Spencer Fellow in Social-Emotional and Academic Development

The Education Trust, one of the nation’s premiere education advocacy organizations working to improve educational opportunity and raise achievement for the most vulnerable students including low-income students and students of color, seeks a Spencer Fellow in Social-Emotional and Academic Development to support the work of the organization’s division of P-12 Policy and Practice. Reporting to the Director of P-12 Policy Development, the Fellow will conduct research and policy analysis to inform the organization’s advocacy agenda related to school, district and state roles in supporting social-emotional and academic growth of all students, but especially students of color, low-income students, immigrant youth and students with disabilities. This one-year, part-time (28 hours/week) Fellowship is funded by the Spencer Foundation.

Washington, DC Office

About the Organization

Ed Trust is comprised of fierce advocates for the high academic achievement of all students — pre-kindergarten through college, particularly those of color or living in poverty. Through research and advocacy, Ed Trust’s goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that affect millions of young people across the U.S. — especially students of color and those from low-income families. We work alongside educators, policymakers, parents, and community and business leaders across the country to advocate transforming schools and colleges into institutions that serve all students well. Lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, help shape our state and national policy agendas.

Major Responsibilities

The Spencer SEAD Fellow will work with the P-12 Policy and Research teams to develop a project aimed at building the organization’s knowledge of students’ social-emotional and academic development and the school, district, and state structures and policies that can support or undermine SEAD. Examples of potential research topics include:

  • Identifying social-emotional skills that low-income students and students of color bring to school
  • Identifying interventions or learning environment characteristics that are most effective in supporting social-emotional and academic growth of low-income students and students of color
  • Reviewing policy initiatives that states are putting in place regarding social-emotional and academic development
  • Lessons from high-performing, high-poverty schools about organizational structures and adult culture that support students’ social-emotional growth

The SEAD Fellow’s responsibilities will include, but may not be limited to:

  • Conducting literature reviews and synthesizing learning in briefs, presentations and/or talking points
  • Designing and implementing a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods research study
  • Writing a white paper and/or creating presentations to share findings inside and outside the organization
  • Providing additional policy and data analytic support to the P-12 policy team, as needed

Qualifications and Experience

We are looking for a candidate who is ABD or has received a Ph.D. within three years of the applied-for academic year and possesses a combination of the following qualifications and experience:

  • At least three years of experience conducting research in education or a related field, preferably on issues related to equity and improving opportunity and outcomes for low-income students and students of color
  • Familiarity with the social-emotional and academic development, either through coursework, independent research, or work experience
  • Strong background in quantitative data analysis and research methods, including a demonstrated ability to design and implement a research study
  • Experience with qualitative and mixed-methods research preferred
  • Experience with research in urban school contexts preferred
  • Excellent analytic and communication skills (both oral and written, and in a variety of formats and contexts)

Personal Characteristics

  • Passion for improving the educational experiences and outcomes for low-income students and students of color, and an unwavering belief that these students could be much more successful if institutions better served them
  • Self-starter mentality and the ability to work independently
  • A demonstrated commitment to excellence
  • Healthy respect for colleagues
  • Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and achievement-oriented
  • Strong sense of honor and integrity
  • A warm, personal style with a good sense of humor


Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Education Trust offers a comprehensive benefits package. The Education Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in all facets of the organization’s work.

Download the Job Description

Begin the Application Process

Please provide a cover letter and resume to be considered for this position. You must combine your cover letter and resume into one document and upload that document. Our application system will not allow you to upload more than one file.