Senior Vice President, Research, Learning, and Innovation (Flexible; NYC, Chicago, DC or Bay Area preferred)

SPECIAL APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: Please e-mail a tailored cover letter and resume or nominations in confidence to [email protected] This search is being managed exclusively by Sandler Search. Applications submitted via Teach For America’s career page will not be reviewed.


Senior Vice President, Research, Learning, and Innovation


Teach For America


New York City, Washington, DC or Bay Area or Chicago preferred; open to other locations


The Senior Vice President, Research, Learning, and Innovation will report to the Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Program Officer and serve as a member of TFA’s Executive Leadership Team. He/she also oversees a staff of approximately 35 with five direct reports.


There are more than 16 million children growing up in poverty in the U.S. 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. Instead, these statistics reflect the systemic lack of equity for children in low-income communities.

Teach For America’s (TFA) mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence. TFA recruits, develops and mobilizes outstanding leaders who understand the root causes of educational inequity and commit to effecting change from every sector and field that shapes it.

Founded by Wendy Kopp in 1989, TFA has since expanded into 36 states and 53 regions, reaching more than 10 million students. Over the last 25 years, the organization has grown to a powerful network of over 50,000 current corps members and alumni of leaders across all sectors, including teachers, school and school system leaders, elected officials, policy and advocacy organizers, and social entrepreneurs, who are part of a growing network working to connect, expand, and strengthen the movement to give all children access to a great education.


The Senior Vice President, Research, Learning, and Innovation oversees the Org-Wide Learning and Strategy (OWLS) team at TFA. OWLS is the national team charged with helping TFA grow into a world class learning organization by building a cohesive vision for a thriving, self-sufficient learning model for TFA and then developing and implementing the strategy to execute. This means evolving the data, analysis, and reporting to optimize learning and insights across the organization, creating the infrastructure and processes for all staff to actively contribute to shared learning and innovations, building the infrastructure to share and access knowledge, and directly conducting research around the most pressing questions as an organization.

Specifically, the OWLS team includes the following key components:

  • Develop and drive towards a robust org-wide learning model that ensures TFA is a true continuous improvement organization and at peak organizational effectiveness;
  • Determine and effectively measure key outcomes, shaping the technical systems to capture necessary information; conduct reporting and analytics to share outcomes and influence strategy decisions;
  • Empower all TFA staff members to bring forward innovations and knowledge as well as leverage the current data and learnings to accelerate progress toward our topline organizational goals;
  • Build a world-class center of expertise in the art and science of how adults learn, adapt, and change in ways that align with TFA’s mission and vision;
  • Conduct “deep-dive” analyses of 8-10 regions a year and analyze the impact of TFA, the community, and external landscape, to glean key findings that can lead to new strategy and innovations;
  • Catalyze organizational learning and development to accelerate progress towards TFA’s strategic direction and ensure regional and national teams are better equipped to shape and align strategy and resources; and
  • Build robust knowledge management systems that capture and quickly and effectively share all of this knowledge with the TFA network.

While most of the functions of this team existed previously, they are now under one umbrella to align the entire organization around an evolving org‐wide learning agenda. This shift is part of a larger reorganization at TFA aimed to move away from a centralized national learning model. Instead, the organization will leverage the scale and diversity of its network and focus on learning and innovation community-by-community across the nation. Regions will be empowered to lead, design and innovate through new pilot programs, region specific metrics, etc. and bring their learnings to the national level, essentially creating a self-sufficient learning model. TFA will thereby be more nimble and responsive to regional ideas and needs, ideally creating improved educational opportunities through more tailored solutions.


The Senior Vice President, Research, Learning, and Innovation drives TFA’s organizational learning vision and leads the OWLS team in supporting that vision. He/she is ultimately responsible for facilitating an accelerated pace of progress, innovation, and improvement across the organization, ensuring that TFA is becoming continuously more effective in its work at every level.

