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Job Description: Director, Center for Early Learning

Position: Director, Center for Early Learning

Reports to: Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Classification: Full-time/Exempt Location: Columbus, Ohio


Groundwork Ohio is the leading early childhood policy, research, and advocacy organization in the state of Ohio. Our mission is to champion early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families, and communities.

The Center for Early Learning (hereinafter “the Center”) is one of three “Centers of Excellence” at Groundwork Ohio. The Center focuses on building and transforming systems that advance early learning, promote equity, and prioritize prevention through policy development, research, and collaboration. As part of its work, the Center will focus on securing and sustaining quality leadership in early childhood systems development, stakeholder engagement, the centering of family and early childhood professional voices, strategic communications, data analysis and research in the state.

Position Overview:

The Director of the Center for Early Learning will oversee Center activities and drive the Center’s work to improve outcomes for young children and their families.

This position description details the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications for the Director of the Center.


  • In collaboration with the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer (CTO):

    • Develop the strategy for the Center’s planned work to advance early learning, promote equity, and prioritize prevention.

    • Cultivate, identify, and evaluate new opportunities and partnerships to further the Center’s vision.

    • Monitor and evaluate the Center’s activities to ensure alignment with and progress towards achieving the Center’s vision and set objectives.

  • Lead implementation of the Center mission and strategy, including research, policy advocacy and development, stakeholder engagement and systems building to support improved early learning leadership, quality and access outcomes.

  • Serve as an internal expert to advise senior leadership and the Directors of other Groundwork Ohio “Centers of Excellence” on how to advance policy and systems change to support early learning.

  • Develop and facilitate effective partnerships and relationships between Groundwork Ohio and legislators, state agency leadership and staff, coalition partners, local elected officials, community leaders, community organizations and other local stakeholders across the state.

  • Collaborate with the Directors of the Center for Family Voice and the Center for Maternal and Young Child Health in furtherance of Groundwork Ohio’s mission and the Center’s vision.

  • Provide updates to the Board and other key stakeholders on the Center’s work, milestones, and planned activities.

  • Operate as the Center’s leader and steward including, as needed, serving as an effective speaker for Groundwork Ohio at both Groundwork-led and select external events.

Center program development and management

  • Under direction of the CTO, create, maintain, and/or oversee systems and processes to ensure effective management of the Center’s work and activities, including the creation, implementation and tracking of progress on project work plans and timelines.

  • Convene, facilitate, develop relationships with and share learnings among a diverse set of state and local-level stakeholders to support systems that advance quality early learning policies and systems.

  • Develop and implement educational programming, trainings, and other stakeholder engagement activities to cultivate champions for policies supporting early learning access and quality.

  • Create tools for and engage in consistent and targeted communication with Center stakeholders on early learning policy issues, priorities, and best practices.

  • Create and maintain a tracking system to monitor the opportunity for and implementation of early learning policies and programmatic changes.

  • Identify, create, participate in, and facilitate ongoing partner learning opportunities.

  • Implement Center work in accordance with project budgets and work with the CTO and COO to identify needs for any budget revisions.

Research, writing, and analysis

  • Conduct research, including primary and secondary data collection and analysis, such as polling, key informant interviews, document review, focus groups, and online surveys, including planning, questionnaire development, facilitation, data compilation and entry, coding, and analysis.

  • Research, identify and develop a database of early learning policy and programmatic best practices to inform the Center’s work.

  • Develop written outlines for products that are logical in structure and have a clear purpose and well-defined objectives.

  • Develop, author and/or contribute to high quality products, including reports, briefs, abstracts, fact sheets, webinars, testimony, blog posts, social media content, resource pages, tools and other products that communicate out and support Center activities.

  • Develop presentations, graphics and other visual tools that communicate out and support Center activities.

  • Review and provide feedback on Groundwork Ohio products to ensure they are high quality, adhere with organizational branding, the “Center vision” and clearly communicate to targeted audience(s).

Staff management

  • Supervise, coach, and collaborate with the Leadership team to support Center staff individual and team success.

  • Oversee Center staff productivity, including conducting regular staff evaluations.

  • Build a highly inclusive culture ensuring Center staff thrive and Center goals and outcomes are achieved.

General Qualifications:

  • A minimum of five years of leadership experience specializing in early learning systems building, equity, policy advocacy and development, stakeholder engagement and outreach.

  • A minimum of three years of direct supervisory or management experience.

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related area of study; advanced degree is highly preferred.

General skills and attributes

This position requires:

  • Passion for the vision and mission of Groundwork Ohio and the ability to communicate this passion to others.

  • Expertise in and demonstrated commitment to operationalizing diversity, equity and inclusion and cultural and linguistic competency principles and practices.

  • Demonstrated ability to research, write and compile data for planning, evaluation, and reporting purposes.

  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, both written and oral, with the ability to represent the organization externally across a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies.

  • Strong relationship-building and facilitation skills with the ability to find common ground, build consensus, and strengthen collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

  • Strong multi-tasking ability and work ethic.

  • Proficiency in office software, including but not limited to, MS office, Outlook, Survey Monkey, and virtual meeting and shared drive platforms.

  • Ability to successfully navigate in a fast-paced, outcome-driven, and entrepreneurial environment.

Other requirements

  • Must have the ability to work both in a traditional office environment and/or from home.

  • May occasionally require the need to travel to facilitate and build relationships with key stakeholders.

  • Requires routine use of standard office equipment such as computers, monitors, phones, printers, and copiers.

  • Requires the ability to be stationary and sedentary for extended periods of time.

  • May occasionally require standing, bending and light lifting (less than 15 pounds).

Competitive Benefits:

  • Collaborate with a team of dedicated, passionate professionals who genuinely care about the organization’s mission, vision, and values.

  • Competitive salary with professional development opportunities.

  • Medical, dental, vision insurance to eligible individuals.

  • Retirement Plan and 401k for eligible employees.

  • Generous vacation and sick leave policies.

  • Salary is commensurate with experience; range is $75,000 - $110,000.

Groundwork Ohio is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prospective applicants ready to collaborate with an awesome and highly effective team of professionals are encouraged to send a resume with cover letter to Reem Aly at with subject line: Early Learning Director by Wednesday, March 9, 2022.


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