Senior Officer, Strategy, Learning and Evaluation Department (SLED)
The Walton Family Foundation is seeking a skilled, highly motivated, and entrepreneurial individual to join the team as a Senior SLED Officer in support of the K-12 Education program.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
We are committed to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization to foster an environment where all associates THRIVE and belong. We do this by creating:
- a culture committed to continuous learning that recognizes and values differences
- an environment of respect and connection to learn from the richness of identities, experiences, and perspectives
- fair access for all to opportunities for growth and advancement
About the Position
Strategy, learning, and evaluation are at the core of who we are at the Walton Family Foundation. Our SLED team plays a central role in providing actionable information that helps inform decision-making about individual grants as well as overall strategy. We are dedicated to learning not only from our own grantmaking, but also with and from our grantees and partners in the field. Through a strategic approach to learning, we can develop stronger strategies to achieve the greatest impact.
- Build and maintain strong trust-based relationships with K-12 Education program area colleagues and fellow SLED team members
- Lead the design and implementation of program area-specific strategy, learning, and evaluation policies, practices, and products
- Collaborate with SLED leadership and colleagues to design and implement Foundation-wide strategy, learning, and evaluation policies, practices, and products
- Maintain open lines of communication with program leadership and staff about strategy, learning, and evaluation support needs
- Assist in the development and presentation of information for Foundation leadership – including the program area Committee, the Board, and Family Council
- Represent the foundation publicly in the philanthropic, non-profit, and research communities
- Provide support to the K-12 Education program area to ensure strategies are fully conceptualized as they evolve over time, including designing and facilitating processes for developing and refining theories of change, assumptions, hypotheses, key performance indicators, and learning agendas throughout the strategy lifecycle
- Assist the program area in preparing for quarterly strategy review meetings
- Assist in creating rigorous and actionable evidence for K-12 Education staff and other key stakeholders
- Design and manage research and evaluation projects, grounded in culturally responsive and equitable approaches, to provide quantitative and qualitative evidence that is useful, timely, and informs strategic decisions
- Identify knowledge gaps or needs in a relevant field and develop research agendas and grant portfolios to address them
- Produce (or manage others to produce) internal and external products that clearly summarize and synthesize key findings and insights
- Data collection, analysis, and documentation:
- Review, compile, and analyze data from grantee reports
- Collect and analyze primary and secondary data related to key performance indicators and strategic learning questions
- Create and maintain detailed documentation of data sources and analysis methods
- Grants and contracts administration
- Manage grants and contracts, in alignment with the larger strategy of the program. This includes working within the budget, performing due diligence on proposals, shepherding proposals through the foundation’s approval process in a timely manner, and monitoring third-party partner progress toward objectives.
- Facilitate the development of learning questions, develop research agendas to address them, synthesize data that informs those questions, and guide teams toward action based on new insights
- Design and lead structured learning and reflection engagements with program staff
- Contribute to the development and implementation of Foundation-wide strategic learning processes, tools, and staff trainings
- Consistently model key characteristics of a learning culture, including curiosity, openness, experimentation, risk-taking, acknowledging mistakes, etc.
- Actively engage in the field of philanthropic strategy, learning, and evaluation through original publications, conference presentations, and other mediums
- Build familiarity and relationships with consultants and external partners for future grant and contract opportunities
Who we are looking for
Qualifications required for your success
The position calls for a solid understanding of K-12 education in the US context, with an emphasis on at least one of the following: K12 education policy, school choice, charter schools, school governance and finance, human capital (teachers and school leaders), the measurement and assessment of academic and/or non-cognitive skills, or related subject areas; in addition to expertise in the strategy, learning, and evaluation responsibilities described above.
For this role a broader understanding of policy advocacy, including grassroots movements, community engagement and empowerment, communications and messaging, and coalition-building, along with experience measuring key concepts in these fields, is preferred but not required.
The foundation seeks to recruit individuals with a demonstrated record of results in the empirical evaluation of K-12 programs and policies, solid management skills, superior interpersonal and communication skills, a respectful but analytical approach to the work of grantees, a proven ability to work effectively as part of a team, along with a drive for continual improvement. The role also requires self-direction and decisiveness, combined with flexibility and a capacity to give and receive feedback graciously.
The Senior SLED Officer should ideally possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:
- Master’s degree required (PhD preferred) in a relevant social science field, such as education, sociology, public policy, economics, etc.
- At least 7 years of prior experience in strategy, learning, and evaluation activities in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial philanthropic or nonprofit environment with a focus on metrics and data-driven decision making
- Quantitative methods, including descriptive and inferential statistical analysis procedures, interpretation, and data reporting
- Qualitative methods, including the design and facilitation of surveys, interviews, and focus groups, interpretation, and reporting
- Experience in selecting and working with external evaluators, managing a portfolio of evaluations, and working closely with staff to ensure that evaluations provide high-quality, actionable information
- Excellent written communication skills and experience in producing both brief and longer written products in a timely fashion for internal and external audiences
- Excellent oral communication skills, with experience in public speaking and conveying complex issues to internal and external audiences
- Exceptional project management, prioritization, and planning skills, with demonstrated success producing high-quality deliverables on time and within budget
- Demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Willingness to travel up to 10% of the time
All offers of employment are contingent on your successful completion (where permitted by state law) of a confidentiality agreement, background check, credit check, drug screen and verification of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Vaccination exemptions as a reasonable accommodation for a qualified disability or sincerely held religious belief can be discussed at the time of an offer.
Personal attributes that support your success
- You are a strategic thinker, able to see across the program area to identify trends, patterns, and solutions to current and potential challenges in the future
- Ability to act as a trusted advisor and thought partner to colleagues while demonstrating expertise and integrity
- Comfortable in a complex work environment that requires a creative, adaptable, and solutions-oriented mindset
- You are helpful, a team player, and show respect while collaborating with others
- You are results oriented and exercise sound judgment in your work
- A lifelong learner, who is inquisitive and solves problems with bold thinking and innovation
- You are dedicated to achieving excellence and work with others to tackle the tasks at hand
In addition, you will need to provide proper identification verifying your eligibility to work in the United States on your first day of work.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2017, the foundation awarded more than $535 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, with offices in Washington, D.C., Jersey City, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado, approximately 130 staff conduct the day-to-day operations of the foundation.
The Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Department at the Walton Family Foundation supports careful planning, rigorous research, and systematic assessment in service of organizational learning, strategic adaptation, and philanthropic impact. We seek to learn with our grantees and other partners and advance the fields in which we work.
About the K-12 Education Program
Learn more about the Education Program strategy here.
How to Apply
Applications must include an updated resume and a cover letter that explains how previous experiences have prepared you for this role and why this role in particular aligns to your career goals.
The Walton Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.