Chief Program Officer

Teaching Lab - Washington D.C., District of Columbia or Remote - Full time

Location: Washington, DC or New York, NY preferred; remote eligible

Type of Vacancy: Full-time, leadership level

Reports to: Executive Director

Travel required: 20-30% depending on season

Teaching Lab is an equal opportunity employer, committed to reflecting the diversity of the students we serve. We pursue equity as a both a means and an end and enthusiastically welcome candidates of diverse backgrounds.

Our Mission

Teaching Lab is a non-profit organization devoted to achieving educational equity through instructional improvement. We aim to change the fundamental paradigm for professional learning in the US to dramatically improve outcomes for low-income and minority students. Our model uses teacher-led cycles of inquiry focused on study of the curriculum. We have supported teachers and students in Washington, DC, Louisiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Iowa, Massachusetts, and New York.

Head, Heart and Habits - Improving Equity Through Stronger Professional Learning

The core of Teaching Lab’s work is a belief that stronger professional learning for teachers can radically improve student opportunities and equity. Research suggests that professional learning must incorporate three critical components to improve teaching and learning:

Core academic content that is aligned to high-quality curriculum and research-based practices[1]. Teaching Lab refers to this as the “head” of professional learning. Without core content based in a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum, teachers adopt new techniques that may be ineffective or even counterproductive, ultimately failing to grow their pedagogical content knowledge over time.

Teacher-led development and activities that build both social capital and buy-in from teachers[2] Teaching Lab calls this the “heart” of professional learning. Without a focus on developing a teacher-led community, there is low buy-in or even resentment among teachers; they feel that professional learning is not relevant to their needs and resist or passively comply with the adoption of new content, curriculum, or techniques.

Professional learning that is structured around repeated cycles of inquiry, allowing teachers to apply what they learn and evaluate evidence of student learning through student work analysis[3] Teaching Lab calls this the “habits” of professional learning. Without cycles of inquiry, new ideas are not incorporated into regular practice and those that are adopted are not verified using evidence of student learning.

Teaching Lab provides professional learning services while building the capacity of district personal, school leaders and teachers to adopt the mindsets, systems and structures that are characterized by the head, heart and habits approach. Our professional development service is composed of a “sequence” of professional learning days that integrates curriculum implementation, professional learning, and teacher leadership, with a gradual release of responsibility over time. The goal is to create scaled, self-sufficient communities replicating the Teaching Lab Model that serve the needs of educators and students.

Summary of Position

Teaching Lab is seeking a Chief Program Officer (CPO), reporting directly to the Executive Director, to join our Leadership Team and support our organizational mission and growth. The CPO will have several key roles, including leading the creation of original professional learning content across Teaching Lab’s curriculum-specific ELA and math areas, managing a team of 15+ full- and part-time staff that delivers professional learning in sites across the country, and engaging in partnership development efforts and a robust internal learning agenda that will drive improvements to our core model, including evaluating the effectiveness of individual programs and providing ongoing feedback to team members.

Above all, the CPO will hold a high-level vision for improving and iterating on Teaching Lab’s programmatic model by combining internal lessons learned with knowledge of external best practices and research related to the intersection of high-quality curricula and excellent teacher professional learning. As part of this work, the CPO will also be a key member of the Leadership Team, which holds the responsibility for articulating and implementing a strategic vision and driving towards impact on students.

Other responsibilities of the CPO role include mentoring, guidance, supervision, and professional development of key staff and the planning, organizing, operating and staffing of all programs.

Eligible candidates must have deep expertise and skills in managing teams and complex projects and have achieved excellence in teaching and designing professional learning and/or curriculum aligned with high standards. Ideal candidates will have the unique combination of organizational strategic acumen, ability to mobilize people internally and externally, and experience and passion for developing partnerships for improving instruction to achieve educational equity.

