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Aurora Institute

Chief Operating Officer

Type: Full-time

Program Area: Operations

The Aurora Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Aurora is shaping the future of teaching and learning for more than 14 million students through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. Aurora works on systems change in K-12 education, identifies root causes in structures, promotes best practices, examines policy barriers, and makes recommendations for change. Aurora has a national and global view of education innovation and lifts up promising policies and practices that yield improved outcomes for students. Aurora envisions a world where all people are empowered to attain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to achieve success, contribute to their communities, and advance society.

Through its strategic policy work, research, field-building and knowledge creation, and convening and connecting education leaders, the Aurora Institute has established itself as a leading voice and trusted source in the field of K-12 education. It is particularly recognized as a leader in the field around education innovation policies and practices. Partner organizations, systems leaders and policymakers across the country rely heavily on the Aurora Institute’s thought leadership and policy expertise.


The Aurora Institute is seeking a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to lead its full time, remote team, oversee talent operations and performance management, ensure the organization’s budget and revenue strategies are aligned, and provide senior-level guidance and support to the CEO. The ideal candidate for this position will be: a strong interpersonal leader who knows how to hire, coach and manage a high performing team; a relationship builder who can manage up to the CEO and board as well as support and guide the team members under their supervision; a systems-thinker who can evaluate and develop improvements for internal tools and processes; and a seasoned talent leader who is deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and is prepared to put those principles into action in every facet of the organization’s operations. This is an exciting opportunity for someone passionate about finding innovative solutions to the equity challenges our nation’s education systems face to help lead the field in developing answers that will lead to long-lasting change. The Aurora Institute staff work remotely so this position is geographically flexible.


Key Responsibilities of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) include:

  • Leading the Aurora Institute staff, remaining deeply committed to developing and bringing out the strengths of all team members while holding them accountable for their goals and the organization’s desired programmatic and financial outcomes;
  • Owning talent management and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives, serving as the internal lead on best practices and ensuring the organization brings an equity and inclusion lens to hiring, coaching, retention and performance management as well as a DEI focus both internally and externally through strategic pillars and programs;
  • Aligning “on the ground” execution of the Aurora Institute’s work to its policy, research and field-building goals, including ensuring that its programs, culture, operations and team engagement practices are highly effective and tightly aligned to the organization’s mission, vision, values and goals;
  • Support the CEO and Board of Directors in crafting a new, long-range strategic plan and developing ways to measure its impact.


To fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal Chief Operating Officer (COO) will be:

  • Passionate about the Aurora Institute’s mission and vision of transforming education systems and accelerating innovation to ensure high-quality learning for all students;
  • An entrepreneurial leader who is able to make decisions that drive towards results, with a track record of success in the education, nonprofit, and/or private sector;
  • An experienced people manager, with expertise in effectively managing and coaching their teams and developing strong performance management systems;
  • Deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and knowledgeable about how to put these principles into practice in every facet of the organization;
  • Culturally competent and a self-reflective leader who understands the effects of race, class, ethnicity, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and other issues of difference in society and is able to lead direct conversations about them;
  • An exceptional relationship builder who can create connections with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders;
  • Experienced in working effectively with other C-level leaders and a Board of Directors;
  • Skilled in strategic planning, project management, and organization; able to focus on key organizational priorities without losing sight of the details;
  • Comfortable overseeing finance, operations, and contract management for an organization of similar size.


The Aurora Institute provides competitive compensation and benefits. More details can be provided upon request.


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Aurora Institute is an equal opportunity employer and an organization that values diversity. Recruiting staff to create an inclusive organization is a priority, and we encourage applicants from all backgrounds. Candidates are evaluated solely on their qualifications to perform the work required.