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Job posting

Position Title: Executive Director, Sakai Foundation
Reports to: Chair, Sakai Foundation Board of Directors
Date of Hire: On or about 31 May 2007
Resumes due: 26 April 2007
Terms: This position is full time and continuing

Applicants should submit a resume and letter of interest to Mary Miles,, who will coordinate this process for the Sakai Foundation Board. Confidential questions about this position may be addressed to Lois Brooks, Resumes and letters of interest for this position should be submitted by 26 April 2007.

Position Summary

The Sakai Foundation seeks an experienced, creative, mature, visionary leader to fill the position of Executive Director (ED). The Sakai Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the Sakai Project, a collaborative, open source software effort producing teaching, learning, research and collaboration software tools for higher education. The Foundation is international in scope, and is funded through contributions from approximately 120 educational and corporate members, and has an annual operating budget of $1.2 million. The Foundation has a purposefully small staff whose role is fostering and supporting the Sakai community.

The Executive Director will lead, cultivate and facilitate the Sakai community, providing leadership to best meet the needs of the entire community, and growing the participation in, and effectiveness of the community. The innovation: design, tool development, and best practices, will continue to be done among the distributed community of Sakai users and developers. The ED will facilitate this community in every way possible.

The Executive Director is the chief operating officer of the Sakai Foundation, and will allocate the Foundation resources (budget and staff) based on goals set by the Foundation Board. He or she will represent the foundation publicly and in business negotiations.

Candidates should have a distinguished record in leading organizations and working effectively in distributed, collaborative communities. Demonstrated leadership in higher education or not-for-profit organizations is highly desired.

Scope of position

The Executive Director will have purview in the following areas, leading through direct action, the actions of the Foundation staff, or through facilitation of community efforts.

The ED is responsible for the successful planning and operations of the Sakai Foundation. He or she will develop priorities for the organization, create and implement plans, and coordinate programmatic initiatives, technology, and work effort across the entire project. He or she will develop and maintain effective partnerships with other organizations to foster interoperability and cohesion within the academic software development community. Also, the ED will manage the fiscal and human resources of the Foundation.

The incumbent must be able to activate and organize the community in order to respond quickly to new challenges with well-conceived solutions that meet the needs of the Sakai Foundation members.

The ED will have responsibility for maintaining and increasing the Sakai Foundation revenue. This will include communication with members, recruiting new members, and retaining existing members, as well as development of grant proposals.

This position requires extensive experience in leading and cultivating communities and organizations, which may be gained through a combination of professional experience and education. This position requires excellent leadership and communication skills, understanding of the collaborative nature of the Sakai community, knowledge of software development practices, and demonstrated effectiveness in managing staff and resources.


  • Leadership: With the Board of Directors, establish the Foundation's vision, mission, and annual goals and objectives. Develop a strategic plan for each year for technology and community development, seeking community input and engaging their support, and identifying and respond to opportunities and challenges.
  • Community engagement and development: Represent the Sakai Foundation publicly. Work constructively with the community to foster activities, encourage community involvement, and develop best practices for technology, process and use of the Sakai tools. Develop and execute good communication practices. Develop and maintain effective partnerships with other organizations to assure cohesion and interoperability. Actively engage community members around the world.
  • Technology development: Ensure a coordinated community vision around Sakai's software development efforts. The incumbent must be able to respond quickly to new technical challenges with well-conceived solutions that meet the needs of the Sakai Foundation members. Assure a high-quality, dynamic and innovative environment central to meeting the needs of a largely virtual community for software development. Assure there is up-to-date information, access to resources, venues for debate, discussion and exchange on topic issues with and within the whole Sakai community. Promote the development and adoption of open standards through effective participation in standards processes and adoption.
  • Operational management: Assure high-level coordination for a distributed software development and deployment effort. Coordinate and facilitate the myriad of activities related to the success of the Sakai code base, user delight, documentation and training. Manage the day-to day operations of the Foundation, monitoring projects and budgets ensuring that mandates are executed in an effective manner consistent with Foundation policies. Effectively balance resources with need. Manage Foundation staff and execute personnel actions.
  • Fundraising: Participate in development of grant proposals and other fund raising activities. Identify potential (international and national) new initiatives and partnerships to build the community and generate revenue for the purpose of enhancing the original mandate and goals of the project.
  • Administration: Fulfill administrative requirements of the Sakai Foundation including: assuring that the By-Laws of the Foundation are adhered to; actively participating in Sakai Foundation Board meetings as a non-voting member; sign contracts and other legal documents on behalf of the Foundation; establish all administrative policies and procedures.
  • Some travel required.


  • Demonstrated ability to lead, plan, and support a functionally organized, technically oriented environment, with staff working on a wide variety of technical activities. Ability to forecast, develop and implement organizational initiatives. Ability to think strategically and programmatically as well as successfully manage operations. Ability to set priorities, allocate resources, provide follow-through, assure a well-organized workforce and to provide evaluation of projects and efforts.
  • Excellent management skills, and demonstrated ability to lead, motivate and direct professional and technical staff. Demonstrated success in managing fiscal, technology and human resources Excellent project management skills, including demonstrated ability to deliver software on deadline that meets functional specifications.
  • A demonstrated understating of information technology in higher education and a commitment to community-based development. Experience with open source software development is desired.
  • Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills. Ability to resolve issues quickly and make decisions that meet Sakai Foundation objectives, in a collaborative culture. Demonstrated ability to consistent, effectively and tactfully communicate with people at many levels about academic, administrative, and technical topics. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships.
  • Extensive experience (8 or more years) leadership in technology leadership and/or community development. Academic experience highly desirable. B.A./B.S. required; advanced degree highly desirable.

Hiring Logistics

Depending on the circumstances of the successful applicant, this position could be established in a number of ways, including:

  • as a grant to an existing organization, with an agreement to second the employee to the Sakai Foundation, if the candidate wishes to remain with his or her institution
  • as a personal consultancy directly to the Sakai Foundation
  • other arrangements will be considered
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