Director of Policy and Research

Director of Policy and Research

About the Position

The Education Trust-Midwest (ETM), a nonprofit education policy, advocacy, and research organization located in southeastern Michigan, seeks a Director of Policy and Research to drive the organization’s ability to impact state-wide initiatives by ensuring high-quality data analysis is leveraged to impact policy, advocacy and collaboration.  The Director is a key member of ETM’s senior leadership and management team and strategic leader within the organization.

About the Organization

The Education Trust-Midwest promotes high academic achievement for all Michigan students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. The organization is a well-respected and influential research, policy, advocacy, and technical assistance organization that works alongside parents, educators, policymakers, and community and business leaders in transforming Michigan schools and colleges into institutions that serve all students well. Lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, shape our Michigan-focused research and policy agenda. Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those who are black, Latino, American Indian, or from low-income families—to lives on the margin of the American mainstream. Launched in the fall of 2010, ETM is the Midwest division of national The Education Trust, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For additional information on The Education Trust-Midwest, please visit

Major Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the role include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategy and Internal Leadership:
    • Collaborate closely with ETM leadership and teams to develop and execute strategy for accomplishing the organization’s short- and long-term research and advocacy goals.
    • Develop and execute a strategic plan for policy, research, and data and technical assistance partnerships that advances ETM’s mission to raise the achievement of all Michigan students and close achievement gaps.
    • Lead the policy and research team in developing policy recommendations on our core issue areas and generate ideas for new policy areas and lines of advocacy work that promise to raise achievement and close gaps.
    • Supervise and support the development of the members of the policy and research team
  • External Engagement:
    • Represent ETM in external presentations, including to the Legislature, advocacy organizations, education groups and at major conferences.
    • Convene and serve as the organization’s spokesperson in tables of advocates, practitioners, and key state-level decision makers around policy topics, providing data and policy expertise and effectively building knowledge and advocating for equitable and effective policy decision-making.
    • Identify new grant opportunities and contribute to grant writing, tracking, and reporting as well as developing and maintaining relationships with potential and established philanthropic partners.
    • Develop and maintain relationships with external research organizations, universities, and governmental entities and other stakeholders as needed. Work collaboratively with our Government Affairs and Communications teams to monitor and respond to federal, state, and local policies and research relevant to Michigan’s students, including serving as a media spokesperson on those issues.
  • Research and Policy:
    • Initiate, develop and manage new research projects from design through analysis to presentation and communication of findings, with quantitative data from large scale datasets, as well as with qualitative data from schools and districts that have improved or are working to improve.
    • Work collaboratively with fellow staff members in Michigan, as well as the Washington, D.C. and California offices, to monitor federal, state, and local K-16 policy and quickly respond to legislative and regulatory proposals, inquiries from allies, and other rapid-response opportunities to develop the organization’s position and case to the media and beyond.
    • Serve as one of ETM’s lead researchers and writers in the development of research briefs, reports, and technical assistance briefs that are aligned with our mission and priorities.

Qualifications and Experience

We are looking for a combination of the following qualifications and experience:

  • Deep commitment to educational equity and high achievement for all students, particularly for African American, Latino, Native American and low-income children.
  • A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in education policy or research. Additional experience as an educator – in teaching or school leadership – or advocacy is strongly preferred.
  • Advanced degree in education research, education policy, or related fields.
  • A mix of strong analytical, research, and communications skills, with an emphasis on the ability to creatively apply research to policy problems and communicate solutions, both orally and in writing.
  • Deep knowledge of state and federal education policies, including but not limited to school funding and resource equity, teacher quality, standards-based reform, and school accountability
  • Experience building and developing diverse, inclusive teams grounded in trusting relationships to support team member growth and achieve mission impact
  • Strong data analysis skills, including experience working with large scale datasets; familiarity with student assessment data a plus.
  • Expertise in Microsoft Excel required; preferred experience in statistical analysis package such as STATA or SPSS.
  • Experience with nimble, iterative research and policy development; excited by – and able to manage flexibly– short timeframes, competing priorities, and high-stakes challenges
  • Effective project management skills to deliver work on time and on budget through detail-orientation, collaboration across internal teams and external partners, problem anticipation and mitigation
  • Ability to travel throughout Michigan

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this role starts at $113,000.  The Education Trust-Midwest offers a comprehensive benefits package – including medical, dental, vision, disability, life insurance, flexible spending account options, a 403(b) plan with employer match, and generous vacation time. Paid holidays include the week between Christmas and New Years and most federal holidays.

Location: Southeast Michigan

Application Process

Applications can be submitted here and should include the following:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter (Include summer availability timeframe)
  • Writing sample (No more than five pages, sections from a longer paper are suitable)

The Education Trust-Midwest is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in all facets of the organization’s work.

The Education Trust Vaccination Policy 

At The Education Trust, the health and safety of our employees is of the utmost importance. As such, all Education Trust employees are required to be fully vaccinated and remain up to date on their vaccinations for COVID-19. New hires should be fully vaccinated and up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations prior to their first day of work. Requests for accommodations due to medical or religious reasons will be reviewed by Human Resources.