Tiny Trees Executive Director

Seattle, Washington, United States Full-time

Executive Director Opportunity

Tiny Trees Preschool is looking for its next Executive Director: someone deeply committed to affordable, high-quality early learning opportunities for all children and passionate about an emergent education model where children learn by exploring and playing in nature. At Tiny Trees, there are no preschool buildings - the children learn in outdoor “classrooms” using a play-based curriculum that gives them the reading, math and science necessary to succeed in school, social emotional life skills, and a vibrant, nature-rich childhood. Tiny Trees offers kids a joyfully muddy preschool experience full of play, exploration, and wonder in the great outdoors, and helps them enter school ready to thrive.

With a vision of offering affordable preschool to all families, Tiny Trees has been in high demand since it opened three years ago. Tiny Trees seeks a talented leader who can build organizational capacity to support its initial rapid growth, and also create a strong foundation for future program expansion throughout the Puget Sound area and beyond. The successful candidate will have expertise in building infrastructure, a strong foundation in board and staff development, and experience scaling programs or organizations. The Executive Director will be experienced in forging and maintaining public/private partnerships to support the mission of the organization. Tiny Trees’ next Executive Director should share the organization’s commitment to equity and environmental stewardship, and be excited to occasionally pull on a pair of rubber boots and hike in the woods with 3-5 year olds.

About Tiny Trees Preschool

Tiny Trees’ vision is to create a community where all children have access to high quality education and develop the social, emotional and academic skills needed to thrive in school and life. Tiny Trees’ model is based on the long-standing and proven educational model of Europe’s forest kindergartens. Through partnerships with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department and King County Parks, it offers outdoor preschool in public parks. Excellent teachers create a child-centered, play-based, nature-rich interactive learning environment. This innovative model, utilizing existing public spaces in the community, means that Tiny Trees can open classrooms in neighborhoods where low income and diverse families have not always had access to affordable, high-quality preschool. Currently, 22% of Tiny Trees students speak a language other than English at home and 44% receive partial or full tuition scholarships. Tiny Trees’ commitment to combining equity, environmentalism, and early learning is what makes it unique – its classrooms make it possible for children from all backgrounds to develop a love for learning in the outdoors.

Since Tiny Trees clad its first group of preschoolers in rain suits and boots three years ago, the organization has grown into the largest outdoor preschool in the nation with twelve classrooms and over 300 students in Seattle and East and South King County. The demand from families needing an affordable preschool option and desiring an innovative, experiential learning model continues to grow. The success of this model fuels Tiny Trees’ goal and vision for expanding program sites throughout the Puget Sound area and beyond, to become a nationally recognized model for outdoor preschool.

Tiny Trees is a nonprofit organization in strong financial standing, with an annual budget of approximately $2.4 million. Tiny Trees has a dynamic and growing team of over 45 administrative staff and teachers, led by Interim Executive Director, Mari Offenbecher, and a dedicated Board of Directors.

For more information, visit www.tinytrees.org.

Executive Director Opportunities & Responsibilities

The Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for Tiny Trees’ staff, programs, expansion and execution of its mission. Given the rapid organizational growth and the goal to further expand program offerings, strengthening the operations of the organization, building infrastructure, and fundraising are all top priorities. As the strategic leader of the organization, the Executive Director engages the Board, staff leadership, teachers, and community stakeholders in developing and delivering on these priorities.

The Executive Director will report to the Board of Directors and directly supervise a five-member senior staff management team. More specifically, the Executive Director is responsible for the following:

Leadership and Management

  • Strengthen infrastructure and internal systems to build organizational capacity and sustainability
  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence and rigorous program evaluation so as to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents
  • Provide consistent and quality financial and administrative oversight to ensure Tiny Trees operates as a financially sound school with strong administration and operations practices
  • Model Tiny Trees’ commitment to diversity and equity by leading with an equity lens
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong and engaged Board of Directors
  • Hire, supervise and prioritize support and professional development for the senior staff management team while providing leadership and motivation for all staff members
  • Communicate vision and goals clearly to staff, solicit staff input, and model and encourage effective teamwork and collaboration   

Strategy & Thought Leadership

  • Bring vision, passion and innovation to the strategic planning process to promote program expansion into new markets
  • Communicate program results with an emphasis on the successes of the local program as a model for regional and national replication 

  • Serve as a local and national spokesperson on the value, impact and opportunities of the outdoor preschool model

Fundraising & Communications

  • Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan in collaboration with development staff to expand revenue-generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations and program expansion
  • Maintain partnerships and establish new relationships with funders and political and community leaders
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications with the goal of creating a stronger brand 

  • Serve as the chief spokesperson and representative for Tiny Trees engaging and energizing Tiny Trees volunteers, board members, alumni, partnering organizations, and funders

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for Tiny Trees will possess a genuine passion for and understanding of the learning and development of young children, and a deep commitment and nuanced ability to lead with an equity lens. Successful candidates must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality impactful programs to the children Tiny Trees educates and cares for.

Based on learning from the first three years of operations and its strategic goals for the years ahead, Tiny Trees seeks an entrepreneurial leader who has specific experience and a proven track record of success in the following areas:

  • Building organizational capacity and sustainability
  • Providing sound budgeting and financial management
  • Developing and managing high-performing, unified teaching and staff teams
  • Creating a diversified fundraising plan and cultivating and stewarding relationships with major donors
  • Cultivating and working effectively with boards of directors
  • Building strategic and sustainable program partnerships
  • Scaling an organization to significantly expand programs and services

Excellent relationship building skills and the ability to work collaboratively and authentically with diverse groups of people are key requirements. The next leader will be a skilled listener who seeks and respects input from teachers, parents, the board and other stakeholders. As Tiny Trees continues to expand, the need for an Executive Director who is an inspiring and persuasive communicator and who has a sophisticated understanding of brand and communications strategies will become even more pronounced. They will be self-directed and action-oriented, able to bring vision and creativity to setting strategy, solving problems, and marshalling human and financial resources for maximum impact.

Executive Director candidates must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in a senior leadership role, including responsibility for overseeing the budget and staff of an organization or substantial program, ideally of $2 million or more. A Bachelor’s Degree is required; an MBA, MPA, MNPL or another relevant graduate degree is a plus.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time exempt position that reports to the Board of Directors and requires a spending some time in the twelve outdoor classrooms in all seasons. The expected salary range is between $100,000-$120,000, depending on experience and skills. 

Tiny Trees offers a generous benefits package including accrued paid time off and 10 paid holidays plus the week between Christmas and New Years off. There is an employer-offered health plan or health care stipend, retirement plan, technology stipend, and money for professional development and training.

Tiny Trees’ administrative offices are located at the Impact Hub in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The Impact Hub is a vibrant community of social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and businesses who share this unique reclaimed building, all with a focus on promoting social good.

Commitment to Equity

Tiny Trees Preschool welcomes all children, all families and all staff members and works every day to create an emotionally and physically safe space for every child, parent and staff member. Tiny Trees believes that having a community of individuals with diverse backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates a vibrant environment where all members of the Tiny Trees community thrive.

Tiny Trees is an equal opportunity employer that celebrates and honors diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, race, color, physical or developmental ability or ethnic origin in the hiring of its personnel.

We strongly encourage applications from people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.




The search for this position is being facilitated by Clover Search Works, a search firm that provides a full range of search services to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Clover Search Works is honored to partner with Tiny Trees to recruit an Executive Director who will provide leadership to realize its important mission.

Questions regarding this opportunity are welcomed and can be directed to Mary Ellen Cunningham of Clover Search Works. Email: maryellen@cloversearchworsks.com Phone: 206-406-3159