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Aurora Institute

Program Director

Type: Full-time

Program Area: CompetencyWorks


The Aurora Institute is a 501c3 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 in K-12 education nationally 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 the future of education innovation and lifts up promising practices and policies related to personalized, competency-based education 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.

Recognized as a leader in K-12 education systems change, Aurora drives and catalyzes policy and practice innovation for personalized learning, competency-based education, and student-centered learning ecosystems at every level. Aurora has published more than 100 reports and issue briefs on transforming the education system and leads the field’s largest annual convening focused on student-centered system transformation. Partner organizations, systems leaders, and policymakers across the country rely on Aurora’s thought leadership and policy expertise. For more information, please visit


The Aurora Institute is seeking an experienced and passionate strategic leader to join our team and become the Program Director of the CompetencyWorks initiative, a knowledge-building hub dedicated to advancing the field of K-12 competency-based education (CBE) nationally. Drawing on lessons learned by innovators and early adopters, CompetencyWorks shares knowledge and a variety of perspectives through many channels on important issues, trends, and lessons learned for advancing competency-based pathways across K-12 education.

The Program Director will lead Aurora’s work sharing promising practices shaping the future of K-12 personalized, competency-based education. Working collaboratively with the President/CEO, the Research Director, and other senior leaders, the Program Director will be responsible for identifying trends, conducting and facilitating research that answers critical questions facing the field, and disseminating those findings widely. Through writing, site visits, researching, presenting, networking, and consulting, the Program Director will inform, encourage, and support the development and scaling of personalized, competency-based learning systems and next-generation learning approaches.

This role is an exciting opportunity for a senior-level, experienced education leader to play a leadership role at the Aurora Institute and in the field of competency-based education nationally. It is a full-time position with the opportunity to work virtually. For more information on the Aurora Institute, please visit


The Program Director will be responsible for the following:

  • Partner with the President/CEO to develop and execute strategy for accomplishing the Aurora Institute’s short- and long-term goals for the CompetencyWorks initiative.
  • Serve as a visible national expert on and advocate for competency-based education. Inspire and serve as a resource to partners in the field.
  • Manage and serve as lead writer for reports and the CompetencyWorks blog. Manage and provide oversight to any consultants and guest authors and other contributors to Aurora’s knowledge-building activities.
  • Write original issue briefs and papers on challenging and emerging issues in the field to build new knowledge on future-focused practices in K-12 personalized, competency-based education.
  • Participate in site visits to competency-based K-12 schools and districts. Publish blog posts and case studies on lessons learned from visits.
  • Analyze the field of K-12 competency-based education. Conduct an annual analysis of the status of the field and present findings to diverse stakeholders nationally.
  • Represent CompetencyWorks and present Aurora’s work to external audiences including at national conferences and high-level events and meetings with funders and partners.
  • Publish a monthly newsletter updating the field on new CompetencyWorks and Aurora Institute resources and activities.
  • Contribute to grant proposals and reports for CompetencyWorks.
  • Plan, design, and oversee webinars, sessions for the Aurora Institute Symposium, and special events highlighting competency-based education.
  • Lead the CompetencyWorks Advisory Board, a group of national experts that meet periodically to advise Aurora’s competency-based education initiatives and strategic direction.
  • Manage an annual field coordination call that convenes competency-based education organizations nationally to map activities and discuss key issues in the field.
  • Create an annual Work Plan for CompetencyWorks, aligned to the Aurora Institute Strategic Plan 2022-2025.
  • Ensure that all products reflect Aurora’s values of being student-centered, equity-driven, future-focused, credible, knowledge-driven, and collaborative.


The ideal candidate for this position will possess many, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, competencies, and personal qualities:

  • Passion for the mission of the Aurora Institute, a belief in the power of education systems transformation to change lives, and a strong commitment to equitable and culturally responsive education.
  • Deep knowledge in the field of K-12 competency-based education required.
  • Demonstrated high-level, knowledge-building skills for K-12 education with experience writing reports, making presentations, and communicating with a variety of audiences.
  • Leadership experience with a demonstrated ability to synthesize the work of a variety of stakeholders around a common goal.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and manage multiple, complex projects concurrently while managing external relationships and meeting deadlines.
  • Exceptional writing, editing, and project management skills.
  • Strong relationship building skills and a demonstrated ability to share a new vision with audiences in a way that inspires action.
  • Good judgment, humility, and a belief that a collaborative approach leads to stronger products.
  • Experience working in K-12 schools as an educator, school leader, or other roles relevant to the position.
  • An ability to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Experience with and knowledge of the nonprofit sector.
  • Minimum of seven years of work experience relevant to the position.
  • Master’s degree or doctorate in education or a field related to the position.


This position offers a competitive salary range of $110,000-$140,000 and robust benefits including full health benefits (including medical, vision and dental), 403(b), and life and disability insurance. More details can be provided upon request.

To Apply

Please submit a resume online at For additional questions about this position or to speak with someone about your interest, please contact Serena Moy at [email protected].

To download a copy of this job opening, click here.

The 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.