Key Responsibilities

Organizational Leadership

  • In coordination with the Leadership Team, manage programmatic strategy and implementation at the intersection of content development, delivery of professional learning, and partnerships to effectively take Teaching Lab from a start-up to a sustainable and mission-achieving organization
  • Provide strategic guidance on content development and service delivery priorities given market and landscape analyses
  • Establish program area and staff goals and objectives on an annual basis, including tracking and reporting results against established goals monthly

Content Development

  • Manage teams to develop and iterate on best-in-class ELA and math professional learning content teachers, school leaders, and district/state administrators
  • Engage Leadership Team in creating a five-year strategic plan for additional curricula, subject areas, and professional learning approaches

Client Management, Program Delivery, and Partnership Development

  • Ensure a seamless integration of client management and program delivery, helping to deepen and extend our partnership work in districts to achieve our mission
  • With Leadership Team, develop and manage partnership development and organizational growth strategy
  • With team, create robust pipeline of new partners and secure new partners aligned with Teaching Lab’s business development strategy and growth goals

Program Learning & Iteration

  • With team, manage the learning and improvement strategy for the organization, facilitating the collection and analysis of key data on enabling conditions, program implementation, and professional learning facilitator/coach quality
  • Facilitate Teaching Lab’s cultural development into a learning organization committed to an iterative and adaptive approach to continuous improvement
  • With content developers and site implementers, develop key learning questions and collect and analyze aligned data that link improvements across professional learning content and professional learning service delivery
  • Coordinate with Leadership Team to develop new program ideas and pilot projects, given data analysis

Management and Mentoring of Key Staff

  • Directly supervise key staff, working closely with team members to build their skill sets so that they can mentor, manage, and motivate all staff and external partners
  • Mentor team members on how to proactively engage in planning to improve program management
  • Create and support a high-performance culture in the program areas, aligned with the core values of the organization
  • Develop a team-based environment to motivate and inspire staff to work collaboratively toward a goal by clearly communicating organizational vision and implementing yearly staff development plans

Core Competencies

Teaching Lab team members bring both relevant experience and commitment to shared values and norms.


  • Bachelor’s degree and minimum 7 years working experience
  • Excellent teaching experience with students from underserved background (2 years minimum)
  • Full-time experience implementing program to improve instructional quality on a medium to large scale
  • Experience successfully managing teams to achieve ambitious goals
  • Experience with implementation of high-quality, standards-aligned curricula
  • Experience in community organizing or related work preferred
  • Experience and successful tenure as a Chief Academic Officer, Chief Program Officer, or similar role preferred
  • Experience developing and implementing strategic plans and overseeing major initiatives, preferably within a school district or state


  • Deep commitment to organizational mission and educational equity
  • Thrives in an entrepreneurial and self-starting culture
  • Superior critical thinking and creative problem-solving capabilities
  • Excellent organizational skills and professional judgment
  • Ability to form credible and lasting relationships with teachers, school leaders, and district and state leaders
  • Compelling communication and influence skills, and a strong commitment to working collaboratively


  • Passionate commitment to educational equity
  • Relentless focus on results for underserved students
  • High bar for quality of work
  • Growth mindset
  • Intellectual depth and curiosity

Working Conditions

This position is eligible for remote work in the continental United States but proximity to NYC or DC is preferred. The position offers flexible scheduling and working location on a daily or weekly basis.

This position will require significant travel (20-30%) based on organizational needs and capacity.

We are committed to building a sustainable organization. We love our work and want to be able to do it for years to come. This means that despite the pace and intensity of a startup organization, we commit to maintaining a balance between work and other parts of our lives.

To Learn More

  • Read about our work in the Aspen Institute report, Practice What You Teach(pg. 9-11)
  • Explore one of the curricula we currently support including:
  • oEL Education Literacy Curriculum(Grades K-5)
  • oLouisiana ELA Guidebooks 2.0(Grades 3-12)

To Apply

Please submit the following to, with the subject line “CPO Candidate: [First Name Last Name]” (e.g., “CPO Candidate: Adam Smith”):

  • 1.A resume & cover letter PDF format
  • 2.A sample work product that highlights your experience and qualifications for this role, as well as a brief description about your role in producing that work product.

[1] Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K.L. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement. Issues & Answers, (33), 1-55.

[2] Johnson SM, Kraft MA, Papay JP. How context matters in high-need schools: The effects of teachers’ working conditions on their professional satisfaction and their students’ achievement. Teachers College Record [Internet]. 2012;114 (10): 1-39.

[3] Ben Jensen, Julie Sonnemann, Katie Roberts-Hull and Amélie Hunter, “Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems” (Washington, DC: National Center on Education and the Economy, 2016).

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