SDARL is seeking applicants for a Program Director to guide South Dakota’s premier leadership development experience.   Beginning in October of 2020, the position requires a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree in education, leadership, agriculture or a related field, demonstrated experience in training, and experience in news writing and social media.

Please submit a cover letter and resume outlining your skills to SDARL CEO Don Norton at Application screening will begin August 31. A complete job description is posted below.

Job Summary

The Program Director (PD) of the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (SDARL) program is responsible for executing the flagship 18-month leadership program, consisting of in-state, national and international seminars, and communicating the success of the program and its graduates.

In addition, the PD provides assistance in offering leadership educational programming for alumni and allied organizations, coordination of educational resources such as speakers, venues, travel, and logistics, and development of relationships critical to the successful operation of SDARL.  As directed by the CEO and Board Directors, the Program Director is responsible for carrying out the mission of the SDARL Foundation to continue to deliver innovative and challenging transformational leadership content for the purpose of training leaders to improve the overall condition of agriculture within rural communities in the state of South Dakota. The Program Director reports to the CEO, and works with the Leadership Committee and Foundation Board of Directors.

Specific Responsibilities

The Program Director’s functional responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Educational Product Development, Delivery, and Promotion

  • Coordinate and facilitate the SDARL 18-month leadership class program including planning, organizing, leading, coaching, and securing guest speakers and trainers, in concert with the CEO and board Leadership Committee;
  • Refine the curriculum for each leadership program seminar with the goal of finalizing agenda 60 days in advance of the start date;
  • Ensure the successful execution of each leadership seminar, including securing travel arrangements;
  • Manage and advance the selection process for candidates of the flagship leadership program, including class recruitment, interviews, class selection process, and all follow-up to secure class placement.
  • Maintain a Learning Management System or other technologies that allow for storage and retrieval of class material and post-seminar evaluation for leadership program participants;
  • Develop learning outcomes and measurement of outcomes for the 18-month leadership program, including learning evaluation after each seminar;
  • In conjunction with SDARL committees, assist graduates with the development and execution of educational programming;
  • Working with allied organizations, such as FFA, commodity boards, and governmental entities, develop educational programs and activities through SDARL that correspond with identified needs;
  • Write, edit, and publish newsletters, news releases, social media posts, and website content;
  • Actively engage with educational cohorts, such as International Association of Programs in Agricultural Leadership, South Dakota State University, and others to maintain leading-edge leadership development programming; and
  • Assist the CEO in the preparation and monitoring of the curriculum’s program budget.

Fundraising Assistance

  • Write grants to support programming areas for the 18-month leadership program and other educational programming;
  • Assist the CEO with identifying funding contacts for the SDARL organization, and facilitate successful interaction that results in positive fundraising results;
  • Assist the CEO in writing grants for specific funding activities, such as educational programming for alumni and allied organizations.

Management and Administration

  • Prepare an annual budget of educational expenses for the 18-month leadership class for the SDARL fiscal year of July 1-June 30 for approval by the Board of Directors;
  • Monitor performance of budget against plan and implement corrective actions necessary to achieve plans;
  • Comply with accepted business financial practices, coordinate with bookkeeping and other outside vendors, and assist in the successful completion of an annual audit;
  • Document contacts, touch-points, alumni information, and other data for fundraising possibilities and record keeping in the Engage system;
  • Attend Board of Director meetings;
  • Report monthly to the CEO on activities related to the successful achievement of educational programming, professional development, fundraising assistance, and other activities completed on behalf of SDARL.



  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, Leadership, Agriculture, Economic Development or similar field;
  • Demonstrated experience in curriculum development, training, and leadership coaching;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Demonstrated experience in Website development, corporate social media, and news writing; and
  • Knowledge of agriculture and rural development issues.


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