Director of Academics and Innovation

Silicon Schools Fund - Oakland, California - Full time


The Silicon Schools Fund is one of the country’s most dynamic foundations on the cutting-edge of education. As a venture philanthropy fund, Silicon Schools provides seed funding and strategic support for high-performing and diverse education entrepreneurs who are creating new schools. We are passionate about creating more great schools for students, especially students who would otherwise not have good options for their education. Our mission is to increase the number of high-quality schools in the Bay Area while discovering the best new ways to run classrooms and run schools to better meet the needs of each individual student. Founded in 2012, Silicon Schools has raised over $70M to pursue this mission. We have supported over 50 schools, and we are on pace to provide a high-quality education to over 30,000 students by 2021. Across all the schools we support, students bring tenacity and excitement to their education and have reached impressive levels, performing at the 73rd percentile of the state and far out-performing the state average and all comparison groups. We also care deeply about issues of equity and inclusion, both what students experience in their schools and amongst the leaders founding new education organizations. For more information about our work, the great schools that have been launched, and our beliefs about the potential of each student please visit our website at


The Silicon Schools Fund is now adding a key team member focused on the academic performance and innovation of the schools in our portfolio. The ideal candidate has likely been a successful principal of a high performing school or similar experience in an education organization focused on excellent student outcomes. The ideal candidate is passionate about teaching and learning and excited to work across a portfolio of schools to push for greater learning and more innovative practices.

The Director should bring expertise in key areas such as: instructional leadership, coaching and feedback, academic rigor, personalized learning, school culture, social-emotional learning, user-centered design, and diversity, equity, and inclusion to support the schools we help fund and launch. The Director of Academics and Innovation will both help lead our diligence for investing in new educators to launch new schools, while serving as the main point of contact and support for approximately ¼ of the schools we currently fund.

This position offers an exceptional opportunity to develop professionally, work deeply in the field of personalizing learning, and rapidly develop expertise alongside the most innovative school models in K-12 education in the country. The Director should have a fierce desire to roll up his or her sleeves and to work both strategically and on the ground to have the deepest possible impact. Our organization is in a strong position, with solid finances and a deep network across the Bay Area and country, while still being young and nimble enough for team members to be entrepreneurial and develop new programs and approaches.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Serve as point person for approximately one-quarter of our portfolio schools providing thought-partnership, direct feedback, coaching, and connections to our grantees
  • Build out our strategy for academic supports, curating external partnerships and working to ensure the best academic outcomes and innovative practices across the portfolio
  • Gather data and analyze trends from schools that inform our overall strategy
  • Manage our annual fall visits to each portfolio schools
  • Support strategic communications with the board and key funders connected to academic and operational supports
  • A successful first year in this role for the new Director will look like:

  • Execute our existing strategy to provide academic supports to our portfolio and then create an improved strategy for subsequent years to increase academic outcomes in our schools and develop more innovative models.
  • Curate best-in-class external resources and partnerships to provide support to schools in our portfolio.
  • Establish trusted relationships with schools in the portfolio to provide valuable input and guidance, so that the Director is sought out by portfolio members for their advice and support.
  • Learning all the systems and methods we use as an organization to identify future founders, conduct thoughtful diligence, and provide support during the process of launching and running a high performing, personalized new school
  • Qualifications

  • Highly successful school leader with outstanding outcomes, particularly for low-income and diverse student populations
  • Have a clear instructional leadership lens, knows how to improve academic outcomes, and has successfully coached others towards higher levels of student achievement
  • Have knowledge of design principles that lead towards more innovative school models
  • Strong strategic thinking, communication, and creative problem-solving skills
  • Exceptionally efficient, committed to excellence, and great attention to detail
  • Familiarity and interest in personalized learning and more innovative school models
  • Personal Qualities

  • Excited to work in an entrepreneurial, self-directed environment, creating own opportunities and work streams. Focused relentlessly on getting great results.
  • Flexible and nimble, willing and able to bring structure to tough and ambiguous strategic questions and then executing against the plan.
  • A great team member, with a deep belief in putting the team before individual.
  • Trustworthy with strong integrity and an optimistic, can-do attitude.
  • Location: Oakland, CA with some travel within the San Francisco, Bay Area

    Why Silicon Schools Fund

  • A team that is passionate about our mission with the autonomy to innovate.
  • An incredible network of schools that are national proof points for innovation, and are run by incredible educators who are our closest partners in the work.
  • Access to the best leaders, thinkers, and funders working in education in the country to help team members grow personally in knowledge and expertise.
  • Highly competitive salary and generous benefits package designed to attract and retain the very best talent.
  • Excellent balance of strategy work to influence the sector and on the ground experience.
  • To Apply

    If this sounds like a potentially perfect fit for your expertise and interests, please email Rob Schwartz ( with a brief but personalized cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile and let us know why you are potentially a great fit for this role and team.

    The Silicon Schools Fund is an equal opportunity employer and an organization that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Recruiting staff to create an inclusive organization is a priority, and we encourage applicants from all backgrounds. Candidates are evaluated solely on their qualifications to perform the work required.

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    K12 School Operations

    Experience Level

    Mid Level

    Silicon Schools Fund

    Silicon Schools Funds the creation of new schools in the Bay Area that foster innovation and personalization to discover the next generation of schools in America.

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