Our new Consultant will be invited to join the Engaged Students team, one of three operational “home teams” at Education First. The Engaged Students team’s work focuses on supporting and sustaining the creation of just, equitable, rigorous and engaging learning environments. The Engaged Students team leads on three of the firm’s seven Focus Areas: Coherent Instructional, Assessment and Accountability Systems; Innovative Systems and Schools; and Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD). The Consultant will manage project work to develop and promote policies and practices that support anti-racist whole child development and support policy and practice innovation that create more human-centered systems and increases access to rigorous, equitable learning environments and resourcing. We work closely in partnership with state and district leaders, nonprofit leaders and funders nationwide.
About Education First
Education First is a mission-driven education policy consultancy dedicated to ensuring that all students – and particularly students in poverty and students of color – are prepared for success in college, careers and life. We work with organizations that are shaping the future of P-16 education across the nation, including school networks and districts, state departments of education, policy and advocacy organizations, youth empowerment organizations, talent organizations and foundations.
We help these system leaders catalyze change through our services:
Conduct research and analysis on policies and provide contextual recommendations and strategic support to translate findings into concrete, sustainable action
Develop and implement visionary, coherent strategies and strategic plans by prioritizing inclusive voices, focusing on the right problems, and providing space to explore
Plan and facilitate meaningful convenings for organizations and individuals to learn, problem solve, collaborate, and advance their work
Design actionable and equitable solutions that meet client needs, achieve program goals, and implement initiatives with clarity and quality
Support grantmakers, funders, and foundations to develop thoughtful, high-impact investment strategies that align with their goals, interests, and resources
We are a team of more than 60 former teachers, district and state education leaders, policy advisors, and grant makers who live and work virtually in more than 20 states and DC. Because of our experience, we approach the challenges our clients face with humility, realistic solutions, and a commitment to follow-through. Our culture is built on genuine care for our clients and for each other. We celebrate original thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurialism, authenticity and fun.
Our Equity Commitment
We recognize that in order to pursue our own organizational mission at Education First, we must approach our work by studying gaps and inequities, asking tough questions about structural racism and more deliberately engaging diverse voices in problem-solving. We’ve been building our own skills to deliver solutions that center racial equity, with particular attention to equitable ways of thinking and working, and we are committed to helping our clients do the same in projects that have a goal of increasing equity at their core. Within Education First, we have committed to building a race equity culture – creating the conditions to adopt antiracist mindsets and actions.
Black lives matter. We are collectively responsible to amplify and support Black students, families and leaders.
People are experts in their own experience. We cannot effectively support our clients to problem solve and innovate without centering the people they aim to serve.
Racism and inequity were designed, and can be redesigned. People make up the systems, policies and processes that govern our experience, and we must support our clients to explore their role in reimagining what could be possible.
For greater detail about our Equity Commitment, please visit our website.
Consultants direct the overall work of client engagements, managing project teams and client relationships and ensuring on-time, high-quality deliverables. The primary responsibilities of the Consultant are:
Develop and execute on project work plans according to client needs and budget constraints
Support project teams in creating creating and monitoring budgets, developing and managing work plans, and coordinating knowledge management across streams of work
Adapt project plans to reflect changes in project requirements while adhering to the budget and meeting client goals and deadlines
Capture and share project insights for clients and for the firm internally
Oversee successful projects, including building capacity in and advising clients, and ensuring that project deliverables meet our excellence standard, including research plans, strategy and program documents, policy memos, briefs, status reports, interim reports, technical reports, presentations, abstracts and manuscripts.
Skill navigating a complex ecosystem of partners, leveraging expertise and driving towards impact.
