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Aurora Institute

Policy Director

Type: Full-time

Program Area: Policy

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, promotes best practices, examines policy issues, enablers and 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, action research, field-building and knowledge creation, convening and connecting education leaders, the Aurora Institute is 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, school systems leaders and policymakers across the country rely heavily on the Aurora Institute’s thought leadership and policy expertise.

In addition to its other strategic initiatives, the Aurora Institute has a Center for Policy that leads the evolution of policy necessary for the transformation of education systems in states, districts and communities across the country. The ultimate goals of this work is to push education systems toward the goals of high quality, equity, access and dramatically improving student learning to close the achievement gap and ensure every student has access to high-quality, world-class learning opportunities for lifelong success. To achieve this, we work with state policymakers to enable innovative education systems to prepare all students for a lifetime of success. From 2017-2020, the nonpartisan Aurora Institute Center for Policy supported more than 100 policymakers across 41 states to build understanding of the historic opportunities to redefine student success and redesign education systems focused on equity, quality, and excellence.


The Aurora Institute is seeking a Policy Director to: lead the Center for Policy team; conduct policy analysis, provide strategic guidance, shift minds and offer recommendations; provide targeted technical assistance to and build strong relationships with elected officials and education policy leaders; build partnerships and collaborate with sister organizations and coalition partners toward scalable systems change; develop advocacy strategies in different key states with sensitivity to different contexts, communities and local wisdom; and publish blogs, briefs, and reports for advancing thought leadership in the field on key issues for collective action.

The ideal candidate for this position will have significant experience with: advancing state-level policy; executing on strategic advocacy with strong communication skills, experience delivering testimony, and strong research and writing skills. Experience in education policy issues including school finance and funding, redefining success, education innovation, student-centered, personalized, competency-based education, advancing equity and/or rethinking assessment and accountability are preferred. This person will bring an equity lens and a strong determination to dismantle systems of inequity in K-12 education. This is an exciting opportunity for someone passionate about finding innovative solutions to the 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 Policy Director include:

  • Serve as the policy and advocacy lead, working closely with the CEO and other team members to create advocacy strategies and work plans and develop and disseminate resources for advancing the field toward global best practices;
  • Conduct policy analysis, develop new policy frameworks, issue briefs, and reports, engaging the field, key education organizations and coalition partners to collaborate on developing strategic policy guidance;
  • Lead the Aurora Center for Policy and serve as a public advocate for the organization’s mission, vision and priorities by offering strategic policy guidance, providing resources, analyzing legislation, policies, and programs, testifying before committees, and responding to requests for information from policymakers and education system leaders.


To fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal Policy Director 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;
  • A seasoned professional who has extensive experience addressing state education policy issues around education transformation and systems redesign, with experience working in one or more of the following capacities: state government, legislative branch, government relations, education policy, legislative affairs, with state and/or federal K-12 education policy expertise;
  • Skilled at understanding and navigating relationships with local, state and federal stakeholders, and tailoring the approach as appropriate;
  • An organized manager with a coaching orientation who can oversee team members to execute projects with time-sensitive and often competing deadlines;
  • Knowledgeable about the K-12 state education landscape, understanding the mechanics of state policy development and the relationship between communities, localities, states and the federal government around education issues;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • Skilled in strategic planning, project management, and organization with the ability to meet deadlines and manage heavy workloads amidst other daily priorities;
  • Culturally competent and a self-reflective individual 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;
  • A strong relationship builder who can create connections with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders.


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


This search is being conducted by Edgility Consulting. Please visit for more information.

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.