Associate Director, STEM

Children Now is a nonpartisan umbrella research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health, education and well‐being in California. Children Now also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a grassroots network of more than 3,000 business, education, parent, civil rights, faith, and community‐based organizations, as well as thousands of individuals, working together to make children a top priority in public policy. Learn more at

Position Description

We are seeking a highly skilled and motivated Associate Director to support Children Now’s ongoing policy development and advocacy efforts to ensure that all children in California have access to well-funded, high quality, coordinated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction, transitional kindergarten through post-secondary education, including expanded access to early STEM education.

This position will promote the importance of STEM education to children’s lives and the state’s economic future, advocating for policies that improve the alignment of STEM education throughout early learning, elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, and strengthen the state’s investments in STEM teaching and learning—all while applying a racial equity analysis to educational systems. This is a full-time position based in either our Oakland or Sacramento offices and will report to the Executive Director of the California STEM Network. Statewide and travel between Children Now’s other offices will be required.

Ideal applicants have STEM education research, policy and practice knowledge, with advocacy experience in state education policy and in Sacramento, including knowledge of and relationships in the state legislature, governor’s office and state agencies. Applicants must have outstanding relationship building skills, exceptional communication skills (written, verbal and interpersonal), excellent project management ability, and the ability to collaborate effectively and flexibly in a fast-paced environment. Candidates should be positive and solution-oriented, with a high level of integrity, strong work ethic, as well as a deep commitment to racial equity and Children Now’s mission.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Under the supervision of the Executive Director of the California STEM Network, set goals, develop strategies, conduct policy and advocacy work to advance Children Now’s comprehensive STEM education agenda, its management of the California STEM Network and its support for affiliated regional STEM networks and ecosystems;
  • Lead specific STEM policy projects, including project planning and strategy, managing key relationships, representing the project externally, collaborating closely with other policy staff on related projects, and ensuring execution of deliverables;
  • Assist with the leadership and oversight of the Bay Area STEM Ecosystem and the development and expansion of regional STEM networks and ecosystems in the Central Valley and Sacramento regions;
  • Provide expert policy analysis and recommendations to the California STEM Network’s affiliated regional STEM networks and ecosystems and assist with the planning and execution of statewide and regional STEM education convenings;
  • Help initiate and support strategy development of new STEM education issue areas;
  • Partner effectively and collaboratively with policy team colleagues, including engaging in research, policy development, coalition building and advocacy efforts primarily focused on STEM, as well as broader education issues, as appropriate.
  • Represent Children Now and build strong relationships with, and provide support for, government officials and local and state departments, boards and commissions, funding partners, state and local partner organizations and other key constituencies;
  • Testify, as subject matter expert, before policy-making bodies and make presentations at meetings and conferences to advance policy and systems change efforts;
  • Develop and write grant proposals and reports; policy briefs, reports and presentations; and a range of other communications materials designed to elevate the importance of STEM programs and supports; and
  • Provide content support to other policy projects and other teams such as research, communications and The Children’s Movement of California.


  • Extensive STEM education policy experience in California;
  • Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of STEM education systems and policies and excellent relationships in these fields;
  • Thorough knowledge of California’s political system;
  • Strong relationships with state-level policymakers highly valued;
  • Ability to develop strong and effective working relationships with diverse and multi-cultural constituencies ranging from Children Now staff, to government officials, to the media, to civic and community-based organizations;
  • Exceptional written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills;
  • Excellent research, editing and writing skills, including non-profit development and grant-writing experience;
  • Excellent multi-tasking abilities and strategic and efficient time management skills;
  • Extensive project management abilities, including effective communication, and the ability to lead early planning and strategy development, incorporate a wide range of contributions of colleagues, partners and stakeholders, and manage multiple components and different stages of implementation;
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • Highly flexible with a positive attitude and a willingness to balance the needs of multiple projects according to priorities;
  • Strong skills in the areas of technology (including MS Office), research, analysis and the use of social media; and
  • Graduate degree or equivalent experience in public policy, education policy, public administration or related field is preferred.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Generous benefits.

Application Process

Applications must include a 1) cover letter, 2) resume, 3) two to three page writing sample, and 4) three to five references. Please submit your application materials to with attachments in PDF or Microsoft Word format only. Please include your name in the file name for all documents (e.g. g.smith – resume). We do not accept phone inquiries regarding the position. Position is open until filled.

Children Now is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to staff diversity. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.