WestEd — Senior Program Associate I, Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities

WestEd is a national, nonpartisan research, development, and service agency. Our mission is to improve learning, healthy development, and equity in schools and communities. With headquarters in San Francisco, WestEd has more than 700 employees who work in 46 states and DC, with a significant number of staff working virtually.

WestEd’s work, which generates approximately $170 million in annual revenues, is focused in the following areas: 1) training and technical assistance; 2) research and evaluation; and 3) policy advisory. Our core values include research-based approaches to serving the needs of our clients, ensuring excellence and integrity in all our work, equity, and striving for impact. To view our 2019 Year in Review from our CEO, Glen Harvey, please visit here.

The Senior Program Associate will work on the Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities Team, a team of about 22 members who lead and execute our body of work related to serving “the whole person” in schools and communities. This whole person work includes a broad range of content areas, including social and emotional learning; school climate, culture, and safety; trauma-informed practices; school-based mental health; community health and wellbeing; and increasingly, restorative practices. There are tremendous growth opportunities within RHSC given the increasing demand at the county, state and federal levels for SEL support and assistance.

As part of our body of work, we operate the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, funded by the US Department of Education. The core objectives of the Center are to infuse equity into SEL and school safety programs and practices, and ensure equity in learning environments, in access to supports, and in disciplinary practices.The Senior Program Associate will be able to support as well as leverage the resources and learnings generated from this well-regarded Center.

The RHSC Team is housed within WestEd’s Division 2, which employs around 150 people.

The Senior Program Associate will be a leader on our team who will help us expand and deepen our whole person work and impact, execute the work at a high level of quality, and fill in content areas where expertise is light or lacking.

We seek experienced leaders with a passion for fostering racial justice and equity within whole person initiatives, and who have solid experiences in technical assistance, project management and leading and securing large-scale funding for such projects. Technical assistance includes stakeholder coaching and consulting (including systems change engagements), client facilitation, as well as tools and resource development. We are especially interested in candidates who bring expertise in the following content domains:

  • Mental health
  • Restorative practices and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline
  • Community health and wellbeing

Although the Senior Program Associate will not initially have direct reports, they will start the role with a couple of high-priority projects already lined up, and will receive project support for this work from junior staffers. The Senior Program Associate will also have the opportunity to increase their support levels as they grow their work. WestEd’s business model is very similar to that of a law firm where time is billed to projects. As the Senior Program Associate secures new funding for their projects, staff (either existing or new hires) will be added to support those projects.

Additional details about role responsibilities are provided below:

Business Development/External Relations

  • Help grow the Division’s whole person work through the identification of mental health and other related project opportunities and cultivation of funders to support these projects
  • Maintain a steady stream of prospective project proposals and form strong relationships with a diverse (state, county, federal and private) group of prospective funders. It’s important to note this leader will receive support for the technical aspects of proposal/grants writing and administration
  • Work with existing clients to ensure that they value and see the content and expertise WestEd is able to provide in their whole person work
  • Participate in speaking engagements and serve on advisory committees; be a connector in the field both internally and externally.

Technical assistance/Project Management

  • Contribute to leadership for the RHSC Team and across the organization by providing mental health and/or other whole-person technical assistance and supporting large-scale or high visibility projects secured by the RHSC
  • Support and provide leadership for existing RHSC Team projects; currently, there are about 3 high priority projects the senior program associate will take the lead on once in the role.

The most competitive candidates for this role will have many of the following skills and qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Education, Psychology, Social Work, Public Health, Sociology or equivalent area and experience; Master’s degree preferred
  • At least 5 years of progressively responsible and aligned work experience; demonstrated success within a mid-size to large organization is a plus
  • Demonstrated success in developing, leading and securing funding for SEL/mental health and related projects; individuals with experience raising $500K or more annually are preferred, as are individuals who have successfully secured and managed large scale federal grants
  • Content expertise in whole person initiatives is a must; including, but not limited to mental health, trauma-informed practices, school climate and culture, social and emotional learning (including suicide prevention), and school restorative practices
  • Experience providing coaching and technical assistance for federal, state, and local agencies in the areas of SEL and mental health and related bodies of work in school and/or community settings. Expertise in trauma-informed practices and inclusive or restorative practices is highly valued.


  • Passion and commitment to promoting racial justice and addressing the well-being of children, youth, families, and communities
    Strong critical and strategic thinker, with an ability to solve problems, identify opportunities and generate next steps
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills; ability to influence and motivate others toward a shared goal or action
  • Strong leadership and collaboration skills (internally, externally and virtually)
  • Able to help build and cultivate partnerships with strategic persons in government, private foundations, non-profit organizations, research and development firms, universities, and other entities to support business development (partnership on proposals, etc.).
  • Exceptional operational skills, with an ability to help groups set targets and mobilize action
  • The desire and ability to foster a healthy culture and climate within the Division and the larger WestEd community.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: Salary for this role is competitive, and commensurate with experience. WestEd offers a very generous benefits package including medical, dental, and vision coverage, as well as Life, AD&D and Disability insurance. We also offer various retirement plan options and Flexible Spending Accounts for medical, childcare, and commuter expenses. WestEd offers generous paid holidays and paid time off (PTO), among other benefits.

TRAVEL (up to 30%): In a post-COVID world, travel is assumed to be about 30% for the purpose of client visits, presentations in the field, and funder visits. Due to COVID, all meetings are currently done virtually.

WestEd is an Equal Opportunity Employer and invites a diversity of candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion.

Apply online: https://recruiting2.ultipro.com/WES1032WSTE/JobBoard/e5cebb97-720c-4bb5-8a63-deffd14ff13a/OpportunityDetail?opportunityId=c4208fd3-dc3e-4597-a339-edd457a975d1