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Director of Policy

Application Procedure:

Submit a resume and cover leAer to: All submissions will be acknowledged. Applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. Please do not call Advance Illinois.

Learn more here.

Job Duties

Advance Illinois seeks an experienced Director of Policy to work on issues related to K-12 education policies (e.g., adequate and equitable funding, strong and diverse educator pipeline, robust systems for data and accountability), early childhood education and care policies (e.g., more streamlined and equitable funding and governance, adequate compensation, and high quality workforce, improved data and reporting), and higher education (e.g., equitable funding, affordability and student aid). The ideal candidate is a systems thinker, with strong knowledge of the early childhood, K- 12, and/or higher education field – including system challenges and opportunities – preferably with knowledge of and experience with Illinois-specific policies, stakeholders, and context.

This role, available immediately, reports to the President and helps shape the policy priorities of the organization, supervises a five-member policy team, and works closely with communications, government relations, community engagement and development teams to advance the organization’s priorities. We are looking for a proven strategic leader and self-starter who is able to work independently, is comfortable working in a collaborative team environment, and able to partner not only with staff members but with a diverse network of outside partners and stakeholders.

Job Qualifications

Competencies & Attributes

  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred

  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in a similar role strongly preferred

  • Passionate about advancing educational equity, committed to the value of research-driven policy development, and willing and able to work collaboratively to navigate an ever-changing political context.

  • Strong systems thinker, with the ability to identify key policy levers, opportunities, challenges, and solutions across Illinois’ education continuum.

  • Demonstrated ability to manage and lead in equitable working environment, including ability to identify process issues and solutions.

  • Deep knowledge of early childhood, K-12, and/or higher education policy, programs, systems that support students, as well as understanding of state and national policy contexts.

  • Excellent research, analytic, and problem-solving skills, including the ability to quickly synthesize large amounts of information.

  • Understanding of systemic barriers contributing to education inequities.

  • Knowledge of the political, policy, and partner landscape, preferably with existing relationships with stakeholders in

    the Illinois education landscape.

  • Excellent communication skills, including writing, speaking, listening, and advising.

  • Strong facilitation skills, including knowledge and experience supporting inclusive conversations with diverse stakeholders.

  • Experience managing others, with demonstrated ability to understand strengths and areas of opportunities in order to support growth and development of the team.

  • Ability to exercise sound judgement and decisiveness.

Institution Description

Advance Illinois is a not-for-profit policy and advocacy organization that works toward a healthy public education system that prepares students to achieve success in college, career and civic life. We are committed to an aligned education system across the B-20 continuum that strives for equity, stresses college and career readiness and completion, and supports the whole child from the earliest years through adulthood. We believe every child should have access to high quality education and care, regardless of geography, income, or race.

Spanning the early childhood through higher education continuum, Advance Illinois analyzes research, data and best practice; engages practitioners, families and partners; and develops and promotes policies designed to strengthen public education, higher education, and early childhood education and care in Illinois. We are seeking a passionate and committed individual with demonstrated policy and leadership skills who is able to thrive in a fast-paced, collaborative workplace to help shape our policy agenda and lead our talented policy team to develop and implement initiatives related to early childhood, K-12, and higher education policies in Illinois.


Competitive salary commensurate with experience and within organizational pay bands, along with excellent benefits such as: health/dental insurance; short-term/long-term disability plans; IRA with a company match plan; flexible spending account; holidays and vacation accrual.

Application Due Date: 2024-04-30
Job Start Date: 2023-12-11
Salary: Dependent on qualifications and experience.
City: Chicago
State/Province/Region: IL
Institution: Advance Illinois
Reports To: President
Staff # Reporting to Position: 6
Reports In Office: Policy

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