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6 Feb 2018

Research and Policy Senior Policy Associate – Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Tennessee SCORE

Job Description

In recent years, Tennessee has made significant progress in advancing a bold education reform plan, and is a leader in the nation in efforts to dramatically improve student achievement. Tennessee reached a significant milestone in 2013; according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)— also known as the Nation’s Report Card—Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the nation in student achievement across 4th and 8th grade reading and math, following only the District of Columbia. In 2015, Tennessee continued that progress and is now ranked in the top 25 of states in 4th grade math. While Tennessee has made significant gains, students still score below the national average. Since 2009, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) has played a critical role in advancing student achievement and works to drive collaboration across the state on policy and practice to ensure all students graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce.
SCORE is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and dedicated to the goal that every student in Tennessee graduates from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the work force. SCORE supports student success across Tennessee by insisting on high expectations for what students can achieve, empowering people to lead the change for our students, and fostering a culture of innovation.
SCORE is based at Vanderbilt University’s John Seigenthaler Center. For more information on SCORE, please visit
The Senior Policy Associate will focus on advancing SCORE’s and Tennessee’s work to ensure all students are prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce. Specifically, the Senior Policy Associate will be responsible for elevating and innovating in the K-12 to postsecondary and workforce alignment space, particularly as it relates to work around dual enrollment, dual credit, early college, competency-based learning, flexible learning environments, internships, and apprenticeship programs, among other areas.
Importantly, the Senior Policy Associate will lead SCORE’s policy efforts to propose new policy and implementation priorities related to postsecondary and career readiness, track existing efforts and the impact those efforts are having on Tennessee’s K-12, workforce, and postsecondary attainment goals, and will be the organization’s point person in partnerships with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, state business-focused organizations, and local partner organizations and chambers of commerce.
This role requires a strategic thinker with demonstrated experience in the college-access or workforce development space, an understanding of workforce needs, and relationships within the postsecondary and business communities.
The Senior Policy Associate will be a member of SCORE’s Policy and Research team and will report to the Director of Policy and Research.
  • Build, manage, and execute on an emerging area of SCORE’s work, focused squarely on student-preparedness for postsecondary education and the workforce
  • Lead the organization’s work to propose new policy and implementation priorities related to postsecondary and career readiness, in partnership with other team members
  • Plan, launch, and manage the writing and release of key reports and policy memos on K-12 to postsecondary/job alignment
  • Support the organization’s engagement with key philanthropic partners to build out Tennessee-specific investments in this space, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission
  • Serve as the organization’s point person in linking K-12 education reforms with impacts on job attainment, skills attainment, and postsecondary success
  • In partnership with SCORE’s advocacy team, work to ensure that policymakers and candidates are advancing Tennessee’s Drive to 55 agenda, including through the building, launching, and support of new statewide coalitions and advocacy efforts
  • Represent SCORE in postsecondary and workforce-focused conversations, and work to strengthen the organization’s support of higher education and workforce-focused efforts
  • Highlight emerging best practices and identify opportunities for investment through the Tennessee Innovation Fund, a SCORE-managed venture philanthropy fund
  • Plan and manage events and SCORE Institutes focused on postsecondary and career readiness
  • Engage with practitioners in SCORE’s practice-focused networks (specifically district leaders and school principals) as they engage in early-postsecondary/job attainment work
Candidates must have at least five years of demonstrated experience in K-12 education, economic development, or higher education, with at least three years of experience in postsecondary access, workforce development, workforce training, or education policy. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree in public policy is preferred. Other candidate requirements include:
  • An extensive professional network in the postsecondary, workforce, and K-12 education space
  • Demonstrated experience visioning and launching new policy and practice-related efforts, including experience coalition-building among diverse audiences
  • The ability to review and analyze education policy proposals with an eye towards positive impact on Tennessee students
  • Excellent writing skills with the ability to convey complex concepts in concise and compelling ways
  • High emotional intelligence and understanding of political nuance
  • Strong spoken communication skills and comfort speaking to both large and small groups
  • Outstanding commitment to excellence and attention to detail
  • The ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously in a fast-paced, rapid-growth, high-intensity, and intellectually-demanding environment
  • The ability to problem solve in the moment and pro-actively consult with other team members as appropriate
  • Immediate exhibiting of SCORE’s core values of collaboration, excellence, optimism, innovation, and courage.
SCORE provides excellent opportunities for professional growth and has a commitment to providing team members with feedback and opportunities to grow in their work.
Compensation will be competitive based on the candidate’s previous experience and credentials.

How to Apply

To apply, please send a resume and cover to SCORE’s Director of Policy and Research, Brett Turner, at If you have any questions about the position, please contact Brett Turner at that email address or by phone at 615-727-1545.

Bureaus: - National -. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Research and Policy.

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