Build and manage inclusive project teams that support members in experiencing positive professional growth
Develop relationships with high-profile clients in the education field and support district, organizational and state teams that may include CEOs, foundation grantee leaders, chief state school officers, district superintendents and other stakeholder group leaders as well as key implementation leads and educators
Design and facilitate client meetings and internal project team meetings
Lead landscape analyses and stay current on research and trends by identifying critical sources, gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data
Collaborate on the development of tools and strategies to assess client needs, lift up research and emerging best practice
Provide feedback and guidance to team members and clients utilizing content-specific expertise
Work with agility and manage ambiguity for the team when work or decisions shift that impacts workplans
Design and deploy technical assistance to clients
Experience & Qualifications
6+ years of experience in the education field, including working on school change, systems change and/or education policy to improve P-16 education outcomes (e.g. in non-profits, foundations, philanthropic organizations, state boards/departments of education, school districts, or other major education systems/networks)
2+ years of project management experience, including juggling several projects at once, developing work plans, maintaining project budgets, managing risks and meeting deadlines and targets
Direct experience in a school or district
Demonstrated understanding of current issues in U.S. public education and (preferred) particular experience pertaining to SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and SEAD (Social Emotional & Academic Development)
Experience (formal or informal) supporting the professional growth and development of others
Developed client service and client communication skills, including clear synthesis and analysis of complex information, development of clear and focused findings in various deliverable formats, and effective meeting facilitation
Expertise in applying principles of anti-racism, inclusion, diversity and equity to organizational and systems change work
Experience cultivating strong and trusted relationships among diverse team members, clients and other stakeholder groups
Who You Are
You are committed to the vision of a more equitable education system in the U.S., including a willingness to examine the role of privilege, structural barriers, and inclusion in changing the trajectories of students furthest from opportunity.
You are a strong, inclusive project manager.
You have a history of bringing varying groups of stakeholders together to help them seek strategic common ground.
You are self-motivated and results oriented.
You can lead through ambiguity to create clear structures that deliver high-quality results to clients.
You take initiative to resourcefully solve problems while anticipating and adjusting for the unexpected.
You take ownership of your own development and derive satisfaction from supporting others to grow professionally.
You provide and receive feedback with ease.
You lead by influence – establishing open lines of communication and understanding and including the perspectives of others.
Location, Travel & Compensation
The Consultant will primarily work from home but is expected to travel for in-person client meetings as needed (20-30% of the time) once it is safe to do so from a public health perspective.
Education First offers a market-based competitive salary, comprehensive and generous benefits package (including PPO health insurance, six weeks of paid time off/holidays and extended leave), work-life flexibility and professional development opportunities. The salary range for this position is $82,000 – $116,000 (with 20% of the offer supplemented by local market trends if that market is higher than the national market). We typically set initial starting salaries between the minimum and the 25th percentile of the pay range ($82,000 – $90,000) to ensure there is room for growth over time. Exceptions can be made for significantly more-experienced hires (e.g., if the position requires a minimum of 10 years of relevant experience, and the selected finalist has more than 18 years of relevant experience, or if the specialized skills demanded for the role and the market analysis recommend a higher starting salary).
We are excited to receive applications from a broad range of applicants as we grow our team to better reflect the diversity of the communities our firm is committed to serve. Enthusiastic candidates should apply online to submit their resume and their responses to each of the following prompts within the application portal, in lieu of a cover letter:
What brings you to Education First and how does this role fit within your short term career goals?
Tell us about a time when you were responsible for managing resources (e.g., people, time, money) for a project. What resources adjustments did you make? How did you communicate forecast updates?
Tell us about a project that you managed that involved overseeing others’ work. How many people were on the project team and what were your responsibilities in relation to the other project team members? What challenges came up during the project and how were they addressed? What was the final result of the project?
Education First is committed to RIDE (Race, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) principles in how we operate internally and our work with clients. What are your reflections on how our RIDE commitment is reflected in your own personal values?
We do not expect you to spend a lengthy amount of time completing each question. Instead, we are looking for succinct responses (no more than 1-2 short paragraphs per question). Please submit all completed application materials by May 14, 2021.
We plan to conduct screening interviews on a rolling basis and share performance tasks with select candidates in early May. Interviews with top candidates will occur in late May. Ideally, we’d like our new Consultant to start in June. Please, no phone calls, emails or other inquiries.
Education First actively engages our team with a robustRace, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (RIDE) strategy to build our staff and organizational capacity to lead on issues of equity and to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the firm. As a proud equal opportunity employer, we strongly encourage applications from candidates of all races, national origins, ages, religions, creeds, veteran or disabled statuses, sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expressions.
Telecommuting is allowed.
About Education First Consulting
About Education First
Education First is a mission-driven education policy consultancy dedicated to ensuring that all students – and particularly students in poverty and students of color – are prepared for success in college, career, and life. We work with organizations that are shaping the future of P-16 education across the nation, including school networks and districts, state departments of education, policy and advocacy organizations, youth empowerment organizations, talent organizations and funders.