Lumin Education is a remarkable, unique, highly successful organization that, through two programs, changes lives of children and their families. Research shows that the philosophy and practices of Montessori education, starting at the earliest ages, provide an essential foundation for 21st century life and workplace skills that traditional education lacks. What Lumin does is vitally important! Starting in pregnancy and going through third grade, Lumin’s home visiting and classroom programs bring the strengths of Montessori programming to underserved families and the broader community. Lumin serves approximately 500 children each year. All who work within Lumin cite a passion for its mission as the most compelling driver of their work. It is not an exaggeration to say that Lumin Education is indeed, one of a kind.
Located on two campuses in the East Dallas and Bachman Lake neighborhoods of Dallas, TX, Lumin owns its facilities that are custom tailored to its programs. In addition to on-site activities, the campuses serve as a base for a cadre of parent educators who work directly with young families in their homes to provide the benefits and best practices of early childhood education and help families access support services. In addition to the Montessori in-home services, Lumin operates Montessori classroom for toddlers through third grade.
After a 45-year career the founding Executive Director of Lumin Education is stepping back from daily leadership of the organization to focus on planned giving and working with donors with whom she has cultivated decades-long relationships. The Lumin leadership team is strong, experienced, and highly skilled in their respective roles. Lumin seeks an Executive Director to begin July 1, 2024, or sooner if mutually agreeable. The new ED will work with the leadership team to continue Lumin’s excellent programs and pursue new directions in early childhood education for greater impact in the future. The Executive Director reports to a Board of Directors made up of a dedicated cross section of educators, Dallas community leaders, and non-profit experts. All others within the organization will report, directly or indirectly, to the Executive Director.
LUMIN PROGRAMS AND ORGANIZATIONS
In a time of change, the best organizations keep their minds open to discovering optimal solutions along the way. The organizational structure is strong, but the new ED may want to adapt as conditions warrant. Both of Lumin’s programs have strong and long-tenured directors responsible for daily operations of the programs. Each director has the autonomy to run the program and oversee the staff to best serve its students. Those directors and administrative directors such as HR, Finance, and Facilities report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO). The COO and the Chief Development Officer report to the ED.
STRENGTHS OF LUMIN EDUCATION
Among the many strengths of the organization, the new Executive Director will find:
- Established programs and services with a proven track record of success.
- A solid balance sheet with no debt, substantial real-estate assets, and solid operating reserves.
- A leadership team and an entire organization that are not only expert at what they do, but are driven by a shared passion for the mission of Lumin.
- Lumin’s credibility and a reputation in the greater Dallas community for innovation, expertise, fiscal responsibility, demonstration of new methods and a commitment to share new approaches with the broader community.
- A Board of community leaders and educators that is committed, generous, and dedicated to expanding the impact of Lumin.
- Two campuses with excellent facilities and the potential for expansion to meet demand to serve more students and families.
- A culture of compassion, passion, warmth, caring, transparency, and always-inspiring mission focus. Commitment to all aspects of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and belonging.
- The work of Lumin can be challenging, intense, and given the population served, at times involve parts psychology, social work, and counseling. Recognizing this, a unique aspect of Lumin is the staffing and implementation of adult wellness programs to provide necessary support for the Lumin staff members who are daily on the front lines of changing the trajectories of families and children’s lives.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The solid foundation is in place as is the desire to expand the impact of Lumin. The new Executive Director will find the following challenges and opportunities:
- Lumin’s proof-of-concept and dogged determination has resulted in expansion of early-childhood education in the public schools of Dallas and specifically the creation of a number of public Montessori schools. Thus, the opportunity exists to spread the wisdom of even earlier, i.e., the earliest-earlychildhood programs to the public sector and more.
- While the Executive Director will have overall responsibility for the success of the organization, day-to-day operations will fall largely to direct reports, freeing the Executive Director to be more externally focused. Those efforts will include sharing the wisdom of Lumin by finding ways to expand the impact. Likewise, since much of what Lumin does is at no cost to the families served, expanding fundraising sources and revenue will be an important focus particularly in the future. In the short term, Lumin has already begun the process of right-sizing the budget in light of the loss of public charter school funds.
- As the organization responds to the many changes listed above and pursues opportunities for greater impact, the Executive Director will be able to assess and modify the organizational structure to assure it continues to be optimal in both administration and delivery of student/family services.
- At the essence of Lumin’s success is having excellent staff. It is ongoing work to attract, retain, train, and support the best staff members.
- Among possibilities under consideration for which the new Executive Director will have a significant role in decision-making are:
» Expansion of Lumin’s programs for pregnancy to age 6.
» A capacity-building campaign to bridge the short-term (5-year) funding gap.
» An endowment campaign to increase the predictable operating revenue derived from the endowment.
» Creation of new revenue streams by finding new earned-income sources and expanded summer offerings, etc.
» Maximizing the potential of the substantial unused space at Bachman Lake for expanding the scope and number of students/families served.
DESIRED SKILLS AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
- Proven experience as a successful non-profit organization leader ideally in a complex, multi-faceted organization.
- A knowledge of and passion for early childhood education. An ability to champion the Montessori model is definitely a plus.
- Proven fundraising skills.
- The ability to be:
» An inspiring internal leader, hiring, retaining, motivating and holding accountable a team of excellent leaders, dedicated to the mission of Lumin.
» An inspiring external face of the organization able to make a compelling case for Lumin with donors, public-sector leaders, and the educational community at large.
- An approachable personal style, welcoming and relating to everyone from the smallest child to the biggest donor, and everyone in between.
- Proficiency in the Spanish language would be helpful but not required.
- Financial literacy sufficient to partner with the staff and board to maximize the impact of Lumin’s fiscal resources.
- Cultural awareness and agility; able to relate to the diverse populations in the Lumin community. A champion of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging.
- Strategic visioning and planning.
- Proven experience working in a best-practices relationship with a Board of Directors.
- A pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit.
- A contemporary executive, proficient in use of technological tools, data-driven decisions and systems-efficiencies.
- Familiarity with the North Texas education and nonprofit community and initiative a plus.
The full Position Description can be found at https://www.carneysandoe.com/career/lumin-education/
Candidates may contact the consultant in confidence for additional information. Candidates need to submit the following materials as separate PDF documents:
- A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
- A current résumé;
- A statement of experience with early-childhood education or other relevant background.
- A list of five professional references with name, relationship, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to: