Senior Director, K-12 Education Policy

Reports to: Senior Vice President, Education
Staff reporting to this position: Select policy staff
Department: Education
Position classification: Exempt, full time; Nonunion - Level 8
Minimum compensation: $125,000


American Progress has an immediate opening for a Senior Director of K-12 Education Policy. The Senior Director will be responsible for developing and communicating new policy ideas, managing policy team 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 the civil rights of students; and establishing a cradle-to-career continuum that ensures access to economic opportunity. Most crucially, cutting across all of these areas is an emphasis on racial equity through the application of a community-informed policymaking strategy. In addition to representing the K-12 Education Policy team with policymakers, media, and the public, the 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 position is one of three team leads within the newly organized Education department, which includes the Early Childhood, K-12 Education, and Higher Education Policy teams. 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 Senior Director of K-12 Education Policy 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:

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


  • Develop and execute strategic priorities on K-12 education policy for American Progress.
  • Supervise staff and coordinate with other policy teams to manage shared projects, including with respect to American Progress’ crosscutting institutional priorities in health, economy, racial equity and justice, climate, and democracy.
  • Work with a diverse set of American Progress teams and external partners and organizations to develop and implement legislative and political strategies at the federal and state levels.
  • Identify appropriate research, analysis, political strategies, and communications to be conducted and advanced by the K-12 Education Policy team or through partnerships.
  • Conceive, research, write, and edit original products and other materials as needed.
  • Track federal and state policy and political developments and direct American Progress’ strategic response to those developments as appropriate.
  • Contribute to and coordinate with other American Progress programs and initiatives as appropriate, including identifying crosscutting issues and projects.
  • Produce fundraising documents and manage the fundraising process with the assistance of the organization’s Development and Executive teams.

Requirements and qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • 7 to 10 years of experience in policy development, with experience managing full-time professional staff.
  • Extensive and demonstrated knowledge of K-12 education issues.
  • Effective supervisory skills and ability to manage, mentor, and lead staff.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work well with the K-12 Education Policy team, the Education department, and throughout American Progress 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 clear and accessible written and oral communication.
  • Ability to conceptualize and execute a range of written products, including reports, briefs, and op-eds.
  • 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. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is not represented by a union and has a minimum salary of $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