a record of personal achievements in the following competency areas.

Strategic Planning and Execution
An agile leader with documented experience leading organization-wide efforts in planning, implementation, process improvements, innovation, financial management, and building high-performance work teams.

  • Must possess a strong systems thinking mindset, someone who can think big-picture in a complex environment and leverage how the different parts of the organization work together, which will ensure that ISEA continues to grow and thrive in a sustainable way.
  • An executive leader with a record of strategic planning that required significant organizational change, including experience utilizing reliable methods to ensure accountability and timeliness in executing strategic goals and objectives.
  • The successful candidate must have specific evidence that demonstrates sound judgment in assessing benefits and risks while creating strategic advantage.
  • Must possess the capacity to think strategically, identify opportunities, anticipate challenges, and develop innovative solutions.

A passionate public education advocate with a proven organizational leadership record and who understands the central role educators play in leading change in their profession— a visionary leader who has confidently engaged others to be proactive in creating the future they desire.

  • An empathetic leader with a demonstrated, successful record of attracting and empowering a highly talented staff and is skilled at coaching and mentoring— must have a history of success in building and maintaining effective coalition partnerships.
  • A courageous leader who has shown organizational savvy and flexibility in confronting and adapting to challenging and changing political/organizational realities. Capable and willing to voice respectful and effective dissent when and where appropriate.
  • An effective communicator and active listener with emotional intelligence who has built successful relationships with diverse groups of people with varying cultural perspectives.


  • Ability to analyze complex situations, consider various perspectives and make informed decisions that align with the organizational goals and mission statement.
  • Must possess the expertise to anticipate outcomes and decide on the best course of action.
  • Uncovers potential opportunities by challenging conventional thinking and assumptions.
  • Demonstrated experience evaluating strategic issues, opportunities and risks, and long-term impact.

Member Focus

  • A leader who values public education and is focused on member needs.
  • Someone who believes in member engagement, trust, and loyalty and is committed to fostering strong relationships among Iowa and its members.
  • An experienced leader who has successfully demonstrated the ability to implement high-quality programs and services that bring value to members and demonstrated experience using data to identify additional ways to offer value to members' professional practice and careers.
  • Someone who will ensure that Iowa stays vibrant and relevant as the education landscape and workforce continues to evolve.
  • An influential leader who understands membership can increase membership density, and who has effectively led innovative strategies, programs, initiatives, and policies designed to attract and increase new membership.

Desired Experience

  • A minimum of 4-5 years of senior management experience in positions of increasing responsibility in education, labor/union advocacy, public policy, nonprofit leadership, or other related fields.
  • Experience in public education advocacy, belief in the central role of unions, and unwavering support for organized public education.
  • Must be a lifelong learner who supports structures for staff's ongoing professional development.

Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college is required.

Commensurate with experience and qualifications.

To be considered for this position, please provide the following:

  • A current résumé reflecting your qualifications for this position.
  • A Letter of Application that specifically addresses how your career accomplishments have prepared you to meet the challenges and opportunities presented in this position.

All materials must be sent electronically to Iowa’s Search Consultant: Unionsearch.org

Patricia Johnson, Business Manager: patjohnson@unionsearch.org

For confidential inquiries, questions, salary information, or to schedule a call, please email Patricia Johnson.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: December 4, 2023 at 5:00 pm (EST.)


WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.