Seeking: NYC Project Lead – Educational Strategies Specialist

A non-profit organization based in Providence, R.I., Highlander Institute partners with communities to imagine and create more equitable, relevant, and effective schools.  Using research, we convene, coach, and build capacity to improve outcomes and experiences for all students. The Institute envisions students, educators, and communities partnering as agents of change to design classrooms that empower, schools that adapt, and systems that liberate. At its core, Highlander Institute focuses on creating student-centered, personalized learning environments, particularly for historically underserved student populations.

Highlander Institute believes that local stakeholders – in particular, students, teachers and parents – should define the details of their aspirational visions and shepherd the process based upon local context and need. Change efforts that are led by local stakeholders have a better chance of withstanding school and district leadership transitions, and building consensus for whole-school change. 

The Highlander Institute theory of change comes from the work of Shawn Rubin and Cathy Sanford and is outlined in their book Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Change (Harvard Education Press, 2018). The approach focuses on change management, beginning with assisting school change agents as they convene a design team, craft a clear vision for the work and launch implementations of personalized learning that support new classroom practices. Supports are customized and target elements of classroom culture, differentiation, student agency, and rigor and mastery.  

Starting in January 2020, Highlander Institute will embark on a multiyear project with two New York City schools committed to designing and implementing through a new model of change management that emphasizes continuous improvement as a means to more efficiently and effectively drive personalization efforts for students and families.

We are seeking a NYC-based skilled educator to lead these efforts. If you are passionate about empowering students and leveling the playing field for all learners, we want you on our team! We are seeking a leader who has a vision for what liberatory classroom practices, assessment, and curriculum can and should look like in any classroom. 

The NYC Project Lead – Educational Strategies Specialist is responsible for supporting classroom, building, and district level educators in the planning, design, and implementation of high quality, culturally responsive personalization efforts through the Institute’s Pathway Schools redesign process. This staff member is responsible for leading the school redesign efforts across two NYC schools. 

Highly qualified candidates will demonstrate an understanding of:

  • NYC school and district landscape
  • Blended, personalized, and culturally responsive teaching and learning 
  • Providing high quality professional development, classroom modeling, and individual consulting sessions for teachers, school administrators, and district personnel  
  • Relationship-building and communication
  • Adult learning theory 
  • Documentation, data collection, and analysis  

Non-Technical Skills and Behavior:

  • Performs duties professionally, thoroughly, in a timely manner, and with a respectful, friendly demeanor in both external and internal relationships
  • Handles routine challenges with diverse consulting team with calm and good humor
  • Strong ability to build rapport and connect with educators at any level of the system
  • Ability to travel between the NYC school sites independently
  • Ability to travel frequently to RI for full staff meetings and trainings

Preferred Education, Additional Qualifications, and Experience (not mandatory): 

  • Experience with Highlander Institute, knowledge of Highlander Institute philosophy and practice 
  • Classroom experience
  • Nonprofit experience

Salary Range: We are flexible in terms of timing and structure for this position. We are considering part-time, full-time, or consultant-based models for this position based on the ideal candidate and expertise level. Starting part-time salary (3-days/week) is $50,000.

Non Discrimination Policy

Highlander Institute provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all its employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, gender identity, domestic abuse victim, genetic information, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. 

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to Kaiya Letherer, Chief of Staff at