Pearl Buck Center Position Announcement for Executive Director

Pearl Buck Center
3690 W. 1st Ave.
Eugene, OR 97402-5415

Send applications to
Position Closes October 10, 2022
Position begins in January 2023

Pearl Buck Center is people building community! For decades we have supported people with various abilities and their families to ensure quality of life. Elisabeth (Lisl)Wachter founded PBC as a school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in 1953, as special education was unavailable then in our public schools. This school program operated until 1990,when students transitioned to public schools, while PBC continued to meet emerging needs. We added vocational services in the 1960s and incorporated in 1971. In 1976, PBC created its unique preschool program for families led by parents with cognitive limitations whose children are at risk. In the 1980s, we created a community integration program for individuals with I/DD leaving long-term care when Oregon’s institutions started to close, and also answered the need for community employment services for adults with I/DD. In 2008, we consolidated our vocational training, community employment, preschool, and community inclusion services in a new facility, which is now debt-free. During the 14 years since, State policy required the closure of Sheltered Work in 2020 and of course COVID affected everything. Our success continued with opening innovative programs such as nationally recognized Project SEARCH and a vocational academy that includes paid employment in the community and classroom instruction to supplement on the job training. As an organization that values trauma informed care and equity, we eagerly look forward to our continued impact in our community in the decades to come.

The Position

Status: Full time exempt

Salary: Starting at $90,000+ to be commensurate with qualifications and experience, plus excellent benefits, including 100% of the costs for medical/dental/life and vision insurance for the employee; 15 days PTO annually, increasing over time; 10 paid holidays annually; 401k match up to 3% after eligibility; membership at Elements Health Clubs; Employee Assistance Program; and professional development and training related to job assignments. Student loan forgiveness possible, depending on type of loan.

This position is not for everyone. It is for someone who demonstrates the attributes needed for the next phase of our history. The Executive Director oversees the management of a $4.6 million budget, more than eighty staff members, an array of supports for adults, and a preschool that includes wrap around family services. The next Executive Director will meet the following criteria.


Minimum Requirements

  • Be a visionary leader (e.g., experience starting new programs, demonstrated change-management) and self-starter who supports and motivates staff to collaborate, strategize and implement current and developing programs.
  • Demonstrate and value Equity as a key feature in decision making and operations.
  • Demonstrate servant leadership and passion for a Mission driven organization.
  • Be experienced in personnel management.
  • Understand budget development, management, and standard nonprofit financial reports.
  • Actively participate in fund raising in regard to donor cultivation and obtaining grants.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in a related field or equivalent experience.
  • Have knowledge, experience and understanding of intellectual and developmental disability services and early learning systems in Oregon.
  • Have experience effectively creating and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Be articulate and have effective communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Have knowledge and experience about how nonprofits work.
  • Ability to pass state required background checks.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Be approachable and a good listener, actively seeking input and a variety of viewpoints.
  • Work with and cultivate a Board of Directors who are the governing entity of the agency.
  • Be able to negotiate contracts with government agencies.
  • Have a master’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • Have knowledge and experience in nonprofit leadership.
  • Manage conflict and handle adversity with grace, ensure sound judgement in decision making.
  • Demonstrate persistence and stamina, leading the organization through any difficulties.
  • Knowledge and experience regarding advocacy.
  • Ability to travel as needed for the position.

Application Packet must include:

  • A complete resume, including education, employment, and other relevant experience.
  • The names and contact information for four references. We will not contact your current employer without your explicit permission.
  • A cover letter with answers to the following questions:
  • Why are you applying for this position at this time?
  • How do your experience and talents fit each criterion laid out in the job announcement?

“When I came here, the only service that was offered, and the only advice that parents received, was to institutionalize their children. Everyone has a right to be productive. And we all have the responsibility to leave the world better than we found it.” ~Lisl Waechter, Founder and Executive Director of Pearl Buck Center from 1953 to 1990

“I really appreciate all the time and dedication each staff puts in when they work with someone. They continue to follow the PBC mission statement and are always person-centered, and are always encouraging our individuals to continue to live an independent life. They are fierce advocates and we are so appreciative of our SLP team and all of their work they do.”

~ Supporting Living Program (SLP) Manager

What we love best about working in the LEAP program:

  • Seeing so much happiness and a smile on their face when they head out the door each day
  • The ah-ha moments: that one thing that staff has been working on that finally falls into place
  • Making someone’s day brighter and hanging out with genuine people

​~LEAP Staff

“Supporting a person’s growth and being a part of their life is a privilege. Every day as a DSP is so different but the one thing that is always constant is the appreciation I have for our students.”

~ Vocational Academy staff

“My favorite part about job coaching is the process of getting to know our individuals. I learn their goals and what they want out of life, and I’m lucky enough to be a part of helping them reach those goals and live their best life. It’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of.”

~ Community Employment staff

“I have been a teacher at Pearl Buck Preschool for 10 years, and I still love every single day I get to teach in my Tip-Top Turtle Toddler classroom. At Pearl Buck Preschool, the child is the curriculum and the overall most important concept we work on with our children and families is instilling felt safety and trust through a relationship focused foundation.”

~ Preschool teacher


“The growth that a Project SEARCH intern experiences during our nine-month program is incredible. It’s a joy to watch them plant their roots as they learn essential job skills while working in their assigned hospital departments. Once they finish Project SEARCH and find their dream job in the community they can really begin to blossom.”

~ Project SEARCH staff

Happy DSP Recognition Week! Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the employees who provide direct support to our clients, students, families, and interns. They make up the heart and soul of everything we do here at Pearl Buck Center and organizations like ours! Please join us in honoring and thanking DSPs everywhere for the important and essential work they do to support people with disabilities!

The Eugene Garden Club has been faithfully supporting Pearl Buck Center for many years. In particular, its members have always kept our planter box in the preschool parking lot beautiful. These past two weeks, members Terrye Eames and Mary Bromley prepared and planted the box with new additions to launch us into fall. Special thanks to Dorothy Cruickshank, and all Club members, for years of volunteerism and gracious contributions ensuring we welcome and bring joy to our preschoolers and their families each day with a planter filled with colorful plants

Did you miss the recent news of the Register-Guard Readers’ Choice Award winners? We are proud to share it with you!

Congratulations to Matt Templeman, KEZI TV news director and anchor, for winning the 2022 Readers’ Choice TV Personality Award. Well-deserved! Matt has been a long-time PBC supporter, sharing precious time to support our fundraising events, most recently serving as emcee at our recent Summer Garden Party, July 10.

As well, kudos are in order to Sarah Dooley of Marley Monsters for winning the Eco-Friendly Green Business Award. Marley’s Monsters is a faithful community employment partner with Pearl Buck Center helping our clients restore livelihood and dignity! If you haven’t visited them recently at their 5th Street Market Alle y location, plan a trip today!

We thank you Matt and Sarah for all you do and for your continued support of our agency to enrich the lives those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community.