Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives

The NEA FoundationWashington, DC
Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for EDUimages

About The NEA Foundation

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.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

The Opportunity

The NEA Foundation seeks a collaborative, creative, equity-focused, outcomes-oriented, deeply knowledgeable, and passionate trailblazer to lead the Foundation’s Programs and Strategic Initiatives Group. Reporting to the President & CEO, the new Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives (EVP) will develop, design, and implement grant programs, awards, and strategic initiatives. Additionally, they will cultivate strategic partnerships and investments to advance the Foundation’s mission: to promote the best in public education. This leader will also be deeply engaged in national conversations regarding educational equity and justice, and will prioritize the sharing of best practices related to impact, sustainability, and scalability with the field writ large.

Leading the Foundation’s Programs and Strategic Initiatives Group, the right candidate for this position will bring an exceptional capacity for thought partnership in further development of the Foundation’s existing and emerging strategies to advance educational equity, excellence, and opportunity. Chiefly, the individual will bring deep knowledge of grantmaking, education systems, best practices, communications, and the roles of both educators and educational partnerships in advancing the best in public education. In this role, the EVP will be expected to engage comfortably in and contribute to the national conversation about educational equity and justice, specifically about the roles of educators and educational partnerships. This leader 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, a commitment to servant leadership, 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 EVP of Programs and Strategic Initiatives.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Planning, Strategy Development, and Grantmaking Leadership

  • Works in collaboration with the President & CEO and outside experts to develop and implement effective strategic initiatives and other programs associated with the Foundation’s mission and vision
  • Provides strategic leadership, vision, and oversight of all Foundation initiatives and annual grantmaking
  • Works with the staff across the organization to ensure evaluation and measurement plans are effectively implemented for Foundation programs and strategic initiatives, and to develop a strategic learning agenda and processes
  • Leads Strategy Officers in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing strategic initiatives consistent with the Foundation mission as well as providing recommendations for future work
  • Oversees the majority of the Foundation’s grantmaking process and application resources based on the approved budget and specific allocations to the various initiatives and reviews the use of time and budget resources
  • Reviews and approves grants that fall within the delegated approval guidelines and recommends other grant recommendations for approval by the President & CEO
  • With President and other executive leaders, engages with the board of directors providing updates and progress reports and responding to emerging priorities and needs
  • Provides support in the planning and presentation of funding initiatives as directed by the President & CEO

Team Leadership and Mentorship

  • Serves as the direct supervisor of at least three Program Officers, an SVP of Communications, one program associate, and one database coordinator
  • Builds and maintains a team that shares 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 change makers, and how to implement effective strategies with partners
  • Contribute to the team’s development and refinement of criteria to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of a strategy portfolio
  • Supervise the Foundation’s Communications team and work closely with the Development team to identify, produce and/or review various content related to the Foundation’s projects, grants, and initiatives
  • Motivate and inspire a diverse and cohesive team, ensuring a culture of equity, support, transparency, collaboration, strong communication, accountability, and inclusivity
  • Provide proactive engagement with all team members around their professional development, career goals, and growth plans

External Engagement

  • Represent the core mission, objectives, and values of the Foundation at conferences, symposia, and meetings to advance the Foundation’s strategic agenda
  • Conducts site visits to maintain clear communications with constituents to evaluate the impact of grants and programs
  • Assists in establishing the Foundation as a recognized leader – with innovative and creative approaches – in education reform
  • Prepare high-quality written materials for external audiences as well as Foundation management and Board of Directors
  • Develop and maintain effective professional relationships and partnerships that advance the Foundation’s goals
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

Ideal Candidate

The EVP should be a nimble, outcomes-driven thinker, as well as a leader with a collaborative spirit and the willingness to take smart risks in order to advance knowledge of effective educational practice. They should bring a deep personal commitment to, and experience with, education practice and policy, and an appreciation for the challenges that practitioners face in the field with an eye towards justice and equity.  Successful candidates may also bring prior classroom or system-level leadership experiences.

The EVP 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. This leader should also have strong supervisory skills.


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 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)
  • At least 10 years of extensive experience in education focused grantmaking and program design in an educational setting, ideally focused on public education and other progressive work
  • Deep 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
  • Intimate 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
  • Breadth and depth of knowledge in leading-edge best practices and pedagogical trends, familiarity with contemporary research in the area of teaching and learning, and an inquisitive disposition that seeks to build on an existing knowledge base
  • Experience leading and managing research in areas related to the Foundation’s grantmaking, and an ability to implement work
  • A nuanced understanding of issues related to diversity, 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.
  • Proven ability to define program objectives, evaluate progress, and independently manage projects
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Superb supervisory skills and experience managing teams
  • Independent initiative and a collegial spirit in sharing ideas and receiving feedback
  • Excellent 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
  • The ability to facilitate dynamic conversations and serve as a spokesperson for the Foundation
  • The highest level of interpersonal skills including; excellent listening, tact, patience, humility, flexibility, courtesy, and the ability to work effectively in a diverse team environment

The individuals filling these positions will report to the President & CEO and will be based in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this role is $160,000-$180,000 based on years of experience and ensuring pay equity within the organization. NEA Foundation offers a generous benefits package including comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance, paid time off, life and disability insurance, and retirement plan.

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 via the “Become a Candidate” button. Letters may be addressed to Martens Roc. 

Applicants applying by September 29th will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled.

Executive Vice President of StrategyThe NEA FoundationWashington, DC

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by The NEA Foundation to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Martens Roc
Managing Director
Direct: 202.993.7616

Celene Haque Tanner
Engagement Manager
Direct: 206.462.6189

Tonisha Idowu
Senior Associate
Direct: 202.753.9075