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Roles and Work Environment
Taking on leadership roles in Education can look differently depending on where you want to be involved. Administrators in local school systems, such as principals and vice principals, work directly with teachers, students and parents and help with school reform. Typically, becoming a principal involves a master’s degree, like the M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision in the Curry School here at UVA.
When thinking about reforming education on a larger scale, you may want to work in education policy. Do you want to create policy (government), conduct research to influence policy (think tanks), advocate for educators (union), or work with schools to change local approaches to education (nonprofit)? These are just some of the ways you might get involved with policy. Here are some examples of organizations that are connected to education leadership and policy:
- Think Tank (American Institutes for Research, Brookings, The Learning Policy Institute)
- Union (NEA, AFT)
- Advocacy (Ed Trust, Educators for Excellence, Data Quality Campaign)
- Nonprofit (CityBridge Education)
- Consulting (McKinsey, Education First, Bain, Accenture, Deloitte)
- Legislative Government
- Executive Government
Skills and Training
Here are some skills you may consider developing if you are interested in working in education leadership and policy.
- Public speaking & verbal communication
- Strong writing: concise, clear, persuasive
- Knowledge of current education policies
- Experience working in education (teaching and/or mentorship)
- Ability to analyze & effectively problem-solve
Many professionals who work in education policy recommend spending at least some time working in a classroom before moving into policy in order to gain a better understanding of the industry.
- Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP): 10-week internship program through Curry where interns work on research focusing on schools, classrooms, and other youth settings.
- EdPolicyWorks Research Center
- Don’t forget to check out education policy classes in Curry and Batten.
- Fritzwire: Email newsletter that provides current information on education and related legislation, Congressional hearings, meetings, conferences, new information on research, and job opportunities.
- School Administration - iHireSchoolAdministrators
- U.S. Department of Education/USA Jobs
Applying and Interviewing
Resumes and Cover Letters
If you have never interviewed before, make sure to check out the interviewing section of our website. You can also conduct a mock interview with a career counselor for practice.
Additional Industry Resources
Blogs and Industry Research
- U.S. Department of Education
- Virginia Board of Education
- Politico Morning Education
- Postsecondary Education Administration - Bureau of Labor Statistics