Director of Research and Innovation

About the National Student Support Accelerator

The National Student Support Accelerator’s (the Accelerator) mission is to expand high-impact tutoring opportunities for all K-12 students in need. The Accelerator is a research-based, field-building organization that seeks to drive scaling and continual improvement in the quality of tutoring.

The Accelerator began with a group of educators convening on the issue of COVID-19 learning loss and the potential of tutoring as a solution. Currently the Accelerator is a program within the Annenberg Institute at Brown University but may become an independent entity once established.

The Accelerator plans to execute in the following areas to achieve its mission:

  • Facilitate implementation by:
    • Developing research-based tools and technical assistance for districts to select, implement and continuously improve tutoring programs and for tutoring organizations to scale with quality;
    • Establishing standards and a system of assessing quality of tutoring programs against standards.
  • Catalyze the field of tutoring by:
    • Building a community of practice;
    • Coordinating and leading research, continuous improvement and learning about what drives impact;
    • Developing a variety of pilot sites designed to learn about effectiveness and implementation.
  • Build engagement across stakeholders through direct outreach and sharing research outcomes and success stories.

About the Position

Reporting to the Director, the Director of Research and Innovation will be accountable for all aspects of the Accelerator’s research efforts including:

  • Position the Accelerator as a leading expert in research on high-impact tutoring
  • Develop the Accelerator’s strategic research strategy, goals and objectives and drive the annual research plan
  • Develop and coordinate a common research agenda and dissemination plan for the field of high-impact tutoring
  • Lead all aspects of the Accelerator’s research process
  • Hire, onboard, and co-develop appropriate goals for the Research and Innovation Program Associate and any additional staffing as needed including undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral research associates
  • Actively promote a diverse and inclusive environment through modeling, practices and operational systems

Primary Responsibilities

Leadership and Organizational Development:

  • Lead, collaborate, engage and inspire community within the field of tutoring research;
  • Lead, manage and support research staff including at least one Research and Innovation Program Associate to co-create and achieve accountabilities and priorities and grow and develop professionally;
  • Ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are embedded throughout the Accelerator’s internal and external research operations;
  • Lead in the development and implementation of research systems, policies, and procedures.

Strategy & Management:

  • Lead the development of the Accelerator’s strategic research goals and objectives as well as drive the development of annual research plans related to pilot sites;
  • Contribute to the Accelerator’s overall strategy development and implementation;
  • Develop and oversee a diverse research community of practice or advisory group.

Engagement and Communications

  • Support fundraising efforts and donor relations;
  • Lead development of practical research briefs, an annual conference, website content and convenings to share findings with stakeholders;
  • Present research information to varying audiences and write reports and recommendations;
  • Lead in the strategic dissemination of all research products.


  • Working closely with the Director, develop and execute pilot programs;
  • Take the lead in all aspects of the Accelerator’s research process in pilot sites: development, design, data collection, data analysis, reporting and dissemination.

Core Skills & Capacities

Education: PhD in relevant area (social science, education, economics).
Experience: 3-5 years of social science research/implementation experience, ideally as a project lead or principal investigator.
Research: Able to identify, understand and synthesize quality research.
Knowledge: An understanding of US school systems and research on student learning and well-being.
Passion: Passion for driving equitable education outcomes for all students.
Leadership: Inspirational and persuasive leader who inspires staff and members of the research and tutoring community to work toward common goals.
Experience: 3-5 years of social science research/implementation experience, ideally as a project lead or principal investigator.
Lived Experience: Understands the experience of students that the organization seeks to serve.
Community Builder: Able to build relationships with a wide range of people. Easily connects and builds trust.
Execution: Passionate about and excellent aptitude for getting things done on time and with a high level of quality.
Commitment to Addressing Issues of Race & Equity: Demonstrates an active commitment to viewing their work through an equity and inclusion lens and finding and supporting opportunities to address issues of structural racism and economic inequity.
Communicator: Ability to serve as the face of the organization both internally & externally and errs on the side of over communicating progress, success, and challenges.
Problem-solver: Identifies issues early and leads collaborative, analytical decision-making with data-driven evidence.
Coaching Approach: Firmly believes in the potential of all people to learn and grow, experience being able to identify and support strengths and provide accessible advice to address challenges.
Entrepreneurial Mindset: Recognizes that the Accelerator is a new organization and is committed to continuous improvement, entrepreneurial thinking, and high adaptability.

Preferred: Fluency in Spanish.