Organization: Maria Mitchell Association

Location: Nantucket, MA

Express Interest!


The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) seeks a visionary and inspiring Executive Director to lead the organization and serve as a spokesperson and advocate for science based hands-on education programming on the island of Nantucket and beyond.

The Maria Mitchell Association was founded in 1902, and named after famed astronomer Maria Mitchell who, in 1847, discovered a comet while sweeping the skies with her telescope over Nantucket, MA.  Ms. Mitchell went on to become a founding professor at Vassar College where she taught for more than two decades.  She was also the first woman elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Today, MMA is considered to be Nantucket’s Science Center and offers hands-on education programs for students and adults with a focus on astronomy, marine science, natural history and historic preservation. In addition to providing science programs for all ages and summer discovery camps for children, MMA is dedicated to scientific research using Nantucket’s land, seas and skies as its laboratory. The astronomy program was awarded Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering in 2009.

The Executive Director will bring exceptional leadership and strategic abilities, strong organizational management and communications skills, and a deep sense of respect for the rich history of the organization. S/he will be an enthusiastic and effective fundraiser for the organization, with the ability to conceive of, build support for, and implement strategies for increasing funding.  This position is based on the island of Nantucket, MA.


The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors. S/he directly supervises the Director of Education, Director of Astronomy, Director of Natural Science, Finance Director, Director of Development and Communication and the Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives and Special Collections.

The Executive Director’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Strategy and Execution:

  • Serve as a strategic leader and visionary for MMA, ensuring the successful development and execution of MMA’s 2014 strategic plan
  • Lead MMA in effective implementation of the strategic plan, which includes assessing the organization’s current capabilities and aligning resources appropriately
  • Effectively represent MMA and actively further its mission by ensuring its continued influence and relevance as one of the island’s oldest and strongest science education organizations.


  • Lead MMA in effective implementation of the organization’s mission and core values
  • Ensure that MMA’s strategy and vision are consistently aligned across all functional areas
  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board of Directors and staff, ensuring open communication about financial and programmatic performance
  • Develop the senior management team to ensure effective and consistent communication between one another and with staff throughout the organization
  • Provide guidance and leadership in development of the organization’s budget and reporting and maintaining best practices in all aspects of financial operations


  • Provide leadership for all the fundraising efforts as MMA’s chief development officer to achieve the needed increases in both annual giving and the capital fund drive laid out in the MMA 2014 Strategic Plan
  • Ensure that the organization is able to meet its budgetary obligations and increase its endowment and capital
  • Support the Development department in efforts to pursue funding sources, with personal involvement with significant partners and donors
  • Work closely with the Director of Development and Communication to ensure that MMA is maximizing all current fundraising opportunities and executing strategic initiatives to broaden funding base and increase funding overall
  • Act as an enthusiastic and inspiring fundraiser for MMA and cultivate a fundraising culture within the organization


  • Communicate effectively with the Board of Directors individually and as a whole both verbally and in writing.  Support the Board President and Committee Chairs in order to ensure productive Board and Committee meetings
  • Serve as an effective and dynamic spokesperson for the organization to the public, donors, media, and other audiences
  • Maintain MMA’s high profile in the community and continue to find and maintain partnerships with Nantucket nonprofit organizations to drive the organization’s mission


  • Proven success as a senior level executive with a least 7-10 years of experience
  • Demonstrated exceptional fundraising skills and successful experience in raising funds from foundations, corporations, individual donors, and other grant-making organizations
  • A management style that is participative, yet visionary and decisive
  • The ability to lead a group of highly trained professionals, to foster teamwork and retain and attract high quality professionals
  • The ability to oversee a wide range of programs and exhibits while delegating significant responsibility to the departments for their execution
  • The ability and desire to handle a broad range of functions consistent with leading a small, yet renowned high-quality education and research organization
  • Previous responsibility for budget development and demonstrated success in managing within the budget both for operations and capital projects.
  • Excellent verbal, written and presentation skills and highly effective interpersonal skills to allow successful interaction with the Board of Directors, staff, donors, potential donors, and community organizations
  • Demonstrated passion and understanding of science to be able to communicate the importance of the Maria Mitchell vision and mission

Compensation and Benefits:

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Maria Mitchell Association  has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Trisha Sutrisno at

Maria Mitchell Association is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Maria Mitchell Association:

The Mission of the Maria Mitchell Association is promotion of the legacy of Maria Mitchell and exploration, education and enjoyment of Nantucket’s land, waters and skies beyond. Recognizing the historic persona of Maria Mitchell, the foremost American woman scientist and educator of the 19th century, and her potential impact on contemporary though, MMA fulfills its mission by passing on her legacy of intellectual curiosity, respect for and love of nature, learning by doing, and the ideal of individualism.

Maria Mitchell’s contributions to astronomy, science, and education are the basis for MMA’s continuing tradition of high quality research and teaching, which inspires today’s learners and tomorrow’s scientists. The MMA provides scientific resources and educational programs for the community, uses Nantucket Island as an exceptional natural laboratory in which to study science and the environment, and maintains research and/or representative collections of Nantucket’s biodiversity.

MMA strives to delight its members, supporters, and visitors by providing high quality programs, services, and facilities. MMA strives to ensure financial viability and the preservation of its buildings and important collections so that current and future generations can share in this legacy. MMA strives to collaborate with other institutions (both on- and off-island) to share relevant organizational assets to accomplish these objectives, obtain cost efficiencies, and reduce impact on the environment.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained search and consulting firm that works exclusively with non-profits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit