Director/Senior Director, K-12 Education

Reports to: Senior Vice President, Education
Staff reporting to this position: K-12 Education team (4–5 direct reports)
Department: Education
Position classification: Exempt, full time
Minimum compensation: $92,000/$112,000
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: 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, an emphasis on racial equity through the application of a community-informed policymaking strategy cutting across all of these areas. In addition to representing the K-12 Education team among 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 role is one of three team leads within the Education department, which includes the Early Childhood, K-12 Education, and Higher Education 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 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 the organization to manage shared projects, including with respect to American Progress’ five crosscutting institutional priorities 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 levels.
  • 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 American Progress’ Government Affairs team and other advocacy colleagues to devise effective strategic routes to advance the outcomes the organization seeks regarding education policy priorities.
  • Produce fundraising documents and contribute to the fundraising process with the assistance of the organization’s Development and Executive departments.

Requirements and qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience. Advanced degree is a plus.
  • Seven to 10 years of relevant policy or research experience for the Director position and at least 10 years of relevant policy or research experience for the Senior Director position.
  • Strong analytical and quantitative skills.
  • Extensive and demonstrated knowledge of K-12 education policy and understanding of federal education programs, such as Title I.
  • Effective supervisory skills and experience in managing, mentoring, and leading staff.
  • Strong interpersonal and team-oriented skills, and an ability to work well within a cross-organizational, fast-paced environment.
  • Commitment to equity as part of written products and policy ideas.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Knowledge of federal and/or state policymaking processes.
  • Strong political instincts and experience working with coalitions.
  • Ability to conceive, research, write, and edit original products and other materials as needed.
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize.
  • Commitment to American Progress’ mission and goals.

American Progress provides a full and competitive benefits package. Candidates from diverse backgrounds, including candidates who have been affected by the justice system, are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is not represented by a union. The minimum salary for the Director position is $92,000, and the minimum salary for the Senior Director position is $112,000.

American Progress’ hybrid work policy is posted on our Jobs page. Please visit this page for updates. Any changes to this policy will also be communicated at the time of hire.

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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