Director of Professional Learning

Location:  Big Thought Headquarters
Reports to: Chief Big Thought Institute Officer
Division: Big Thought Institute (BTI)
Position Type: Full time/exempt
Supervision: Part time Coordinator

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Purpose Statement:

The Director of Professional Learning is responsible for leading the strategy and implementation of all components of Big Thought’s adult training and coaching for staff in Big Thought Direct-to-Youth Programs, for partner agencies in Big Thought Learning Systems, and for clients of Big Thought Institute. This position ensures that there is high-quality professional learning infrastructure and content to properly support the continual growth of adults who are working to fulfill this vision, in both in-person training and in distance learning.

About Big Thought:

For over 30 years, Big Thought has worked to close the opportunity gap by equipping all youth in marginalized communities with the skills and tools they need to imagine and create their best lives and a better world. Today, we are a recognized leader in arts education, after school programming, summer learning, juvenile justice, learning systems and social and emotional learning. Big Thought designs, curates, and delivers HIGH IMPACT PROGRAMS that are built upon hands-on experiential learning. Because we understand the harsh challenges many youth in marginalized communities face, we embrace trauma-informed methodology. At Big Thought, we aim to help all young people MAXIMIZE THEIR POTENTIAL in a twenty-first century world. Our work offers youth pathways to build skills relevant to thrive in work today and in the future, with a specific focus on cultivating creativity, developing social and emotional skills, and empowering youth voice.

#Big Thought Way:

Big Thought brings relentless optimism, innovation and imagination to everything we do.  Our youth come first, and we use a collaborative, all hands-on deck approach to ensure that they are served well. In addition to the primary duties of this position, everyone at Big Thought is asked to do whatever is needed to support our programs, initiatives and events.  If you are flexible and thrive in a dynamic environment, Big Thought jobs provide interesting and challenging opportunities to make a difference.

Essential Job Duties:

Responsible for leading the strategy and implementation of all components of Big Thought’s adult training and coaching for staff in Big Thought Direct-to-Youth Programs, for partner agencies in Big Thought Learning Systems, and for clients of Big Thought Institute — Ensuring a culture of professional learning that models the level of engaging, effective and fun learning experiences we know to be most impactful for our youth.

  • Facilitate high-quality professional learning sessions to staff, partners and clients in direct training or in distance learning.
  • Supervise professional learning coordinator.
  • Hire, train and oversee a team of contract professional learning facilitators and instructional coaches to extend the capacity and quality of the professional learning division.
  • Create, curate, codify and maintain a catalog of high-quality and dynamic professional learning experiences (comprised of both in-person and virtual delivery methods) for a diverse group of practitioners (informal and formal educators, front-line and systems-level, parents) including staff, partners, and clients.
  • Ensure professional learning experiences strategically align with the organization’s vision and goals
  • Help shape future professional learning strategies and approaches; offer recommendations to Chief Big Thought Institute Officer and organization’s program leadership team.
  • Develop, document, implement and maintain the professional learning operational systems and infrastructure necessary to ensure strong fidelity of training and instructional coaching experiences at scale.
  • Curate professional learning topics and best practices in key areas, including but not limited to:
    • Social and emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-to-healing methodologies;
    • Creative learning (experiential, project-based, and arts-based instruction);
    • Instructional quality (climate, engagement, skill development, etc.);
    • Virtual and distance learning; and
    • Equity and inclusion.
  • Partner with Director of Program Design to align current and future programmatic and professional learning strategies and efforts; offer recommendations to Chief Big Thought Institute Officer and organization’s program leadership team.
  • Partner with Direct-to-Youth and Learning Systems team members to develop and execute annual training and coaching plans.
  • Partner with the consulting services team members of Big Thought Institute to respond to and deliver on client inquiries and contracts for professional learning services.
  • Partner with research and evaluation team members of Big Thought Institute to develop a data-driven culture of continuous improvement; monitoring both the quality of training and coaching delivery, as well as responding to needs of programs and systems teams found within qualitative and quantitative evaluation data.
  • Ensure an equity and inclusion lens for all professional learning activities.

General Job Duties and Expectations:

  • Develop and maintain clear and accurate documentation of operations/procedures related to job functions for reference and succession planning purposes, as well as for grant and contractual compliance (as applicable);
  • Represent Big Thought, as needed, at conferences, events and other speaking opportunities;
  • Develop professional skills and knowledge appropriate to job assignments;
  • Collaborate with Programs and Systems staff on related duties as assigned; and
  • Periodically represent Big Thought Institute on cross-functional organizational teams.

Required Skills:

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with ability to effectively interact with individuals of all levels and backgrounds;
  • Diplomacy in working with diverse organizations and individuals, including the ability to find common ground;
  • Exhibits initiative and possesses strong strategic thinking and organizational skills, including attention to detail;
  • Ability to manage multiple assignments simultaneously while prioritizing tasks and projects according to their importance to the organization;
  • Independent self-starter who embraces a collaborative work environment; displays grit, agility, creativity and open-mindedness;
  • Project management experience in a collaborative environment; and
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, Google Suite and project management tools.

Qualifications

Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree and 10 or more years of relevant work experience (such as informal/formal education, social services, adult learning) required; and
  • Post-graduate degree(s) in relevant areas (such as informal/formal education, social services, adult learning) preferred.

Qualifications:

  • Commitment to Big Thought’s mission and vision;
  • Ten (10) years of related work experience in design and delivery of professional learning including training and coaching practice;
  • Nonprofit experience preferred;
  • Three (3) or more years’ experience working in informal education spaces;
  • Experience working in formal K-12 education preferred, but not required;
  • Knowledge of the educational process (formal K-12 and informal) gained through extensive number of years of directly related experience;
  • Certification in the following content preferred, but not required:
    • SEARCH Institute Developmental Relationships;
    • Weikart Center Youth Works Methods
    • Teachstone CLASS
  • Experience in diversity, equity, and inclusion work in a mid-sized organization preferred;
  • Bilingual (English and Spanish) considered a plus; and
  • Proactive and life-long learner.

Physical Expectations (not an exhaustive list):

Big Thought jobs are hands on and can be physically demanding.  To perform the duties of these roles successfully, you may regularly be required to: sit, stand, or stare at computer screen for long periods of time; participate in external activities; use various office equipment, some manual; work in environment with loud sounds, multiple distractions and interruptions; be exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures on occasion; maintain emotional control during stressful situations.

NOTE:  This job description is not an employment agreement or contract.  The CEO and/or designee has the exclusive right to alter this job description at any time without notice. 

 Employees of Big Thought are expected, as required in their specific job functions, to participate in activities, meetings, and committees; to interact and work cooperatively in order to accomplish various goals; to represent one’s self and Big Thought in a positive, professional manner; and to safeguard sensitive or confidential information from intentional or unintentional disclosure. 

Employees are expected to maintain current working knowledge of policies, procedures and guidelines necessary to answer work-related questions and to provide assistance in a timely and courteous manner.  Employees are also expected to perform other duties as may be assigned by their supervisor and to contribute to the team efforts of the department and to assist the organization in achieving its strategic goals.  

Employees must abide by all laws, Big Thought policies, and guidelines.

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