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Area Director Competencies/Skills

This tool is designed to provide guidance to Early Childhood Iowa Area Boards seeking to contract with a person(s) to assist in fulfilling the board’s legislated duties and responsibilities.  In many cases, this is referred to as a local area coordinator or area director. 

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Area Director Competencies/Skills

Tool MM

This tool is designed to provide guidance to Early Childhood Iowa Area Boards seeking to contract with a person(s) to assist in fulfilling the board’s legislated duties and responsibilities.  In many cases, this is referred to as a local area coordinator or area director.  
Because this is not a position to be employed by the State of Iowa, this document contains only suggestions from the State Technical Assistance Team (STAT) based on experience gained from working with boards across the state.  A review of job descriptions developed by local boards, as well as various materials from Iowa Workforce Development, was utilized as part of the creation of this tool.  
Following is the format of a template local boards may use as they develop a job description for their area coordinator/area director.  




Technical Assistance:


Contact:  Shanell Wagler, Administrator

Early Childhood Iowa Office

Iowa Department of Management






















Early Childhood Iowa Area (Fill in Name)

ECI Area Director Competencies/Skills


Mission: (Enter local ECI board’s mission statement here) 

Example: Empower individuals, families and children birth to five years of age in their communities to achieve desired results to improve the quality of life in communities in Iowa.


Geographic Area Served: (List the counties and/or school districts served by your ECI area)


Reports To:

Example: Employer of record; Local Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) Area Board


Overall Function:

Example: The primary function of the ECI Area Director is to provide strong leadership, managerial and administrative skills to ensure quality functioning of the ECI Board and it’s partners according to Iowa Code, Administrative Rule and ECI policies and procedures. 


Competency Areas necessary to be successful in this position:  



Attributes or Traits


  • Purpose of Early Childhood Iowa
  • Responsibilities of Local Boards
  • Healthy Child Development
  • Best Practices to Achieve Results


  • “People Person”
  • Lifelong Learner
  • Flexible
  • Strategic Thinker
  • Ability to see “Big Picture”
  • Attention to Detail
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Communication
  • Facilitation
  • Networking
  • Advocacy
  • Basic Computer Skills
  • Business Management
  • Fiscal
  • Contracting & Monitoring
  • Data Informed Decision Making


Ability to use:

  • Knowledge and experience in basic accounting principles and generally accepted accounting rules.
  • Knowledge and basic understanding of Iowa code – current legislation related to Early Childhood Iowa.
  • Knowledge and ability to manage programs and services.
  • Knowledge of the education, health and human services agencies and their functions related to ECI. 
  • Ability to provide leadership to the Board to conduct community and strategic planning.
  • Ability to demonstrate strong marketing and public relations skills.
  • Demonstrated skill in effective collaborations including: communication, facilitation, networking and advocacy. 
  • Ability to use basic computer literacy skills; Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.


Outline of Major Responsibilities:

  • Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of basic accounting and managerial skills including fiscal management (or fiscal accountability and compliance)
    • Develops and monitors annual budget.
    • Assists with the fiscal accountability for services with local/area providers
    • Manages contract with local fiscal agent to ensure accurate and timely budget and expense reports.


  • Manages the essential functions of the local ECI Board as defined by law including:


Together with the local Board who has decision making authority, the Area Director shall:

  • Facilitates collaboration between local providers, citizens, numerous county-wide human service planning efforts and state/local agencies. 
  • Assists the board with the development, implementation and updating of community and strategic plan.
  • Facilitates board functioning per Iowa code (i.e. develop agendas, uses parliamentary procedures/Roberts Rules, orientation/training, etc.)
  • Develops and submits annual report per state requirements
  • Supports Board activities to reach and maintain a high level of excellence (relating to the Levels of Excellence)
  • In cooperation with the board, responsible for performance measures and accountability.
  • Develops and maintains local collaborations and working relationship with local community leaders both in the public and private sectors from various groups, organizations, and agencies that are in alignment of early childhood services. 


Applicant Requirements:

  • Strong business and accounting skills
  • Excellent PC application skills, including MS Office
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • A proven record of achieving tough, demanding goals
  • Highly developed influencing and collaboration-building skills
  • Well-developed leadership and communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task and manage multiple projects
  • Commitment to diversity and fairness
  • Demonstrate ability to work independently and meet deadlines
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude
  • Ability to manage varying work schedule depending on contract negotiations
  • Some travel may be required, i.e. state meetings



  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. Master’s degree exceptional, with coursework in accounting and business.
  • Three to five years of management experience desired.
  • Experience with community planning, community organization and working in a team planning process to bring a group to consensus.
  • Strong proficiency in Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel, and Power Point. 
  • Ability to speak and write clearly and concisely for a broad audience.
  • Ability to analyze, think critically, exercise sound judgment, and balance a variety of perspectives within a politically sensitive environment
  • Experience working with people with diverse visions and bringing them to common work.
  • Knowledge of early childhood system in Iowa

To apply, send portfolio to include:

Cover letter

Resume or salary history

Along with sample writings which may include the following:

  • Business correspondence/letter
  • Strategic plan or other planning document
  • Examples of collaborative work with community partners
  • Financial tracking document
  • Meeting agendas/minutes


Submit to (Electronic submission preferred):

Board Chairperson Name

Mailing Address

E-mail Address


Position Open ________________(list open date – close date)

5/14/10; Reformatted June 2018