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17 Sep 2021

Research and Policy Senior Policy Specialist

 Denver, Denver County, Colorado, United States

Job Description

JOB TITLE:      Senior Policy Specialist, K-12 Teaching, Leadership and Governance

PROGRAM:             Education

LOCATION:             Denver, CO

SALARY:                   $6,012 p/month

STATUS:                    Full-time


Are you ready to join an organization with an extraordinary mission? The National Conference of State Legislatures offers careers where you can use your skills, knowledge and experience to truly make a difference. NCSL’s mission is purposeful – strengthening the legislative institution. From informing effective policies and promoting communication among state legislatures, to ensuring states have a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system, our team works in service of legislatures. And, with a commitment to constantly innovating all resources and services to meet the evolving needs of members, NCSL has earned the reputation as the nation’s most trusted bipartisan membership organization for legislators and legislative staff. Our success serving NCSL members relies on our team of passionate, dedicated professionals who work diligently to strengthen the legislative institution. Join our team and contribute to this unique, essential mission.


The senior policy specialist in this role will serve legislators and legislative staff as NCSL’s leading expert in K-12 teaching, leadership and education governance policy.  This requires experience and expertise in these policy areas, preferably directly working with state legislators.  A successful candidate will have an aptitude for conducting legislative research and policy analysis and using the data to create informational resources for state legislators and the policy community. This senior policy specialist is accomplished at developing relationships with NCSL’s members, funders and others and has a national network of professional contacts in these policy areas.  This expert will manage the projects on teaching, school leaders and education governance, working independently to meet to goals of the project and the informational needs of state legislators and legislative staff across the nation. To do so, the senior policy specialist creates and makes presentations, authors publications, plans and conducts meetings, facilitates discussions, delivers technical assistance programs, interacts with media and creates and maintains relationships with funders. The senior policy specialist may oversee task-related work of more junior staff.

The senior policy specialist will be a member of a dynamic team of a dozen policy experts in NCSL’s Education Program who also provide excellent service and share their expertise with legislators and staff on a variety of education policy areas.  The Education Program covers state policy in the areas of early education through adult education – and everything in between.  The senior policy specialist will be a member of the K-12 team within the program.



  1. Maintains subject matter expertise on K-12 teaching, leadership and education governance and assists legislators and legislative staff with their research and information needs.
  2. Anticipates emerging issues of importance to state legislatures and responds with research, analysis and training.   Assists with the development of a plan to disseminate that work, including but not limited to technical assistance/testimony to legislative committees, webinars, meetings, web pages, reports, blogs and others.
  3. Conducts complex legislative research projects with an understanding of their political context and can provide substantive analysis and policy interpretations to legislators and legislative staff.
  4. Adept at research on federal, state and local actions that impact the work of legislatures, such as, executive and administrative actions and intergovernmental actions.
  5. Independently plans, organizes and conducts nonpartisan technical assistance programs, meetings and educational sessions at larger meetings.
  6. Creates substantive, engaging and interactive presentations or trainings for legislators, legislative staff and others on state policy topics with the ability to respond to questions.
  7. Leads and completes the work of the projects focused on K-12 teaching, leadership and education governance in a timely manner under the direction of the supervisor and maintains relationships with current funders of the work.
  8. Assists the Director and Associate Director of the program with fundraising and development of new projects, such as assisting with grant reporting and writing concept papers, grant applications and proposals.
  9. Writes skillfully and with minimal need for editing for a full range of publications and participates in peer review editing of colleagues’ work as needed.
  10. Travels domestically for meetings, technical assistance and other project activities as needed.
  11. Performs other responsibilities as needed.


May supervise one professional staff or serve as coordinator of a team of other professionals on a short-term project.


This position is a mostly performed in an office environment, on or off-site, with prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer.  Team members utilize standard office equipment such as copy machines, laptops, printers, scanners, and smartphones. Expand your horizons with travel opportunities to network with lawmakers and staff across the country (includes overnights and weekends by airplane). Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • Bachelor’s degree plus five years of work experience with state legislatures, government, public policy or other relevant field.
  • Subject-specific expertise in K-12 teaching, leadership and governance.
  • Strong writing, editing and presentation skills and the ability to communicate information clearly and credibly to a variety of audiences.
  • Aptitude at working both collaboratively with others and independently.
  • Proven ability to independently build and maintain relationships with legislators, legislative staff, national experts and others. May assist directors with funder relationships.
  • Ability to work in a politically neutral manner and maintain confidentiality when required.
  • Strong research and analysis skills, including accessing and assessing a variety of resources and research; synthesizing data and legislation; and analyzing and summarizing policy options and legislative activities.
  • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to plan meetings and manage multiple tasks and deadlines simultaneously.  Ability to independently work under deadline pressure and adapt to changes in workload.
  • Strong knowledge of state legislative and political processes and the separation of power between the branches of government.
  • Ability to travel by air up to 10 times per year, with most trips being 1-3 nights, as well as work extended hours, possibly evenings and weekends, usually associated with events/travel.


Our employees are the foundation to our success, so we are committed to offering a full range of benefits for you and your eligible family members, including domestic partners. Striking a healthy balance between work and personal life is important. Our total rewards package includes resources to support well-being and no cost benefits to help make life a little bit easier.

  • Flexible, remote work options including the ability to telework up to 4 days a week
  • Health insurance (HMO 90% covered by NCSL), Dental insurance (Employee only covered 100%), Low cost vision benefits
  • 401(a)-retirement plan with 10% employer contribution after 6 months and full vesting.
  • 457b retirement plans with pre and post-tax options
  • 3-weeks paid vacation with 5+ years of paid full-time work experience with another employer and generous sick leave
  • Paid holidays including 4 additional days per year to use at your preference
  • Paid family and parental leave
  • FSA and Dependent Care Accounts
  • Professional development through LinkedIn Learning
  • Paid time off to volunteer
  • Aflac hospital advantage, critical illness, and accident plans
  • Discounted 24-hour fitness memberships and RTD / metro bus & train passes
  • Pet insurance with multiple options to fit your budget
  • Benefits provided at no cost:
    • 2x annual salary life insurance and long term disability;
    • Employee Assistance Program provides confidential, 24/7 support for employees and dependents;
    • Health Advocate for employees and their family members to simplify the healthcare experience including resources to support your health and well-being;
    • IDX Identity Theft and Privacy Protection (Employee only covered with options to add dependents);
    • Benefit Hub: discover local savings from merchants in your neighborhood, including movie tickets, hotels, restaurants, shops, and more.
  • Relocation assistance provided for out-of-state candidates


A career with NCSL offers exciting opportunities to grow your career in line with your aspirations. We gladly invite you to apply for this role by including a resume and cover letter here, before 5pm MST September 28, 2021.  We are looking forward to receiving your application!

NCSL is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and is committed to developing a diverse, dynamic team and inclusive workplace. NCSL does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, disability, or any other status protected by law or regulation.

How to Apply

Link to apply:

Bureaus: Colorado. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Research and Policy. Job Tags: education, K-12, non-profit, policy, and policy specialist. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.