Principal Consultant, Effective Organizations and Investments

$140,000 - $200,000 yearly
  • Education First
  • Remote
  • Feb 16, 2022
Full time Education: (i.e. Schools/Colleges of Education) Education: Jobs K - 12 Public Administration & Policy Positions Outside Academe Other Executive

Job Description

Education First is recruiting a dynamic, innovative and accomplished leader to join our “Effective Organizations & Investments” (EOI) consulting team as a Principal. The Principal position is a senior leader who helps shape and set strategy, manages and coaches team members, cultivates strong partnerships, leads individual client engagements and contributes to the firm’s success and sustainability by identifying and selling mission-aligned work. We seek a leader who is committed to creating more equitable, high-quality education systems and who has a demonstrated track record helping system and organization leaders craft policies, implement practices and change cultures to make progress toward this goal.

The Effective Organizations and Investments (EOI) team is one of three operational “home teams” at Education First. Our team is driven by the belief that education, nonprofit, system (K12 and higher ed) and philanthropic leaders want to identify better strategies and co-create more durable capacity for making education systems truly equitable. By working with these leaders as advisors, we contribute knowledge and capacity to build stronger organizations that are better able to improve the outcomes of Black, Indigenous and other students of color. Through dozens of client engagements over the course of the year, we look for ways to help organizations become more effective at addressing education disparities and to help philanthropies more effectively invest resources to increase equity.

Principals at Education First have diverse and outstanding networks of relationships with decisionmakers and influencers in the field, and they are comfortable leading business development, cultivating relationships and partnerships, selling projects and coaching others to sell projects. Principals also are deeply skilled in understanding and addressing issues of racial equity; overseeing the quality of research, work products and service to clients; and coaching, developing and empowering team members to consistently deliver with excellence.

The Principal for Effective Organizations and Investments will: 

  • Skillfully support executives in education systems (K12 and postsecondary), state agencies, foundations and nonprofits focused on advancing Black, Indigenous and other students of color, English learners, students with learning differences and students whose learning needs are intersectional across these and other dimensions to advance strategies that improve student access, equitable support and achievement
  • Develop and use tools and strategies to assess client needs, lift up research and emerging practices and solve persistent and pernicious problems clients face, across a wide variety of issues and with special attention in the next several years to redesign systems for team members and organizations to more effectively support student/educator outcomes and wellbeing post-pandemic
  • Create policy and spending guardrails, planning tools and templates for states and education systems to use COVID-19 stimulus funding for multiple years of recovery and redesign that addresses students’ unfinished learning, emotional wellbeing and continued pursuit of postsecondary education and training
  • Support and coach funders in developing investment strategies and plans that can have the greatest impact in the COVID recovery environment. Nurture and support networks of funders with common interests to learn, test and explore the needs of students and the organizations that support student advancement
  • Support and coach innovators to reimagine organizational and institutional structures through equitable design; integrate talent, financial and organizational culture with strategies to grow thriving organizations with a greater impact on the lives of students
  • Support system leaders to operationalize Education First’s commitment to coherence, bringing down silos in school systems, regions, states and organizations that can impede progress and in order to advance a focused set of strategic priorities for student graduation, postsecondary credential and degree attainment and options for careers of value in the marketplace
  • Refine, publish and present Education First’s point of view on leading an equitable and coherent strategy, illustrating points of synergy and alignment between coherent strategy and thriving organizations, strategic investment and outcomes for students at multiple levels 

Principals serve as senior leaders and strategists within the firm. Principals oversee the development of solutions for the firm’s clients and help position and market the firm as a leading thought partner to the nation’s most effective school reformers. The primary responsibilities of the Principal for Effective Organizations & Investments include:

