Chief of Staff

Chief of Staff

Learning Policy Institute

Palo Alto, CA   |   November 19, 2019

The Opportunity

At this exciting point in the organization’s growth, The Learning Policy Institute seeks a strategic and thoughtful Chief of Staff to support the President and CEO in the implementation of the organization’s strategic vision and the management of key initiatives. The Chief of Staff will be a high-energy, self-directed individual with a background in education policy, excellent follow through and organizational skills, and the ability to move ideas from concept to implementation.

About Learning Policy Institute

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) is a national organization that conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to shape education policies and improve learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, LPI connects policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the pre-k to grade 12 education system and address the complex realities facing public schools and their communities. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others who care about improving public schools, the Institute advances evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for all children.

Learning Policy: A New Perspective

This is a new moment for public education in the United States and around the globe. Our world is being transformed by new technologies, shifting demographics, and the demands of a global economy. This requires new learning that prepares all children with the problem-solving, critical-thinking, communication, and collaboration skills to solve the complicated problems and meet the complex challenges of our fast-paced, quickly changing world.

Today’s learning must be supported by a transformed public education system that:

  • Provides empowering learning opportunities for all children that develop their abilities to find and apply knowledge; think critically and creatively; solve problems, communicate, and collaborate; and contribute to the improvement of their community and society.
  • Is designed, managed, and funded to support this kind of deeper learning for each and every child.
  • Assesses learning authentically, with tools that are used to inform teaching and support progress rather than to punish students, staff, or schools.
  • Continually improves through research, evaluation, sharing of data and best practices, and ongoing inquiry within and across every level of the system.
  • Develops a diverse and highly competent educator workforce with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help all children succeed.

In this new moment, there’s very substantial ground on which Americans agree in terms of investing in the kind of education that moves our nation forward—one that guarantees that all children learn and graduate, find good jobs, and contribute to improving their communities. The Institute collaborates with leaders in education, communities, government, business, and other fields who share a commitment to high-quality education and are committed to using evidence to guide their search for smart policy and systemic change.

Key Responsibilities

The Chief of Staff will support Learning Policy Institute’s President and CEO in the following key areas:

  • Ensuring follow-up on key initiatives and policy matters in motion
  • Managing a wide array of research, policy, and communications projects and priorities
  • Ensuring strong communication between the President’s office, leadership team, and staff around emerging needs and initiatives
  • Facilitating complex, time-sensitive communications on critical policy and research issues with staff and key external constituents
  • Managing relations with key external stakeholders, including organizational leaders, policymakers, and funders
  • Supporting preparation for public appearances and outreach
  • Coordinating internal team activities in close collaboration with leadership to maximize leverage in the President/CEO’s involvement in research, policy, networking, and communication activities
  • Supporting regular communications with the Board of Directors
Core Competencies

The Chief of Staff will serve as a right-hand support for the President/CEO with an extensive background managing complex projects and delivering on strategic initiatives. He or she will have strong education research and policy knowledge and a good understanding of the education landscape across the issues and players. This leader will be an experienced professional with at least 10 years of relevant work experience and strong political acumen. .

The Chief of Staff will enable the President/CEO to focus on broad strategic initiatives both within and beyond the organization, and will follow up on strategic and critical projects, carrying initiatives forward with the President/CEO, planning for and representing LPI at key meetings, and keeping the President/CEO apprised of important updates and developments.  This leader will bring the skill and experience to integrate quickly into LPI and work effectively with the executive team, operating at maximum effectiveness.

An advanced degree is strongly preferred. The successful candidate will also have the following professional competencies and personal characteristics:

Strategic Leadership & Management:

  • Strategic thinking and prioritization skills to partner with the President/CEO in identifying and pursuing strategic priorities.
  • Executive presence and leadership capabilities to be able to drive deliverables, manage through influence and interact effectively with policymakers, leaders in the research and practice communities, and members of the organization.
  • High level of maturity needed to handle confidential and sensitive matters in a professional manner and good judgment
  • An optimistic outlook and a flexible, innovative nature.

Project Management Expertise:

  • Excellent organizational skills, with the ability to set and juggle multiple priorities, manage cross-functional organization-wide projects or initiatives, support team members, and track complex tasks across multiple stakeholders
  • Strong facilitation skills to bring together multiple stakeholders and help drive decisions and outcomes
  • Ability to execute on deadlines and deliverables and create systems and processes to streamline operations
  • Demonstrated ability to plan effectively and the flexibility to handle the unexpected

Analytical Skills

  • Ability to research and analyze data, identify trends, and make recommendations
  • The intellectual strength and curiosity to understand and appreciate the varied and complex education policy landscape, and the ability to translate that understanding to policymaker and lay audiences

Relationship Building, Collaboration & Communication:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Self-starter mentality and the ability to both work independently and foster collaborative working relationships, and to work well in a team-setting
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively with a broad set of constituents, including those in prominent positions
  • Strong problem-solving ability

Passion for the Mission:

  • Passion for ensuring that all children – especially those furthest from opportunity — receive an empowering and equitable education
  • A demonstrated commitment to excellence and equity.

Learning Policy Institute has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or email Michelle and Medelene at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director   

Medelene Beasley

The Learning Policy Institute is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit