Chief Program Officer 

Cary, NC



The Hunt Institute’s (The Institute) mission is to secure America’s future through quality public education. Since its establishment in 2001, the organization has emerged as a recognized and dynamic leader in the movement to transform American public education and a go-to source for reliable, objective, and timely information. The Institute is a 501(c)(3) independent, nonpartisan nonprofit and an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. The Institute works at the intersection of education policy and politics, supporting state and national officials and empowering them to drive education reform. Its mandate is to inspire and equip elected officials and senior policymakers to make informed decisions that improve the lives of all children. The Institute’s primary audience consists of governors, legislators, Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows, and other elected and state-level policymakers. 


After almost 20 years as a nonpartisan leader in K-12 education policy and political leadership, The Institute has evolved to broaden its K-12 policy focus to encompass the full continuum, from prenatal care and early childhood to postsecondary education and the workforce.  The Institute creates meaningful platforms to engage policymakers and education leaders across our work. At the core of The Institute’s work is a commitment to equity in educational access, quality and opportunity.


As a result of recent programming expansion and staff growth, The Institute seeks a Chief Program Officer to lead its dynamic team of policy and program directors and collaborate with leadership to advance The Institute’s strategic vision.


Position Overview

The Institute’s Chief Program Officer (CPO) will serve as a critical member of the leadership team.  Reporting to and in collaboration with the Chief of Staff (COS), the CPO will: articulate and implement the strategic vision for The Institute’s team of policy and program directors; oversee a portfolio of programs and services; evaluate the effectiveness of programs; help to promote and diversify funding; continue to raise The Institute’s profile through external communications and partnerships; provide guidance, mentoring, supervision and professional development to the directors; and serve as an education policy expert ensuring programs are innovative.  The CPO, as a subject matter expert, will keep abreast of legislative and education policy issues and trends and ensure strategic alignment with The Institute’s core beliefs. The CPO will be based out of The Institute’s office in Cary, North Carolina.


Leadership, Team Management and Organizational Strategy:

  • Provide leadership and oversight in the overall development, strategic planning, program delivery and management of The Institute’s four key policy areas:  1) Early Learning, 2) Standards and Assessments,

 3) Teacher and School Leader- recruitment, retention and pay and 4) Postsecondary and the Workforce.  

  • Lead a team of eleven, consisting of four directors, and seven policy analysts. Work closely with the policy & program directors to build their skills and confidence so that they can mentor, encourage and motivate all team members. Provide mentorship and guidance on how to improve program management and team performance.  
  • Create and support a high performing culture aligned with The Institute’s core values: Collaboration, Innovation, Respect and Accountability. 
  • Develop a team-based environment to inspire and motivate collaboration, accountability and delivery of quality materials and programs which advance The Institute’s core mission.
  • Deploy resources efficiently and effectively to meet The Institute’s goals, balancing workloads and competing agendas.
  • Establish measurable program performance goals to assess program quality, impact and sustainability on an annual and on-going basis.
  • Coordinate with the COS and CEO on developing new program concepts and pilot projects with a sharp attention to alignment with funder priorities and the potential to engage The Institute’s funder network for support.
  • Create, leverage and steward strong relationships and partnerships to advance the work and impact of each of the five key policy areas and the overall work of The Institute.   
  • Ensure the design and development of major convenings, curricula, learning experiences and research materials are tailored specifically for the participants to be served, i.e., legislators, policymakers, educators, etc. 
  • Participate in the budget process and maintain a high level of fiscal responsibility. 
  • Partner with COS and CEO to define funding priorities, cultivate partners and support fund development on an on-going basis.
  • Represent and speak on behalf of The Institute in relevant and strategic convenings, committees and panels. 
  • Coordinate the annual strategic planning and budget process in partnership with the CEO, COS and Director of Finance & Operations.


Program Oversight and Evaluation:

  • Oversee the coordination, integration and delivery of the four key education program areas.  Promote collaborative relationships among the program areas and ensure the expectations of funders, partners and the mission of The Institute are met.
  • Partner with CEO and COS on program strategy.
  • Work with the leadership team to generate new program funding and support the development of responses to RFPs and other grant opportunities.
  • Engage closely with finance to budget and monitor programmatic operations to ensure sound fiscal management.
  • Coordinate and analyze appropriate data to inform programmatic decision making and program design.  Throughout the process, foster innovation and learning – test, learn, adapt – for greatest impact.
  • Determine staffing plans to achieve program goals and objectives.
  • Engage partners, experts and other influencers to promote continuous learning within The Institute to ensure The Institute keeps abreast of the most recent learnings and trends in the field.
  • Oversee and enhance the knowledge management system to build a database of best practices. 


  • Minimum of 8 to 10 years of management experience in a non-profit, government, philanthropy or educational environment overseeing multiple programs in a policy and education related context.
  • Experience managing and developing teams of 10 plus.
  • Demonstrated success managing complex projects and workflows.
  • Excellent judgement, maturity and leadership skills.
  • Passion for The Institute’s mission and an ability to communicate this passion to others.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. 
  • Ability to collaboratively and creatively support the work efforts of colleagues at all levels and in all areas of the organization. 
  • Ability to navigate a fast paced, outcomes driven and entrepreneurial environment.
  • Experience managing and developing strategic budgets.
  • Strong relationship builder with the ability to find common ground, build consensus and strengthen collaboration among diverse stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of diversity, inclusiveness and empowerment.
  • Integrity and ethics.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Ability to travel (anticipated between 20-30%).
  • A Master’s Degree, Ph.D. or other advanced degree in education, educational leadership, public policy, public administration or related field preferred.  


This position description is based upon material provided by The Hunt Institute, an equal opportunity employer.


Sara Garlick Lundberg, Senior Search Consultant

Mimi Corcoran, Principal

To Apply: 

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