Managing Director of Learning & Research

Location: Flexible (continental U.S.)

Type of Vacancy: Full-Time

Travel required: 20-30%, depending on time of year

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.

Responsibilities

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

Core Competencies

Required Skills

  • 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

Ideal Attributes

  • 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

Working Conditions

  • 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

To Apply

  • Please submit your resume and a cover letter in PDF format to jobs@teachinglab.org with the subject line: “MD-LR Candidate: [First Name Last Name]” (e.g., “MD-LR Candidate: Adam Smith”).

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