Executive Director, Woodlawn/Pope-Leighey Historic Site

National Trust for Historic Preservation


The Woodlawn estate and Pope-Leighey House sites are nestled in a quiet area of Alexandria, Virginia, less than forty minutes' drive from the heart of Washington, D.C. Woodlawn, originally part of George Washington’s land holdings, was initially a traditional plantation employing enslaved workers that later transformed with Quaker ownership into an experimental, racially integrated farming community and worship center on the eve of the Civil War. Over the course of the 20thcentury, the property was owned and improved by a range of individuals. Woodlawn became a house museum in 1949 and was purchased by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1954, making it the organization’s original historic site. In 1964, a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home, the Pope-Leighey House, was moved to the property from its original location in nearby Falls Church, VA to prevent its demolition. Today, the entire Woodlawn/Pope-Leighey site includes 126 acres, 11 roofed structures, a collection of furnishings and decorative arts related to both residences and an active farming program.

Both houses have been preserved and are open to visitors depending on governor guidelines for COVID-19. Upgraded facilities and an impressive tent and pad have allowed the site to develop a robust special events program that significantly augments the operating budget. The National Trust is responsible for the interpretation and programming at the two houses as well as managing its partnership programs and private event rental activities. The National Trust is committed to telling the full American story. At Woodlawn that includes incorporating more stories, artifacts and documents on the history and legacy of slavery, and the site’s Quaker narratives into the interpretation of Woodlawn. Staff are continuing to build lasting partnerships with the local African American historical society and develop a local descendant community group. Pope-Leighey's interpretation is also undergoing new efforts to ensure that this fascinating architectural marvel is seen as a relevant, sustainable, and vibrant community asset.

The National Trust is additionally engaged in an innovative partnership with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture and the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) to link the property—once again—to farming, education, and social justice by re-imagining it as a place for people to eat, learn, and garden and as part of the “farm to table” movement. Arcadia operates a four-acre farm at Woodlawn that offers camps, K-12 field trips, and community events, and is the base of operations for a mobile market that sells high quality, locally grown, sustainably produced farm products at affordable prices in low-income, food-insecure communities. The National Trust is considering long-term plans to establish a variety of nonprofit and for-profit uses in the historic barn complex in a way that highlights locally produced agricultural products and tells the stories of these buildings, their historic uses, and the people who worked in them.

The new Executive Director will be tasked with implementing an exciting new vision for the site: inclusive programming, partnerships and community engagement, interpretation that tells a full and truthful history, as well as with continuing the overall evolution of the site.


The Executive Director’s (ED) core responsibilities will be to meet earned revenue targets, balance the budget, engage communities, and to ensure full and truthful interpretation and programming of the site, especially relating to the site’s African American and plantation history and of that of indigenous people at the site and in the region. The ED will also oversee site operations, promotions and marketing, strategic partnerships, fundraising, inclusive and community-based programming. The ED will develop and maintain a community presence and ensure that relevant programming and activities directly serve local needs and are drivers for long-term viability of the site.

The ED will play a key role in developing a site advisory council as well as a coalition of partners and community stakeholders, all of whom will be involved in creating a dynamic strategic plan for the site. S/He will be responsible to implement, ensure funding for, and execute the plan. The ED will assure that the site is managed to the highest professional standards, including those that ensure diversity, equity, inclusion and access practices and policies.

The ED will be responsible for sensitively expanding the number of revenue-generating activities and contributing to the integration of the site’s history with new commercial ventures, including potential new uses of the historic barn complex and other areas of the site.

The ED will manage a core staff of four employees and up to 20 guides, event staff, and volunteers. The ED reports to the Louise B. Potter Director of Strategic Planning and Development. The ED will also interface frequently with staff of the National Trust Sites Department. S/he will also engage with staff across the National Trust in marketing, public affairs, legal, and other divisions, as well as with peers at other National Trust Historic Sites.



  • Model leadership for site staff, partners, visitors and communities that is aligned with our values and best practices.
  • Lead the site to integrate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) measures site-wide and ensure metrics are tracked, targets are reached, and ensure timely maturation of the site in DEIA practices
  • Build visitation, engage new and repeat visitors, analyze, and evolve tours, and improve revenue
  • Work closely with the Louise B. Potter Director Strategic Planning and Development to develop a site advisory council, including identification of needs, capacities, and recruitment materials. Lead ongoing council meetings, communications, events, and philanthropy by individual members.
  • Act as spokesperson for the site, monitor site brand and messaging and ensure alignment with National Trust brand and messaging.

