Director/Senior Director, K-12 Education

Reports to: Senior Vice President, Education
Staff reporting to this position: K-12 Education staff (4–5 direct reports)
Department: Education
Position classification: Exempt, full time
Minimum compensation: $92,000/$125,000
Work site: Hybrid (on-site two days per week, Washington, D.C., office)


American Progress has an immediate opening for a Director or Senior Director of K-12 Education. This team lead position will be responsible for developing and communicating new policy ideas, managing staff, and coordinating projects across departments. The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of K-12 education policy with expertise in one or more of the team’s core areas, including equitable resource distribution across all schools; recruitment and retention of a well-trained and diverse educator workforce; innovations in the future of assessments and accountability for school quality; evidence-based strategies for protecting students’ civil rights; establishing a cradle-to-career continuum that ensures access to economic opportunity; and most crucially, cutting across all of these areas an emphasis on racial equity through the application of a community-informed policymaking strategy. In addition to representing the K-12 Education team with policymakers, media, and the public, a successful candidate will have a strong aptitude for managing people; extensive familiarity with legislative and regulatory processes; existing relationships with the K-12 policymaking community in Washington, D.C.; experience working with funders; and a collaborative vision for setting a research agenda and strategic direction.

This role is one of three team leads within the Education department, which includes Early Childhood, K-12 Education, and Higher Education. The work of the department aims to change America’s approach to learning by ensuring equitable access to resources, developing community-centered policies, and promoting the ability to participate fully in an inclusive economy built on a strong democracy.

The Director or Senior Director of K-12 Education will be driven by American Progress’ mission to improve the lives of all Americans through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action, with the aim of not only changing the conversation, but changing the country. This work will include connecting K-12 education policy efforts with the organization’s five crosscutting priorities:

  • Building an economy for all
  • Restoring social trust in democracy
  • Advancing racial equity and justice
  • Tackling climate change and environmental injustice
  • Strengthening health


  • Develop and execute strategic priorities for American Progress on K-12 education policy.
  • Provide day-to-day management of K-12 Education staff and coordinate across American Progress to manage shared projects, including with respect to the organization’s five crosscutting institutional priorities in health, economy, racial equity and justice, climate, and democracy and with input from other policy, communications, and advocacy experts.
  • Work with a diverse set of partners, organizations, and staff within American Progress to develop and implement legislative and political strategies at the federal and state level.
  • Engage formally and informally with media, external groups, and policymakers.
  • Determine appropriate papers, analytic work, political strategies, and communications research to be conducted by the team or through partnerships.
  • Conceive, research, write, and edit original products and other materials as needed.
  • Generate new analyses, messaging, and policy ideas to drive American Progress’ mission and goals.
  • Track federal and state policy and political developments, and direct American Progress’ strategic response to those developments as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with the Government Affairs team and other advocacy colleagues to devise effective strategic routes to advance the outcomes American Progress seeks regarding education policy priorities.
  • Produce fundraising documents and contribute to the fundraising process with the assistance of the organization’s Development and Executive teams.

Requirements and qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent skills-based experience
  • Seven to 10 years of experience in policy development with experience managing full-time professional staff for the Director position; at least 10 years of experience in policy development with experience managing full-time professional staff for the Senior Director position.
  • Extensive and demonstrated knowledge of K-12 education issues and understanding of federal education programs and policy, particularly the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • Effective supervisory skills and ability to manage, mentor, and lead staff.
  • Strong interpersonal and team-oriented skills, and an ability to work well within a cross-organizational, matrixed organization, including within the K-12 Education team, the Education department, and in a fast-paced environment.
  • Commitment to equity and transparency in management as well as written products and policy ideas.
  • Demonstrated ability to convey complex K-12 education concepts in a clear and accessible written and verbal manner.
  • Ability to conceptualize and execute a range of written products.
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize.
  • Knowledge of legislative and administrative policymaking processes.
  • Experience in seeking and managing funding.
  • Commitment to American Progress’ mission and goals.

American Progress provides a competitive compensation and benefits package. This position is not represented by a union. Candidates from diverse backgrounds, including candidates who have been affected by the justice system, are strongly encouraged to apply. The minimum salary for the Director position is $92,000, and the minimum salary for the Senior Director position is $125,000.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the levels of community spread and adjust plans as needed for in-office work. Any changes to our current hybrid work policy will be communicated at the time of hire. Updates will be posted on American Progress’ Jobs page.

Apply Now

This announcement will remain posted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.

Please note that only those individuals whose qualifications match the current needs of this position will be considered applicants and will receive responses from American Progress.

Thank you for your interest in American Progress.

Additional information

American Progress operates two separate nonprofit organizations to maximize the progressive agenda: the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “American Progress.” The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt research and educational institute. It undertakes research, public education and a limited amount of lobbying. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization dedicated to achieving progress through action. It works to transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid-response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders. The organizations share office space and employees.

American Progress is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is more than a commitment at American Progress—it is the foundation of what we do. American Progress recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, and all the other characteristics that make us unique.

For more information on the Center for American Progress, please go to For more information on the Center for American Progress Action Fund, please go to

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