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VP, Systems Learning

Company: each For America, Inc.
Location: New Orleans
Posted on: September 13, 2020

Job Description:

TEAM: Systems Learning Lab

REPORTS TO: Senior Vice President, Co-Founder, Systems Learning Lab - Kira Orange Jones

LOCATION: Flexible


The Systems Learning Lab focuses on improving student outcomes by spreading systems change strategies -- and developing the leadership they require -- across Teach For America’s national network. The Lab’s co-founder, Kira Orange Jones, seeks a proven senior-level leader with deep experience fighting for educational equity at the systems level (in a state education agency, national policy and advocacy organization, regional collective impact effort or similar) to design and manage the development and delivery of all of the Lab’s learning experiences, including coaching current executives who have partnered with the Lab and scaling this work across the national TFA network over time. This is a rare opportunity to work with leading practitioners and thought leaders across the country with huge potential for impact both within Teach For America and the education sector more broadly.


There are more than 16 million children growing up in poverty in the U.S., and less than 10 percent of them will graduate from college. These statistics are not a reflection of our children’s potential; we know that children growing up in poverty can and do achieve at the highest levels. Rather, these statistics reflect the systemic lack of access and opportunity for children in low-income communities.

Teach For America’s (TFA) mission is to find, develop, and support a diverse network of leaders committed to expanding opportunity for children from classrooms, schools, and every sector and field that shapes the broader systems in which schools operate. We are seeking individuals who align with our mission, core values and commitment to Diversity Equity & Inclusiveness and are ready to join us in this global movement.

Qualifications: THE PERSON

The Vice President (VP), Systems Learning will partner with the Lab’s co-founder and lead a small team to design and manage the development and delivery of all of the Lab’s learning experiences, including coaching current executives who have partnered with the Lab and scaling this work across the national TFA network over time. Specifically, the VP, Systems Learning is accountable for:

Developing an ongoing learning curriculum for TFA’s leaders to deepen their thinking and practices related to systems change (50%) Partners with the co-founder and Lab’s participants to establish a scope and sequence for learning that draws on Teach For America’s theory of leadership, trends and insights from the field, and best practice in adult learning

Builds relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including subject matter experts, to contribute to and refine curriculum and offerings

Develops and facilitates periodic learning experiences for leaders across TFA’s regional teams and national network

Working closely with co-founder to provide strategic support to a subset of regions participating deeply in the Lab’s work, specifically helping them advance TFA’s goals through the local systems change “bets” they are pursuing (25%) Provides coaching, research and resources related to regions’ local strategies

Closely tracks lessons learned by direct coaching and coaching facilitated by other members of the team to identify patterns, build curriculum, identify thought leaders, and disseminate insights

Supports leaders to contextualize Teach For America’s 10-year goal and ensure local strategies are designed to support it

Managing the Lab’s approach to identifying, codifying and disseminating insights that emerge throughout the learning experiences the Lab designs and delivers (15%) Ensures coaching and learning experiences are evaluated for their effectiveness

Manages others to ensure reflection, knowledge capture and dissemination activities meet the needs of the organization

Partnering with the co-founder to recruit and engage a group of thought leaders and subject matter experts from across the country as advisors and technical coaches (10%) Builds relationships with leaders from the field to assess interest in supporting the Lab and its participating regions

Plays matchmaker to regions with specific strategic challenges looking to partner with experts across the country


The VP, Systems Learning is equal parts practitioner and educator. As a practitioner, you have first-hand experience in the complexities of region-level or state-level systems change and have deeply reflected upon and analyzed those experiences into a coherent view of how change happens. As an educator, you are passionate about designing learning experiences that challenge other adult leaders to expand their thinking and deepen their impact.

