This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small piece of code that gives your computer a unique identity, but it does not contain any information that allows us to identify you personally. For more information on how TESOL International Association uses cookies, please read our privacy policy. Most browsers automatically accept cookies, but if you prefer, you can opt out by changing your browser settings.

Support Header Image

Board of Directors Competencies and Responsibilities

The Nominating Committee is accepting applications from TESOL members who wish to run for a position on the Board of Directors. This year, the Nominating Committee will fill three (3) vacancies.

The deadline for applications (EOI forms) is midnight, U.S. Eastern time, 21 May 2018. Please note that if you are elected, you will be asked to step down from any professional council or other formal roles within TESOL International Association.


To run for the TESOL Board of Directors, you must be
  • an active member of TESOL for the past five (5) years by 1 June of the year for which your name will appear on the ballot
  • not a director who has served on the board within the previous six (6) years
  • not a former president of TESOL
  • not a full- or part-time employee of TESOL International Association within the past three (3) years
  • not a member of the Nominating Committee at the time of the election

Board of Directors Responsibilities

Directors serve on the TESOL Board of Directors. As such, they have three core responsibilities:
  • Set the direction for the association: perform strategic thinking and planning, promote a positive public image, set mission and vision, establish organizational values, approve operational and annual plans
  • Ensure wise use of association resources: hire capable executive leadership, provide fiduciary responsibility
  • Provide oversight of the association: oversee financial management, minimize exposure to risk, measure progress on strategic plan, monitor programs and services, provide legal and moral oversight, evaluate the CEO, and perform self-evaluation
Additional responsibilities include coordinating and leading various board work groups and task forces, representing the association at various affiliate and professional events, advocating for TESOL members in their professional contexts, and responding to changes in the field.

What Competencies Are Needed to Perform This Role Well?


  • Be familiar with the association’s mission, vision, values, and goals (strategic plan)
  • Understand the role and function of the sssociation in advancing the field of English language teaching (ELT)
  • Understand the the Board of Directors's role in proper stewardship of the association
  • Understand the association’s governance structure and policies
  • Understand the association's programs and services
  • Understand the needs of the association's members and stakeholders
  • Understand the distinct roles and responsibilities of TESOL staff and TESOL volunteers
  • Understand the ELT profession in different contexts
  • Recognize opportunities and anticipate opportunities and threats in the ELT field that may have direct implications for the association


Strategic Thinking

  • Ability to keep the big picture in mind and not allow self or others to be caught up in minutiae
  • Ability to think independently, grow in knowledge, and rely on data rather than opinions
  • Ability to be goal and future oriented
  • Ability to think critically, ask questions, and challenge unsubstantiated opinions
  • Ability to understand issues from different perspectives
  • Ability to understand and process large amounts of information (print, online, and oral) effectively and efficiently


  • Ability to articulate ideas, opinions, rationales, and comments in a clear, concise, and logical manner to address the needs of the audience
  • Ability to effectively communicate with a culturally and linguistically diverse team of other board members, leadership entities, TESOL members, and TESOL staff, orally and in writing
  • Ability to speak in front of small and large groups using both self-prepared and externally-prepared materials, and with a professional demeanor
  • Ability to achieve practical consensus in group discussions
  • Ability to advocate for the profession and its members

Decision Making

  • Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify issues as well as the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems
  • Ability to make informed decisions efficiently and take action when needed
  • Ability to be objective at all times about what is best for the whole of the Association, rather than what is best for a particular constituency


  • Ability to effectively collaborate with the TESOL executive director, board colleagues, and staff
  • Ability to work independently as required
  • Ability to interact with other board members in a group setting, both contributing to discussions, and valuing the contributions of all members

Analytical Skills

  • Ability to understand and analyze financial reports
  • Ability to review and analyze proposed budgets in light of association resources, strategic goals, and priorities
  • Ability to analyze reports from standing committees, task forces, and other entities and comment on drafts of publications and other documents as appropriate


  • A variety leadership experiences within the profession
  • Leadership experience within TESOL or other professional association(s)
  • Experience interacting with diverse ELT professionals

What Is Expected of the Candidate?

It is expected that you
  • have a commitment to the purpose, mission, and values of the association
  • have a strong interest in working on the advancement of the association
  • have cultural awareness, understanding, and appreciation of different cultural needs
  • act morally and ethically in accordance with the values of the association
  • avoid conflicts of interest
  • understand the need to base decisions on what is good for the association
  • accept accountability for group decisions so that the Board of Directors speaks with one voice
  • can dedicate 2–3 hours a week to your board work for a term of three (3) years
  • prepare for all meetings and conference calls in advance and actively participate in all of them
  • efficiently use technology to respond to online communications (emails, web meetings, conference calls)
  • maintain confidentiality
  • have institutional support for their service during the three-year term

How to Apply

You are required to submit your expression of interest (EOI) form online. The deadline for completed EOI forms is midnight, U.S. Eastern time, 21 May 2018.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Rita Buckner at or +1.703.518.2507 (Virginia, USA).

Application Materials

The application requires you to submit information about your leadership experience and your background and your competencies. The process will be easier if you prepare the following information in advance. (Please note that word limits will be strictly enforced.)

Statement of Purpose: Please submit a brief statement elaborating your reason for running for the Board of Directors (200 words).

Institutional Support: Do you have institutional support (time allowed to perform responsibilities) from your current employer? (Yes or No.)

Leadership Training: List all your leadership training (within or outside TESOL International Association) starting with the most recent one. Please include a brief description of each (type, focus, dates of service).

Leadership Experience within the Profession: List your past or current roles and responsibilities relevant to the position, starting with the most recent.

Leadership Experiences in TESOL International Association or Affiliate: Please list the entities in which you played a leadership role, your role, and dates of service, starting with the most recent.

Key Qualities and Strengths: Describe the qualities and strengths (knowledge and skills) that you would bring to the Board of Directors (250 words).

Areas of Growth: Please list the skills and competencies related to service on the Board of Directors that you feel you need to strengthen (150 words).

Competency Statement: Describe how you have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to serve on the Board of Directors (350 words).

Biographical Statement: Please submit a short professional biography (250 words).

Statement of Understanding: Describe your understanding of the Board of Directors' role (150 words).

References: Please list contact information for a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) TESOL members who can serve as your reference. Please make sure to notify your designated references in advance. (Note: Please do not use as references current Nominating Committee members, current past president or current TESOL staff members. Also, please do not use more than one current or past board member.)

Access the Expression of Interest Form

The deadline for completed EOI forms is midnight, US Eastern time, 21 May 2018.

When you have completed your form, you should receive an email acknowledging your application. If you do not receive the acknowledgment or your have any questions, please contact Rita Buckner (phone: +1 703.518.2507).