Director of Research & Innovation

Reports to:


National Center for Learning Disabilities
1220 L. Street, NW
Suite 100, Box #168


The Mission and Vision

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) improves the lives of people with learning disabilities related to reading, writing, math, organization, and executive functioning. As the leading non-profit organization for learning disabilities, NCLD empowers parents and young adults, transforms schools, and creates policy and advocacy impact.

Position Summary

The Director of Research and Innovation is responsible for leading the development and execution of critical research and innovation initiatives that advance NCLD’s strategic plan, policy, and programming objectives. The successful Director will be part leader and part doer. They will be charged with shaping and implementing activities that reflect evidence-based research and practice and advance opportunities for NCLD to influence and provide leadership across disciplines including, but not limited to, public policy and advocacy, postsecondary transition and pathways to employment, parent empowerment, young adult leadership, and innovation in special education. The successful Director should be intimately familiar with the fields of special and general education, and specifically the field of learning disabilities.

Key Responsibilities

The work of the Director will entail close and ongoing communication with NCLD Team members and external experts. The Director will work in 4 main areas:

  • Publications & Research
    • Oversee development of NCLD’s State of Learning Disabilities report, and collateral content including written content (blog, video, briefs, reports), as well as virtual and in-person convenings. Ensures all content is directly informed by and incorporates feedback from individuals with learning and attention issues, families/caregivers and others where appropriate.
    • Work with program teams and consultants to conduct literature reviews, surveys, focus groups and shape/share findings for the team and/or external audiences. In particular:
      • Support young adult and parent leader research
      • Support innovator and employer research
  • Expert Engagement
    • Lead and oversee all aspects of NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board (PAB) to ensure alignment with NCLD’s strategic plan (including recruitment, updates, close communication with co-chairs, recruitment for committee work)
    • Engage with thought leaders, experts and leading practitioners to promote NCLD’s work/identity and facilitate new opportunities for NCLD re: programs, products, services and support
    • Represent NCLD at conferences and meetings and occasionally to media
  • Internal Team Research and Support
    • Serve as in-house expert, providing timely (‘just-in-time’) information and feedback to NCLD leadership, team members, project staff, consultants and program partners
    • Provide content expertise and support to program team and project consultants
  • Content Planning to Innovate Future Practice
    • Identify new areas of strategic focus, including short-, mid-, and long-term goals that tie into the organization’s objectives and support its mission and impact
    • With CEO and team input, set an organizational learning agenda to inform an external programmatic and practice-based vision supported by current and promising research
    • Lead the development and execution of an internal team learning agenda

Qualifications and Skills

  • PhD in education, social sciences, disability, or other related-areas is preferred
  • Deep knowledge of the field of learning disabilities and education. An understanding of the state of research and innovation in the field
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of diversity, inclusiveness, and empowerment
  • Highly creative, curious, entrepreneurial and innovative; passion for user-centered design, complex problem solving, and bringing ideas to life.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Experience with direct project management (e.g.,, grant implementation).
  • Demonstrated ability to compile, analyze, and tell a story with complex data
  • Experience with and understanding of the LD community and community-based research in general.
  • Must be willing to challenge standard thinking with new ideas, new approaches, and new solutions.
  • Good sense of humor.

Candidate Submission Requirements

In addition to submitting a resume and cover letter, candidates must also submit the following to with the subject line “Job Application: First Name Last Name, Director of Research & Innovation:”

  • Two (2) letters of recommendation.
  • Portfolio of two samples of written work products. (Preferably one short and one long product.)

More about the National Center for Learning Disabilities:

  • Salary Range: $100,000 – $110,000

The National Center for Learning Disabilities is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.