Director, Academics, New Opportunities
Director, Academics, New Opportunities
Location - Cambridge, USA preferred, Nairobi, Kenya and other Bridge sites considered. This role involves significant travel - expect 75%.
Who We Are
Bridge partners with governments, donors, and parents to ensure that every child has access to an education that develops her full potential and creates the foundation for prosperity for the country. We are dedicated to supporting teachers, empowering school leaders, and ensuring every child has the learning support needed to master the national syllabus and have the confidence to succeed in a competitive world. Each of our project or country teams are supported through expertise and programming from additional offices around the world, combining world-leading expertise in core design areas with locally resident leadership and execution. We leverage experts, data, and technology in order to support and scale every aspect of quality education delivery. Bridge managed and supported schools are technology enabled and data-driven to ensure accountability in the classroom for both teachers’ performance and children’s learning.
The Bridge model delivers significant learning outcomes at large scale by combining technology and customized learning materials. At Bridge, we believe innovation and technology can transform learning. Our model – which uses technology to deliver thoroughly researched and carefully designed daily lesson guides to teachers in our academies – is proven to increase learning outcomes for children. We are a solutions-driven, implementation-focused organization, using design principles to work in varied and often highly constrained contexts to ensure learning outcomes and positive development for children. Working in regional and national scales is important to us, as empowering entire generations of children with the core knowledge, skills, and confidence is what builds the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future for us all.
Our mission is to provide our pupils with life-changing education and we believe that every child should have a right to a world-class education regardless of her family’s income. Core to our approach is the conviction that every child can learn, as long as the school she attends is committed to her development and puts her needs to learn at the forefront of all decisions. We have seen teachers and children transform and excel in both government and private schools that we support and manage.
We invite you to join this incredible endeavor that is having a world-changing impact across multiple continents. You will join a team of dedicated change-makers committed to ensuring that each decision we make keeps a child’s experience of learning as its guiding principle.
The New Opportunities Group
New Opportunities brings the majority of our extensive breadth of technical expertise to ensure large scale transformation of education systems into one team. This team kick-starts new programs in new countries. Each member of the team is responsible for a core area of expertise, and then setting up all work and functions related to that expertise in the new program/new country. This includes putting all relevant policies, practices, systems and technology in place, and leading the hiring of the leader who will take charge of this work as the permanent lead for this body of work. This is Bridge’s SWAT team, with specialists brought together to solve the critical and urgent problem of launching a state or nation-wide new program. This team must work collaboratively, thrive in creating order out of chaos, and understand that proactive problem solving is a daily task. All members of this team should expect extensive travel to remote and underserved areas, and to be resident in 2 other locations per year, setting up new programs. When not deployed on starting a specific program, each team member will do work with the core technical team which he or she represents, to support special projects, deepen technical knowledge, and otherwise advance in the field. This team is critical to Bridge delivering on our shared vision of transforming the lives of 10,000,000+ children, and in so doing seeing peace and prosperity where we work.
The objective of Academics is to drive student achievement. To do so, we must know -- what is happening minute-by-minute for the typical child. The student’s daily experience, and thus the path to achievement, emerges from their relationship with the teachers and the content that is delivered in the classroom. Our team is collaboratively organized around these levers. We develop rigorous content pitched at the right level for students to be delivered by a teacher who is prepared to succeed in the classroom. Our Instructional Design department builds the content; our Leadership & Development department trains teachers and school leaders using scientifically-proven techniques; our Learning Innovation department looks at cutting-edge research to generate breakthrough learning gains. Underpinning all of this is the work of the independent Measurement and Evaluation group, which provides Academics with an empirical orientation toward improving that daily experience and, in turn, driving achievement.
About the Role
The Academic Director for the New Opportunities group is responsible for the successful debut of all academic programming in a new territory. The inaugural cohort of schools in any territory could range from the 100s to the 1000s, and every single school must be prepared to deploy a world-class academic programme from Day 1. This work will include researching all aspects of standard academic programming in the new market, then working closely with Shared Services to develop the “Academic Plan” for the new programme, which details how our standard offering is adjusted so that learning might thrive in this new, particular context. This plan will cover course offerings, textbooks, assessment design, daily timetable, co-curriculars, and more. In this role, you are also responsible for initial technical consultation with government curriculum leaders. Eventually, you will hire your permanent replacement for this market, ensuring (s)he is set up to succeed even after you leave to begin work in another new market.
What You Will Do
● Spearhead the debut of the entire academic programme in this new territory, leading all academic work that ensures the best possible learning experience for this new cohort of pupils
● Learn the status quo academic programme inside and out
● Conduct desk research to learn about the standard academic programme in the new market
● Conduct field research to gather initial data about teachers and student abilities in the new market
● Write the Academic Plan for the new market through thoughtful merging of the standard academic programme and the particular needs of the market
● Prepare and present detailed plans to the relevant government officials about our academic plan
● Collaborate with the Leadership & Development Director to ensure induction training appropriately addresses academic programme for both school leaders and teachers
● Hire and onboard the Academic Manager who will permanently take over the academic programme in the new market after you leave
What You Should Have
● 10 years’ experience working in education, with 2+ in teaching; evidence of generating outsize student learning gains preferred
● Love of travel and ability to spend upwards of 75% of the job travelling
● Openness to new settings and constant change
● Scrappiness, ability to solve problems when no clear path is presented for doing so
● The skill and discipline needed to create order amidst chaos; strong project management
● Cultural sensitivity, emotional maturity, discretion
● Experience of living and/or working in emerging markets, including rural and remote communities
● A detailed doer – You have a track record of getting things done. You’re organized and responsive. You take ownership of every idea you touch and execute it to a fine level of detail, setting targets, engaging others, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. You can multi-task dozens of such projects at once and never lose sight of the details. Likely, you have some experience in a start-up or other rapid-growth company.
● A creative problem-solver – Growing any business from scratch comes with massive and constant challenges. On top of that, Bridge works in often fragile, sometimes volatile low-resource communities and with complex government systems. You need to be flexible and ready to get everything done effectively, quickly, and affordably with the materials at hand.
● A relentless advocate – The children we serve and teachers we empower never leave your mind. You know them, get them, have shared a meal with them (or would be happy to in the future). You would never shrink back from shaking a parent’s hand or picking up a crying child, no matter what the person was wearing or looked like. Every decision you make considers their benefit, experience, and value.
● A malleable learner – You believe you can always do better. You welcome constructive criticism and provide it freely to others. You know you only get better tomorrow when others point out where you’ve missed things or failed today.
● A data-driven decision-maker – When making decisions, you don’t rely on your intuition alone. You collect data, you analyze it and make decisions with clear justifications.
● A curious investigator – You ask why a lot. You don’t just take what you see and accept it. You wonder why it is that way, and are aware that the world we see is created by human choices and actions – and it could be different. You wonder, and see the world as wonderful even when you want to change a part of it that is unjust.