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Director, Strategic Operations

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Job Description

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is a nonpartisan research center founded in 1993, located in Seattle, Washington, and led by investigators and collaborators at Arizona State University.

As a core member of our leadership team, the Director of Strategic Operations will efficiently lead the Center’s administrative internal processes and leverage internal, external, and university relationships to support CRPE’s mission.

The right candidate will be an experienced leader with a strategic mindset. They will be adept at building and maintaining a strong internal culture, will be a proactive and creative problem solver, and will bring analytical skills to help maximize the Center’s effectiveness. They will proactively build and maintain strong relations with the University, oversee staffing and resource use to keep the center nimble, innovative, and responsive, and develop methods and systems to create an internally connected, efficient, and productive organization.

The Director of StrategicOperations will oversee all core organizational operations, including administrative, grant management, HR, legal/compliance, IT, and facilities. The Director of Strategic Operations will support the center’s leaders by ensuring that all organizational systems, policies, and practices reflect core values built on a strong and inclusive staff culture. This person will supervise a team of 1-2 members and work closely with other department leaders, and the role combines high level strategic thinking and design with hands-on support.

This position is central to the mission of CRPE and our commitment to producing actionable research and ideas that help dismantle systemic inequity and build a public education system that prepares every student for a life of citizenship and economic independence.

CRPE provides a competitive benefits package through Arizona State University. We offer medical, dental, and vision coverage options; Life, AD&D, and Disability insurance; various retirement plan options; and Flexible Spending Accounts for medical, childcare, and other expenses.  We also offer org-wide holidays, paid time off, annual retreats, and the option for full-remote work.

Essential Duties

  • Strategic leadership
    • Organizational coherence. Support the successful execution of the center’s strategy and operational efforts through organizational systems and structures. Develops processes and makes informed, strategic decisions on how best to manage core functions, maximize center productivity, internal communications, maximize university affiliation, and build smart systems to support organizational effectiveness.
    • Strategic operations and special projects. Facilitate the leadership team to address core organizational questions and determine operational priorities that align with the vision of the Center. Coordinates and carries out special projects and strategic initiatives that vary in complexity, urgency, and frequency.
    • University liaison. Serve as key point of contact for our university operational, finance, and HR partners, and build effective relationships to negotiate CRPE’s and the University’s interests.
    • Talent lead. Oversee hiring systems and processes – including candidate sourcing, recruitment, and selection processes, and analysis of progress toward hiring and diversity goals – that embody CRPE’s mission and core values. Work with hiring managers to design hiring experiences that champion equity and quality candidate experience. Support the development of systems and processes that ensure CRPE is a great place to work, including initiatives aimed at retaining and developing our staff.
  • Operational leadership
    • Oversee all operational, administrative, HR, IT, and financial functions and systems within the organization and identify improvements to support effective organization.
    • Ensure the design and implementation of a long-range financial strategy in order to maintain financial health and create sustainability.
    • Ensure ongoing collaboration with the ASU operations team for seamless integration of systems and processes.
    • Ensure general center operations (mailbox, facilities, office space, office supplies, key card, etc.) are running smoothly.
  • Financial oversight
    • Oversee CRPE’s financial strategy, ensuring systems and processes are in place for the effective development of financial models, budgets, and analyses. Ensure quality and fiscal oversight over use of funds.
    • Supervise and partner with the Grants Manager to support long-term decision-making and alignment with stated priorities and development efforts.
    • Ensure systems are in place to support fundraising and the effective management of grants.
    • Provide oversight to procurement activities (bidding, purchasing, travel, contractors, invoice processing, etc.), and grants administration and post-award activities as needed.
    • Ensure payroll systems and processes are in compliance with ASU requirements.
  • Human resources
    • Develop and implement a strategy to attract, retain, and promote the best talent and support an inclusive, diverse workforce.
    •  In collaboration with CRPE’s leadership, develop and implement a process for allocating staff across projects that is financially sustainable and supports professional advancement.
    • Manage CRPE’s onboarding and offboarding processes in ways that support smooth transitions for staff.
    • Oversee goal setting, performance management, and professional development to align with CRPE’s fundraising, culture, and impact goals.
    • Contribute to a culture that inspires respect and trust, motivates others to do well; values and nurtures diversity and inclusion.
    • Coordinate with ASU department heads to resolve HR-related issues and questions.
  • Technology oversight
    • Manage and oversee the center’s overall technology needs, ensure staff have access to the systems and software support to perform effective programmatic work in collaboration with the ASU IT team.
    • Lead and manage archivals of the center’s documents and information.
    • Ensure data integrity and security protocols are in place.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in a field appropriate to the area of assignment AND eight (8) years of related administrative experience, which includes five (5) years of supervisory experience; OR, Twelve (12) years of related administrative experience, which includes five (5) years of supervisory experience; OR, Any equivalent combination of education and/or experience from which comparable knowledge, skills and abilities have been achieved.

