Research and Policy Michigan State Director
Overview of Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that advance equity, opportunity, and student success. The organization empowers expert teachers to advance policy changes and improve instructional leadership and teacher supports; trains and coaches teacher leaders to successfully mobilize and lead teacher teams; and empowers teacher leaders to be change agents among their peers and policy makers. Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students.
Reporting to the Illinois Senior Executive Director, the Michigan State Director will – with support from Teach Plus’ national team — advance educational equity for students in Michigan through policy change led by teachers. The Michigan State Director will be responsible for all aspects of leading and growing a successful Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative, launching in the summer of 2021, in order to build a critical mass of teacher advocates prepared to lead on behalf of their students. The Michigan State Director will be a credible broker between teachers and policymakers and teachers and the media, building partnerships across the state in order to lay the groundwork for teacher voice and create opportunities for teacher leaders to have influence on critical issues.
1) Lead a successful cohort of teachers in the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative
The Michigan State Director will, in partnership with Education Trust Midwest, lead a policy fellowship of 15-20 current Michigan teachers. This work will include:
- Ensuring the Michigan Teacher Leaders secure at least one major policy win at the state level. This will require successful management of the fellowship, including building strong relationships with Teacher Leaders, policymakers, and the media.
- Delivering high-quality program content (including delivering Teach Plus curricula or arranging for another staffer to deliver it as needed, assigning readings and lectures, arranging guest speakers, and leading group discussions and working groups) that gives Teacher Leaders an understanding of policy and research related to Teach Plus’ Equity Focus Areas.
- Managing Teacher Leaders’ work, including working group projects, overseeing the writing of op-eds and/or policy briefs.
- Connecting Fellows with policy leaders in ways that enable their policy recommendations to advance.
2) Partnerships, Field-Building & Advocacy
The Michigan State Director will serve as the policy leader of Teach Plus Michigan by building relationships that enable teachers to have an impact on critical policy issues. In particular, the State Director will achieve this by:
- Establishing a strong collaboration with Education Trust Midwest, our partner in co-leading the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative
- Establishing strong relationships and effective partnerships between Teach Plus, state education leaders, education coalitions, local districts, media and other local educational organizations.
- Connecting teachers to media contacts, and actively pursuing opportunities for Teach Plus teachers to showcase their work and ideas.
3) Landscape Analysis and Fundraising Exploration
The Michigan State Director will establish a strong relationships with external partners and begin to lay the groundwork to build a long-term and sustainable presence in Michigan beyond the presence of the initial grant, including:
- Developing and growing relationships and engagements with new funders for Teach Plus, while maintaining and managing relationships with state-wide and local funding sources in Michigan.
- Strategically diversifying the funding base, increasing the number of local and individual philanthropic leaders who know and support Teach Plus’s work.
- Exploring and laying the groundwork for establishing a fuller Teach Plus presence in Michigan, including:
- Complete an analysis of Michigan education landscape, including relevant partners and stakeholders and issues that could be addressed in a Teaching Policy Fellowship, with advocacy strategy and products, etc.
- Identify and engage with potential funders to determine interest in funding work in Michigan.
- Identify key stakeholders (policymakers, education nonprofits, state department of education, district administrators, etc.) for exploratory conversations around expanding our work beyond the Collaborative in Michigan.
4) Activate and grow the network of informed and active teacher leaders
The Michigan State Director will be the primary driver of the expansion of the state-wide network of Teach Plus teachers. They will do this in a variety of ways, including:
- Organizing events that allow Fellows to engage a broader group of teacher voices to influence state policies.
- Collaborating with national staff to participate in national advocacy work.
- Leading recruitment and selection of state-wide fellows and building an alumni group and strategy.
The ideal candidate will have:
- An understanding of major education policy issues that affect both the teaching profession and the success of children from low-income families. Specific policy areas of interest for Michigan include education funding, recruiting and retaining a diverse teaching workforce, the academic, social, and emotional impact of COVID-19 on Michigan students, and student assessments.
- An understanding of the current state of the education policy making landscape and the political climate in Michigan.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including experience facilitating adults.
- Strong project management skills and the initiative to complete tasks independently.
- Excellent relationship-building and interpersonal skills, and ability to collaborate effectively, both in-person and in a virtual environment.
- The ability to organize and mobilize a group of people toward a shared goal.
- A passionate commitment to equity and improving public education by retaining and supporting outstanding teachers to support the success of all students, in particular for low-income learners and students of color.
- Previous teaching experience is a significant plus.
Commitment to Diversity
In order to better-serve the teachers and students at the core of our mission, Teach Plus is committed to maximizing the diversity of our organization. We are an equal opportunity employer and encourage individuals of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and gender identities to apply to our positions.
Location and Travel
Although this position will be conducted virtually (primarily from a home office) applicants should live in, or within driving distance, of Lansing, Michigan. There will be a need to travel occasionally around the state and to be a presence in Lansing during the legislative session. The tentative start date for the position is July, 2021, pending confirmation of funding.
Compensation and Benefits
Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. Teach Plus offers a generous benefits package including medical, dental, and vision insurance, 3% matching 401k plan, disability and life insurance, and Flexible Spending Accounts for medical and childcare expenses. Teach Plus offers generous time off benefits including 15 vacation days, 3 personal days, 5 sick days, 11 holidays, and winter break. Additionally, Teach Plus offers parental leave and a 4-week paid sabbatical for every five years of service.