Fundraising and Marketing

  • Expand corporate, foundation, government, and individual giving to ensure growth and support for ongoing preservation and site operations to meet or exceed budget targets.
  • Create and manage a portfolio of prospects in consultation with NTHP Development staff through solicitation and engage others in the cultivation and solicitation process.
  • Develop and implement targeted fundraising and donor cultivation events and tours. 
  • Manage strategy and tracking systems to involve a wide variety of new individual donors and ensure donor recognition
  • Develop and implement a plan to promote site programming and private rentals at the local, national, and international levels through social media, group tour outreach, tourism bureaus, and new partnerships.

Financial and Operations Management

  • Develop, manage, and maintain a balanced operating budget, including tracking expenses and meeting revenue goals. Work with Sites Department Administrative Director to ensure that monthly and annual financial reports required by NTHP HQ are completed in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Work with the National Trust, direct reports and the Office of Human Resources as needed to identify, respond to, and resolve performance issues as they arise. Monitor and approve timekeeping and related budget for direct reports
  • Oversee collections management activities in collaboration with the John & Nevill Bryan Director of Museum Collections.
  • Ensure agreements and contracts are aligned and appropriate
  • Together with staff develop plans to grow special property use, and gift shop revenue.

Program Management

  • Supervise, retain, and recruit well-qualified and culturally diverse staff and guide the development of workplans, organize overall workflow. Monitor direct reports’ productivity and performance, provide constructive feedback and coaching, and conduct annual performance reviews.
  • Work closely with the NTHP Director of Interpretation and Education on updating tour scripts, exhibitions, and interpretive planning for Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey to tell more inclusive, nuanced, and contextualized stories of the site.
  • Work closely with site staff to develop collateral materials and website upkeep and to develop and implement communications, sales, outreach, booking, budgets, and marketing plans.

Site Management

  • Work closely with the Graham Gund Architect to develop and monitor major repair or capital projects and ensure the maintenance staff are aligned with NTHP architectural standards.
  • During emergency events, such as in response to COVID-19, implement the appropriate plans and take measures to protect the property and communicate to appropriate emergency and HQ staff

Marketing, PR, and Promotions

  • Analyze and improve the donor management database.
  • Serve as the liaison to, and communicate closely with, NTHP Sites Department and Development and Marketing Division staff at headquarters.
  • Develop and implement a plan to promote site programming and private rentals at the local, national, and international levels through social media, group tour outreach, tourism bureaus, and new partnerships.


  • At least 12 years of professional level experience overall, including at least 5 years of experience in an executive capacity. Prior work in the cultural heritage/museum/historic sites field is preferred; experience engaging the stakeholders on and managing interpretation of issues relating to slavery, African-American history, or related topics a plus.
  • Proven direct fundraising success, including donor cultivation, grant-writing, annual funds and membership development. Experience in capital campaigns optimal.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and skill set, with business development experience and ability to be flexible in a dynamic work environment.
  • Demonstrated success budgeting, staffing, and supervising professionals, and leading teams to generate high quality results.
  • Advanced analytical and problem solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization.
  • Advanced project-management, team-management and client-management skills. Ability to achieve results with limited supervision.
  • Effective presentation skills. Excellent writing, spelling, grammar, and proofreading skills, as well as strong verbal communication and customer service skills.
  • Strong organizational skills with excellent attention to detail.
  • Experience successfully managing key internal and external stakeholders and relationships. Proven ability to collaborate across departments to implement processes and achieve results.
  • Commitment to and experience with implementing DEIA policies
  • Demonstrated success in marketing to and engaging culturally diverse audiences and partners. Connections within culturally diverse professional and social affinity organizations are a plus.
  • When working on-site, public contact and ability to work successfully in close proximity to others required. When working off-site, ability work effectively and independently in a remote environment, maintaining productivity and communications to manage and motivate staff virtually and meet deadlines and goals, is required.
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task efficiently and respond to a high volume of ongoing requests in a timely fashion. Ability to work effectively with frequent interruptions, and to handle frequently changing and/or unscheduled tasks with accuracy.
  • Proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications best practices. Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel required.
  • Regular and reliable attendance required.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience required and master’s degree in business or African-American Studies or other relevant cultural studies preferred.

This is a full-time, exempt level position, eligible for full benefits, including health, dental and life insurance, retirement benefits, and 3+ weeks of vacation, plus sick time and holidays.

Hiring Range:  $95,000-100,000 per year

Alexandria, VA
Due Date: 
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Posted by Mary.Fichtner on February 23, 2021 - 2:26pm