The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national philanthropy based in New York City with $1.8 billion in assets. The Foundation traces its origins back more than half a century to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association. The Wallace Foundation has over 50 staff members in three program units (arts, education leadership, and learning and enrichment), communications, and research, in addition to grants administration, finance, information technology, investments, legal, human resources, and office services.
The Wallace Foundation seeks to foster equity through systemic improvements in school leadership, in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone. In each of its focus areas – education leadership, learning and enrichment, and the arts – the Foundation seeks to achieve “dual goals” by simultaneously creating benefits:
- At the local level through supporting its grantees in delivering and improving services to their targeted communities.
- At the national level by identifying and helping to answer significant questions, which could help propel progress broadly in the field.
Most of the Foundation’s grantmaking is conducted through large, long-term strategic investments. Using the “Wallace Approach,” the Foundation designs initiatives based on efforts to understand the context of the field and funds programmatic work and research to generate improvements and insights. Wallace then catalyzes broad impact through the creation of studies, reports, and tools emanating from the work and disseminates them to practitioners and policymakers.
Wallace’s major strategies are designed and implemented through interdisciplinary teams consisting of staff from the program, communications, and research units. Its program directors chair and facilitate the interdisciplinary team for their focus area. These teams work collaboratively to create and implement strategies that capture the synergy of the staff’s diverse knowledge, skills, experience, and ways of thinking. Team members from program, communications, and research units are responsible for managing the grants and for collectively coordinating the work of grantees.
The Foundation seeks employees who are highly skilled in their professions and derive energy from working collaboratively across disciplines. Wallace employees need to be able to think analytically, communicate clearly, and work collegially with others from different perspectives and experiences. The Foundation values the flexibility to adapt to change, a desire to learn, and the ability to work independently and in collaboration with colleagues inside and outside the Foundation.
WALLACE’S WORK IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP
Since 2000, Wallace has helped states and school districts develop and test ways to improve leadership by principals and others in school settings. Wallace has supported leadership development efforts in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and numerous urban school districts as well as the publication of more than 90 research studies and other reports and materials to advance the field as a whole. Thanks in part to field work and research supported by Wallace, school leadership is now recognized as being second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning. Moreover, principals strongly shape the conditions for high-quality teaching and are the prime factor in determining whether teachers stay in high-needs schools. High-quality principals, therefore, are vital to the effectiveness of our nation’s public schools, especially those serving the children with the fewest advantages in life.
Building on strong evidence from previous Wallace initiatives that comprehensive, aligned principal pipelines can be a feasible, affordable, and effective way to improve student achievement districtwide, Wallace recently launched a $102 million, five-year Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative to partner with eight large school districts around the country to explore how to build pipelines that can produce school leaders capable of advancing their districts’ visions of equity. Each district has formed a District Partnership Team with local community organizations, two university leader-preparation programs, and the state education agency to develop its own, local definition of equity and define what an equity-centered leader needs to know and be able to do. Each District Partnership Team will then design a comprehensive, aligned equity-centered pipeline that translates each district’s vision into reality, provides mentoring and training for current principals and assistant principals, and engages in continuous improvement. Through a series of independent research studies, the work of the eight districts is expected to generate useful insights for other districts.
In a recent survey, the Foundation was rated by its grantees at the 93rd percentile among foundations nationally in its impact on their fields, and at or above the 98th percentile in understanding of, advancement of knowledge about, and influence on public policy in their field (Center for Effective Philanthropy, Grantee Perception Report, 2022).
To learn more about Wallace’s work and the reports, tools, and videos in its Knowledge Center, visit
The Director of Education Leadership leads the interdisciplinary team in the design, development, implementation, and ongoing management of the Foundation’s overall education leadership initiatives. The Director is a member of the Foundation’s senior management team, sharing responsibility for the organization’s strategic planning, development, culture, and policies. The Director is also a member of the Foundation’s Public Policy Engagement Working Group. This position reports directly to the President.
Wallace’s program staff in education leadership includes a senior program officer, two program officers, and a program assistant, all of whom report to the Director. Currently, education leadership also uses an extensive network of independent consultants to implement its major strategies. The Director must effectively integrate internal staff and external consultants using Wallace’s interdisciplinary approach and maintain relationships with its grantees as partners in learning.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Lead an interdisciplinary team of program, communications, and research professionals in the design, development, and implementation of strategies and systems to support the Foundation’s education leadership initiatives. Foster and ensure integration of program, communications, and research perspectives and ideas to achieve the Foundation’s dual goals of impact within and beyond its grantees. As part of each major strategy’s design, include the creation of Learning Communities and provision of relevant technical assistance in support of the grantees’ work.
- Actively engage in and contribute to the strategic thinking and planning for the Foundation’s approach to grantmaking, knowledge development, and public policy as a member of the senior management team
- Lead efforts to equip education leadership staff in fostering the culture the Foundation aspires to – fully aligned with the values including diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Effectively coach and manage education leadership staff to simultaneously meet team and Foundation goals and support the development of the team and each individual.
- Lead the review and analysis of proposals from potential grantees, the development of recommendations for funding, and the ongoing support and measurement of grantees’ progress against goals.
- Manage the work of grantees, contractors, and partners – primarily through leadership of the unit and outsourced grants management – to build a relationship of trust, candor, and transparency. Inspire and facilitate discussion of challenges and problems to lead to shared problem-solving and resolution. Recognize progress and success to build upon.
- Develop and foster relationships with national policy makers, practitioners, thought leaders and researchers to advance the thinking and dialogue in the field of education leadership as relevant to the Foundation’s goals. Contribute to sharing what Wallace learns to catalyze broad impact in its fields of interest by participating in professional conferences, convenings, and events.
- Working with the Director of Research and the Director of Communications, contribute to the creation and implementation of appropriate knowledge development and dissemination strategies to further the Foundation’s overall initiative goals.
- Fulfill Wallace’s responsibility as steward of the Foundation’s resources by ensuring grantee budgets reflect the scope and deliverables to support the initiative goals, spending is monitored, financial reports are reviewed, and up-to-date records are maintained in the grants management database.
- Prepare Board book materials and present to the Board of Directors on strategy, grant proposals, program updates, new program development, and initiatives in the education leadership focus area.
- Contribute to the development of the Foundation’s Year in Review report, annual report, and other presentations and knowledge dissemination efforts.
- Other duties as assigned by the President.
- Substantive experience in a leadership role in education or education policy, and deep knowledge and experience in the public K-12 education sector.
- Demonstrated ability to effectively collaborate as part of a high-performing, integrated, senior management team in a mission-driven, values-based culture, actively contributing across the Foundation to improve how its staff and leaders work together, build trust internally and externally, and operationalize its commitment to equity.
- Excellent staff management skills and demonstrated ability to successfully lead an integrated, interdisciplinary team of professionals in a goal-oriented environment. Experience in mentoring and coaching employees.
- Excellent conceptual thinking, analytic, interpersonal, strategic planning, and project management skills, and current and deep knowledge of policy and practice in the field of education leadership.
- Excellent listening, writing, and presentation skills.
- Experience in diverse organizations, settings, and values is of particular interest.
- Advanced degree in a relevant field is strongly preferred.
The Foundation’s total compensation philosophy is to be competitive in the market so that Wallace can attract, retain, and motivate staff working together to advance its mission. The estimated salary for this position is $316,000.
The Wallace Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to maintaining a diverse workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength.
Please send nominations or applications including cover letters and CVs to Jane Phillips Donaldson and Paul Spivey at