The Achievement Center Seeks New Executive Director

The @achievectr is seeking a new executive director. Learn more and apply!Click To TweetThe Achievement Center, a leading provider of child-centered and family-focused services in Erie, Pa., seeks a seasoned and visionary leader to serve as its next Executive Director. This position offers the opportunity to build upon the organization’s 90-year history of providing quality therapeutic services to children and families across the Erie region. The incoming Executive Director will succeed Rebecca Brumagin, who became the Executive Director in 1989, and who will be retiring from the organization on April 17, 2017, after 28 years of service.


The Achievement Center is committed to helping children and young adults maximize their potential. The organization serves more than 3,400 children (from birth to age 21) annually in Erie, Crawford, Forest, and Warren counties in Pennsylvania. The Achievement Center accomplishes its mission through a host of comprehensive services including behavioral health rehabilitation, family-based mental health, autism services, blended case management, outpatient therapy, ADHD, physical rehabilitation, speech and language therapy, psychological assessments and psychiatry, literacy enrichment and birth-to-three early intervention.

The Achievement Center’s roots can be traced to 1923 when a group of Erie Rotarians recognized that services were needed for children with physical disabilities. This group of community leaders was instrumental in forming what was then The Erie County Crippled Children’s Society.

In 1990, the agency officially changed its name to the Achievement Center to better reflect the positive results its programs achieve for children and their families. In the 1990s, the agency expanded geographically, and the agency slogan “Above and Beyond” was adopted in 2007.

The Achievement Center has grown significantly over the years leading to major accomplishments in a number of areas including:

  • The Achievement Center’s success with children, youth and their families is evidenced by high satisfaction with services as rated by families, and outstanding outcomes as evidenced by comparison to industry benchmarks. The Achievement Center has many quality of life measures incorporated into the outcomes for each of its programs, with data showing the improvement that is made in the child’s functioning and the family’s ability to cope and deal with significant behavior issues or emotional disturbances. Additionally, the agency has been successful in transferring skills not only to parents, but also teachers, child care workers and others who are involved in the child’s life.
  • The Achievement Center employs highly educated therapists, clinicians and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). The Center also works in collaboration with several local universities.
  • Maintaining a voluntary accreditation for 46 years with the international accrediting body, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF accreditation signals that the Achievement Center is committed to continually improving services, focusing on client needs, encouraging feedback, and serving the community.
  • Successfully completing a 1.7 million dollar campaign. In 2014, the Achievement Center opened its doors to a new state-of-the-art facility allowing the agency to serve more children and families in a more spacious and centralized location. The new building boasts 52,000 square feet, which includes 10,000 square feet for future growth. This facility has promoted operational efficiencies, opportunities for collaboration and support among therapists, improved clinical supervision and allowed four times the therapy space.
  • The Agency began diversifying services by offering full-service literacy and math programming. In December 2015, a new program was launched called Reading NOW, a comprehensive literacy program including a diagnostic and instructional reading and a math clinic. The program seeks to collaborate with parents, schools, and the community to provide instructional and literacy support to students enrolled in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Achievement Center’s strategic plan includes five overarching goals:

  • Prepare the agency to function in a behavioral health/physical health integrated environment and explore collaborative opportunities.
  • To develop innovative programs and services to meet regional needs, primarily in the areas of behavioral analysis, literacy development, and mental health outpatient services.
  • To create and promote a culture of quality and excellence that establishes the agency’s programs as regional and/or national experts.
  • To invest in physical, human, and financial infrastructure to ensure sustainability.
  • To raise the agency’s visibility and increase financial support from individuals, corporations, and private foundations.

For more information, see the Center’s website at


The Executive Director oversees a 300 person staff and reports to an 18-member high functioning Board of Directors. The Achievement Center’s FY17 operating budget is approximately $13M.

The Executive Director provides direction and leadership for the organization’s mission and vision, represents and speaks for the organization, and works with the senior management team to advance annual and strategic plans. The ideal candidate will be passionate about the agency’s mission and will possess sound business acumen.

The Board of Directors anticipates a start-date for this position to be April 2017, which aligns with the timeframe that the outgoing Executive Director plans to retire. 

Near term priorities for the Executive Director will include:

  • Listening, observing and discerning where the Achievement Center is as an organization, and developing a firm understanding of its values, operating principles and business model in order to better understand opportunities for its future.
  • Ensuring that the Achievement Center is an employer of choice in Erie – an agency that exemplifies high staff morale, a vibrant and inspiring culture, and has the ability to attract, optimize, and retain top talent.
  • Firmly advocating to appropriate stakeholders, including county and state political leadership, managed care companies, and state-wide associations, about the legislative changes and resources needed to deliver high quality-integrated care.
  • Providing leadership to the development and implementation of an ongoing fund development program designed to increase unrestricted funding over time to position the agency for long-term financial stability.
  • Ensuring that annual programmatic goals across business lines are met while proactively managing fluxes in public
  • Increasing the Achievement Center’s visibility by enthusiastically representing the agency externally to referral sources, community members, elected officials, government agencies, and private and corporate donors.
  • Working with appropriate staff to implement strategic public relations and marketing efforts to increase the community’s awareness of the breadth and scope of the agency’s work.
  • Implementing systems that serve to enhance the impact of current programs. Ensuring that all programs are appropriately meeting the needs of children and families served, are financially viable, and are operating at an optimal level.

Key Responsibilities of the Position

The Executive Director provides strategic leadership both internally and externally, and continually seeks opportunities to advance Achievement Center’s mission. Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Leading the development and execution of the Achievement Center’s strategic planning process, as well as ensuring the continued efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s business operations and
  • Providing direction, guidance, and support to staff and fostering strong staff morale. Attracting and retaining a productive workforce with an eye toward professional development and growth.
  • Ensuring that the agency achieves the resource development goals necessary to achieve long-term financial stability while simultaneously meeting current operating
  • Serving as the agency’s chief public spokesperson as well as collaborating alongside and building relationships with government, non-profit and private sector community partners.
  • Supporting the Achievement Center’s Board of Directors in order to enhance the organization’s ability to carry out its

Experience and Attributes

Ideal candidates for this position will share our commitment to and passion for Achievement Center’s mission and will bring a variety of experiences and attributes to Achievement Center, including:

  • A change agent with persuasive, charismatic, and courageous personality; the ability to communicate and work collaboratively with a wide range of partner organizations and stakeholders including community based organizations and funding partners.
  • Strong business acumen with demonstrated experience managing complicated business models and revenue sources.
  • Demonstrated ability in fundraising and developing relationships with funders, as well as the ability to identify new revenue streams; demonstrated ability in raising philanthropic support from corporate entities and individual donors.
  • Willingness to provide strategic leadership and cast a vision that translates into measurable actions.
  • Ability to communicate across lines of race, class, and education level.
  • Proven track record of leading or managing an organization OR department (nonprofit, public, or corporate) with at least a $10M operating budget. Prior CEO/Executive Director experience a plus, but not required.
  • Minimum of 10 years of leadership experience required, with at least 5 years of experience leading managers preferred.
  • Experience working in a human services organization required.
  • Past success supporting and working with a board of directors in its governance role a plus.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.


The Achievement Center’s Board has hired Raffa P.C. to assist with the executive search and transition. To apply, email resume, cover letter and salary requirements to: (e-mail applications are required and will only be accepted at this email address). For other inquiries contact Ginna Goodenow, Search Consultant,

Resume review begins immediately. Interviews will begin in mid-fall and the Achievement Center anticipates announcing the selection of the new executive in early 2017.

The Achievement Center seeks to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, disability or protected status. The Achievement Center fully complies with all applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws.