Director of Programs and Innovation - San Francisco, CA - Full time


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About the Opportunity:

This opportunity has huge potential for lasting impact. You’ll join a fast-moving, nimble team and work directly with the Chief Program Officer to create, prototype, improve, and ultimately institutionalize the model by which can maximize impact with partners in local regional communities. This role is perfect for someone who likes to take on an organization’s toughest and most complex questions, and is excited to own projects from high-level vision- and goal-setting to nitty-gritty task completion. Ultimately, given the high priority and scope of your work, this role will give you opportunities to learn and grow in all facets of building a world-class digitally-enabled product that attracts, engages, and cultivates millions of users to consider and pursue the teaching profession.

Since is a rapidly-evolving organization with an ~80% work-from-home environment, you must also be comfortable in an environment of uncertainty, be self-motivated, and possess a strong work ethic and excellent communication skills. Sometimes you will have specific instructions, while other times your only guidance will be, “figure out the best way to…” Ultimately, your ability to problem-solve, be resourceful, and quickly learn will help you achieve strong results.

For the first 8-12 months, you will primarily work from home, but you will focus on innovating and achieving results within the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area, where we believe the conditions are best for developing our model (e.g., we have strong on-the-ground partners there). You will take the lead in creating and testing tools and strategies that, once optimized, can be handed off to others to replicate and maintain in regions across the country. Essentially, as you seek to achieve concrete results, you will also be drafting the future “playbook” for all future regions to utilize. Specifically, the goals of this first 8-12 month engagement are to:

  • Maximize the number of prospects (e.g., individuals interested in teaching) who submit an application to one or more teacher preparation programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth region (where TEACH’s first formal partnership with regional organizations is established) by June 2018.
  • Based on your results from the above bullet point, develop a perspective on’s “Regional Program Model” and create and codify the systems and processes for how can efficiently scale your model to other regions across the country.

Approach to the work:We believe deeply in both the design thinking and lean startup approaches, and are looking for someone who operates in the same way. As such, we have some concrete thoughts of where you’ll start and what the role may look like in the first month, while the activities you’ll engage in after that may evolve, since they will be dictated based on what you learn.

  • The start (e.g., month 1): Testing and developing a product prototype. After onboarding with, when you’ll learn about the work we’ve done and insights we’ve gained to date, you will start with testing a prototype of a tool aiming to support individuals who have decided they want to start the application process for a teacher preparation program to actually take the steps necessary to submit an application by the deadline. The prototype seeks to address three user needs: (1) Knowing the requirements and steps to apply to a specific teacher preparation program, (2) Getting friendly encouragement and nudges to complete those steps, (3) Finding resources and guidance to complete any given step. Your job will be to operationalize a low-fidelity prototype, and then start testing it with users that you recruit. Accomplishing this will require you to utilize a wide range of skills, including:
  • User recruitment
    • Draft mass marketing emails and/or other types of content to recruit users
    • Identify and support partners who can refer users to us
    • (If needed) Conduct other recruitment, from 1-on-1 outreach to group events
    • (If needed) Design incentives and promotions to recruit
  • Prototype creation
    • Create user-facing and back-end tools, systems, and processes (likely utilizing Google Docs and other off-the-shelf tools) to create a low-fidelity prototype
    • Research and decide on a mass text messaging platform to use
    • Research application processes for DFW-area teacher preparation programs and codifying them as specific steps in our checklist framework
    • Curate or create helpful resources or content for support with specific steps of the application
  • Program execution
    • Oversee the day-to-day implementation of the prototype (e.g., confirming new users, triggering notification / reminder emails and text messages, updating and maintaining templates)
    • Respond to user questions and proactive conducting user outreach to offer extra support and gather feedback on the prototype
    • Establish and maintain relationships with partners/collaborators (e.g., teacher preparation programs) to maximize the impact of the prototype
  • Roadmap for future direction
    • Ensure we are continuously collecting the quantitative and qualitative data we need, and periodically synthesize key findings to inform decisions for what we prioritize next for the prototype
    • Create and maintain a comprehensive roadmap of improvements and additions to the prototype, prioritized based on need, potential impact, and cost
  • The middle (e.g., months 2-8): Innovating on tools and programs
    • Prototype iteration. Once we’re up and running, your on-the-ground experiences and the data we’re getting back will inform where we go next. If we’re having trouble finding enough test users, we’ll focus there until we have enough. If we have enough users but engagement with the prototype is low, we’ll address that. If we have users engaging with the prototype but running into other barriers, we’ll figure out how to test expanding the feature set or content of the prototype to address those barriers. If nothing is working, we may completely change course. To ensure we’re making as quick progress as we can, you’ll be keenly attuned to diagnosing the riskiest or weakest area of the prototype and doing whatever it takes to de-risk or resolve the issue before moving onto the next most important issue.
    • Interfacing with our product development team. Assuming the application checklist prototype is successful and worth further investment, you will play a key role in collaborating with our product development team to create a custom-coded, higher-fidelity, version of the tool that you can then further test, improve, and scale. Your early prototype testing will directly inform the specifications and requirements for the higher-fidelity version. This likely would start in late 2017. Once this improved version of the tool is available, you’ll migrate existing and recruit new users to use it.
    • Other initiatives. While we expect this prototype to be the major focus early on, and potentially the entire year, some of your capacity will be devoted to exploring other opportunities and initiatives we believe will increase the number of applications to teacher preparation programs in the DFW area. Depending on the opportunities that arise, and how successful the application checklist prototype is, the amount of time you spend on these other initiatives could vary significantly. However, the overall goal (maximize DFW applications) and approach (rapid prototyping) would remain the same.
  • The finish (e.g., months 8-12): Institutionalizing insights and new projects. By Summer 2018, you will have accomplished the two goals outlined on the first page. Through your intensive building and testing, we hope to have a strong enough tool and “playbook” for launching and maintaining it in new regions. And while this project will conclude after 8-12 months, there is a strong likelihood that we will invest in new projects that may be similar (e.g., R&D, product development, user testing) or quite different (e.g., account management, new site launch), and success with this project will position you well for a number of future opportunities.
  • Key Qualifications:
    • Passion for the mission of - someone with your skills and experience could be applying them in lots of places, but you’ve chosen because you believe in our mission
    • Entrepreneurial - you’re excited to operate in an uncertain environment, build from scratch and be responsible from start to finish
    • Action-oriented - you can rigorously hypothesize and analyze when necessary, but you know quickly trying things in scrappy ways often gets you further faster
    • People person - you are great at building relationships with college students and adults who might have an interest in teaching
    • Ultra-organized - you love juggling lots of balls at the same time (without dropping them)
    • Logical problem solver - when you encounter a tricky decision, you’re able to cleanly define the issue and break it down into sub-issues, logically identify root causes and aligned potential solutions, prioritize the best path to take, and have a plan for evaluating whether or not your solution is working
    • Fast learner - you’re not going to have experience in all the potential areas this role might take you, so being able to quickly learn is a must

    Other Skills you may rely on and/or develop:

    • User research
    • UI / UX Design
    • Copywriting
    • Digital Marketing
    • User Recruitment and Retention
    • Program Design & Execution
    • Event/Experience Design & Execution
    • Product Management
    • Stakeholder Management

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    Product Management

    Experience Level

    Mid Level is leading a cross-sector effort to raise the status of the teaching profession, identify and inspire the next generation of teachers, and support them along their journey to becoming teachers. 

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