Desired Qualifications

  • Evidence of a MBA or MPA is preferred, but not required.
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing issues of equity, race, and bias in an inclusive workplace and approaching decision-making with openness, humility, and empathy.
  • Experience overseeing financial and operational systems and support structures in the non-profit, education, and/or university sector, including budget management and forecasting, human resources, and talent management.
  • Track record of, and love for, creating systems that improve organizational capacity and build a strong work culture.
  • Proven expertise in the effective management of people, teams and organizational culture.
  • Ability to build relationships with a wide range of internal and external partners, including relationships that may exist across lines of difference and includes groups and stakeholders with multiple perspectives

Working Environment

  • CRPE offices are located in Seattle, Washington, but CRPE welcomes remote applicants from anywhere in the United States
  • Activities are performed in an environmentally controlled office setting subject to extended periods of sitting, keyboarding and manipulating a computer mouse
  • Regular activities require ability to quickly change priorities which may include and/or are subject to resolution of conflicts
  • Ability to clearly communicate to perform essential functions
  • Ability to work evening and weekend hours as necessary on short or limited notice
  • Position receives regular review of objectives

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $120,000 – $140,000. CRPE provides a competitive benefits package through Arizona State University. We offer medical, dental, and vision coverage options; Life, AD&D, and Disability insurance; various retirement plan options; and Flexible Spending Accounts for medical, childcare, and other expenses. We also offer org-wide holidays, paid time off, annual retreats, and the option for full-remote work.

Department Statement

The Center on Reinventing Public Education believes inequities are hard-wired into our public education system in both obvious and subtle ways. Our core business is studying efforts to rewire the system for ongoing improvement, and excellence for every student—moving from the classroom, to the school, to policy implications. We envision a public education system that truly prepares every student for the challenges of the future. We fulfill this mission through:

  • Research: We produce world-class research that’s interesting, significant, and trustworthy.
  • Thought leadership: Our analysis looks around the corner, comments on relevant issues, and proposes new ideas.
  • Engagement with leaders: We prioritize learning from city, state, and nonprofit leaders in their communities and we inform their work with evidence.

CRPE seeks team members who are passionate about systems change and embrace the idea that public education is a goal, not a set of institutions. The following core values guide our work:

  • Curiosity: We look around the corner
  • Excellence: We do world-class research that’s interesting, significant, and trustworthy
  • Teamwork: We’re clear, focused, and productive together
  • Ownership: We’re all responsible for CRPE’s success
  • Communication:  We’re clear and honest with each other
  • Camaraderie: We appreciate each other
  • Integrity: We’re professional and ethical
  • Equity: We are committed to an ongoing and active fight against racism and injustice

CRPE has played a national role in studying the impact of the COVID pandemic on school systems and policy, and we study new methods of schooling that will inform rebuilding efforts post-pandemic.

To learn more about our work, visit CRPE’s blog newsroom and publications pages, which feature our most  recent thinking on education issues in play today.

ASU Statement

Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, entrepreneurial energy and broad access. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses positively impacting the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 100,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation’s fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations across the globe.

ASU is a tobacco-free university. For details visit

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.

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