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Director of Research and Learning

NewSchools Venture Fund
Application Deadline: 
May 31, 2017


NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit that supports and invests in promising and innovative entrepreneurs and teams of educators. We help them accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the students, educators and schools they serve. We are committed to helping students finish high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investments, management assistance, network building, and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine K-12 education. 


The Director of Research & Learning will lead a portfolio of research projects designed to better understand an expanded definition of student success and personalized learning. The projects will help NewSchools strengthen its progress and impact across its three investment areas. The Director will also partner with investment teams to share what we are learning quickly, in order to deepen the knowledge of current ventures, continually reflect on our investment strategy, and accelerate learning across the field.


The new Director will be responsible for proactively designing and managing research projects across NewSchools’ investment areas, and translating findings into easily digestible and actionable insights and guidance for our ventures, funders, and the broader external field. Specifically, s/he will be responsible for:

  • contracting and managing the very best (and typically multiple) researchers available to conduct the work;
  • working with the NewSchools Leadership Team and venture team members to translate interim and final findings, as well as relevant research from other organizations;
  • rigorously tracking outcomes across the different NewSchools portfolios, and
  • crafting and driving accessible, action-oriented communications to the field that highlight insights and accelerate learning.


Minimally, the successful candidate must demonstrate: commitment to reimagining learning for all students, especially those in underserved communities, a passion for innovation and excellence in Pk-12 public education, and broad knowledge of education reform history and trends. Beyond these essential characteristics, the new Director must have – and be able to balance – two equally important sets of qualifications; first: vision, imagination, intellectual curiosity, and a level of research expertise that will be required to credibly lead this work; second: the agility (and accompanying adaptive mindset) required to shift from project management and results, to translating and sharing, in order to foster deeper understanding and insights in the field. Therefore, ideal candidates for this position should possess the following experience:

  • multiple years of research leadership in the PK-12 sector using multiple research methods, qualitative and quantitative;
  • project management including both internal team projects as well as external vendors / contractors;
  • demonstrated ability to cultivate and manage productive, trusted relationships with nonprofit executive directors, data providers, and other key constituents;
  • a track record of compelling written communications and presentations, including published research, PowerPoint decks, memos, blogs, and social media, and
  • experience in an entrepreneurial, innovative environment.

The successful candidate will also possess the following skills:

  • a strong orientation towards strategy and comfort with developing guiding frameworks, organizing ideas, and translating ambiguity into clear direction;
  • natural analytical inclination – a  quick grasp of key takeaways from data sets and visuals, and strong intuition in designing effective analyses and graphical depictions that lead others to insight;
  • high degree of attention to detail; and emphasis on error-free output, and
  • consistent follow-through, with the ability to manage multiple priorities amid ambiguity.

Finally, candidates will possess these personal characteristics:

  • commitment to NewSchools’ core values;
  • passion for the mission of strengthening PK-12 education demonstrated through professional experience;
  • openness – and excitement about – multiple research methodologies, including qualitative methods such as ethnography;
  • comfort with complexity, and high tolerance for iterative work;
  • self-starter instincts requiring little management oversight;
  • ability to operate with an open mind, sense of urgency, and humility;
  • the capacity to build collaborative relationships internally and externally with a wide variety of stakeholders, built on trust, respect, clear communication and shared goals;
  • the charisma, work ethic, and personal integrity to inspire others to perform at a high level, and
  • the ability to think creatively and be resourceful.

REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS: The Director of Research & Learning will report to CEO, Stacey Childress.  


COMPENSATION: Competitive and commensurate with experience; relocation reimbursement is available.

TO APPLY: The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For optimal consideration, applications should be submitted electronically prior to May 31, 2017, and include a letter of interest as well as a resume. Nominations, applications, or inquiries about the position and/or the search process should be directed to the Bellwether Education Partners executive search team managing the search:  Monisha Lozier, Founder/Partner and Leslie Nair, Principal via 


NewSchools Venture Fund is an equal opportunity employer. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.