Specifically, the VP, Systems Learning will have: 10+ years of experience working at the local, regional, state or national level for educational equity at increasing levels of responsibility, at least 3 of which have been managing others

Deep knowledge of an extensive set of education policy issues, such as teacher quality, school governance, accountability, choice, and school improvement, gathered from designing, advocating for or evaluating such issues

Specific prior experience leading complex change initiatives with executive stakeholders (state or local legislators, state or local education agency chiefs and leaders) and/or community stakeholders (interest groups, grassroots organizations and others)

Expertise in best practices for adult learning and prior experience designing high-impact learning experiences

Prior experience coaching and supporting executives in their own leadership development is a plus

A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution


The Challenge

On average, low-income students in America are less than half as likely to be proficient in reading and math than their higher-income peers and the average gap in test scores is virtually unchanged since 2003. This disparity reflects a startling gap in access to high-quality public schools, which research shows is one of a few key determinants of upward mobility in America alongside other systemic factors including less residential segregation and income inequality.

Across the country, a number of high-poverty school systems are improving outcomes for students at scale. These include many communities where Teach For America has had a strong presence, including the District of Columbia, New Orleans, Chicago, and Newark, among others. From these exemplars, many isolated insights have emerged about which specific policy levers can improve student achievement. However, the field continues to lack a coherent understanding of the catalysts of system-wide progress that can be scaled to regions across the country. Specifically, the field lacks an understanding of the personal leadership capabilities of those driving change, as well as the environments and conditions around those leaders that enabled their impact.

Given its scale, Teach For America is in a unique position to identify and spread systems change strategies and develop greater strategic clarity across its many regions and network. For more than 20 years, Teach For America has had a firsthand window into what works - and what doesn’t - in expanding opportunity for children across more than 50 regions nationwide. Yet, many current regions struggle to accurately diagnose challenges in their own policy and practice landscapes and those that do often overlook systems change solutions that already exist elsewhere in the country, often within our own network.

The Opportunity

The Systems Learning Lab Impact Unit exists to remedy this challenge by developing leaders’ strategic clarity and facilitating reflection and learning across TFA’s many contexts, as well as by encouraging greater exchange of knowledge with leaders in the field more broadly. The mission of the Lab is to develop Teach For America’s leaders - and the field at large - to practice bold, rigorous, and courageous systems-level leadership in pursuit of transformational change and Teach For America’s 10-year goal: that by 2030, twice as many children in communities where we work will reach key educational milestones indicating they are on a path to economic mobility and a future filled with possibility.

We pursue this mission through three related strategies:

Leveraging the insights of a small cohort of regions deeply involved with the Lab to achieve greater understanding among Teach For America’s national network of the drivers of systems change - and the leadership development required to catalyze that change - through rigorous reflection and analysis.

Developing new tools and services that apply to diverse contexts and can build capacity among additional segments of TFA leaders across the country to organize their people, time and money around efforts known or likely to foment systems change.

Increasing Teach For America’s leaders’ exposure to and participation in the national conversation on systems change through convenings, thought leadership and technical assistance.


By joining staff , you join a network of individuals committed to pursuing equity for all students and developing themselves as professionals in the process. We as an organization value the longevity of our employees and offer a comprehensive and competitive benefits plan. The salary for this position is also competitive and depends on your prior work experience. Please be advised, you will have an opportunity to discuss salary in more detail after you begin the application process.


In all we do, we act on the following beliefs: Diversity is crucial for successful change efforts and is one of Teach For America’s greatest strengths.

The full potential of our diverse network will be reached only when we are an inclusive community.

The predictability of success or failure for our students or individuals in our organization should not correlate with any social, cultural or other identity-based factors.

Teach For America encourages individuals of all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds to apply for this position. We are committed to maximizing the diversity of our organization, as we want to engage all those who can contribute to this effort.

Teach For America is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, parental status, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member) or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

*This job description reflects Teach For America's assignment of essential functions and qualifications of the role. Nothing in this herein restricts management's right to assign, reassign or eliminate duties and responsibilities to this role at any time.


Interested in this position? Apply now! Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the link to the online application. If you still have questions regarding the role, feel free to contact our recruitment team at or visit .

Keywords: each For America, Inc., New Orleans , VP, Systems Learning, Other , New Orleans, Louisiana

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