Senior Manager, Policy And Engagement

Senior Manager, Policy And Engagement

Forward Arkansas is a nonprofit organization co-founded in 2015 by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Walton Family Foundation. We drive bold, equitable change in Arkansas education to transform learning and improve outcomes for every student.

Forward works with key stakeholders statewide to establish a shared vision for education in Arkansas. We partner with state and district leaders, educators and communities to lead our state toward a future education system that is equitable, student-centered and prepares all students for success in life and career.

We are currently seeking a full-time senior manager to lead Forward’s policy and engagement efforts.

The Senior Manager, Policy and Engagement will be responsible, in collaboration with other Forward team members for informing Forward’s near and long-term policy priorities, establishing Forward as a valued partner and strategic leader among key partners and building broad stakeholder support for strategic priorities. The role requires strong public presence, critical thinking, analytical, management, and leadership skills, a roll-up-your-sleeves mentality, and a passion for transforming education in Arkansas.


  • Work closely with the Director of Data and Strategy to inform and determine plans of action around Forward’s near and long-term strategic priorities
  • Establish an understanding of research best practices from other states to inform our efforts
  • Identify, build and manage working groups of key stakeholders (including partner organizations, funders, legislators, state leaders and educators) around Forward priorities and build and execute collaborative plans of action
  • Collaborate with the Arkansas Department of Education and other state agencies, as well as external partner organizations to support state-level strategy and policy change
  • Develop relationships with school and district staff within a number of communities throughout the state of Arkansas to inform and support Forward’s work
  • Engage legislators to position Forward as a resource, understand legislative priorities and build support and sponsorship for high impact policy change
  • Support public communications efforts - provide guidance to communications professionals in developing and executing a comprehensive strategic approach for communicating with the general public and with key influencers
  • Represent Forward and build credibility for the organization by participating in public activities (e.g., giving public presentations, facilitating stakeholder discussions, etc.)

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required:

  • Committed to Forward's mission of improving student achievement in Arkansas
  • Experience in strategic planning; able to navigate between big-picture strategy and highly detailed implementation activities
  • Skilled in coordinating complex projects with many stakeholders
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; experience preparing for and facilitating meetings with participants with diverse backgrounds and perspectives
  • Extraordinarily well-organized, timely, dependable, resourceful
  • Strong ability to prioritize, and take initiative
  • Significant interest and experience in community engagement
  • Willingness to be a public face of Forward
  • The ideal candidate will be respected by state education leaders
  • Experience in education and knowledge of the local Arkansas context preferred
  • Resourceful, innovative, and a can-do attitude


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred.
  • Three to five years of experience preferred in education
  • Three to five years prior management experience

To Apply:

Please submit your resume and responses to the below questions to Courtney Lincoln at

  1. What do you find gives you the most energy on a daily basis in your current role?
  2. What do you find drains the most energy?
  3. What characteristics about you give you the confidence to thrive on a small team tackling big problems?