The Andover Coalition for Education is looking to take its work to the next level, and the organization’s board of directors is actively recruiting its first, paid executive director to help it do that.
The nonprofit organization dedicated to its financial support of the Andover School District is advertising for a part-time director.
Board members are so committed to the position that they have put up their own money to fund it. Eventually, they expect the position will pay for itself through grants.
“It’s an idea we’ve actually been tossing around for a couple of years,” board member Tina Girdwood said. “We felt it was really important, at this stage, to move on it when we had a few of our board members step up and say, ‘Let’s put some money on the table for this.’”
Since it was founded in 2005, ACE has been guided by a 10-member board of directors, with a secondary advisory panel comprised of 26 former members, local educators and supporters of the school district.
Given ACE’s current size, that framework has now become the organization’s greatest challenge, according to Girdwood.
“It’s really difficult, we found over the years, for board members to be singly responsible for the various aspects of development and fundraising for an organization like this,” Girdwood said. “Some organizations can do that. They do one huge event and they raise the money for the year, and then donate that to their various projects.”
Over the years, ACE has made major contributions to the school district. In 2008, the organization gifted a two-year, $100,000 donation to create the district’s grants coordinator. The position has since raised $1.1 million — a 1,100-percent return on investment.
Through ACE, elementary and middle school engineering programs led to a natural development of STEAM courses at the high school. The purchase of a digital foreign language laboratory at the high school has transformed how languages are taught.