Director of STEP Partnership Strategy

  • Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Temporarily Remote
  • STEP

Launched in 2011 as a not-for-profit organization, UChicago Impact is one of four units that comprise the
University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute (UEI). The other units include: the UChicago Charter
School, the UChicago Consortium on School Research and the Urban Teacher Education Program
(UTEP). UEI’s academic home is in the School of Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
(CFS) at the University of Chicago.

UChicago Impact Stands Apart From Others In The Market For The Following Reasons
Research continues to show that many of America's schools fail to prepare students of color and
students from low-income families to succeed in college and beyond. Many view these problems as
intractable. UChicago Impact does not. UChicago Impact uses proven research to create scalable
evidence-based tools and supports designed to improve academic outcomes.

● It is embedded in The University of Chicago
● Its work is grounded in rigorous research
● It establishes long-term partnerships with schools and districts
● Its partners achieve results

UChicago Impact currently has partners and clients in more than 60 cities and 35 states — including
some of the highest performing school systems and charter management organizations nationwide
(e.g., Achievement First, KIPP, Uncommon Schools).

Role Description:

The Director of STEP Partnership Strategy will report to UChicago Impact’s CoCEO. The successful
candidate will manage the sales team staff and regularly collaborate with the Director of
Communication Strategy and Operations staff. A key function will be to set and implement short- and
long-term growth strategies that are in alignment with the vision for STEP, leading to increased brand
awareness, new partnerships, longer-term partnerships, and additional revenue opportunities.

The Director of STEP Partnership Strategy will cultivate new relationships and oversee the growth of
those partnerships starting with the initial contact and continuing through the completion of a
contract. This necessitates the ability to communicate complex ideas regarding business development,
especially to senior level individuals, as well as the ability to drive the value proposition of STEP with
long-term partners through the creation and distribution of supplemental offerings and services. The
successful candidate will be consistently called upon to engage thoughtful problem-solving skills to
identify and resolve obstacles related to strategic growth, as well as in response to partner needs.

The Director of STEP Partnership Strategy will lead with data-driven practices and will be responsible for
implementing and managing PM and CRM software, with a goal to continual system and process
improvement. The successful candidate will work closely with the Operations Team and external
vendors on the management of the material inventory and related design initiatives. The Director of
STEP Partnership Strategy will also be in regular communication with the STEP Data Management
personnel in order to keep apprised of and inform the development of new functionality and long-term

This role requires a deep knowledge of STEP and its infrastructure. The ideal candidate will have a
background in literacy, and literacy instruction, as well as in a business field such as advertising,
branding/ marketing, or sales. The Director of STEP Partnership Strategy will be expected to draw from
their knowledge of education and business to successfully lead the Sales Team and to collaborate
cross-functionally. This requires the ability to maintain a high attention to detail while simultaneously
overseeing the execution of multiple projects and workstreams.

Other typical work-related activities will include:

● Work with the CoCEO to create and update annual revenue projections for STEP.
● Lead quarterly Sales Team meetings to ensure alignment across channels and to drive business
goals related to revenue and brand awareness.
● Serve as a member of relevant departmental committees.
● Work closely with colleagues to create data-based processes that also align cross-functional
      ○ Ensure efficient operations associated with business development, contracting, and
● Ensure a successful experience for STEP partners, from initial conversation to implementation,
and through the renewal process.
      ○ Participate in large-scale partner implementation planning processes, including needs
assessments, strategic planning, and strategizing for professional development goals and
● Monitor STEP materials inventory, and coordinate printing/ design efforts along with the
Operations Team.
● Develop and execute, with the Communications team, marketing & outreach efforts for the
● Represent the unit to the public, key stakeholders, current and potential partners.
● Contribute key metrics on progress toward goals and by identifying key trends and insights
about the business gleaned through relationships and connections with partners. When
relevant, attend board meetings and/or meetings with the Dean.

Required Qualifications:

● Master’s degree in Education or in Business.
● 15 or more years of experience, with a proven track record in project management and sales
       ○ Including at least 5 years of K-5 classroom experience.
● Deeply knowledgeable about the STEP Assessment, preferably through first-hand experience
● Excellent communication skills, verbal and written.
● Ability to create estimates, contracts, manage budgets,
● Understanding of PK-8 public education issues.
● Passion for supporting schools in their work to continuously improve student outcomes.
● Ability to travel, as needed, to support implementations and/or to represent STEP.
● Ability to interact with remote personnel.

Preferred Qualifications:

● Experience researching and learning new technologies, theory and services in a progressive
educational environment
● Proven experience successfully relating issues both at a technical and general level
● Additional Business or Education certifications, e.g. Reading Specialist, CPA, etc.
● Ability to speak Spanish at a conversational level

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