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Senior Consultant, Academic and Program Strategy

Strategic Advising

About Bellwether Education Partners

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. We do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.

Bellwether envisions a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict opportunities for students, and the American education system affords all individuals the ability to determine their own path and lead a productive and fulfilling life.

Our work focuses on five service areas:

  1. Policy analysis and research
  2. Strategy and growth planning
  3. Organizational effectiveness and efficiency
  4. Implementation support
  5. Educational program evaluation

We believe that the only way to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education is to take a holistic approach by changing field-level policies and perceptions while strengthening and supporting individual organizations. Since many of the challenges organizations face are complex, they require multiple perspectives and areas of expertise.

Through our integrated offerings, we provide comprehensive, coherent, and lasting solutions to education’s most long-standing and complicated problems.

Organizational Culture

Bellwether takes our mission of serving educators, students, organizations, and communities seriously. But we try not to take ourselves as individuals quite so seriously. We do challenging work, and we know how to have fun. We welcome different experiences and perspectives because we know that our team is stronger for having a variety of political, cultural, and educational beliefs represented. 

Bellwether strives to make the work rewarding and sustainable so we can find harmony between demanding jobs and full personal lives. We are proud that our team has poets, hockey players, food bloggers, activists, teachers, karate black belts, church leaders, cyclists, and much more. Our flexible work environment allows many of our team members to work where they like, and when they like (within reason, of course). This allows us to operate in ways that feel most productive to us and do more of what we love doing on our own time.

These qualities are clear in the core values that guide our work and reflect what is truly important to us as an organization:

  • Mission Mindset: We are dedicated to dramatically improving outcomes for low‐income students. Our nonprofit status allows us to focus on this mission, and it guides the people we hire and the clients and projects we support.
  • Tailored Excellence: We work with our clients to develop customized, innovative solutions. We direct our unwavering focus on quality toward successful outcomes for our clients.
  • Synergy: We believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that our teams make each other better.
  • Integrity: We exemplify the highest standards of individual and organizational ethics. We carefully balance client confidentiality with transparency to other clients and the public.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: We believe that to achieve our mission, we must be a diverse and inclusive organization broadly reflecting the various communities we serve.
  • Flexibility: We believe in the philosophy of “working smarter, not harder.” We trust our co-workers and teams to do excellent work in the manner they see fit.
  • No Drama: We have no tolerance for drama or the politics of education affecting our work. We respectfully and proactively deal with frustrations, disagreements, and unexpected hurdles.

Further, we value many forms of diversity and believe race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic issues play an especially acute role in the education sector and consequently our work. By actively seeking and hiring talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and maintaining an environment where divergent ideas and perspectives are freely expressed, we increase our collective ability to deliver thoughtful, relevant solutions and analyses for our clients and the education sector.

About the Position

This particular opportunity is in the Strategic Advising practice within Bellwether.  More specifically, this senior consultant would work directly on projects related to Academic and Program Strategy (APS), a body of focused work within the larger Strategic Advising practice, and led by Academic Strategy Senior Advisers Bill Durbin and Tresha Ward. Our APS team partners with schools and networks to deepen and expand programmatic impact by developing and implementing data-driven, actionable plans that focus teams on the priorities most critical to student success. We do this by helping school, network, and district leaders do three things:

  1. Start Strong: Support new schools to build the foundation for strong programmatic results
  2. Improve Results: Support existing schools to close the gap between current student performance and actual potential
  3. Grow With Quality: Support high-performing schools to strengthen and codify programmatic systems and structures for growth

The Senior Consultant, Academic and Program Strategy (SCAPS) will be a key member of the APS team working with clients in these three ways. The SCAPS will bring to the team deep instructional leadership and will leverage that experience to develop insights and recommendations that support strategic planning within a school and school networks. A typical project will include the following activities: developing work plans, conducting school quality assessments to identify strengths and gaps, forming hypotheses on how to address gaps, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, synthesizing conclusions into recommendations, planning and facilitating working sessions, and supporting the development of strong client relationships. Internally, the SCAPS will work closely with Bellwether partners, senior associate partners, and senior advisers, and may be assigned the role of overseeing and managing the output of more junior staff members (consultants, fellows) and sub-contractors of Bellwether.

