We’re Hiring – Program Officer

We work to help Delaware become a global leader in educating each of its students to contribute and thrive. We believe a great education changes everything—from the life of a young person to the health and vibrancy of a community. A great education opens up worlds of opportunities, strengthens economies, and promotes civic engagement. It changes everything. At Rodel, we are working to make sure every student in Delaware gets a great education and empowering our state to become a leader for equity and excellence.

Job Title:
Program Officer

Reports to:
Director, Policy and Advocacy

The core work will involve working with our team, as well as local and national partners, on helping Delaware become a global leader in public education. You will be analyzing problems, discovering insights, and making change happen. You will be helping bring new ideas to life and be informing public policy.

Projects may address topics including education funding and early learning, and other high priority areas such as college and career readiness, educator support and development, social emotional learning and whole child development, and student-centered and competency-based learning .

The work will entail policy analysis, coalition building and management, stakeholder engagementstrategic planning, and vendor management to inform and advance the organization’s policy priorities. Program Officers represent Rodel externally in state meetings, national convenings, on boards, and in local planning efforts.  

  • Critical Success Personal Attributes and Strengths for this Role: 
    • Complex project management and strategic thinking 
    • Ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines and generate high quality deliverables 
    • Engagement and management of external stakeholders, vendors and consultants  
    • Strong critical thinking and analytic capability. 
    • Good judgment and ability to work independently. 
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills.  
    • Can move forward even when faced with ambiguity and take ownership. 
    • Appreciate and enjoy bringing a high level of detail to tasks. 
    • Preference for collaborating with others rather than working alone. 
    • Ability to facilitate meetings and groups to consensus around recommendations and action.  
    • Comfortable working in a fast-moving, “matrixed” organization with many external stakeholders. 
    • Ability to turn challenges into solutions 
  • Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 
    • Identify, develop, and execute strategies to engage our partners and key education stakeholders to advance organizational priorities 
    • Analysis of Delaware and national research, data, partners, and opportunities to inform organizational strategy 
    • Project planning, execution and management 
    • Represent Rodel and build external relationships with partners across the state and nationally 
    • Experience as an effective collaborator with the ability to connect key stakeholders to accomplish organizational objectives 
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills with experience in navigating complex relationships across multiple stakeholders with varied interests 
    • Support the development of policy and advocacy materials   
    • Commitment to Rodel’s mission and goals for improving the education system 

While we are open to candidates with a wide range of academic and work backgrounds as well as learning styles, a Bachelor’s Degree is required for this role. Preference may be given to candidates with a graduate degree, or work towards an advanced degree. At least 3 to 5 years of experience coordinating and managing complex projects is required.  Preferred skills and experience may include: Experience in public education; Knowledge of Delaware, other state and national education systems; Experience with advocacy campaigns or community engagement; Familiarity with Delaware legislative process.

Rodel is an equal opportunity employer, offering a competitive salary and benefits package. We also provide customized support and professional development to advance your skillset.

To Apply:
Submit a cover letter and resume to Tiffany Trawick 

Looking Forward to the 8th Annual Conference on Education

Classrooms are changing and students are learning in new and different ways. As a parent, I am energized to hear about the great things happening in our schools. I’ve seen my daughter study for her AP World History exam with on-line quiz apps on her phone and my son make movies with an iPad as a way to learn new vocabulary words. Their teachers are creating new and innovative ways to teach the next generation of students. Every night, our dinner conversation is full with talk of the creative things that happened in school that day. It is my favorite time of the day, hearing my kids so pumped up about school and learning.

I try to bring this excitement with me to work at the Rodel Foundation of Delaware as we strive toward our mission to help Delaware build one of the finest systems of public education in the world. And it is this excitement that I look forward to seeing at the Eighth Annual Conference on Education, Moving Education in Delaware Forward, on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall. Teachers, administrators, community and business leaders and PARENTS are encourage to attend. As parents, this is a great chance for us to have our voices heard and to be a part of the conversation.

Click here to register for the conference.

Teachers may qualify for scholarships to the conference. Email me at nmillard@rodelfoundationde.org to learn more about scholarship opportunities.

