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Director of Programs

Children’s Institute

Director of Programs
Title: Director of Programs

Job Classification: Exempt, 1 FTE (40 hours per week)

Reports to: CEO, President

Location: Children's Institute, downtown Portland, with travel throughout Oregon
Salary: Salary range commensurate with an Oregon elementary school principal

Travel: 30% travel in Oregon, national travel as needed

Closing: Open until filled, with applications reviewed on a rolling basis
Email cover letter and resume to with "Director of Programs" in the subject line.
Children’s Institute (CI) envisions an Oregon where every child is prepared for success in school and life. To meet this goal, we advocate for strategic investments in high-quality early childhood education and healthy development while highlighting the most effective strategies to improve long-term outcomes for children. Additionally, we support program implementation designed to demonstrate the necessary components of an integrated system from prenatal through third grade to ensure a greater number of vulnerable children are prepared for kindergarten success and on track to meet third grade benchmarks. We strive to bring together research, family, and community voice as we work toward accountable advocacy.

Children’s Institute staff work as an interdisciplinary and integrated team in a supportive and collegial work environment embracing a sense of urgency in moving our mission forward.


We are seeking a dynamic and forward-thinking leader with experience across early learning and elementary education to manage Children’s Institute’s place-based program work. The Director of Programs will be responsible for leading the implementation of Children Institute’s innovative initiatives and leveraging the work to drive policy change.

Children’s Institute currently operates two programs structured as learning initiatives in partnership with public school districts: Early School Success (working title) and Early Works. Early School Success is a new initiative designed to provide a blueprint for educators to better align and embed developmentally appropriate instructional practices from preschool through fifth grade. The initiative seeks to create proof points of high-quality preschool implementation with effective strategies to ensure gains are sustained through the elementary grades. The Director of Programs will work closely with the program team to successfully launch this project with school districts and partners in Oregon, including managing the district selection process, hiring and supervising on-site liaisons and coaches, and managing the development of site-based facilitation processes. Early Works, a 10-year initiative launched in 2010, is underway in two Oregon communities, one rural and one urban. Early Works seeks to demonstrate a new approach to education and healthy development that connects prenatal to age five services to an elementary school with the goal of improving school readiness, student achievement, and family engagement. The initiative is both data- and community-driven and has already been a catalyst for policy change.

The Director of Programs will need to understand and support the organization’s mission, vision, and values, serve on the management team, and collaborate closely with the Director of Policy and Advocacy and the Director of Communications and Community Engagement. The Director of Programs will also help strengthen Children’s Institute’s focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The ideal candidate will have a substantive background in children’s learning and development from birth through elementary school, applicable classroom and administrative experience, and experience with complex program implementation.


Leadership of Program Initiatives. Serves as a key leader of Children’s Institute initiatives focused on implementation across early health and education through the elementary years. Oversees the evolution of Early Works with a focus on equitable and inclusive sustainability for this work beyond the 10-year initiative. Leads the implementation of Early School Success, including overseeing district selection, planning, and implementation; launching statewide learning collaboratives; including equity, diversity, and inclusion outcomes; and hiring and managing our internal project team and external consultants. Manages the implementation of potential future programs by Children’s Institute and oversees program evaluations.

Policy Development. Works in partnership with Children’s Institute policy and communications teams on policy development related to building high-quality early learning programs and systems. Works in conjunction with other key stakeholder groups, including state entities and higher education, and provides strategic advice on policies influencing birth to elementary alignment and professional learning.

Organizational Leadership. Works in partnership with other members of the management team in creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, strategic goals, and objectives. Maintains continuous lines of communication, keeping the President & CEO informed of all critical issues and contributing to the overall management of the organization. Provides a strong day-to-day leadership presence, helps lead cross-team communication and cohesiveness, and sustains culture while addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Communications. Collaborates with communications team to highlight lessons learned, challenges, and valuable resources for our community outside of program sites. Co-develops a strategic approach to communicating about program impacts for policy development, including the translation of program evaluation findings to target a broad range of audiences.

Supervision of Staff. Provides guidance and supervision to Early Works Site Liaisons, Early School Success internal program team staff, and a cadre of coaches and facilitators in the field.

Other duties as defined by Children’s Institute’s President & CEO including representing the organization as needed.

Seven to ten years of experience managing and implementing initiatives in and across preschool and elementary education
Previous supervisory experience of classrooms (e.g. principal, center director, instructional leader) in early childhood education and/or K–12
Experience implementing successful strategies with Dual Language Learners/English Language Learners and children with learning differences
Experience providing technical assistance or coaching in school-based settings
Experience navigating early learning and K–12 systems and the ability to partner effectively across systems to bring these two worlds together
Ability to work with a wide range of diverse constituents, including families and community members, and communicate effectively and respectfully within each group
Excellent project management skills and the ability to develop and implement multiple project plans
Strategic thinker with strong interpersonal skills, analytical ability, and good judgment
Ability to track program expenses and oversee budgets
Exceptional written and oral communication skills
Excellent leadership and teamwork skills
Ability to facilitate groups with diverse stakeholders
Ability to enact values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into program and organizational outcomes
Any satisfactory combination of experience and education that ensures the ability of an individual to perform the duties and responsibilities of this position may substitute for the stated qualifications.


Salary dependent on experience and qualifications
Paid medical/dental coverage
Paid Short-Term Disability coverage
401(k) Retirement Savings Plan with qualified match and contribution
125 Flexible Benefits Plan
Generous paid time off, sick leave, and holidays


Children’s Institute is an equal opportunity employer. It is the policy of CI to provide equal employment opportunity in accordance with applicable law to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, creed, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, political opinion, national origin, familial status, mental and physical disability, source of income, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law in all personnel actions. Personnel actions include recruitment, selection, promotion, compensation, training, and termination. Relations between employees shall be based on mutual respect, and regard for the effectiveness and well-being of the organization.

For more information about Children’s Institute, please visit