Executive Director - A Step Beyond

Location: Escondido, CA
Reports to: Board of Directors.
Compensation: $115,000 – $125,000 DOE/Neg.
Direct reports: 5 (Artistic Director, Director of Development, Family Services Manager, Academic
Manager-Upper School, Academic Manager-Lower School)


A Step Beyond (ASB) is a Creative Youth Development organization which provides students with the tools, skills and experiences necessary to drive a college and career pathway of their choosing. This includes helping them to build the grit and tenacity to overcome adversity and the stumbling blocks to success that could otherwise impede their progress. Through a mutual 10-year commitment, ASB provides its students and their families with artistic, academic and social/emotional support systems at no charge. ASB’s highly trained staff members assess and subsequently tailor their assistance to each student’s unique story, needs and strengths beginning in the 3rd grade. ASB partners with its students from elementary school through high school graduation to ensure they find success on the path to higher education, careers of choice, and well on into adulthood. Our services are divided into three primary program areas 1) Dance education, 2) Academic services and 3) Family services – all working together to prepare students for college and career.

  1. Creative dance: students participate in a highly developed curriculum designed to national standards in the areas of creative dance, contemporary dance and ballet technique.
  2. Academics: we focus on strengthening reading, writing and math skills, while simultaneously expanding students’ intellectual and creative horizons through STEM education, music, and college and career readiness skills.
  3. Family services: we work with students’ social/emotional issues and growth, crisis intervention for student and family, and parent training in the areas of financial literacy, self-sufficiency, social media, college preparedness, and many other areas to promote communication to strengthen the family unit.

ASB provides critical support for our students and their families to break the cycle of poverty and realize their full potential in every aspect of their lives. We serve primarily students from low economic, disadvantaged Latinx communities in North County San Diego through a curriculum that addresses the full scope of their talents. This includes artistic, academic, interpersonal, and leadership development, with the goal that all participants will graduate from high school and matriculate to a four-year college or university or other high-skill training program.


This is an incredibly exciting time for ASB, as we look towards graduating our inaugural class in 2023. Our dedicated team of 12 staff members currently serves 210 students at our facility located on the campus of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Demand for our program is strong, and with our strategically planned expansion, we will reach maximum capacity of 325-350 students in 2023. As an after-school program, most of our staff are onsite from 12:00–7:30 PM, with additional performances and events on some weekends. ASB is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with an annual operating budget of $1.1M, and on track to reach $1.5M by 2023.

Although ASB was founded 6 years ago, we are very much still a young, innovative organization with an entrepreneurial start-up mentality. Our team is tight-knit, with a highly supportive, family-like culture and passion for the students we serve. This is reflected in our exceptional employee retention. Our internal culture is also defined by a collaborative, integrated structure empowering our staff to manage their individual program areas.


After 6 fantastic years, our Founder and Executive Director will hand over leadership in 2020. The specific timeline will be mutually determined in partnership with our Board and the new Executive Director. We anticipate a very thoughtful, smooth and productive transition period.

Year 1 priorities:

  • Partner with ASB’s Founder to create and execute an effective transition plan.
  • Invest significant time getting to know the staff and Board of Directors; develop an understanding of their unique skills.
  • Invest significant time getting know the students, families, strategic plan, and programs on a meaningful level; listen and ask lots of questions.
  • Work with Board and staff in getting to know donors, community leaders, and other stakeholders. Become the face of ASB in the community.
  • Develop an understanding of the current fundraising strategy and meet the ’20-’21 fundraising budget.
  • Gain understanding of Executive Director administrative responsibilities.
  • Continue monitoring and evaluating program effectiveness and outcomes.

Year 2 priorities

  • Build awareness throughout the region of ASB’s programs and success outcomes.
  • Continue to strengthen relationships with the staff.
  • Expand fundraising opportunities, develop long term fundraising plan, meet annual fundraising
  • Work closely with the team on assuring the success of the Middle High School Leadership
    Initiative in preparing students for career and college.
  • Develop an alumni engagement plan and strategy.
  • Initiate a structured process for evaluating ASB’s long-term growth potential and plans.
  • Assure all key elements in the current strategic plan are implemented and work with staff in the
    development of the next 3 year plan.


  • Organizational Management: oversee all business operations, including developing and managing the annual budget, policies, processes and workflows; develop and deliver financial and operational forecasts to the Board; ensure ASB’s fiscal health and integrity.
  • Fundraising: continue to grow and diversify ASB’s funding sources; assist the Development Director in identifying and stewarding major gift prospects; personally manage a portfolio of key donor and prospect relationships.
  • Board Development: serve as a close partner to, and work effectively with a board of strong corporate professionals; keep the Board abreast of key developments; collaborate in the creation and implementation of our next 3-year strategic plan; assist in identifying and recruiting new board members as required.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: provide effective and authentic leadership for all ASB team members; recognize and leverage the unique talents and strengths of each staff person; provide opportunities for personal and professional growth, serve as an effective and trusted conduit between staff and the Board.
  • Strategy: embrace and effectively manage the creative tension and balance that exists between our 3 core pillars: 1) Dance 2) Academics 3) Family Services; identify and forge partnerships with other organizations to help further ASB’s mission; keep an eye on the future horizon, anticipating ASB’s future growth, as well as challenges and opportunities.
  • Programs: leverage outcome-based metrics to assure consistency of direction in strategic development and operational execution; use program data to communicate ASB’s impact and effectively tell our story to funders, volunteers, ASB families and other stakeholders.


  • Strong cultural competency: ability to identify with the students and families we serve, as well as the struggles and barriers they face daily.
  • A hands-on leader who makes His/Herself available to staff, students and parents; someone who also knows when to lead, and when to get out of the way.
  • Comfortable working within a highly family-oriented organizational culture and operating environment.
  • Intellectually curious; someone who is a visionary and is always looking for new ideas.
  • A relationship-skilled leader who puts the long-term outcome of the students we serve at the heart of every decision, exuding understanding, charisma and positivity at all times.
  • Enjoys attending events, networking and serving in a high-profile, public leadership role.
  • Executive presence: someone who projects both confidence and capability.
  • Transparency: someone who explains the “why” behind their decisions, and keeps stakeholders informed of the Executive Director’s vision and goals.
  • Equally comfortable working with diverse families, donors, elected officials and the media.
  • Exhibits a high level of emotional intelligence, demonstrating empathy and reflective listening skills; willing and able to have difficult conversations when required.
  • Committed to diversity and inclusion.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred.
  • 5+ years’ experience in a leadership capacity within a community-based organization.
  • Spanish language skills a plus but not required.
  • Demonstrated experience and passion for working with students and at-risk youth.
  • Strong cultural competency and personal connection to the communities ASB serves.
  • Strong financial acumen with solid, hands-on budget management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision-making and reporting.
  • Demonstrated success scaling organizational growth.
  • A successful track record in growing and diversifying funding sources such as individual giving, events, grants, contracts and other partnerships.
  • Experience working with/reporting to a Board of community volunteers.
  • Experience managing teams and ability to engage staff and develop each team member to their fullest potential.
  • Prior experience creating work environments that are inclusive, productive, and healthy.
  • Exceptionally well-developed listening and communication skills including the ability to connect with and inspire a wide range of partners and stakeholders; must enjoy public events.
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends for events and donor meetings as required.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director
Blair Search Partners
550 West B Street, Fourth Floor
San Diego, CA 92101