Division Director 1

San Francisco, California
Feb 11, 2020
Job Type

About the Agency

WestEd, a nonprofit research, development, and service agency, works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.

With operating revenues of approximately $173 million, over 800 employees, and 17 offices in the United States, WestEd’s reach and impact is significant; the organization, working at the local, state, and federal levels for over 50 years, develops and disseminates products, and provides a wide range of services, including in the areas of evaluation, research, and intervention strategies – in partnerships with schools, districts, education agencies, foundations, policymakers, and others also committed to education improvement and reform and human development. For more detailed information about the agency, its history, programs, governance, staffing, products, and services, visit www.wested.org.  

WestEd has grown steadily over the past decade through added depth and expansion of projects and services in the area of educational research, policy, and practice. As we look ahead to the future, we seek visionary, collaborative, and creative leaders to support our impact, growth, and positive culture into the upcoming decade.

Brief Position Description

WestEd plans to add three Division Directors who will report to the Chief Program Officer (CPO). The CPO has oversight for ensuring WestEd consistently delivers high-quality products and services, client satisfaction, and impact aligned to our mission and vision. The CPO's office also helps to set the strategic direction and long-term sustainability of WestEd's work, ensures that our primary asset—our people—are supported in their continued growth and development, and that our partners in the Infrastructure departments are engaged in delivering efficiencies and stewardship that ensure the best value for our clients. To support and sustain WestEd's broad range of projects and intellectual capital, we seek individuals for this position with senior leadership experience, a demonstrated depth of expertise in an area of work aligned to WestEd’s service portfolio, and the ability to provide management and strategic oversight for a portfolio of work and team that bridge research, policy, and practice.

With a team of Senior Program Directors, each Division Director will lead and oversee a portfolio of work that includes approximately $50-80 million in annual revenue, a team of 150-200 staff, and over 200 active contracts and grants. The responsibilities of the Division Director(s) include providing day-to-day leadership for substantive project work in one or more of WestEd’s areas of work with particular attention to strategic business development, quality assurance, and talent development. In addition, approximately 20-30% of the Division Director’s time will be dedicated to broad strategic, management, and operational responsibilities aimed at creating a positive culture throughout the Division, contributing to Agency-wide leadership, and developing and sustaining approaches and practices that lead to effective, efficient, and collaborative inter- and intra-Division operations.

This position is new to WestEd’s organizational structure.

The portfolios of areas of work for each Division are:

Division 1: School and district improvement; K-12 special education; English Learners; curriculum, assessment, and instruction; literacy; strategic resource allocation; charters and choice.  Screening of Division 1 candidates will begin March 8, 2020.

Division 2: Early childhood, prevention and early intervention, school culture and climate, social and emotional learning, school safety and justice, broader community-based services for systems-involved youth and adults supporting health and human development.  Screening of Division 2 candidates will begin March 30, 2020.

Division 3: Science, technology, engineering, and math training, evaluation, and research; postsecondary readiness research and support services; improvement and systems design; applied research and research alliances with educational agencies; assessment and accountability.  Screening of Division 3 candidates will begin March 30, 2020.

Applicants must have demonstrated experience and expertise in one or more areas of work within the portfolio of the Division for which they are applying.

These positions will be based at a WestEd Office (list of office locations). Applicants should apply for the specific-Division Director position(s) for which they wish to be considered (Division(s) 1, 2, and/or 3). Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one position but must apply separately.


Programmatic Management and Leadership

  • Advise and support the Chief Program Officer to identify and act on priorities that lead to growth, sustainability, and impact of WestEd products and services.
  • Engage Division staff to develop plans and take actions that contribute to achieving agency goals.
  • Implement and facilitate Division management and leadership meetings to build cohesion and connection that support achievement of Division and agency goals.
  • Serve as primary point of contact with department infrastructure leads and the Division to support efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
  • Directly contribute to the impact and growth of one or more areas of work within the portfolio through the planning, development, and delivery of services.