In that context, the Senior Consultant’s primary responsibilities and duties will be:

Project Support and Delivery (about 90% of time)

  • Take on team and client responsibilities, as described above;
  • Partner with clients and senior Bellwether team members to develop high-impact academic and program strategies, and implementation plans in response to real-world, time-sensitive challenges brought forward by the client;
  • Develop work plans and execute against these plans with independence and a high degree of ownership;
  • Perform quantitative and qualitative analysis on core strategic issues for clients; synthesize insights and eventually oversee and manage more junior staff members who perform research and analytical functions;
  • Identify key data sources, and gather data through interviews and secondary research;
  • Manage client meetings with independence, including strong meeting preparation and follow-up;
  • Serve as a thought partner, leveraging internal and external networks, to engage in team problem solving, share evolving business trends and best practices, and contribute to knowledge creation initiatives; and
  • Write and deliver high-impact presentations, strategic plans, and research briefs.

Content and Tool Development (about 10% of time)

  • Contribute to Bellwether’s knowledge capture and dissemination;
  • Take on internal roles to build out Bellwether’s key capabilities; and
  • Generate creative, action-oriented insights and recommendations to strengthen Bellwether’s APS offering.      

Qualifications

Bellwether is a strong fit for professionals who possess strong personal drive and motivation; demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values, and who are resourceful, responsible, tenacious, independent, and self-confident. 

The ideal candidate for this position will have a track record of successful classroom teaching experience and demonstrated results as a school leader, school-based leadership team member with people management responsibilities, and/or instructional leader on a network team with people management responsibilities (in a charter school/charter management organization, or district). The ideal candidate will bring a sophisticated understanding of relevant issues in education reform and possess an entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, the successful candidate will have:

  • At least seven years’ professional experience in a school or network/district-based setting, with at least two years of teaching experience and three years of school-based leadership and/or network/district-based experience;
  • A clear vision of rigorous, high-impact instruction and assessment and related academic program and leadership practices necessary to drive meaningful school improvement and/or network/district growth;
  • Experience managing program implementation through teachers and school-based leaders;
  • Experience planning and facilitating professional learning sessions to school and/or school network-based leaders;
  • Experience leveraging project management tools and processes, research, and analytical problem-solving skills to drive to extraordinary outcomes; 
  • A clear passion and commitment to improving schools serving underserved students;
  • A breadth and depth of familiarity with the challenges facing underserved students and education reform efforts in the U.S.;
  • A well-rounded interpersonal skill set with the capacity to build strong client relationships, work effectively in a team environment, and facilitate joint problem solving with clients and team;
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written;
  • A highly self-motivated work style and willingness to proactively take on leadership roles within project teams and the organization;
  • A learning mindset and the ability to seek out and synthesize new information about innovative school models and instructional practices;
  • Maturity, flexibility, and comfort working in a small organization;
  • Ability and experience in thoughtfully giving and receiving feedback;
  • A strong academic record; and
  • Ability to travel up to 30-40% of the year.      

Compensation

Bellwether Education Partners provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package including a performance-based bonus based on individual and firm success, full health care coverage, and access to 401(k) accounts with a matching contribution policy. 

Location

Our work is national in scope, so our flexible working style allows our professionals to work where they have built their lives, thereby enabling Bellwether to hire the best person for each role, regardless of geography.

To Apply

Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to:

Lynne Graziano, Recruitment Coordinator

careers@bellwethereducation.org

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Applications should consist of a letter of interest and a current résumé and should be submitted electronically.

Bellwether Education Partners is committed to providing equal opportunities. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are not discriminated against on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, color, disability, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Further, as described above, Bellwether is committed to building a diverse team and strongly encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply.