Open Position

Research Director

About the Organization

Mission: Pivot Learning is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to partner with educators to design and implement solutions to their greatest challenges in achieving educational justice.

Vision: We envision a future where our public schools provide our most underserved students with an outstanding education.

Our Work: In partnership with our subsidiary the Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE), we work with educators to co-design strategies for great teaching and learning that are rooted in evidence; support implementation through high-quality, evidence-based, and experienced professional services and project management; and design scalable solutions to develop sustainable practices for continuous improvement, and effective, ongoing management.

Theory of Change: We believe that in order to achieve real improvement in student outcomes, we must collaborate with educators to design agile solutions, measure their effectiveness and potential for sustainability and scalability and deploy them in our nation’s neediest schools.

About the Position

At Pivot, we look for talented and inspiring colleagues who believe in public education and the imperative to support schools to innovate and improve. We are currently seeking a Research Director to join the Pivot team. This is a new position that will oversee a portfolio of applied research projects, lead Pivot’s broader efforts to measure our impact and learn from others, and manage a 3-person team.

As the organization’s senior-most research expert, this position will be responsible for shaping a vision for research and evaluation at Pivot, executing that vision, and overseeing a set of applied research projects. Pivot is in the process of finalizing our new theory of change, which includes an increased focus on assessing the impact of our own programs; the Research Director will be involved in setting those metrics and operationalizing the new theory of change. The main responsibilities for this position are:

  • Leading the development of an internal learning agenda for the overall organization, measuring progress, and identifying opportunities to enhance Pivot’s services.
  • Ensuring Pivot has robust systems in place to measure efficacy of Pivot’s programming, and to make the necessary programmatic adjustments.
  • Overseeing data collection and analysis for a small portfolio of grant-funded applied research projects, primarily focused on curriculum implementation.
  • “Translating” extant and emerging evidence of effective education practices into Pivot’s programming.

This is a full-time, Exempt position, reporting to the Chief Growth and Impact Officer. Candidates for this position can be based anywhere in the US. Pivot is headquartered in Oakland, CA, however all staff are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate Bay Area staff having the option to return to an in-office setting at a future date.

Travel (car and air) will be required for this role, including regular travel, once regular travel resumes post-pandemic.

Key Responsibilities

  • Lead development of Pivot’s learning agenda and strategy, including developing and managing systems to measure impact, output and outcome indicators. Establish structures and routines for collaboration, learning, and programmatic adaptations to foster a learning culture and improve impact of services to school/district partners.
  • Oversee all research and evaluation projects, including research/evaluation methodologies and progress towards goals. Regularly review data collection processes, perform data quality assessments, and make adjustments as needed. From time-to-time, projects may also include policy research and analysis.
  • Manage and develop Pivot’s research team, currently comprised of 3 staff. Oversee any external research or evaluation partners (e.g., third-party evaluators).
  • Build and maintain relationships between internal staff, external collaborators, and district-/school-level participants to effectively implement all aspects of the Research and Evaluation team’s vision and responsibilities.
  • Partner with the heads of Pivot’s 3 programmatic areas to develop a common set of approaches to evaluate complex internal and external projects, including the creation or adoption of systems, processes, and tools necessary to gather useful data for improving programmatic efforts and for stakeholders to improve their practices.
  • Publish research and evaluation efforts as white papers; present findings to Senior Leadership, potential funders, researchers and practitioners; and guide the development and distribution of meaningful strategic communications and/or products.


  • A passion for Pivot’s vision and mission, an enduring commitment to public education, and a desire to deepen Pivot’s impact. A deep understanding of institutional and structural discrimination and bias, and how racial and other inequities impact outcomes for historically underserved students.
  • Graduate degree in a related field, and a minimum of 10 years of experience with progressive responsibilities in policy research, applied research, and/or program design and evaluation, including defining, measuring, and reporting on impact and implementation metrics in K–12 education.
  • Knowledge of existing and ongoing research in the education sector, particularly regarding improving teaching and learning. Familiarity with education policy in California and nationally is a plus. Thorough knowledge of current educational best practices and theory related to research and evaluation methodology.
  • Proven capacity to communicate data, in writing and verbally, in accessible and engaging ways that inspire action. Very strong writing skills and track record of writing policy papers, research reports, and other relevant publications.
  • Solid analytical and statistical analysis skills, and ability to use SPSS/STATA, qualitative analysis packages (or comparable), and MS Excel.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work collaboratively and effectively with colleagues, educators and partner organizations across geographies and time zones.
  • Stellar people management and development experience and skills, with a track record of leading and developing an engaged, diverse, and effective small team.
  • Demonstrated ability to use project management approaches, tools, systems and processes to manage and monitor progress towards short- and long-term goals.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and ability to thrive in a fast-paced and changing environment.
  • Other equivalent combinations of relevant experience and training will also be considered.

Compensation and Benefits

Pivot Learning offers a generous compensation package, including medical/dental/vision insurance, 403b, vacation leave, sick leave, paid parental leave, and 15 paid holidays.


If you would like to apply, please send your resume and a cover letter to or submit it using the form below. Please indicate the position title in the email subject line. In your cover letter, please comment on how your skills and experience align with this position, and how you heard about this opportunity.

Diverse candidates are strongly encouraged to apply; we welcome applications from persons of every race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, culture, ancestry, religion, national orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, and for whom English is not their first language.

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