Senior Director of Research and Evaluation

Connecting innovation and education to dramatically transform the way students learn, LEAP Innovations® leads the nation in developing and scaling personalized learning practices, technology and innovations in classrooms throughout the US. Located at 1871, Chicago’s premier incubator for technology and entrepreneurship, LEAP is quickly making Chicago the national hub for education innovation. LEAP has also launched the country's first personalized learning framework and survey tools to measure practice in and beyond the classroom. Sponsored by major foundations and donors, LEAP currently works with over 90 schools across Chicago, improving the lives of thousands of students. LEAP also leads the Learning Assembly, a national network of organizations dedicated to scaling education innovation across the country. Winner of the 2016 Chicago Innovation Award for social innovation, LEAP Innovations is ready to meaningfully increase our reach and impact, and deploy our thought leadership, services and tools across the country.

LEAP Innovations is seeking an innovative education researcher to lead the growing portfolio of research and evaluation programs for the organization. As the Senior Director of Research and Evaluation, you will have the opportunity to help shape and implement a research and evaluation agenda in an emerging field, thus expanding the evidence base for personalized learning teacher practices, edtech tools, school structures and policies, and, most importantly, outcomes for students. You will lead an experienced team in the ongoing development and validation of a suite of personalized learning tools built around the LEAP Learning Framework. These personalized learning tools provide teachers, school leaders, system leaders, and funding organizations with data to support personalized learning innovation efforts and to inform professional development decisions. You will coordinate the efforts of internal research associates and collaborating external research consulting organizations. The Senior Director will work closely with program staff including the Pilot Network, Breakthrough Schools, and Learning Framework leads. You will work directly with team members crafting the research and evaluation agendas with schools, districts, edtech companies, and other piloting and innovation oriented organizations to foster understanding and collaboration around the emerging personalized learning research agenda. The Senior Director will be responsible for crafting and coordinating the design of the research agenda, implementation using multiple methodologies, and collection, analysis, and reporting of data gathered to improve personalized teaching and learning strategies in Chicago, regionally, and nationally. You will also build and manage strategic partnerships with local and nationally renowned research and academic centers, and serve as a spokesperson for LEAP Innovations’ key research initiatives.


  • Design, lead, and refine research and evaluation strategy, focusing on developing lines of evidence around the impact and efficacy of the LEAP programs.
  • Structure the ongoing design, development and validation of tools to measure innovative teacher practices, new school models, and efficacy of edtech products.
  • Guide and expand the capacity of a team of research and evaluation associates tasked with supporting the dayto-day operation of Pilot Network and Breakthrough Schools implementation.
  • Develop an innovative reporting strategy to ensure that information developed during implementation efforts meets the needs of practitioners, other researchers, and edtech companies, and direct the creation of final evaluation deliverables to companies and schools.
  • Maintain and expand the LEAP online data portal, delivering results directly to teachers and schools.
  • Lead cross-functional research projects, and manage vendors in evaluation design, dissemination of results, and access to data.
  • Author technical reports and documentation of user tools and methods.
  • Advise on and negotiate data sharing agreements with school districts, edtech companies, charter management organizations, and state departments of education.
  • Engage in business development activities, including cultivating relationships with existing and potential new partners, and managing and writing proposals.
  • Develop and lead strategic partnerships with other research and academic organizations to advance LEAP’s vision of personalized learning.
  • Support collaboration among team members both internal and external to LEAP, providing consulting and support to LEAP partner organizations.

The ideal candidate should enjoy working in a dynamic, results-oriented environment in which expectations are high for quality, speed to completion and accomplishment. In addition, s/he should have the following:

  • Significant work experience, including 5+ years experience managing multiple research projects, and at least 3 years of education evaluation experience, survey research quantitative modeling, or other social science research experience.
  • Minimum of a Master’s Degree in education research, statistics, psychology, learning sciences, economics, or public policy, with a strong focus on quantitative evaluation; Ph.D. preferred.
  • Passion for education, specifically: improving learning outcomes for all students through the use of technology.
  • Expertise in examining systems in education that include the interactions of multiple stakeholders in an innovative education ecosystem.
  • Proven ability to motivate and manage a team in complex day to day tasks; experience building and supporting a research team.
  • Experience leading small and medium sized projects and proposals, leading and participating in cross functional teams.
  • Knowledge and experience with personalized learning models preferred.
  • Experience working in a grant, contract funded, or start-up environment preferred.
  • Communication skills including conceptualizing, analyzing, publishing, and presenting.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and networking skills with proven ability to develop and maintain effective business relationships.
  • Flexibility and ability to consistently meet deadlines.
  • Strong proficiency with quantitative methodologies, emphasizing experimental and/or quasi-experimental design, using R and other statistical packages for analytics and reporting.
  • Knowledge of K-12 learning outcome measures, including assessments, surveys, administrative data collection, management and analysis, and teaching practices.
  • Ability to communicate research needs and outcomes to different stakeholders and make recommendations about relevance and implications.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience. Excellent health benefits, 403(b) plan with company match and group life insurance.

Start Date: Position currently available.

Application: Phone inquiries are not accepted. To apply, please email your cover letter and resume (including salary requirements) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include the position name in the subject line of your email.