Program Officer

The NEA Foundation
🌎 Location
💵 Salary

$80,000 – $90,000

🗓️ Posted

October 20, 2023

Washington, DC or Southern United States

The NEA Foundation is a national nonprofit and philanthropic organization that achieves its mission by investing in educators’ leadership, shared learning and collaboration; supporting partnerships that advance the best in teaching and learning; and sharing improvements in education policy and practice resulting from educators’ and organizational partners’ thought leadership.

The Foundation’s aims are furthered through grants programs, strategic initiatives, fellowship and awards programs, and numerous collaborative efforts.

The Foundation believes that the most innovative and effective policies and strategies emanate from educators engaged in authentic partnership with policymakers, students, parents, and others committed to educational justice, equity, excellence, and opportunity. They envision schools as places that foster both educators’ and students’ love of learning, enabling both to excel. They also envision education as every child’s civil right.

The NEA Foundation recognizes that the realization of this vision will require rigorous teaching and learning at every educational level; equitable and just educational resources and practices; an appreciation of students’ and educators’ full identity, physical, social, and emotional well-being; the eradication of racism, prejudice, and negative biases or mindsets; and both the public and policymakers’ openness to innovation and change.

Community Schools Initiative

This initiative was created to address the need for Community Schools in the South and the widening opportunity gap between many Black, Latinx, and low-income students and their higher-income ad white classmates in the region. In August 2020, the Foundation made its first grants to support the planning and development of Community Schools in Little Rock, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; and East Baton Roug Parish, Louisiana. The grants allow partners the time and support needed to create a shared vision and roadmap, develop partnerships, identify needs and interests of communities and stakeholders, and design a Community School(s) work plan and implementation budget.

Along with grantmaking, the Foundation engages an extensive network to support local organizations and to provide grantees with customized coaching, technical support, and opportunities to exchange ideas with Community Schools participants and experts throughout the nation.

The Opportunity

The NEA Foundation seeks collaborative, innovative, equity-centered, outcomes-oriented, deeply knowledgeable, and strategic individuals to join the Foundation’s Programs and Strategic Initiatives group. As a key member of this group, the new Program Officer will engage in grantmaking, further the Foundation’s Community Schools Initiative and related programs, while cultivating strategic partnerships and investments to advance the Foundation’s mission: to promote the best in public education. They will also be deeply engaged in national conversations regarding educational justice and equity and will prioritize the sharing of best practices related to impact, sustainability, and scalability with the field writ large.

As part of the Programs and Strategic Initiatives Group within the Foundation, the right candidate for this position will bring experience in the Community School ecosystem as a coordinator, school support, coach, policy and advocacy advisor, and/or organizer. This Program Officer will have an exceptional capacity for thought partnership in further development of the Foundation’s existing and emerging strategies to advance educational justice and equity, excellence, and opportunity. This individual will bring an understanding of education systems, best practices, and the roles of both educators and educationalpartnerships in advancing the best in Community Schools and public education. In this role, the Program Officer will be expected to engage comfortably in and contribute to the national conversation about Community Schools, educational justice and equity, specifically about the roles of educators and educational partnerships.

The Program Officer will also have opportunities to help design the Foundation’s internal systems in the furtherance of this work. Exceptional oral and written communication skills, humility, project management, and the capacity to effectively engage colleagues and other education stakeholders in widely varied contexts are critical considerations in the selection of the Foundation’s Program Officer.


Design and Administration of Strategic Initiatives

  • Help to enact the Foundation’s mission and vision through grantmaking, associated grants management, and program design
  • Serve as lead project manager of assigned grants, fellowship and awards programs, and strategic initiatives
  • Maintain and share a deep knowledge of effective strategies and current thinking in the education and social change fields – what works, most effective and innovative ways to support educators and other positive changemakers, and how to implement effective strategies with partners
  • Help identify potential strategic investments and partnership opportunities that advance the Foundation’s mission, vision, and values
  • Contribute to the team’s development and refinement of criteria to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of a strategy portfolio
  • Facilitate the development and implementation of online and in-person learning opportunities for educators and others, including events and travel
  • Support the effective contributions of associated consultants and speakers.
  • Cultivate and engage Foundation program alumni as leaders, advisors, and members of a vibrant network of educators