  • Develop a vision/point of view and execute service offerings for foundations, nonprofits, educational institutions and systems (districts, CMOs, postsecondary) and state education agencies that aim to help and to create greater coherence and integration particularly around college-readiness, pathways and completion
  • Build long-term relationships with thought leaders, influencers and clients around the nation
  • Serve as accountable project leader on a variety of client engagements, supporting project managers to set and monitor project work plans and drive the project to completion at or under budget 
  • Manage business development planning and execution to meet our growth goals
  • Identify new clients, especially education institutions, systems and funders, with whom we should partner
  • Build and deepen client relationships with a sales goal of at least $500,000 in the first full year and growing to at least $1,000,000 in future years through a combination of new business and expanding, extending or renewing existing client projects
  • Oversee successful projects, including building capacity in and advising clients, and ensuring that project deliverables meet our excellence standard, including research plans, strategy and program documents, policy memos, briefs, status reports, interim reports, technical reports, presentations, abstracts and manuscripts 
  • Mentor, guide and manage team members; support inclusive project teams that challenge and empower all team members to grow and reach their potential  
  • Coordinate regularly with the project manager and client to ensure project success, including budgeting, planning and regular reporting against the contract, and providing and seeking feedback from the client and team members 
  • Contribute and deliver content for the firm's website, policy papers, newsletters, op-eds, press releases and public speaking engagements

Preferred and Required Qualifications

Experience & Qualifications

  • 15+ years designing, implementing and/or advocating for successful education policies designed to improve P20W education outcomes for young people, with at least 5 years at a major school system, higher education institution or system, or as an engaged funder
  • Previous management or leadership roles in a school district, charter network, postsecondary institution and/or state education agency is essential
  • Experience with consulting, providing technical assistance or leading strategy development is a plus
  • Strong, existing network to cultivate for sales and experience building strong relationships among philanthropic partners and thought leaders in the field
  • Experience fundraising and/or selling project work, developing budgets and managing projects
  • Strong belief in the need for and power of cross-functional management and collaboration inside public agencies and large organizations
  • Experience cultivating trusting relationships and authentically engaging with system actors, particularly those whose voices have traditionally been marginalized
  • Experience in designing and refining system level strategy and planning, especially developing strategic plans and/or implementing and adjusting strategies based on data
  • Experience understanding, creatively using and securing federal, state and/or private philanthropic funding streams to advance priorities
  • Experience designing or participating in high-value, high-leverage networks or communities of practice 
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects and budgets under tight deadlines and to develop team members to consistently meet excellence standards
  • Demonstrated experience managing people, especially those at different points in their careers and from a mix of diverse cultural identities, and working with diverse communities
  • Ability to translate client materials/documentation into tools and products for a broader field
  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in public policy, public administration, business, education, Juris Doctor or related fields preferred


Who You Are

  • You are committed to the vision of a more equitable education system in the U.S., including a willingness to examine the role of privilege, structural barriers, and inclusion in changing the trajectories of students furthest from opportunity
  • Unwavering in your commitment to improving student learning and achievement and moving education systems beyond the status quo
  • You are committed to building a Race Equity Culture within our organization
  • You have a history of bringing varying groups of stakeholders together to help them seek strategic common ground
  • You are a strong, inclusive project manager
  • You can lead through ambiguity to create clear structures that deliver high-quality results to clients
  • You take initiative to resourcefully solve problems while anticipating and adjusting for the unexpected 
  • You are proactive in anticipating and adjusting for unexpected barriers to success
  • You are self-motivated and results oriented
  • You take ownership of your own development and derive satisfaction from supporting others to grow professionally
  • You provide and receive feedback with ease
  • You lead by influence – establishing open lines of communication and understanding and including the perspectives of others

Application Details

We are excited to receive applications from a broad range of applicants as we grow our team to better reflect the diversity of the communities our firm is committed to serve. Enthusiastic candidates should submit their resume and their responses to each of the following prompts within the application portal, in lieu of a cover letter:

  1. What brings you to Education First and what knowledge and skills would you bring to Education First to advance our work in the Effective Organizations and Investments areas of focus?
  2. Tell us about a time when you were responsible for managing resources (e.g., people, time, money) for a project. What resource adjustments did you make? How did you communicate forecast updates?
  3. Tell us about a project that you managed that involved overseeing others’ work. How many people were on the project team and what were your responsibilities in relation to the other project team members?
  4. Education First has a commitment to RIDE (Race, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) principles in how we operate internally and our work with clients. What are your reflections on how our RIDE commitment is reflected in your own personal values?


We do not expect you to spend a lengthy amount of time completing each question. Instead, we are looking for succinct responses (no more than 1-2 short paragraphs per question). 

We plan to conduct interviews and share performance tasks with select candidates on a rolling basis. Ideally, we’d like our new Principal to start by July. Please, no phone calls, emails or other inquiries.

When inquiring or applying for positions at Education First, please also reference

Application Deadline

May 20, 2022