Agency Leadership

  • Advise and assist Agency leaders in developing effective strategies, policies, and systems to support WestEd’s mission.
  • Serve on WestEd’s Leadership Council and other cross-divisional leadership teams as needed.
  • Build external networks and relationships that promote WestEd’s work and impact.

Talent Development and Management

  • Develop with Division leadership a strategic approach to human capital planning that includes forecasting staffing needs, providing skill building and career advancement opportunities, recruiting and retaining a talented and diverse team of professionals and support staff that meet short-term service needs and contribute to longer-term goals and objectives, and ensuring that managers provide responsive and productive support to staff.
  • Collaborate with the CPO and Senior Program Directors to ensure that professional learning opportunities are available to grow the knowledge, skills, and abilities of staff.
  • Ensure that WestEd Human Resources policies and procedures are followed by Division staff.
  • Supervise, coach, and mentor senior Division staff.

Culture and Climate

  • Establish and support consistent expectations that build and maintain a positive culture and climate for the Division.
  • Serve as a key contributor to the development of a positive and productive Agency culture that promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Finance and Planning

  • In partnership with CPO and Chief Development Officer (CDO), provide strategic leadership including planning for annual investments in new work/talent for the division.
  • Set financial targets and plan for investments for the Division in partnership with Senior Program Directors, includes setting the Division budget and managing the use of program support and business development funds.

Business Development

  • Oversee generation and management of $50M to $80M in annual revenue for the Division.
  • Provide strategic leadership for Division business development in consultation and collaboration with CPO, CDO, and Senior Program Directors.

Quality Assurance

  • Provide oversight for quality assurance, including execution of Division project reviews.
  • Ensure that all initiatives, products, and services are of high quality, meet the needs and expectations of clients, and are delivered on time and within budget.

Qualifications and Characteristics:

An agency Division Director must be an exceptional, results-oriented leader, with established professional networks and a proven track record managing contracts and grants, supervising senior leaders and staff, developing plans for the future, working collaboratively internally, forging productive partnerships, and managing large scale, complex initiatives. 

Additionally, the successful candidate will bring most, if not all, of the following experiences, skills, and personal characteristics to the role:


  • A multi-year track record of senior-level success leading a research, development, and service agency or other relevant organization;
  • Demonstrable, successful experience in change management, contributing to the growth of an organization – including strategic planning and inter-area relationships;
  • Senior-level experience in a role in which success requires working with both internal and external constituents; and
  • Experience as a senior manager skilled in prioritizing, giving productive feedback, delegating, and making decisions across multiple initiatives and projects in the face of aggressive deadlines.


  • Advanced degree/degrees in areas related to WestEd’s mission and work, and/or, extensive, validated, and relevant professional credentials, experience, and success.

The Ability To:

  • Use relationship skills to create and articulate a vision and lead others to execute;
  • Build and maintain collective focus on overall performance of the organization;
  • Make appropriate linkages across complex issues and lead through ambiguity to clarity;
  • Demonstrate superior analytical thinking and decision making abilities;
  • Develop and implement quality assurance systems and processes across program areas;
  • Communicate persuasively and articulately, facilitating discussions and engaging others in collective problem solving and collaboration;
  • Demonstrate excellent communication, listening, presentation, and interpersonal skills;
  • Operate effectively at both strategic and tactical levels;
  • Understand thoroughly projects and work plans and allocate resources accordingly; and
  • Demonstrate excellent and proactive planning and project management skills.

Personal characteristics:

  • Attraction to a mission-driven, results-oriented organization doing significant, exemplary work;
  • Commitment to working with people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and socio-economic levels;
  • Appreciation of and professional orientation toward exemplary client service;
  • Enjoyment working as a member of a team, a supporter of subordinates, and as a strong but fair supervisor of personnel;
  • Ability to understand and work in a professional atmosphere with the presence of ambiguity; and
  • A managerial and operating style well-suited to WestEd – where collaboration, collegiality, humility, civility, good humor, and commitment to high-quality work product are highly valued.

Screening of Division 1 candidates will begin March 8, 2020.

Screening of Division 2 and 3 candidates will begin March 30, 2020.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

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