Pilchuck Glass School - Executive Director

Pilchuck Glass School

Executive Director


For more than 45 years, the Pilchuck Glass School (Pilchuck) has been a primary force in the evolution of glass as a means of artistic expression. Today, Pilchuck (which means “red river” in the Native American language of the region) is the largest, most comprehensive educational institution of its kind in the world, recognized as the preeminent learning center for artists working and experimenting in glass. Founded in 1971 by visionary glass artist Dale Chihuly and philanthropists Anne Gould Hauberg and John H. Hauberg, Pilchuck serves as an incubator of creativity and technological advances and is at the epicenter of the international glass community.

Pilchuck’s artistic and educational programs provide an educational opportunity that focuses on artists surrounded by artists, sharing knowledge, and creative practice, with hands on experience. From April to November each year, Pilchuck offers an immersive experience and intense learning environment through a series of courses and residencies for artists in all media. The legacy of the Artist in Residence Program dates to the beginning of the school. Over the years, hundreds of notable artists from a wide range of artistic disciplines have come to Pilchuck to explore how glass can factor into their practice and visual vocabulary. Residence sessions taught by world-renowned artists and instructors emphasize experimentation and teamwork while fostering individual expression. In 2017, these programs served 292 students, ages 18 to 76, from 25 countries. In addition, several artist residency programs serve an international population of distinguished, mid-career, and emerging artists.

The 54-acre Pilchuck school campus is located 50 miles north of Seattle in Stanwood, Washington. The studio and shops are equipped for glassblowing, hot casting, kiln casting, coldworking, flameworking, neon, fusing, glass painting, stained glass, and printmaking. The campus also includes a wood and metal shop and the innovative BotLab studio that houses 3D printers and 3D scanners. Seattle architect Tom Bosworth won an award from the American Institute of Architects for the shake-and-timber design of Pilchuck’s lodge. Built in 1977, the lodge houses the campus dining room, kitchen, and library. Artist and student housing is rustic, with everyone eating, working, and sleeping on campus for courses and residencies. Pilchuck’s administrative offices and exhibition space are located in Pioneer Square, the original downtown of Seattle.

Pilchuck’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan uses Artistic Director Tina Aufiero’s vision to establish programming goals, which include staying at the forefront of glass and design education; capitalizing on the unique properties of glass and its interdisciplinary possibilities; and incorporating bold innovations and technology. Pilchuck is developing new opportunities for educational and artistic programs as well as outreach initiatives for diverse populations, while still maintaining its core courses and residencies for emerging and established glass artists.

Governed by a 41-member Board of Trustees led by President Kent Carlson, Pilchuck has a staff of 19 year-round and 140 seasonal employees. Pilchuck is also supported by its Artistic Advisory Committee and its International Council, which promotes knowledge and visibility of the school. James Baker is the retiring Executive Director. The 2017 budget is approximately $2.7 million and the organization has an endowment of just under $3 million.


Named by Kiplinger as one of the “10 Best Cities for the Next Decade” and dubbed “Brain City,” Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty, including Mount Rainier and Puget Sound, the city is home to innumerable globally-recognized organizations, including the ubiquitous Starbucks Coffee Company, REI, Amazon, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Median household income in the metropolitan area is more than $78,500, which is the fourth highest among major metropolitan areas in the country.

With a reputation as a great arts city, Seattle is the epicenter of American glass art. In addition to Pilchuck, the metropolitan area boasts Chihuly Garden and Glass, Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Pratt Fine Arts Center, and many practicing glass artists. The University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design offers a ceramics + glass + sculpture MFA. Beyond glass, Seattle is home to some of the most prestigious arts organizations in the country, including Seattle Arts Museum, Seattle Theatre Group, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Seattle also has a multitude of professional sports teams and plenty of outdoor recreation options.

While Pilchuck’s administration offices and exhibition space is in Seattle’s bustling historic arts district, its school campus is 50 miles north of the city in Stanwood (population 5,000). Known as Seattle’s Backcountry, the surrounding Snohomish County is equal parts urban and rural, manufacturing and research, and maritime and alpine. Snohomish County has excellent K-12 schools, two highly regarded community colleges, an extensive library system, and beautiful scenery, from saltwater wetlands to Cascade Mountain peaks. Median household income is just under $72,000. In addition to Pilchuck, cultural attractions in the area include the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve, Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, the Museum of Northwest Art, and the public art of the Lynnwood Civic Center Campus, among others.

Sources: seattlechamber.com; washington.edu; visitseattle.org; kiplinger.com; seattlemag.com; snohomish.org; economicalliancesc.org


The Executive Director (ED) of Pilchuck will serve as the chief executive officer, responsible for supervising all aspects of the organization’s programs, operations, fundraising, public visibility, and financial and business planning. Reporting to the Board of Trustees and working in partnership with the Artistic Director, the ED will be charged with strategic leadership of the organization, with a clear vision of artistic and educational excellence, service to artists and students, community engagement, and financial stability as a guide. Embracing creativity, diversity, and cross-cultural understanding, the ED will promote an environment of sensitivity and creativity with the students, artists, donors, Board, staff, and community partners.

