Who We Are
Managing Director of Learning & Research
Location: Flexible (continental U.S.)
Type of Vacancy: Full-Time
Travel required: 20-30%, depending on time of year
Teaching Lab is an equal opportunity employer, committed to reflecting the diversity of the students we serve. We pursue equity as a both a means and an end and enthusiastically welcome candidates of diverse backgrounds.
Teaching Lab is a non-profit organization devoted to creating educational equity through instructional improvement. We aim to change the fundamental paradigm for professional learning in the US to dramatically improve outcomes for low-income and minority students. Our model uses teacher-led cycles of inquiry focused on study of the curriculum. We have supported teachers and students in Washington, DC, Louisiana, West Virginia, and New York.
Head, Heart and Habits - Improving Equity Through Stronger Professional Learning
The core of Teaching Lab’s work is a belief that stronger professional learning for teachers can radically improve student opportunities and equity. Research suggests that professional learning must incorporate three critical components to be impactful for teachers and students:
Core academic content that is aligned to high-quality curriculum and research-based practices. Teaching Lab refers to this as the “head” of professional learning. Without core content based in a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum, teachers adopt new techniques that may be ineffective or even counterproductive, ultimately failing to grow their pedagogical content knowledge over time.
Teacher-led development and activities that build both social capital and buy-in from teachers Teaching Lab calls this the “heart” of professional learning. Without a focus on developing a teacher-led community, there is low buy-in or even resentment among teachers; they feel that professional learning is not relevant to their needs and resist or passively comply with the adoption of new content, curriculum, or techniques.
Professional learning that is structured around repeated cycles of inquiry, allowing teachers to apply what they learn and evaluate evidence of student learning through student work analysis Teaching Lab calls this the “habits” of professional learning. Without cycles of inquiry, new ideas are not incorporated into regular practice and those that are adopted are not verified using evidence of student learning.
Teaching Lab provides professional learning services while building the capacity of district personal, school leaders and teachers to adopt the mindsets, systems and structures that are characterized by the head, heart and habits approach. Our professional development service is composed of a “sequence” of professional learning days that integrates curriculum implementation, professional learning, and teacher leadership, with a gradual release of responsibility over time. The goal is to create scaled, self-sufficient communities replicating the Teaching Lab Model that serve the needs of educators and students.
 Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K.L. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement. Issues & Answers, (33), 1-55.
 Johnson SM, Kraft MA, Papay JP. How context matters in high-need schools: The effects of teachers’ working conditions on their professional satisfaction and their students’ achievement. Teachers College Record [Internet]. 2012;114 (10): 1-39.
 Ben Jensen, Julie Sonnemann, Katie Roberts-Hull and Amélie Hunter, “Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems” (Washington, DC: National Center on Education and the Economy, 2016).
Where We Need Help
Summary of Position
The Managing Director of Learning and Research (MD-LR) will oversee all of Teaching Lab’s internal data and learning strategy as well as be the organization’s point person for external research and learning. The MD-LR will also develop Teaching Lab into a learning organization committed to an iterative and adaptive approach to continuous improvement. As Teaching Lab has expanded, our sitework has grown significantly, now covering more than 16 different locations across the United States, including two state-level contracts and several school districts, charter management organizations, and other networks of schools. While many of our team members are focused on providing key services and ensuring success in those sites, we do not yet have a comprehensive approach to learning from that sitework and using insights to iterate on our professional learning model.
The MD-LR will design and implement a comprehensive learning strategy, including design and creation of a data system, to drive towards learning in the following areas:
1. Performance management. Teaching Lab’s team members (both full-time and part-time) are at the core of the organization’s work, and management of staff performance is an essential driver of quality of services. Teaching Lab has facilitators in the field, content developers, and staff responsible for strategy and operations. A large part of the work of learning and continuous improvement will be around creating systems to understand key drivers of team member and professional learning facilitator performance and identifying how to best support and develop people across the organization.
2. Continuous programmatic improvement. Research literature highlights critical programmatic components for high-quality professional learning; however, the research base does not support professional learning organizations to come to clear conclusions about two major components of their programs: first, identification of the best mix of programmatic components that will lead towards the greatest impact (e.g., Which professional learning system components should be standardized and which should differ by local context?) and second, an understanding of the critical enabling conditions for service models to achieve impact (e.g., What agreements should be in place with district leaders? What kinds of teacher-leadership structures might enable a new professional learning model to sustain itself? What is the optimal length of engagement with a school district?). Both questions will be critical learning areas as Teaching Lab begins investigating its own practice.
