Program Officer (K-12 Education)–Great Learning: William Penn Foundation

Posted November 20th, 2014 at 9:47 am.

The William Penn Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. Since inception, the Foundation has made nearly 10,000 grants totaling over $1.6 billion. In 2013, the Foundation made grants totaling over $80 million and held assets of over $2.2 billion.

The Foundation’s three core priorities are to:

  • Increase the number of low-income children receiving a high-quality education.
  • Ensure clean water by protecting the Delaware River watershed.
  • Foster a vital and diverse cultural region by investing in the health and sustainability of arts and cultural organizations and in great public spaces.

Position Summary
The Program Officer is a member of the Great Learning program team and is responsible for leading and implementing a portfolio of work that contributes to Foundation priorities and goals and breaks new ground. The Great Learning grant center’s goal is to dramatically increase the number of children from low-income families in Philadelphia who experience academic success, from early childhood through high school, and are well-prepared for college and career.

This position will be focused on advancing K-12 education strategies. Specifically, the Program Officer will develop and manage a portfolio of K-12 education grants. The successful candidate will have knowledge and experience to identify highly effective opportunities to support improvements in classroom instruction, and must also understand policy, fiscal, and social issues related to public education at the local, state, and national levels. In addition, the Program Officer will play a key role in working to achieve the overall goals of the Great Learning program.

While the direct focus of the work will be regional, it is assumed and desired that the program’s influence on education theory, practice, and policy be national. Working closely with Foundation colleagues, the Program Officer plays a key role in the assessment of the portfolio’s direction and results. S/he will also generate new streams of work within the Foundation’s strategic framework and represent the Foundation externally.

Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Initiative and Team Management

  • Develops and executes work in all stages of grant development, execution, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • Ensures that grant-making advances the work of the Great Learning team and contributes to better outcomes for Philadelphia students.
  • Guides and helps develop less senior members on the team.
  • Promotes and models excellent external relations with grantees, potential grantees, and Foundation partners.
  • Maintains sense of humor and positive attitude.


  • Leads and serves as a key contributor in portfolio reviews, evaluations, and new initiatives.
  • Participates in and is accountable for key deliverables to the organization. Takes direction from the Program Director, Great Learning and collaborates with others to ensure integration and synergy of programmatic investments.
  • Convenes stakeholders and participates in external committees to drive investments and results.
  • Leads assigned initiatives to develop and execute outstanding work within, and guided by, the strategic framework of the Foundation.
  • Represents the Foundation in diverse communities, including speaking engagements, attending conferences, and participating in other key internal and external meetings.

Expected Competencies

Initiative, Creativity, Curiosity: Ability to identify opportunities, design innovative approaches backed by strong analysis and planning, and demonstrate that excellent ideas come from many sources.

Evidence Focus: Uses an evidence-informed approach, including a strong focus on performance metrics, implementation milestones, and demonstrable results.

Communications: Exceptional written, verbal, and listening capabilities, including facility presenting complex concepts in written and verbal presentations.

Decision-Making and a Sense of Urgency: Ability to evaluate risks and opportunities, using analytical and strong problem-solving skills.
Partnership and Relationship Building: Strong professional representation of the Foundation, including the ability to develop and maintain numerous and diverse professional relationships, intercultural knowledge and appreciation, and strategic partnership development.

Consensus Builder and Collaborator: Possesses significant skills in facilitating team building, coaching, mentoring, delegating, inspiring, and motivating internally and externally.

Project Management: Ability to see projects through from beginning to end with an ability to manage and influence individuals at all levels to complete tasks with quality and within expected and committed timelines; includes project management skills, deadline management, sense of responsibility and accountability, and the ability to effectively multi-task.

Education, Training, and Experience

  • Significant experience effecting improvement in K-12 public education including knowledge of instructional improvement
  • Work experiences should include K-12 classroom teaching as well as positions of leadership related to school improvement
  • Experience with / knowledge of education research
  • Experience developing, managing and implementing multi-party projects with defined objectives, deliverables, monitoring and evaluation of results
  • Experience setting priorities and managing budgets in dynamic environments
  • Experience developing strategy
  • Relevant advanced degree required
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience
  • Prior foundation experience is not required


Interested candidates should email a letter of interest, current resume, and brief (2-5 page) writing sample to:

The William Penn Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Filed under: Management Level by Margie DuBrow

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