Apr 04, 2019

Research and Knowledge Development Associate

  • Transcend
  • Flexible
Full-time Data Evaluation and Analysis Research Education Remote/Virtual Role

Job Description

Start Date: Immediate

Role Type: Full-time

Location: Flexible

Who We Are:

Transcend is a national nonprofit that leads innovation in school design in close partnership with visionary school operators around the country. We focus on innovation in every aspect of the holistic design of schools—from the aims of school, to students’ experiences, to the use of time, to the roles of educators and families and surrounding communities, to physical space, and much more—to prepare all students for far greater success in the 21st century.

We do this through:

  1. developing and replicating new school model designs, in close partnership with visionary school operators (in district, charter, and independent schools)
  2. building a diverse, cross-disciplinary force of talent for the sector, who can perform the deep R&D needed for school innovation
  3. building and sharing actionable knowledge for the sector on how to do school model innovation and change management

As a Research and Knowledge Development Associate, you will help us answer some of education’s thorniest questions: How can schools make learning fun and rigorous? How can schools provide students with the right level of autonomy appropriate to their development? What assessments most effectively gauge the evolution in students’ social emotional skills? The results of your work will be used to inspire the design of curricula, staffing, policy, and so much more both within and beyond Transcend!

The Nitty Gritty

  • Surface and synthesize research and best practices, drawing from various sources including:
    • Written material such as peer reviewed and professional journals covering a range of fields (e.g. education, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, adult learning, organizational theory, change management, etc.) as well as high-quality white papers and research summaries from Transcend’s peer organizations
    • Conversations with luminary researchers and leaders at other organizations tackling similarly thorny problems
    • Interviews and observations with school operators whose students are achieving amazing results academically, socially, emotionally, and beyond
    • Artifacts from Transcend’s work with school partners
  • Create comprehensive and rigorous yet concise and accessible deliverables based on research to support the work of school design teams and share with the larger education sector
  • Think critically and creatively about the research surfaced, the content and format of each individual deliverable, and how deliverables relate to each other to ensure the creation of products that are thorough, useful, and cohesively aligned
  • Test the accessibility and usefulness of deliverables and adapt them based on user feedback

Who You Are

You are deeply curious. As you go about your day, you see a million questions just begging to be answered—and, when something grabs your interest, there’s no stopping you! You have a black belt in Advanced Internet Super Sleuthing; in fact, when others see a “dead end,” you see an opportunity to get creative. For you, it’s part of the thrill. And while you always get your answer, not just any answer will do—it’s got to stand up to your rigorous standards. Of course, you realize finding your answer is only half the battle. You also have to share it, and share it well! To do this precise and simple language, compelling visuals, and powerful organizing frameworks are your tools of choice--with them you can disentangle wicked problems, connect a dozen dots, and make the opaquest ideas crystal clear. Before you’re satisfied, the Notorious RBG would be proud to argue your answer in court: it’s got ironclad evidence, complex ideas have been made simple, and it's wrapped in a narrative that would compel even the biggest skeptic. Tell your mama that the questions you help answer have the potential to be your legacy—they will transform education as we know it!

Sample Day in the Life


  • You start your day by getting on Slack to see what’s happening across Transcend, you message the Knowledge team with a couple of questions that are percolating in your brain, you see a super interesting resource shared by the Yellow Hats League related to assessing social emotional learning (SEL) and save it for later
  • You join a call with a school partner to better understand what they are hoping to learn about competency-based instruction and assessment approaches
  • You draft a quick work plan based on your school-partner call and find time to discuss it with the whole Knowledge team later in the week
  • You check in with your home-base manager and get feedback on the SEL assessment deliverable you outlined last week


  • You join a Transcend-wide call to get to know team members more deeply, build relationships, and reflect on our work
  • You spend part of your afternoon digging into the topic of SEL assessment by reading the resource you found on Slack that morning and then searching for additional resources through Google, on the websites of other organizations you know are doing great things, and through ProQuest
  • Your spend the rest of the afternoon reading some of the new resources you found, updating your outline on SEL assessment, and making a list of individuals you want to set up calls with
  • You make some time to review the agenda for a call with a different school partner happening in a few day and you set a reminder to draft some additional questions for the call so you can really harvest great learnings about the new conscious discipline approach they are trying
  • You close out your day by responding to some emails and Slack messages, including some great ideas from your team shared related to the questions you posted that morning


  • Noteworthy experience researching (e.g. you’ve refined research questions, conducted literature reviews, and have compiled and presented findings to stakeholders)
  • Experience working in or with PK-12 education organizations as a teacher, school leader, member of a school support organization, researcher, etc.
  • Excellent organizational, planning, and time management skills
  • Remarkable aptitude for looking critically at disparate information, drawing meaningful conclusions, and constructing conceptual frameworks that bring everything together
  • Exceptional writing skills punctuated by the ability to communicate complex ideas in precise, simple, well-organized, and accessible ways
  • A knack for finding ways to communicate complex ideas with simplicity and grace, especially for audiences of school practitioners
  • Proven experience thriving in ambiguity and in dynamically changing contexts
  • Aptitude for internalizing the goals of a client or project and working iteratively to improve on deliverables until goals are met or exceeded

The Benefits

As a Research and Knowledge Development Associate at Transcend, you’ll have opportunities to:

  • Develop resources (e.g. lit reviews, case studies, other medium) that may be published on Transcend’s website
  • Influence the next breakthrough ‘school’ models
  • Work closely with Transcend’s Build Knowledge team
  • Contribute on the cutting-edge of school model design

To Apply

Are you excited about identifying research and finding practice-based examples that can influence the redesign of “schools”? If so, please attach a resume (or digital equivalent) and one work sample that showcases your ability to synthesize information and other strengths relevant to this position to your application.


We’re an equal opportunity employer, and hire without consideration of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability. We strongly encourage all candidates to apply.


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