Director, Research and Policy

San Francisco Bay Area
Peninsula Team – Research and Policy
Full-time, Permanent
Are you an experienced education researcher and policy leader?  Are you eager to lead the design, research, and publication of independent reports that empower parents to advocate for great public schools in their communities, particularly for low-income students and students of color? Make an impact on California’s public schools as Innovate Public Schools’ Director, Research and Policy.

About Innovate Public Schools
Innovate Public Schools is a nonprofit organization focused on improving public schools in the Bay Area and Los Angeles to make sure that all students - especially low-income students and students of color - have access to schools that will prepare them for success in college, careers, and life. 

We publish easy-to-understand data and research to inform the public about which schools are excelling and which ones are struggling, as well as about the policy and school-based solutions that work.  We work with educators from both school districts and charter schools to start excellent new public schools and redesign chronically low-performing schools. And we support and empower parents in high-need communities so they can effectively advocate for better schools and sustain community efforts over the long term.

Job Summary 
Innovate’s research, policy, and strategic communications team works to reveal how far we are from what’s possible, advance a vision of how to reach our goal - world-class public schools for ALL kids - and build a movement of families, educators, and business and elected leaders who together will make this vision a reality. Our publications, online content, and data tools build urgency and the political will for change and focus advocates on solutions that work.

The Director, Research and Policy, will oversee regional Research and Policy leads across our three Bay Area regions (San Francisco, San Jose and the Peninsula) and our Los Angeles region. This role will be responsible for setting a collective, cross-regional research and policy agenda for the organization.   

The focus of content developed will be to empower parents and other education stakeholders with easy-to-understand data and information on school performance, practice and policy that highlight schools in our target regions where low-income children and children of color are achieving at a high level, as well as identifying those with poor results for underserved students. Innovate’s publications also make clear the high-leverage reforms, grounded in research, that are proven to drive student achievement and help educators and parents align around the practices and policies that drive the success of high-performing schools. 

The Director, Research and Policy, must have a passion to conduct sound research and analyze data, write compelling reports, and manage a team toward seeking to awaken the region to both the opportunity to create world-class public schools for all children and the ways in which local schools are falling short. They must be knowledgeable about local, district, state and federal education policies that impact access to high-quality schools for all children.  

The Director, Research and Policy, may be based out of one of Innovate’s offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, will be a member of Innovate’s Leadership Team, and will provide support to teams based in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. 


    • Lead the Research and Policy Team working across our distinct regions (San Francisco, San Jose, the mid-Peninsula, and Los Angeles) and across competency levels (senior manager, manager, and support staff). Set and guide a clear vision for Innovate’s education research, data and policy work across regions, and propose future research priorities that align with Innovate’s mission and further the goals of our parent-led campaigns in each of our target communities.

    • Serve as a public and media spokesperson for Innovate to advance a clear vision that our K-12 system can prepare all students for success in college.

    • Oversee the strategic release and dissemination of three annual research reports / publications and several other shorter publications that support Innovate’s organizing and schools team’s work. Other content includes short, easy-to-understand data visualization products for parents; and blogs about education, research and data, among other data and research work that supports Innovate’s work. 

    • Supervise the analysis and reporting of public school student achievement data and oversee the continuing development of strong data infrastructure, management systems, and policies to support the growth of the organization

    • Lead the organization’s effort to build the internal knowledge about key policy issues in the field, including leading on emerging research and policy endeavors to the whole child approach in education.

    • Lead the research and policy work specifically for the mid-Peninsula region.

    • Support all regional research and policy team leads in developing policy agendas, research products, and organizing support to move all regions toward the organizational mission of education equity and high-quality schools in low-income neighborhoods.

    • Organize and lead meetings, presentations, and trainings related to Innovate’s data, research, and policy work.

    • Work collaboratively with and in support of  Innovate’s Regional VPs to inform and empower parents with useful, high-impact data and policy analyses relevant to the quality of public schools in the regions.

    • Support other organizational priorities, given the flexibility required of all staff in a relatively small and fast-paced organization.

    • Regular local travel required within the San Francisco Bay Area and to Los Angeles, and occasionally to Sacramento and outside of California.


    • Master’s degree required, with a focus on education, statistics, public policy, social sciences, or other related fields.

    • Experience successfully managing teams (management experience of at least 2+ years preferred) to conduct research and/or produce reports. 

    • Respect for and appreciation of difference and diversity, and experience in cross-cultural work environments.

    • Ability to demonstrate strong quantitative and qualitative data analysis skills, with expertise in statistical analyses used in education research and program evaluation. Expertise in a statistical software package is required (STATA preferred). Familiarity with Tableau and/or ArcGIS is a plus.

    • 6+ years of experience in data analysis, policy, and research related to the public education field. Experience analyzing state- and district-level student achievement data is strongly preferred.

    • Strong working knowledge of federal, state, and district education policies relevant to the work of school improvement and educational justice, including public school assessment and accountability systems.

    • Strong and clear written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to make complicated topics understandable, relevant and actionable to a non-expert audience.

    • Experience with research and policy analysis within an advocacy organization is preferred. 

    • Ability to work in a start-up environment, requiring flexibility, self-motivation, self-directed problem-solving, collaborative work style, drive toward results, and enthusiasm.

    • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to create positive, trusting, professional relationships with diverse colleagues.

    • Bilingual in Spanish preferred, but not required.
Compensation depends on experience and is highly competitive. Innovate offers very generous benefits including health and dental insurance, 20 days paid time off per year (increasing to 25 after 2 years of employment), two floating holidays, 14 paid fixed holidays per year (including office closure between Dec 24th - New Year’s Day), 1 day per year paid volunteering time off, and 5% employer contribution to 401k.

Work Environment / Physical Demands
The work environment characteristics and physical demands described here are representative of those an employee encounters while successfully performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent in this position. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills.

How to Apply
Please submit your resume, a cover letter explaining your interest in the position and what you would bring to Innovate Public Schools, and a writing sample that highlights your analytical capacity.

Innovate Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer, and takes pride in maintaining a diverse environment. We do not discriminate in recruitment, hiring, training, promotion or any other employment practices for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.

Application deadline: open until filled.

Any offer of employment is contingent upon your unrestricted authorization to work in the United States and the ability to provide documentation establishing your identity and unrestricted authority to work within the time period specified by law.