Sep 14, 2020

Associate, Practice

  • The Aspen Institute
  • Washington, DC, USA
Full-time Community Engagement and Outreach Data Evaluation and Analysis Executive Leadership Other Research

Job Description

Associate, Practice


Position Title:             Associate, Practice 

Program/Dept:          The Education & Society Program            

Position Location:     Washington, DC      

FLSA Status:               Exempt, Full Time     


About the Role:

The Associate, Practice works closely with the Director, Practice & Leadership and the broader Program team to support high quality professional learning, seek and review the best research in the field, and provide project planning support for the networks and aligned activities. They will be responsible for identifying and creating high-quality resources that explicitly address race, equity and racial justice in the education space, and honor the Aspen Institute’s commitment to equity. The Associate, Practice will also manage communication with network participants, as well as other researchers, foundation program officers and academics. We are looking for candidates who are deeply connected to the work of K-12 education, and understand the intersections between K-12 education, equity and racial justice. 


Essential responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Supporting health of practice networks

  • Content Development for Convenings 
    • Research quality, aligned materials and resources for convening content, ensuring resources come from rigorous, diverse sources 
    • Use excellent judgement and a critical eye when collecting and reviewing content through the lens of equity, with particular attention to racial justice 
    • Development of high quality briefing books and aligned materials to support excellent engagement from participants 
  • Project Management 
    • Support overall project planning process for convenings throughout the year
    • Manage and execute on project deadlines, event support, external relationships, and partner relationships
    • Assist in knowledge capture processes for district and other Practice and Leadership  meetings, including but not limited to:
      • Synthesizing trends and themes to create after-action reports and memos
      • Analyze trends from evaluations and interviews to support continuous improvement 
      • Ensure strong follow up for convening participants 

Supporting internal expertise 

  • Assist in finding and identifying relevant content to keep program staff abreast of key issues in the field 
  • Excellent maintenance and management of materials to ensure ease of access for broader Program team, including the Digital Resource Library and database management 
  • Support strong communication between Practice, Policy and other teams 

Supporting external functions 

  • Support fundraising and grant making activities on an as-needed basis 
  • Support strong communication with external partners, on an as-needed basis 


About You:

  • Bachelor’s degree required, higher education preferred 
  • 3-5 years working in the education sector
  • Belief in Aspen’s commitment to racial justice, and passionate about deepening personal practices and knowledge around understanding of power, privilege, and equity 
  • Commitment to increasing high-quality instruction and student experience in public education, especially for students from low-income families and students of color
    • Subject matter expertise in instructional pedagogy, socio-emotional learning, adolescent development, and/or adult learning preferred 
    • Understanding of K-12 systems change and potential barriers to change at the macro level
    • Solid understanding, interest, and comfort with education policy; enthusiastic about finding intersections and opportunities to integrate and intersect policy and practice discussions
  • Excellent project management skills, including but not limited to organization and facilitation of meetings, managing multiple timelines and leading teams to successful completion of multi-layered projects 
  • Strong research and analysis skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including but not limited to distilling salient points into summaries and drafting professional correspondence 
  • Committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across all functions, engagements and relationships 
  • Once travel and convenings are a part of Aspen’s program again, ability and willingness to travel up to 20% of the time. Occasional night and weekend work required, usually as part of planning or execution of site visits


About Us:

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program (Aspen Education) improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy and practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for students of color and students from low-income families. Aspen Education supports leaders at all levels, from networks of urban superintendents and their teams, to state chiefs and their cabinets, to elected officials and their staffers.

Aspen Education is focused on:

1)     Advancing a richer vision of student success that integrates the social, emotional, and academic dimensions of learning as essential to advancing equity;

2)     Transforming education systems so that they can sponsor and model exemplary learning and continuous improvement practices;

3)    Developing education leaders to achieve transformation in learning, equity, and efficacy;


4)    Understanding and addressing poverty in America by fostering connections across education and: housing, health and nutrition, transportation, and criminal justice policy and addressing the impact of race and racism on opportunity in America. 


And does this work by:

1)     Hosting thought-provoking convenings of diverse leaders from the district, state, national and federal levels that create powerful learning experiences that support and make explicit connections across policy and practice;

2)     Developing resources and tools for national, state, and local policy makers, practitioners, and philanthropy leaders to disseminate lessons and promising practices in a non-partisan, non-ideological way;

3)     Cultivating and fostering partnerships to inform and challenge our thinking, surface and spread promising practices and recommendations, and share and apply our resources and tools.


About the Work:

Aspen Education has developed multiple strategic networks to encourage and facilitate high-impact relationships among practitioners. Those networks include the Urban Superintendents Network, the Chiefs Network, and other workshops built around key questions in schools and school systems. 

The Urban Superintendent network brings together a group of Superintendents from prioritized districts and states, and is meant to facilitate high quality professional learning and professional collaboration. The Chiefs Networks is focused on Chief Academic Officers and Chief Schools Officers. The Practice & Leadership team manages projects complementary to the network, that investigate and inform solutions to complex problems with broad implications for the field. Strong collaboration, alignment and continued conversation between the networks, projects, advisors, and partner organizations is key to achieving our desired impact. 

We are collectively responding to the concurrent crises of COVID-19, racism in America, and diminished civic discourse. Education leaders, their staffs, and policy leaders will need time and space, information and data, new ideas and innovation to help them rise to the moment. Incumbent leaders must shift mindsets and build new competencies to understand effective engagement and empowerment of those most affected by these challenges: rising generations, people of color, and people from low income backgrounds.


Aspen Education has proposed a set of five principles for developing and evaluating policy that:

  1. is centered on equity in both content and process,
  2. takes a holistic and coherent approach,
  3. is aligned with science,
  4. is oriented toward a long-term vision for success, and
  5. embeds an innovation and learning Agenda


The Education and Society Program team, with the Associate’s contribution, will work to define a strategy that strengthens and advances the overall strategic objectives, focused on creating impact, coherence, and connection across activities as well as recognizes opportunities to connect with the Policy team. 


To Apply:

To apply, please visit {LINK}. Applicants must submit cover letter and resume. The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. Compensation is commensurate with experience. 


Aspen Education is committed to ensuring the diversity of our team. While not a minimum or mandatory qualification, we strongly encourage candidates of color, those who identify as Native American, women, people of low-income backgrounds, those who are differently-abled, and those with first-hand experience of education inequity to apply for this role.


Apply Now