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30 Aug 2021

Research and Policy Director of School and District Partnerships

Pilot Light
 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States

Job Description

Job Description

We are looking for an individual who will join Pilot Light during this exciting time in our growth.

Pilot Light’s teacher-led model is game-changing: through our approach, Pre-K–12th teachers are provided with the support and resources needed to integrate food education into the core curriculum to engage students in classroom learning while also teaching them about food and its importance in their lives.

In 10 years, Pilot Light has grown from one Chicago elementary school to directly reach over 12,000 students. The mission of the organization is to support students as they advocate for informed choices by bridging the lessons they learn in their classrooms to the foods on their lunch trays, at home, and in their communities.

Pilot Light has three major initiatives designed to define and grow the field of classroom-based food education: The Food Education Standards, The Food Education Fellowship (the “Fellowship”), and the Food Education Center (the “Center”).

Food Education Standards: In 2018, Pilot Light convened prominent stakeholders in the fields of food and education to create and publish the first national Food Education Standards, which provide a holistic definition of “food education” and are designed to serve as a framework to support K-12 teachers with lesson development.

The Fellowship which launched in the 2019-2020 school year, is designed to build a pipeline of talented teachers to provide leadership in food education. Fellowship teachers deliver weekly integrated food education lessons to their students and partnering with Pilot Light to evaluate its impact on student outcomes.

The Food Education Center is a digital platform of instructional materials designed to fully support K-12 teachers with the integration of classroom-based food education across all content areas. For instance, 3rd-5thgrade students learning sequence in English Language Arts do so by learning about rice and how it is grown and cooked across the world.  All resources align to academic performance standards and Pilot Light’s own Food Education Standards (FES), providing a springboard through which any teacher, school, or district can embrace food education while meeting requirements. The Center now includes 150+ lessons and other resources across three curricula: classroom, Family Meal (for families), and Pilot Light Anywhere.


The Director of School and District Partnerships is a new position at Pilot Light.

This individual will be primarily responsible for developing and maintaining key stakeholder relationships, including those with schools, districts, and policymakers, to support the wider implementation of Pilot Light programs. This individual will also lead the growth of Pilot Light’s Food Education Center and inform its strategic direction and growth through partnership discussions.

This individual will work closely with Pilot Light’s Vice President of Programs (who leads the Fellowship) to outline the strategic plan for educator, school, and district recruitment and lead its execution through a variety of channels, negotiate contracts with school and district leaders (with support from Pilot Light’s development team), and oversee the launch of new partnerships. This individual will conduct marketing and outreach to teachers, schools, and districts that will be often informed by the Food Education Center’s resources, activities, and analytics, as well as Pilot Light’s network of current and former Fellows and teachers. This individual will collect data to inform your activities and draw on all programming outcomes to drive the strategy, development, and implementation of external-facing activities of the organization.

The Director of School and District Partnerships will be skilled at inspiring, influencing, and engaging people. This individual will consistently and passionately demonstrate support of the Pilot Light’s Vision, Mission, and Core Values by striving for excellence and contributing to the team.

When it is safe to do so, travel may be required on occasion, as well as attending weekend and evening functions as needed.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop, manage, and implement growth and revenue generation strategies designed to position PL offerings for schools, and districts nationwide
  • Manage Pilot Light’s contract with a major existing national partner
  • Lead the Food Education Center and inform growth strategy for content and interface
  • Conduct landscape analyses and research and make recommendations
  • Support in providing vision and direction for PL curricula
  • Identify leads on K-12 schools and districts and execute outreach. Examples include: cultivating and prospecting to build relationships with teachers, school district leaders, and partners in food and education
  • Build rapport with teachers, partners, and school leaders to understand their interest in PL and barriers to implementation
  • Project manage to ensure the smooth launch of new partners
  • Leverage social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and site analytics to engage current and potential teachers and partners in collaboration with Pilot Light’s Marketing Specialist
  • Draw on partners and policy knowledge in food education, nutrition, and school food to inform strategic growth of Pilot Light resources, content, and curriculum
  • Develop and participate in workshops, press conferences, and public events designed to promote PL goals among educators, policymakers, and the public.
  • Represent PL within related coalitions at the local, state, and national levels
  • Contribute to the development of resources and marketing tools, including briefs, newsletters, website content, reports, and presentations
  • Respond in a timely manner to all requests from the PL staff; collaborate on and occasionally lead projects in other departments to support organizational goals as needed.
  • Help to inform the strategic directions of the organization.
  • Manage Pilot Light’s Marketing Manager and marketing consultants
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to provide support with general operations and data management


  • At least five years of experience working in K-12 education, with all or a portion of that preferably as a classroom teacher
  • Experience leading teacher professional development
  • Experience writing and executing standards-aligned, objective-driven curriculum
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex concepts and topics clearly, thoroughly, and succinctly
  • Ability to turn data into actionable information and direction
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and manage concurrent assignments under tight deadlines
  • Is both a team player and a self-starter, including exceptional organization and time management skills
  • A high level of enthusiasm, energy, initiative, and drive
  • Ability to analyze data and effectively present findings to various audiences, including school leaders, teachers, external organizations, policymakers, and funders
  • Effective communication skills and the ability to engage with a variety of audiences
  • Experience in a startup environment and/or an understanding that Pilot Light is a small organization and sometimes requires a high degree of flexibility in terms of responsibilities and tasks
  • Respect and appreciation for the multidisciplinary expertise and talents of others on the Pilot Light team
  • A background that reflects those of students reached by Pilot Light to amplify their voices
  • A commitment to Pilot Light’s mission and values


  • Experience with WordPress and Google Suite
  • Experience utilizing social media platforms and site analytics to inform outreach
  • Experience building relationships, managing pipelines, and finalizing partnerships
  • Experience working in nonprofit organizations and/or knowledge of food and health policy

Pilot Light embraces a philosophy that recognizes, values, and actively seeks diversity among its team. We seek to attract, develop, retain and promote a talented diverse workforce in a culture where all employees will contribute to their fullest potential. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, citizenship, pregnancy or maternity, national origin, status as an individual with disability, age, ancestry, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

Location: The role is open to candidates across the US who wish to work remotely however residence in the Chicago area is strongly preferred.

Start Date: Position currently available.


How to Apply

How to apply: Interested applicants should complete the survey found at the link below. Please note that you will be required to submit your resume and cover letter through the form below. APPLY NOW

Bureaus: Chicago. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Research and Policy. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.