The successful candidate will spark and facilitate ongoing organizational discussion around learning and innovation as well as contribute to and help drive the ongoing culture change at TFA. He/she will be accountable for the following key responsibilities:

Leadership and Management

  • Drive and evolve the vision for the OWLS team and the structures and processes that enable the team to lead and support the entire organization;
  • Effectively manage all of the activities of the team with wisdom, creativity, purpose, and clarity to ensure the team delivers fully against its vision and charge;
  • Attract, retain, and develop a strong, talented, and diverse team; and
  • Develop an inclusive team culture which draws upon a diverse range of perspectives and inspires people to do their best work.

Internal and External Relations

  • Partner with internal stakeholders to set TFA’s learning agenda and serve as a strong advocate internally and externally as appropriate;
  • Represent OWLS and TFA as needed in key external forums (e.g., conferences, working groups, etc.) on topics related to organizational learning, research, data, and knowledge management.

Innovation, Data, and Research

  • Act as a thought partner to the OWLS team leads by helping to support the synthesis of insights from data and targeted research to drive top-line change;
  • Collaborate with senior regional team leaders to empower regions in setting the local vision, piloting new ideas, and bringing innovation up to the national level to continue the learning process; and
  • Ensure rapid and continual implementation and iteration to improve upon new concepts in learning.



The Senior Vice President, Research, Learning, and Innovation will be a distinctive thought leader and people leader who can manage complex teams and processes. He/she will have the ability to embrace ambiguity; recognize, define, disentangle, and solve highly complex systems‐level problems; and drive towards a clear, cohesive vision with the team. He/she will have a true comfort level with data analysis, research, and testing, but also the proven ability to execute swiftly on key findings.

The successful candidate will be people-centered, able to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences, build strong relationships, and operate at ease with influential leaders. He/she will demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusiveness across all types of communities and lines of difference. Most importantly, the new Senior Vice President will deeply believe education is an essential element in the effort to expand human and civil rights and that TFA is vital to continued progress.

Key Professional Experiences include:

  • Significant senior leadership and management experience with some training or experience in research, organizational learning, statistics, or a similar area; background in corporate, tech or other business areas preferred;
  • Demonstrated impact in research, analytics, and/or adult learning; deep understanding and enjoyment of data and creating data-driven solutions;
  • A strong and successful relationship builder and influencer who can move fluidly between a wide variety of stakeholders and situations;
  • A track record of implementing innovative programs or initiatives that demonstrated a rigorous rapid-response approach to execution across an organization or multiple divisions;
  • A proven manager of larger teams who can attract and retain top staff, create clarity in ambiguity, and develop, motivate, and unify the team;
  • A capacity to build and foster an inclusive, cohesive and vibrant culture as well as empower those within the team and across the organization; and
  • Successful track record of setting and achieving transparent targets, consistently delivering results, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Key Personal Attributes include:

  • Passionate about social justice and educational equity as well as a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness;
  • A constant learner, interested in understanding the multiple dimensions of education reform success and failure in communities across the country;
  • A problem solver who identifies patterns in various types of data and can identify new and different solutions to challenges;
  • Ambitious and strategic with the entrepreneurial spirit and business know-how to create, rigorously test, and implement new ideas;
  • Highly organized, goal-oriented, and responsive with the ability to manage and follow through on multiple projects; and
  • A servant leader who is intellectually curious and open yet action-minded.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.

TRAVEL / OTHER PREFERENCES: National travel for in-person meetings approximately two times per month; some weekend and evening work expected.

SPECIAL APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: Please e-mail a tailored cover letter and resume or nominations in confidence to [email protected] This search is being managed exclusively by Sandler Search. Applications submitted via Teach For America’s career page will not be reviewed.

Benefits and Salary

Salary for this position is competitive and depends on prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included. Learn more at

Commitment to Diversity and Equal Opportunity Employment Policy

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. Learn more about our diversity on staff:

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.

Back to top