Chief of Data Strategy and Product Innovation
Connecticut RISE Network
Reports to: Executive Director
Salary: Competitive and commensurate with experience
Location: New Haven, CT with some in-state travel
The RISE Network’s mission is to ensure all RISE high school students graduate with a plan and the skills and confidence to achieve college and career success. Founded in 2016, RISE partners with Connecticut public high schools to lead statewide networks where school communities work together to use data to learn and improve. Through its core and most comprehensive network, RISE partners with nine high schools and eight public school districts, serving over 13,000 students; the majority of RISE students identify as Black, Latinx, and/or low-income. RISE high schools work together to ensure all students experience success as they transition to, through, and beyond high school by using data to pinpoint needs, form hypotheses, and pursue ideas to advance student achievement. Over the past five years, RISE high schools have improved Grade 9 promotion rates by nearly 20 percentage points, while also decreasing subgroup gaps and increasing schoolwide graduation and college access rates. In 2021, the RISE Network was honored to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s annual Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement recognition.
Increasingly, RISE is pursuing opportunities to scale its impact through consulting partnerships with public school districts, state agencies, and non-profit organizations. For example, the RISE Network’s facilitation of the Connecticut FAFSA Challenge with the State Department of Education in 2020-21 led to a four-point increase in FAFSA completion during a time when national completion rates dropped by four points. RISE is eager to partner with mission-aligned organizations to improve student outcomes and close opportunity gaps.
Position Summary and Essential Job Functions:
RISE is seeking an experienced, talented, and highly motivated individual excited by the opportunity to deliver transformative results for students through the advancement of data-driven and research-based strategies, tools, and products. The Chief of Data Strategy and Product Innovation will serve as a senior leader on the RISE Team and be responsible for leading a team charged with designing, developing, and implementing data strategies, tools, product pipelines, and research that are user-centered, scalable, sustainable, and build the capacity of students, families, and educators to apply solutions that promote excellent outcomes and close opportunity gaps for all students. This leader will have experience setting a vision and leading diverse teams to achieve ambitious results. This individual will be responsible for coaching, developing, and empowering the team that will execute this critical work.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Serve on RISE’s leadership team and advance organizational goals to improve student outcomes in partner high schools, achieve impact at scale through best practice and tool dissemination, and position RISE for long-term success.
- Lead RISE’s data teams with managers who supervise staff responsible for overseeing data products, infrastructure, research, and data capacity-building with school partners.
- Build and retain talent through RISE’s high-performing data teams, the Data Systems Team and the Applied Data Team.
- Facilitate team growth and develop staff technical skills and leadership capacities.
- Establish and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) for data teams, ensuring all staff have a shared understanding of success metrics and how their roles support results in these areas.
- Promote data team coordination and communication; support managers in leading impactful team meetings and managing team work plans.
- Maintain an excellent team climate rooted in high expectations, an appreciation for team diversity, and a commitment to create an inclusive and collaborative team environment.
- Exercise excellent resource stewardship, helping to organize staff and financial resources in support of student outcome goals.
- Promote strong collaboration with the RISE Program Team, Engagement Team, and Operations Team.
- Position RISE as a best-in-class education organization specializing in data-driven improvement.
- Partner with the Executive Director, Applied Data Team leader, and Data Systems Team leader to lead RISE’s data product and research strategies.
- Develop and implement annual and long-term data priorities and goals.
- Facilitate conversations with leadership, staff, and partners, ensuring all perspectives result in excellent processes and products.
- Continuously improve RISE data infrastructure, products, and research.
- Model user-centered design processes.
- Maintain the highest standards for student privacy and data security.
- Oversee external partnerships and data-sharing agreements.
- Pursue opportunities to scale RISE data products and tools, disseminate RISE research, and promote organizational sustainability and impact.
- Develop product roadmaps, and manage staff assignments and resource allocations.
- Ensure teams have necessary product knowledge, technical specifications, direction, and resourcing to deliver projects.
- Maintain a forward-looking plan for increased organizational data capacities and sustainability.
- Support the team around the maintenance of existing tools and prioritization of new tool development.
Required Knowledge, Beliefs, and Skills:
- Deeply held belief that all students can learn and achieve at high levels
- Sense of humor, positive attitude, and highly collaborative working style
- Ability to build credibility and an equity mindset with a diverse range of stakeholders
- Strong knowledge of SQL, R, RStudio, Google apps script, and Amazon AWS
- Strong knowledge of statistics, research methods, data visualizations, and product management
- Strong critical thinking with a track record of applying technical expertise with a strategic mindset
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with experience successfully communicating with groups of people with both technical and non-technical backgrounds
- Strong organizational and project management skills
- Empathetic and understands the challenges and diversity of users (e.g., students, families, educators, internal teams) combined with the design and how the data tools, systems, and products work or should work to ensure equity and accessibility
- Comfortable working in a dynamic, entrepreneurial, results-oriented environment
Required Education and Experience:
- 7+ years of experience in data products, systems, research and analytics (or a related field) and 5+ years of experience managing data or product teams and/or evidence of progressive team leadership
- Proven track record of translating strategy into specific products and tools
- Proven track record of designing and implementing data systems leading to improved outcomes, preferably in an urban K-12 education and/or non profit context
- Experience/understanding of the K-12 education sector and urban schools and districts
- Master’s degree in a relevant field preferred
The Connecticut RISE Network is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Competitive and commensurate with experience