I hope to see you there.

Be the Change: A Perspective on Newark Charter School by a Local Resident

I live in the center of it all – and by center I mean smack dab in the middle of Newark Charter School’s five-mile radius.  With such an incredible school so close by, it is no wonder that at some point nearly every family on my street has rolled the dice and entered Newark Charter’s lottery.  Unfortunately, not everyone has been lucky enough to have been selected.  Therefore, my neighborhood resembles the melting pot that is Delaware’s schools.  On my street alone, there are families that have students attending independent schools, catholic schools, charter schools, Christina School District schools, Appoquinimink School District schools, Red Clay Consolidated School District schools, NCC Vo-Tech schools and there are even 2 families that home school.  It’s a traffic nightmare just getting out of the neighborhood with all of the buses and carpools coming and going every morning.

I love all of the options that are available to my children.  In my day, everyone got on the same yellow bus that bumpily drove us all to the same public school.  Those days are long gone.  We parents have so many options available.  And all we really want is to provide the best option for our children.

That is what makes the Newark Charter School’s expansion such an emotional issue – it’s personal.  All of us just want what’s best for our kids.  Wouldn’t it be great if every child in my neighborhood could hop on a bus and have an educationally enriching and challenging experience everyday?  That is what we all hope for.

I applaud the work being done at Newark Charter School and hope the expansion is approved.  It will provide even more options for children in my neighborhood and provide a model school from which other public schools can learn.  Perhaps the parents who are so frustrated by this expansion should channel their energy to challenging their own school officials to improve their school of choice.  Shouldn’t all of the students in our neighborhood benefit from the work being done at NCS – by using it as a model to improve our own schools?

I have a son who is currently in 5th grade.  You can be certain that I will enter the Newark Charter lottery again and hope to ‘win’ a spot for him in the future.  But until that does, or does not, happen, isn’t it my job as his mother to provide him with the best education possible?  Instead of harping on what others have that I do not, I chose to spend my energy helping to improve the school that he does attend.  Engaged and involved parents can and SHOULD be the change agents that our schools need.  Let’s invest our time and talents to make sure our own schools are innovative and educationally challenging for our children.  Be the change.

Oh No, It’s Spring Break!

Yesterday, my 14-year old daughter Elizabeth asked me what we were going “to do” for Spring Break.   This is an excellent question – what are we going to do for Spring Break exactly…beginning in a mere two days?  While I’m sure she is dreaming of amazing rides in Disney World or dipping her toes into the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean, unfortunately for her (and me) an exotic Spring Break vacation is not in the cards. 

The real question is, “What are parents supposed to do with their school-aged children over Spring Break?”  You see, as much as I’d like to run off and have fun with my kids for a week in April, I—like most parents—have a job that doesn’t celebrate Spring Break.  So the challenge becomes what to do with the kids for the week while I go off to work every day. It helps that my husband works from home and my mother lives nearby, so I will have some assistance with keeping two kids entertained. And while it won’t be Disney World, it will be a chance for them to relax and take a break from the regular school routine.

But it will also be ten days of brain lethargy and ten days away from the routine of school.  This year seems especially hard, as Spring Break comes so late in the school year.  My kids will go from over a week of vegging out straight back into the rush of the end of the school year, with finals and papers and projects galore. I wonder how the break will affect their performance.  

The concept of year-round education fascinates me.  Going to school “year-round” does not mean going to school non-stop, but it does allow students to have more time in the classroom.  Year-round schools promote a balanced academic calendar to reduce learning loss and extensive review time that decreases time for new learning.  Students are usually scheduled to be in the classroom for eight-to-ten week blocks with short breaks between each block. 

Year-round education or programs with similar structure are beginning to pop up in Delaware. For example, Seaford School District, offers a balanced school calendar with classes beginning earlier in the summer than other districts, allowing for more learning time in the classroom.

For me, I’ll just have to juggle work and kids for the next week –and find some time for a trip to the library to keep their brains busy.   I will make sure that Elizabeth checks out a book about the Caribbean so at least she can learn about her dream Spring Break location.