Programs and Strategic Initiatives Teamwork

  • Prepare high-quality written materials for external audiences as well as Foundation management and Board of Directors
  • Work closely with the Foundation’s Communications and Development teams to identify, produce and/or review various content related to Foundation projects, grants, and initiatives
  • Develop and maintain effective professional relationships ad partnerships that advance the Foundation’s goals


The Program Officer will be a strategic, dynamic, outcomes-driven thinker, and relationship-oriented individual with the ability to project manage and collaboratively engage with staff across the organization and external partners throughout the organization’s network. They should bring a personal commitment to, and experience with, Community Schools practice and policy, and an appreciation for the challenges that practitioners face in the field with an eye towards equity. They will be skilled at relationship building and collaborative problem solving to reach solutions that benefit programs and initiatives, the goals of the Programs and Strategic Initiatives group, as well as grantees and educators across the country. The Program Officer will have a track record in evaluating programs and strategies while providing the necessary support to leadership and other internal colleagues. They will have a demonstrated commitment to advancing social justice and racial equity.

The successful candidate will be energized by helping communities and educators to advance the best in public education, and could have a background in a variety of settings––philanthropy, school or system leadership, nonprofit organizations, community and state organizing, government–and may bring professional experience across different parts of the education sector. A successful candidate may also bring prior classroom or system-level leadership experiences.

The Program Officer should bring a growth mindset, be comfortable operating within a relatively flat organizational structure, and be able to work both autonomously and cooperatively with team members. The Program Officer must be teaching-oriented, facilitating others’ and the organization’s development, and provide guidance to, and supervision of, program associates and fellows.

With the understanding that no one person will offer every desired skill and characteristic outlined below, compelling candidates will offer much of the following:

  • A Bachelor’s degree and minimum of five years of experience and demonstrated background in Community Schools ecosystem and relevant education/nonprofit/philanthropic sectors
  • Experience working with education organizations and leaders, and an appreciation for the levers needed to facilitate systemic change in our country’s public school education system
  • Background in managing partnerships and coalitions at the local, state, and national levels
  • Demonstrated success with project management and time management skills, including exceptional attention to detail, the ability to manage multiple relationships and deliverables simultaneously, work independently, and follow through in a timely manner
  • Knowledge of various units of change (e.g. classroom, schools, systems) and an understanding of how to meaningfully and simultaneously influence multiple macro and micro levers affecting student learning
  • Familiarity with education best practices and pedagogical trends as well as contemporary research in the area of teaching and learning, and an inquisitive disposition that seeks to build on an existing knowledge base
  • Experience supporting grantmaking and grantee engagement
  • A nuanced understanding of issues related to diversity, justice, equity, and inclusion in education, and experience working on these issues in practice.
  • Demonstrated commitment to learning and collaboration, and to working in authentic partnership with colleagues, grantees, and other key partners
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Independent initiative and a collegial spirit in sharing ideas and receiving feedback
  • A deep personal commitment to the NEA Foundation’s mission and values (advancing public education, educator leadership, enhancing the whole child, partnership, the public good, and justice)
  • Experience developing and leading professional development sessions and events for educators
  • The ability to facilitate dynamic conversations and represent the Foundation
  • Strong interpersonal skills including excellent listening, tact, patience, humility, flexibility, courtesy, and the ability to work effectively in a diverse team environment
  • Availability to conduct occasional evening meetings to accommodate groups of educators in various time zones
  • The Program Officer will report to the EVP of Programs and Strategic Initiatives and will be based in Washington, D.C.  Individuals with a Community Schools background can be based in the Southern United States. Individuals with community schools experience are highly preferred.

Salary & Benefits

The salary range for this role is $80,000 – $90,000 based on years of experience and ensuring pay equity within the organization. The NEA Foundation offers a generous benefits package including comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance, paid time off, life and disability insurance, and retirement plan.


Washington, DC or Southern United States (remote)

The NEA Foundation’s EEO Statement

The NEA Foundation is committed to equal employment opportunity in all employment-related matters, including hiring, training, promotion, compensation, benefits, transfers and other personnel actions, without regard to race, citizenship, religion, color, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, personal appearance, family responsibilities, matriculation and political affiliation or any other characteristic protected by federal or District of Columbia law. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prevent management from implementing any legally permissible affirmative action programs.  In addition, the Foundation complies with the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Law.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role. Letters may be addressed to Martens Roc.

Applicants applying by October 30th will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled.

The NEA Foundation

Program Officer

$80,000 – $90,000


Washington, DC or Southern United States





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