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American Institutes for Research Managing Director, Education Systems and Policy in Waltham, Massachusetts


AIR’s Human Services Division is seeking a Managing Director for the Education Systems and Policy Program Area who will provide intellectual leadership and expertise in research design, evaluation, and project execution acrossEducation ( projects and pursuits. The ideal candidate will bring entrepreneurial talent to identify and pursue new business opportunities, cultivate strong client relationships, lead proposals, provide leadership and skills to recruit new staff and mentor existing staff, and exhibit the commitment and style to work collaboratively with other researchers and senior leaders at AIR. The incumbent will be joining our team of professionals that are highly committed to making a difference in education and working closely with senior staff and project teams.

This position has the flexibility to work remotely within the United States (U.S.) or from one of our U.S. office locations . This does not include U.S. territories.

About AIR:

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance to solve some of the most urgent challenges in the U.S. and around the world. We advance evidence in the areas of education, health, the workforce, human services, and international development to create a better, more equitable world.

AIR’s commitment to diversity goes beyond legal compliance to its full integration in our strategy, operations, and work environment. At AIR, we define diversity broadly, considering everyone’s unique life and community experiences. We believe that embracing diverse perspectives, abilities/disabilities, racial/ethnic and cultural backgrounds, styles, ages, genders, gender identities and expressions, education backgrounds, and life stories drives innovation and employee engagement. Learn more about AIR's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy and hear from our staff byclicking here ( .


Working as a thought leader and content expert across education topics, including:

  • contributing to the vision for AIR’s future work, knowing trends and market opportunities, and working with other division leaders to create and execute a plan to grow new work with federal, state, local, and foundation education clients.

  • leading and supporting project directors in conceptualizing research studies, ensuring high quality implementation, and defining and measuring outcomes for education research at the federal, state, and local levels.

Working with AIR’s program area leadership and functional leadership to create business development strategy for established areas and specific new areas of growth identify new opportunities, including:

  • coordinating pursuit plans and pipelines across a set of federal, state, local, and foundation funders of education research.

  • contributing to and making bid/no-bid decisions in collaboration with program area leadership teams.

  • leading and supporting pursuits of new opportunities, conceptualizing bid strategy and research plans, contributing to proposal writing, and conducting critical technical reviews of major proposals.

  • nurturing relationships with potential partners and existing funders and building new funder relationships.

  • monitoring existing work with those clients and funders, to ensure that the right capabilities are brought to bear on new pursuits and to have a sense of strengths and potential challenges.

  • monitoring staff capacity to work on projects and new pursuits with those clients and funders.

  • mentoring staff in business development strategy and proposal development.

Leading research studies and mentoring staff to successfully lead and contribute to education research studies as a Project Director, Principal Investigator, advisor, and/or Quality Assurance reviewer, including:

  • integrating effective project management and quality methods to manage complex projects, including effective management of budget, quality, client, and project staff.

  • mentoring staff to integrate effective project management and quality methods.

  • communicating regularly with clients and internal team members to gather feedback, sustain project momentum, and respond to needs.

  • conducting quality reviews of project deliverables and supporting project teams to clearly and effectively communicate research plans and findings.

Conducting a variety of activities with staff and AIR’s Communications Department to foster external visibility and contribute to AIR’s preeminence in education research, including presentations at major conferences, publications, visits with clients, etc.


Education, Knowledge, and Experience:

  • PhD or MA in a substantive area such as education, social science, or social service discipline with national or international reputation for evaluation/research expertise as evidenced through research grants and other funding received, publications, and overall body of work.

  • A minimum of 15 years of leadership/management experience in the field of Education.

  • Demonstrated experience conducting applied research, evaluating policies and programs, and/or conducting evaluations or impact studies including randomized control trials, quasi-experimental studies, and field-based research projects.

  • Proven ability to manage large-scale research projects, lead teams, write reports, and publish and present findings.

  • Demonstrated success leading large scale initiatives with evidence of outcomes, ideally in high need areas such as equity, transitions to postsecondary education, and STEM.

  • Demonstrated track record in conceptualizing and writing proposals that have resulted in funding to build a body of work.

  • Established networks in the field (federal, state, local, foundation) with a willingness to draw on, cultivate, and expand relationships on behalf of AIR.


  • Thought leader with sophisticated understanding of the policy landscape and evidence gaps in Education, as demonstrated through publications/presentations, award of contracts and grants, and overall body of work.

  • Demonstrated ability to develop rapport with and lead mission-driven teams with both internal (staff) members and external (subcontractor and consultant) members.

  • Collaborative leadership, organizational, and interpersonal skills at a senior level.


This position is open to U.S. citizens only. Upon hire, incumbent will be required to obtain clearance through the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system .

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.

AIR adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo reference and background checks.

AIR’s Total Rewards Program , is designed to reward our staff competitively and motivate them to achieve our critical mission. This position offers an anticipated annual salary of $200,000 - $240,000. Salary offers are made based on internal equity within the institution and external equity with competitive markets. Please note this is the annual salary range for candidates that are based in the United States.

AIR maintains adrug-free work environment ( .

Fraudulent Job Scams Warning & Disclaimer:

AIR is aware of individuals falsely presenting themselves as AIR representatives. Fraudulent job scams seek to extract sensitive information or money from victims. To protect yourself, please be aware that AIR recruitment will only email you from an “” domain. Please take extra caution while examining the email address, for example jdoe is correct and jdoe is not a legitimate AIR email address . If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a communication you have received, please reach out to .

If you see a job scam, or lose money to one, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at . You can also report it to your state attorney general . Find out more about how to avoid scams at .

Submit an interest application (

Please note, each section of the application is required in order for you to be considered for this opportunity. If you do not complete the required screening questions, or if you close your browser before completing each section of the application, your application will not be submitted for this position.

American Institutes for Research is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply.

American Institutes for Research’s commitment to Diversity goes beyond legal compliance to its full integration in our strategy, operations and work environment. Diversity is valued and Inclusion is reflected in all efforts to recruit, develop, and engage the diverse staff needed to accomplish our mission.

ACCESSIBILITY NOTICE: If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the employment process due to a physical or mental disability, please send an email to Taliba Boone at or call 202.403.5000.

Job Location US-Remote | US-VA-Arlington | US-NC-Chapel Hill | US-MD-Rockville | US-CA-Sacramento | US-MA-Waltham | US-IL-Chicago

Job ID 12986

Job Location United States

Category Research