Research and Policy Program Officer, Innovative Schools
Overdeck Family Foundation believes unlocking every child’s potential is the key to a better future – for all of us. Founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs John and Laura Overdeck, the Foundation focuses on education, supporting research and organizations that seek to open doors for every child in the U.S. by measurably enhancing education both inside and outside the classroom. Using a data-driven and evidence-based approach, the Foundation’s investments enhance each stage of learning, from birth to high school, grounded in five focus areas: early childhood; educators; schools; out-of-school STEM opportunities; and the use of data to improve policy and practice. The Foundation’s grantmaking approach is grounded in measurable impact and cost-effectiveness. Its funding supports early-stage initiatives developing or validating programs, evidence-based programs looking to achieve greater impact by scaling, and data and research investments that lead to new insights.
The Innovative Schools portfolio within the Foundation focuses on ensuring that every child has access to an education that is engaging and challenging, while meeting their both academic and socioemotional needs.
The Foundation is seeking a full-time Program Officer to lead the Innovative Schools portfolio. Reporting to the Program Director and managing one tenured Associate Program Officer, the Program Officer will refine and clarify the investment strategy for the portfolio, build and nurture relationships across the innovative schools (specifically K-9 edtech) ecosystem, and use a scientific method approach to hypothesize and sharpen an approach to support early stage and growth stage ventures to help them to succeed.
Visit www.overdeck.org for more information. To learn more about our Innovative Schools portfolio, visit the websites of some of our partner organizations: SAGA education, Zearn, ST Math, and NewSchools Venture Fund.
What You’ll Do:
- Define a set of hypothesis statements and pursue research to arrive at an evidence based strategy for investment within the portfolio (evolving our existing strategy to a clarified place)
- Build relationships with the existing Associate Program Officer on the team to establish yourself as a strong manager and mentor while honoring the tenure, knowledge, and expertise she brings to our work
- Build relationships across the foundation, with our existing grantees, our trustees, and other key external stakeholders
- Define a clear and differentiated position for Overdeck Family Foundation within the innovative schools space that is grounded in evidence, research, and efficiency of investment
- Successfully identify and invest in early stage and growth stage organizations that are aligned with this evidence based investment strategy
- Build strategies and relationships to pursue funding leverage from the public and private sector, to fuel the growth of Overdeck Family Foundation grantees
- In partnership with other program officers, identify pattern of needs critical to grantee success (e.g. strategy, communications, model development, governance support, etc.) and develop a slate of non-monetary supports connected to OFFs organization-wide capacity building plan to successfully address those needs across all of the Foundation’s grantees
Who You Are:
A strategist who is able to pursue the right research to arrive at an evidence based approach to making investments and supporting grantees. You are analytically natured, curious and learning oriented. You leverage the scientific method to produce data and evidence that drives strategic decisions around investments and portfolio supports. You are also comfortable with ambiguity, confidently exploring your hypotheses without knowing the answer – seeing failure with learning as a path to success.
A strong operator who is able to set vision for systems and structures to efficiently make grants and deliver non monetary supports to ventures. You have experience with early stage and growth stage organizations and understand the challenges they face as they clarify and scale their models. You can build deep relationships across grantees, surface their challenges, observe patterns of need, and build and nurture meaningful and efficient supports to help them to succeed.
An authentic professional who builds deep and candid relationships with ease. You possess a strong presence and gravitas, knowing how to build a strong narrative when communicating a concept or approach with the right level of specificity to meet the audience. You build trusting relationships internally and externally because you are authentically you and you value candor and kindness in your interactions.
Someone who understands innovative schools practices. You understand the edtech sector ecosystem and have developed relationships within that ecosystem. You are familiar with best in class edtech products and understand product market fit, business/revenue models, and scale and distribution channels. You are able to evaluate solutions to understand how cost effective, scalable, impactful, and sustainable they are. You believe in personalized, competency based learning driven by advanced AI and you value products grounded in teacher and student needs and experience.
A team leader who enjoys managing, coaching, and developing direct reports. A colleague who seeks to offer and receive learning and growth from colleagues at every level. You deeply believe in the potential of all professionals to learn and grow. You look forward to building and sustaining an effective, growth-oriented, and inclusive team. You are able to set a clear vision for the Innovative Schools investment portfolio and you can map individual roles and responsibilities in service of this vision across your team.
A values driven and empathetic leader who will find success in our context. You operate with a high level of self-awareness, humility, and emotional intelligence and you value the same in your colleagues. You engage in conflict confidently and with kindness. You are excited about working in an environment where complex problems are being considered. You are able to articulate and navigate tensions with an orientation towards understanding and valuing multiple perspectives. You don’t shy away from holding two opposing ideas at once and you are comfortable with not knowing or not agreeing and committing.
What You’ve Done
- Bachelor’s degree
- Minimum of 12 years of work experience including time spent leading teams in or adjacent to early and/or growth stage organizations
- Direct experience and content expertise in innovation, school design, edtech, personalized learning, and/or socioemotional learning
- Demonstrated experience formulating and executing strategy, identifying challenges and implementing solutions
- Demonstrated management experience, focused on development and growth of staff
- Master’s degree in relevant field of education, policy, business, law, statistics, math, science, or engineering
- Venture philanthropy experience supporting organizations grow and develop, through informal and formal support (i.e. grants, board experience, consulting, providing non-monetary support)
- Experience conducting cost benefit analysis and/or cost effectiveness analysis