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SMD, Senior Designer

Teach for America

Teach for America

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Posted on Monday, February 12, 2024

ROLE TITLE: SMD, Senior Designer


APPLICATION DEADLINE: 11:59pm ET on Monday, February 19, 2024

LOCATION: Flexible


As adrienne maree brown says in her book Emergent Strategy, “longing moves towards longing.”

We’re looking for someone on our team to build learning products and programs that people long for.

Not because we care about “scale” for scale’s sake. But because we believe deeply that deeply engaging, 21st century relevant learning shouldn’t be only afforded to those with the luxury to pay for it or the luck to come across it. And we believe that the size of Teach For America will help ensure that many more young people who have been counted out have the opportunity to access the learning environments they deserve.

To put it simply: The ideal candidate has fast cycle product development expertise and, ideally, has used it to innovate within a public school or system. We’re looking for someone who can go from identifying needs in the wider world (among young people and educators/educational leaders specifically), generate ideas, test them, and grow the most promising ones to bring reinvented* learning products* to many young people across the country, often through the places they most frequently are: public school systems. (See below for definitions of each asterisked term).

This person will be primarily responsible for generating ideas for new approaches to advance equitable learning and then for bringing some of those ideas into reality. This includes both stellar strategy development and execution. This role will not have direct managerial responsibilities or excessive bureaucratic work. The person in this role will be included in, but not responsible for, fundraising. Their charge will be clear: alongside other Senior Designers on our team, seed compelling, in-demand products that bring the future of learning to life among those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to access it.

This person will have a constant eye towards impact - ensuring that innovative educational experiences are not only afforded to those that are privileged or lucky. They will use the networks, brand and reach of Teach For America wisely to ensure reinvented learning reaches as many young people as possible that it otherwise wouldn’t. This will also mean an eye toward market viability; ensuring a demand for what is created from the Reinvention Lab within learning environments throughout the country.

*What is a product? At TFA and the Reinvention Lab, our products are not typically software (although they could be). Products at TFA include things like FutureShock (developed out of the Reinvention Lab) or IGNITE - youth programs developed with a human-centered, product development lens, like a reimagining of summer school that makes it student-centered, project-based, and fun. Our Senior Designers are intrapreneurs fluent in the systems, tools, and cycles of product development, who also hold some youth program design experience.

*What is reinvented learning? Read our definition here.


  • Lead project management: Leading project teams (composed mostly of other Senior Designers) to developing products and programs aligned to our strategic goals

  • Emergent insights: Keeping pulse on what’s emerging in the field and performing your own user research, using those insights to design and redesign compelling, in-demand products and programs

  • Strategic clarity and communication: Directing strategy based on tests, user research, and other design methods, and communicating that strategy and decisions therein clearly with other team members, TFA and the field

  • Metric tracking: Tracking and understanding if your tests and pilots are making an impact, and reporting back on that impact to the team, the field and TFA


Over the course of any week, the Senior Designer will spend time:

  • 70%: research, design and implementation. Driving product work forward. Leading project teams. Research.

  • 20%: Strategy design and execution.

  • 10%: Documentation and learning.


Your areas of knowledge and expertise that matter most for this role (minimum qualifications):

  • Clear point of view and experience related to the relationship between equity and innovation in education. Dedicated to dismantling the status quo of the education system, particularly for those most marginalized. Deep experience in and understanding of learning environments that have broken from the status quo: often called “learner centered,” “deeper learning,” and “21st century learning.”

  • Product design and execution: Has mastery of systems for product design, including roadmaps, assumption mapping, and metric tracking. Has systems for understanding how to collect relevant data that indicates whether to “compost” or continue a potential product or feature. Leads these systems for a full team ensuring they are followed with fidelity and consistency.

  • Human centered design: Has experience executing and leading teams in ethical, consent-based user research, rapid prototyping, and other action-oriented, HCD methods.

  • Market Intelligence: Understands where there are gaps in urban and rural learning environments, and what users in those settings are demanding, and finding ways to creatively fill those gaps with engaging, relevant options that create the greatest amount of educational equity.

  • Strategy design: Can create coherent, concise, and inspiring strategies that allow for both direction and flexibility, and that take insights from the Reinvention Lab team, TFA leadership, and user research into account.

  • Documentation and Storytelling: Can work closely with the Reinvention Lab’s Head of Story and Brand to ensure the product work coming out of the Lab is documented internally and shared broadly externally.

BONUS (preferred qualifications)

  • Public school experience: This person has worked within public schools and has some understanding of the pressures and needs of adults and young people within them.


Learn more about the Reinvention Lab at www.reinventionlab.org/learn. You will also see the team members with whom you will be working.


The applicable salary range for each U.S.-based role is based on where the employee works and is aligned to one of 3 tiers according to a cost of labor index in that geographic area. Starting pay for the successful applicant will depend on a variety of job-related factors, which may include education, training, experience, location, business needs, or market demands. The expected salary ranges for this role are set forth below. New hires are typically brought into the organization at a salary between the range minimum and the salary range midpoint depending on qualifications, internal equity, and the budgeted amount for the role. These ranges may be modified in the future.

Tier A: $108,900-163,300

Tier B: $118,700-178,000

Tier C: $128,500-192,800

You can view which tier applies to where you plan to work here. If your location is not listed, please click here for additional total rewards information.

This job is no longer accepting applications

See open jobs at Teach for America.