AERDF Program Director Application Now Open | Learn More

Program Director Opportunity

What is an AERDF Program Director?

An AERDF Program Director contributes uniquely to the field of Inclusive R&D in education by designing and running a bold and ambitious R&D program at AERDF. Program Directors are critical leaders who advance AERDF’s mission to tackle intractable teaching and learning challenges that disproportionately affect Black and Latino students and students of all races experiencing poverty.

What makes a great AERDF Program Director?

Individuals should:

  • Have an incredible passion for creating positive change and solving intractable problems in PreK-12 education
  • Lead with a community-oriented mindset and collaborative approach to the work
  • Show an ability to execute and lead a time-limited, brave, bold initiative, and seek help when needed
  • Exhibit flexible thinking, with the ability to think outside one’s specialty, have a “perpetual beta” mindset (always improving), and value diverse views
  • Have professional and/or lived experience connected to our priority communities.
  • Believe deeply in AERDF’s mission

What makes a great AERDF Program Idea?

  • “AERDF Brave” – an idea that will significantly change the future of education in 10-20 years for Black and Latino students and students of all races experiencing poverty
  • “Scale of the Problem” – an intractable problem that, if solved, will have significant impact on teaching and learning outcomes at scale
  • “Promise of the Opportunity” – new approaches and breakthroughs are created through novel insights, evidence, and plausibility of a step-change breakthrough (rather than incremental progress)
  • Deep understanding of the idea’s dynamics, risks, evidence, and consideration to scale
  • Outstanding alignment to AERDF’s mission and priorities

How does a Program Director lead?

Upon joining AERDF, a Program Director will be given support and time to develop their idea into a full, detailed Program Plan.  After a Program Plan is approved, Program Directors lead the design and execution of outreach, advisory groups, Request for Proposals (RFPs), and field engagement to form teams and projects under the program.  After project selections, a Program Director develops each project’s technical milestones with the project teams (either internal teams or selected awardees and partners.)  The Program Director is responsible for leading projects from beginning to end including advising, adjusting the scope, or phasing out projects. 

What is a term-based tenure? 

Programs at AERDF are intentionally time-capped to run for 3-5 years to ensure we are continuously sourcing new, “AERDF Brave” ideas and leaders. Thus, a Program Director serves for 3-5 years in a term-based role to answer an urgent call by bringing a new program idea to life and seeing it through specific milestones. The structure of the employment is therefore unique, and the goal is to enable Program Directors to commit to a time-limited tenure at AERDF leading a bold, Inclusive R&D program and be able return to their positions and organization upon the completion of their AERDF role, if they so choose. The exact model varies with each individual and their current organization. 

Meet our Current Program Directors

APPLY OR NOMINATE SOMEONE TODAY

Ready to LEAD?

  • Start your journey to becoming a Program Director:
    • At AERDF, we know preparatory privilege limits who typically lead major initiatives in education. In our community, we’ll provide coaching and resources to develop leaders who have professional/lived experience connected to our priority communities.
    • After submitting your application, you may receive:
        • Resources for shaping your idea
        • Office-hours and webinars with AERDF staff
        • Membership in a collaborative group of values-aligned leaders in the growing field of Inclusive R&D
    • You may have the opportunity to:
      • Apply for a fellowship position at AERDF, which includes:
        • A financial stipend
        • 1:1 coaching
        • Cohort-based fellowship
        • Space to think long-term about the future of education
    • Frequently Asked Questions & Full Program Director Application

Have a candidate recommendation?

Have an IDEA, but not in a position to lead a program?