Executive Director

Hiring Organization Information

Organization Name: 
School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA)

Position Information

Employment Type: 
Full time
Experience Level: 
Salary Range: 
$70,000 - $90,000 DOQ (plus potential performance incentive)
Job Category: 
Organizational Overview: 

The School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA) is one of the largest circus schools in the United States, recognized nationally as a leader in youth circus arts education. Founded in 2004 with five students, more than 500 students now participate every week in classes and camps; in-school and after-school outreach programs; a robust social circus program; and public performances by our youth performance companies, staff and recreational students.

SANCA offers experiences that are physically challenging, are socially enriching, and teach physical literacy to people of all ages and abilities. SANCA’s services to the community include recreational classes for children and adults, and day camps that provide youth with a safe, social, constructive environment for physical arts. Our programs broaden community engagement, reach diverse audiences, and encourage participation in the arts. SANCA’s “Every Body’s Circus” programs for youth reach those with the least access and opportunity to participate in healthy, creative physical activities.



Role Responsibilities: 

SANCA’s Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and manages a full-time and part-time staff of over 50, including division managers, coaches, and administrative support personnel. The Executive Director is the key management leader of SANCA, with responsibility for a budget in excess of $2 million. The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the administration of programs; developing the strategic plan in concert with the Board; budgeting and financial management; hiring, directing, and evaluating staff; managing facilities, contracts and leases; risk management; fundraising and marketing; and community outreach.

The Executive Director provides leadership in developing programs, organizational initiatives, and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff, that provide a strategic direction for ongoing operations and long-term viability of the organization. The Executive Director carries out plans and policies authorized by the Board, and serves as primary staff for the Board and its Executive and Finance Committees.

The Executive Director is responsible for day-to-day management of SANCA’s workforce, including designing an effective organizational structure and hiring candidates with the best skill sets; classification, compensation, and benefits; staff development, training and evaluation; discipline; creating a safe and responsive workplace that is free of harassment; building stability and a culture of empowerment; and establishing annual work programs.



Some of the current issues that the new Executive Director and their team may be called upon to manage or participate in include:

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – SANCA currently has an operating budget of over $2 million annually. Unfortunately in 2019, revenues were not as robust as anticipated, which required reductions in staff, programs, and benefits. The Executive Director will be required to work in conjunction with the Board of Directors to develop annual budgets; prepare monthly financial statements that accurately reflect the financial condition of the organization; and maintain the organization in a positive financial position.

BOARD DEVELOPMENT – The SANCA Board of Directors is committed to the organization and its success. The Executive Director will play an important role in working with the current Board to fulfill its mission, and in developing a strategy for Board expansion from the current eight members, to support the organization today and into the future.

FUNDRAISING AND DEVELOPMENT – The Executive Director will be responsible for working with the Board of Directors and the Development Director to prepare a comprehensive program that will increase revenue to support programs and services. The Executive Director must work to identify, cultivate, and solicit major and planned gifts, and to develop relationships with foundations, corporations, major donors, and community organizations. SANCA currently generates funding through class tuition (65%); contributions and grants (20%); ticket sales, corporate events and space rentals (15%).

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT – SANCA currently operates in over 22,000 square feet of leased facilities, which include the main gym; a north and south annex that provide space for classes and performances; and a fly tent for trapeze classes and events. SANCA also leases space at select local theaters for periodic performances and fundraisers. The Executive Director will be called upon to resolve permit issues that have been identified within the space; to ensure that space is programmed to maximize revenues and services; and to explore sublease arrangements to enhance revenues without compromising SANCA’s core programs, classes and services. The Executive Director will also work with the Board of Directors to evaluate future facility options which may include leasing alternatives, purchase opportunities, and any associated capital campaigns.

TEAM BUILDING – SANCA operates with a staff of more than 50 personnel, which includes a combination of full-time, part-time, and hourly employees. The Executive Director will be required to maintain a strong and coordinated team; continue to inspire pride within the organization; and retain accountability, a strong customer service orientation, and a commitment to enduring quality. Additionally, the Director will be responsible for reviewing the organizational structure, to ensure that staff resources are being utilized effectively to meet current and future needs.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND PARTNERSHIPS – The Executive Director is the outward face of the organization and will represent SANCA with other agencies and organizations in the State and region, including schools, foundations, governmental agencies, grant-making agencies, and donors. The Executive Director will also connect SANCA to the greater circus education and performance communities.

Candidate Qualifications: 

A bachelor’s degree, a minimum of ten years of professional experience, and at least five years of experience as a senior manager or executive director in the nonprofit sector, education, the arts, or a related field are preferred. Candidates must have experience in some or all of the following areas: working with a board of directors; nonprofit financial management and budgeting; marketing, public relations, and fundraising; working effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people. Knowledge of local and regional arts funding sources is a plus, as is knowledge of the circus community. A master’s degree is preferred, but equivalent combinations of education and experience will be considered.


The Executive Director is a complex and influential position that will require a “big-picture” person, with an innovative approach to nonprofit management. The Director must have exceptional managerial and leadership skills, with a proven record of innovation, and a passion for nonprofit management, education, and the arts. The Executive Director must be a strategic thinker, and must be capable of planning and directing SANCA’s services in a team environment. The Executive Director must be an effective manager of people, processes, and resources, with the ability to foster a healthy organizational culture through teamwork, collaboration and transparency.

The successful candidate will have a record of providing leadership and support to a board of directors and staff; and the vision and ability to engage SANCA’s Board of Directors and staff in strategic planning efforts that will lead SANCA into a thriving future.

The Executive Director must have a broad understanding of nonprofit management, be capable of operating with significant independence and initiative, while working collaboratively within the organization. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated business sense, with a strong background in budget development and administration; financial reporting and forecasting; and cash flow management and accounting. The Executive Director will have a proven record of leading an organization with a strong profit/loss statement, and a financial plan that will lead to long-term viability.

The Executive Director will have extensive knowledge of nonprofit development strategies, with a background in fundraising, grants, corporate and foundation support, donor relations, major donor cultivation, special events, capital campaigns, and fee-based program revenues.

Candidates must have highly developed interpersonal skills; and the ability to relate to people throughout the organization and community including staff, board members, donors, corporate contacts, students and parents. They must have the ability to make tough decisions and own the results, and to engage the organization to implement outcomes. The Executive Director must demonstrate respect and appreciation for a diverse workforce; passion for the profession; and a sincere interest in the work and mission of the organization, including a commitment to SANCA’s Social Circus and therapeutic circus arts programming, recreational classes, and performance training curriculum.

The ideal candidate will possess a balance of assertiveness and diplomacy, be a good listener, and be willing to discuss matters candidly. The position requires a person with a high energy level, passion and enthusiasm. Candidates must have exceptional written and oral communication skills.

A proven record of advancement and personal stability with past employers must be evident; personal integrity and ethics must be beyond reproach.



The final filing date for this position is October 31, 2019. To be considered for the position, please submit a resume and cover letter as soon as possible to directorsearch@sancaseattle.org

Resumes will be screened in relation to the criteria outlined in this brochure. Candidates with the most relevant qualifications will be given preliminary interviews by the Selection Committee. Interviews will be followed by reference checks after receiving the candidate’s permission. Candidates deemed most qualified will be referred to the Board of Directors for a final interview process.


We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.


How to Apply

Application Contact: 
Application Deadline: 
October 31, 2019
Application Instructions: 
To be considered for the position, please submit a resume and cover letter as soon as possible to directorsearch@sancaseattle.org