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Senior Program Officer, K-12 Narrative

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Multiple locations
Posted on Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

The Team

The vision for the foundation’s US education work is to ensure that all students in the US have access to educational opportunities, from Pre-K to postsecondary, that enable them to develop the knowledge, skills, and agency needed thrive as adults and contribute to their communities. Within K-12 education, the foundation focuses on math and – given the opportunity gaps – specifically focuses on increasing the number of Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds (“priority students”) who are prepared for and complete Algebra 1 by the 9th grade, so they can be ready and able to progress through higher level math in high school and beyond.

The foundation aims to improve math education in this country by increasing the quality of instructional materials so that they are more motivating and engaging for students – particularly priority students – and ensuring that teachers have high-quality supports to use those materials well. Our investments reach nationally, but we also focus within four states: California, Florida, New York, and Texas given the large populations of priority students in those states.

Your Role

The Senior Program Officer, Narrative role is responsible for partnering with the USP Communications team to lead and manage the process of reshaping collective attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs around K12 Math Education and the K12 Math Strategy, in support of awareness, adoption, and enactment. This role will challenge and reframe existing narratives that have hindered innovation in teaching and schooling. Recognizing that narratives deeply influence behaviors and educational outcomes, the role will design and implement tactics to foster new stories and perspectives, using tools like convening, public campaigns, and collaboration with educators, systems and partners.

What You’ll Do

  • With USP Communications, lead K-12 narrative development among key systems and proximate collaborators; highlighting partner work; and building momentum and hope about math improvement in our partner states and nationally. Through creative content, new partnerships, convenings and campaigns, build the case for the importance of math and making math more relevant, engaging and joyful, including through building demand for high quality instructional materials and professional learning among educators (with other partners TBD).
  • Serve as the foundation’s K-12 narrative lead, defining a portfolio focused on what partners need to know over time to help shift math education through the foundation’s key levers and priorities.
  • Support efforts to shape narrative around math education to orient it around the need for innovation, high-quality instructional tools and materials, professional learning, math pathways and evidence-based practices and supports.
  • Partner with USP Communications and Measurement, Learning and Evaluation to develop and refine our narrative learning agenda and strategically invest in MLE efforts that provides data (quantitative and qualitative) that allows us to learn, improve, support partners, and provide rigorous reporting on progress, etc.
  • Contribute narrative content expertise to feedback loops across K12 teams, including the infusion of narrative work into investments with a focus on R&D (product features and AI), Solutions (core and supplemental curriculum), Enactment (district networks and professional learning), Enabling Conditions (partner engagement), and Policy and Advocacy.
  • Represent the foundation to key program-related external constituencies, as appropriate, on committees related to area of expertise and responsibilities of the position.
  • Negotiate, implement, and manage complex portfolio of investments. Review letters of inquiry and proposals and provide clear, concise, and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding.
  • Consult with grantees and other partners to improve impact of projects and ensure investments are meeting strategy goals. This may include site visits, providing operational guidance, and convening meetings of key partners.

Your Experience

Core Knowledge & Expertise

  • Effective Narrative Building and Critical Messaging - crafting clear, persuasive, and engaging narratives suitable for different platforms; ability to shift and reframe narratives in response to new information, challenges, or changing environments.
  • Relationship Building – establishing and nurturing relationships with a range of team members, partners, and organizations; navigating disagreements or misunderstandings in order to advance work.
  • Research and User Insights – qualitative and quantitative research skills; analytical skills to interpret data, identify patterns, and translate these into actionable insights; ability to present insights in an accessible and actionable format for decision-makers and partners.
  • Public Goods Creation and Dissemination – ability to generate and/or curate high quality, usable resources; knowledge of standard methodologies in open resource creation and distribution
  • Continuous Learning: willingness to keep up with the latest trends, tools, and methodologies in communication, education, and public good generation; and capacity for self-reflection and openness to feedback for continuous improvement.

K-12 Team Core Knowledge & Expertise

  • Exhibited commitment to and ability around inclusive design and equity-centered approaches to investing (using USP Equity Guiding Principles).
  • Exhibited commitment to and ability around engaging organizations and leaders proximate to the work.
  • Math content and pedagogical knowledge or ability to access.
  • Ability to remain focused on the long-term vision and invest in orgs that can complete the mission (vs. us advising the day-to-day work).
  • Ability to manage complex partnerships (internal and external).
  • Ability to synthesize large volumes of information into clear recommendations and decisions.
  • Curious, continuous learner attitude that can build on the strengths of others to achieve optimal impact.
  • Proven track record of leading and influencing others in a constructive manner and to build and sustain collaborative relationships.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.

Experience & Other Attributes

  • Advanced degree with 10+ years of experience, or equivalent experience. Experience in K-12 and/or higher education.
  • Recognized internally and externally by the professional community as an expert within a particular specialized field.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

The typical salary range for this role is $149,800 to $278,700 USD. The exact offer will be determined by a variety of factors such as the candidate’s individual skills, qualifications, and experience relative to the requirements of the role.


Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We strive for a global and cultural workplace that supports ever greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — and we support this diversity through all our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.