EF+Math Program releases new Insights Report

Wanted: Your Recommendations for New Board Members

Wanted: Your Recommendations for New Board Members

By Stacey Childress and Marvin Smith


We’ve got exciting news to share and are seeking your help! Our governing board at the Advanced Education Research and Development Fund (AERDF) is undergoing planned transition and growth and we hope you will recommend talented leaders in your networks as candidates for a number of open seats.

In July we announced the launch of AERDF, a homebase for Inclusive R&D programs aimed at tackling persistent teaching and learning challenges that disproportionately affect PreK-12 Black and Latino students and students of all races experiencing poverty. 

Our first two ambitious programs are focused on dramatically improving math learning and reimagining assessment. To reach their goals, our program teams provide funding to teams of educators, researchers, and developers who then work together to translate fundamental insights from learning science into more useful and effective practices, approaches, and tools that support breakthrough results for students. (You can read more about the work of some of our R&D teams working on math here.)

We’ll announce a third Inclusive R&D program later this month and then engage deeply with the education field throughout 2022 to identify additional ideas that could become programs in the future.

In the meantime, we’re asking for your ideas about people who could be great members of our governing board. In our July launch webinar, we shared our excitement about the opportunity to reconfigure our initial board over the next year. 

Three of our current board members will step out of their governing roles as soon as is feasible, ideally by the end of this year. Each of these members is on the staff of an anchor donor that has made a large commitment to our fund, which totals $200 million. Their commitment to independent governance is just as important to our long-term success as their financial support. These three members (Sara Allan, Bror Saxberg, and Caleb Offley) will be replaced by independent members who bring a range of perspectives and skills to help guide the organization in these early stages. 

We will also add three new seats throughout 2022, which will increase our board to nine members, none of whom will represent our anchor donors. 

Here’s where you come in. We’re counting on recommendations from folks like you – educators, parents, students, researchers, developers, district leaders, advocates – to strengthen and expand our candidate pipeline for these open seats. We’ll recruit members from this pipeline on a rolling basis over the next 9-12 months.

You can review board member responsibilities and candidate attributes here, where you will also find a recommendation form. We’re committed to building a diverse board in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, background and experience, generational, political affiliation, and geography within the U.S. Here are a few things we’re looking for:

  • Experience in classrooms, schools and communities, working directly with students, educators, and families
  • Expertise in one or more areas of research and learning science, with a particular focus on translating insights into useful practices and supports for students, teachers, parents, and caregivers
  • Experience in workplaces and/or governing boards that are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Understanding of education policy at the local, state, and/or federal level
  • Broad understanding of curriculum and education technology markets, especially with awareness of how and why they have failed to provide equitable and effective learning supports for students

Our approach to governance prioritizes decentralized decision making about programs, projects, and grants. The board advises on big picture strategy in alignment with our mission and works with our executive team to ensure we have the resources, policies, talent, and relationships to execute well. A few important aspects of this include:

  • Each of our program teams make the decisions about which Inclusive R&D projects they will fund in support of their goals. Each team creates advisory groups with relevant context and content expertise and engages them in their decision processes, but the AERDF board does not participate in these project funding decisions.
  • Our board members will help us attract and steward financial resources, but they are not expected to give to the organization personally or represent the interests of any donor in the boardroom.
  • As an R&D organization, we will learn as we go. In this spirit, as its membership grows and evolves, the board will have an opportunity to reflect on its work and refresh our approach to governance based on lessons learned.

We are eager for your help in developing our board member candidate pool! Remember, if you want more information about who we are looking for you can find it here. If you are ready to share a candidate, you can go straight to our recommendation form. Thanks in advance for your input and ideas!