Roles and Responsibilities

Vision, Strategy, and Leadership

  • Guide strategic plan development with the Board and Artistic Director. Build consensus around key organizational decisions that focus the institution’s energies, prioritize artistic and educational excellence, and articulate the unique impact Pilchuck will have over the next decade.
  • Ensure that programs, culture, facilities, systems, staffing, and operations are effective, impactful, and are in alignment with strategic plan development and decision-making.
  • Partner with the Artistic Director in the development and oversight of artistic and educational programs that maximize educational effectiveness and support the organization’s vision and strategy.
  • Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style with a true connection to Pilchuck’s artists, students, staff, Board, and community.
  • Serve as a visible, passionate, credible, and articulate ambassador and advocate for Pilchuck in a wide range of local, national, and international communities and settings, including artists, students, collectors, donors, community leaders, partners, and alumni.

Revenue Enhancement

  • Guide the Board and staff in identifying stakeholders, developing strategies, defining key messages, and building relationships with individuals and institutions to ensure that contributed and earned revenues meet organizational goals.
  • Lead giving efforts with the Director of Development and strategize the organization’s development programs, including its annual fund, Leadership Circle, Legacy Society, gala, fundraising events, and sponsorships.
  • Serve as the chief fundraiser for Pilchuck, directly participating in major gift cultivation and solicitation.
  • Strategize a diversification of contributed revenue for Pilchuck.
  • Explore opportunities to maximize earned revenue through increased programming and tuition, partnerships, leveraging of the Pilchuck brand, and other methods.
  • Prepare and lead future campaign initiatives.

Organizational Management

  • Lead the day-to-day operations of Pilchuck to ensure that students, artists, instructors, donors, and other stakeholders have an exceptional experience any time they interact with the organization.
  • Supervise and integrate all aspects of Pilchuck, including operations at both locations, educational programs, development, staff, and volunteers.
  • Confirm that organizational policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place, adhered to, and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
  • Oversee Pilchuck’s real estate, facilities, and equipment, including maintenance, safety, and functionality of both locations, and strategic needs for future program development, maintenance, and capacity utilization.
  • Ensure that the organization is effectively structured and staffed with outstanding employees.
  • Interview, hire, train, and mentor staff, providing performance appraisals on a regular basis.
  • Maintain an organization with the highest standards, in which all stakeholder obligations, both legal and ethical, are fully met.

Governance and Financial Stewardship

  • Guide, direct, and support the Board and its committees in their duties of fundraising, governance, and community ambassadorship for Pilchuck and its activities.
  • Identify, cultivate, and assist in the recruitment of Board and advisory council members whose skills, experience, financial connections, diversity, and capacity meet the organization’s needs.
  • Collaborate with the Board to refine and implement the institutional strategic plan to meet annual goals and priorities.
  • Oversee all internal corporate matters, including legal issues and lease negotiations.
  • Ensure the financial health of the organization by providing sound business models, budgeting, and financial management, including leadership of a thorough review of Pilchuck’s business model.
  • Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the Board so it can effectively fulfill its policy, fiduciary, and decision-making responsibilities.

Traits and Characteristics

The next Executive Director will be a dynamic and inspiring leader who builds compelling relationships and values frequent communication and engagement with Pilchuck’s many diverse stakeholders. Able to honor the past and chart the course for the future, this individual will be versatile and competitive, with a will to succeed and a passion to lead an organization with an unparalleled history in the glass art movement. Valuing creativity and self-expression, the successful candidate will be an optimistic and decisive leader, with an appreciation for practical accomplishments and the ability to balance the external- and internal-facing requirements of the position.

Other key competencies include:

  • Self-Management and Personal Accountability – Prioritize and complete tasks necessary to meet or exceed the mutually agreed upon expectations of the role while being accountable for personal and professional actions.
  • Stakeholder Focus– Commit to donor, Board, artist, staff, and student satisfaction, with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs, anticipate challenges, and develop appropriate solutions.
  • Teamwork– Work effectively and productively with others, recognizing the importance of building a team mission and connection between Pilchuck’s Seattle and Stanwood locations.
  • Planning and Organizing – Work within established timeframes and ascertain top priorities for optimum productivity with procedures, processes, and systems that result in order, accuracy, and efficiency.


Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred, plus a minimum of 10 years of increasing responsibility in a senior management role at an arts organization, arts education organization, craft school, college, university, or similar organization. Candidates must also demonstrate quantifiable success in fundraising, with a proven track record in donor stewardship and the successful solicitation of major gifts, including success with a national donor base. They should also possess strong strategic planning, staff development, communication, and financial management skills. Candidates should know how to work effectively with an artistic director, Board members, staff, artists, and students. The Executive Director must be willing to divide their time between Pilchuck’s two locations and travel nationally to build strong relationships with Pilchuck stakeholders and to advance the organization’s mission and vision.

Compensation and Benefits

Pilchuck provides a competitive salary and comprehensive benefit package, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, retirement plan, vacation and sick pay, and the quality of life that the Pacific Northwest offers.

Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:

Mr. Martin Bragg
Senior Vice President
818 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 236
Portland, OR 97204-2405
Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 205
Email    pilchuck@ArtsConsulting.com

Pilchuck does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion,
nationality, or ethnic origin in employment or in artistic or educational programs.

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