3. Evidence of impact. Teaching Lab will use its own sitework to identify leading indicators of impact and tools to measure them (e.g., teacher buy-in metrics through surveys), use those leading indicators and tools to adjust programmatic components in short cycles of learning (e.g., increase or decrease the number of touchpoints for teachers or support days for school leaders), and understand how those leading indicators are linked to lagging indicators of impact on teacher practice and student achievement.
In addition to the above internal research and learning agenda, the MD-LR will also be responsible for staying abreast of key research in the field, attending conferences, conducting site visits, and working with peer organizations to ensure a comprehensive understanding of professional learning trends and evidence.
At the core of Teaching Lab’s theory of action is a desire to influence other professional learning organizations. To that end, the above research agenda—and the MD-LR—will drive towards an understanding of two essential questions for Teaching Lab and all professional learning organizations:
1. Scale: How do programs maintain programmatic quality while scaling to more state, district, and school partners? How do programs continuously learn and improve while scaling to different contexts (i.e., what should be standardized; what should be context-dependent)?
2. Sustainability: How do professional learning organizations ensure sustainability of their program and their impact? What enabling conditions must be in place in states and districts to ensure sustainability of teacher professional learning post-engagement?
The MD-LR will be a key member of the organization’s program team, tasked with implementing and iterating on the organization’s core program.
Data and Learning Strategic Planning
Set goals, strategy, priorities and manage Teaching Lab’s data and learning strategy
Design and identify critical cycles of inquiry across programmatic (site delivery and content development) workstreams
Create content/priorities for the organization based on learnings across Teaching Lab’s site work and content development
Manage and design team’s workflow relating to measures, impact/learning, and drive enhancements to Teaching Lab’s work across all programmatic areas
Build and strengthen an authentic data culture related to asking data-oriented questions, collecting and inputting data, and using data for decision making on a regular cycle
Working with the leadership team, make recommended improvements on a quarterly cycle
Partner with peer organizations to align on goals, strategies, and use cases for greater field impact
Internal Measurement and Research/Evaluation
Manage internal data management system (including a CRM) and research/evaluation projects alongside organizational cycles of inquiry
Work with experts to design internal data architecture for best-in-class data repository (organize, clean and maintain data sources)
Conduct meaningful data analysis to create clear visualizations and work with program teams to draw meaningful connections to enhance overall work of Teaching Lab
Partners and External Representation
Identify high leverage partnerships and individuals for accomplishing collective field goals (related to Teaching Lab’s learning and influence strategy)
Develop case studies of effective use of data, cycles of inquiry and data infrastructure to improve teacher professional learning
Provide technical assistance to other professional learning partners (over time)
Represent Teaching Lab externally at meetings, conferences, presentations on data and learning
Who You Are
An excellent academic record, ideally with a Master’s degree or above in a quantitative discipline or sciences, such as data science, statistics, mathematics, computer science or economics
Experience managing a team and developing strategic priorities across an organization
Deep technical and data skills in order to access, visualize, and analyze data
Demonstrated experience working with Tableau, R, Stata and other statistics programs
Experience in managing improvement science or implementation science projects
Commitment to Teaching Lab’s mission and educational equity
Demonstrated success mobilizing partners and communicating importance of data for organizational and social sector improvement
Proven ability to define program objectives, establish metrics, monitor and evaluate progress, and manage projects independently through a complete life cycle
Flexible, strategic thinking, and analytical skills and creative problem-solving ability
Proactive, self-starter with ability to generate ideas and execute to successful completion
Excellent organizational skills and judgment; ability to prioritize work to meet deadlines
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills for both internal team collaboration and external movement-building
This position requires work-related travel (20-30%) based on organizational needs, capacity, and season.
We are committed to building a sustainable organization. We love our work and want to be able to do it for years to come. This means that despite the pace and intensity of a startup organization, we commit to maintaining a balance between work and other parts of our lives.
To Learn More
Read about our work in the Aspen Institute report, Practice What You Teach (pg. 9-11) and visit www.teachinglab.org
Please submit your resume and a cover letter in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “MD-LR Candidate: [First Name Last Name]” (e.g., “MD-LR Candidate: Adam Smith”).