Vice President and Practice Director, Education Studies

Rockville , MD
Jul 06, 2023
Sep 21, 2023
Education, Research
Full Time
Westat is a nationally recognized research company with expertise in evaluation research, statistical methods, data science, and analysis across a broad range of education and social policy issues. Founded in 1963, the company has built its reputation on quality and client satisfaction. Westat supports on- site, hybrid, and virtual work arrangements for its employees, enabling the company to attract and retain top research talent.

Westat is a 100% employee-owned company and offers a diverse and rewarding work environment in which its employee owners are rewarded for the company's success. Westat leaders promote a culture of inclusivity where employees can reach their career potential. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are key to Westat's overall business success and culture, and this commitment extends to Westat's clients, vendors, and business partners.

Westat's education practice strives to ensure quality education for all learners. We set the benchmark for excellence by evaluating programs, building capacity, developing policy-relevant reporting, and facilitating performance monitoring. Our expertise includes early childhood to postsecondary education, special education, effective educators, equity, literacy, educational technology, and personalized learning. 


As Vice President, Education Studies Practice Director, you will direct a multidisciplinary team of 120 staff. You will be the executive business leader and report to the Senior Vice President and Human Services Sector Lead. You will guide the strategic planning process and oversee a large portfolio of education research, evaluation, and capacity building projects. 

You will lead an extraordinarily talented staff of evaluators, technical assistance providers, former educators, and education communicators. The team is highly collaborative; our collegial work environment is central to our success. Your key responsibilities as Practice Director will include setting forth and executing the business strategy, being accountable for business development, ensuring project quality, and supervising talent management. 

Major Responsibilities:

Business Strategy

•     Develop and execute a strategy that (a) enables Westat to expand the meaningful work we do helping ensure quality education for all learners, and (b) creates continued opportunities for all Education Studies Practice staff to perform intellectually challenging work, to grow professionally, and to advance in their careers.  
•     Establish a strategic direction for the Education Studies practice that is in line with Westat's business goals. 
•     Lead the portfolio of business with the Practice's key clients: The U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, state education agencies, and foundations. 
•     Develop and promote thought leadership that promotes Westat's expertise to create a competitive edge, attract new clients, and recruit the best talent.
•     Foster collegiality while maintaining accountability among the Practice's management team.

Business Development

•     Oversee capture and proposal development activities to grow the Practice.
•     Vet new opportunities that align with strategic plans and corporate business targets. 
•     Engage routinely with senior staff on bid decisions and priorities.
•     Collaborate across Westat to bring the full range of company capabilities to bear to ensure successful business development.

Maximize Revenue

•     Establish an operating plan for the Practice in alignment with Westat's overall strategic direction.
•     Establish and monitor expectations for direct and indirect expenditures within the Practice.
•     Collaborate with Westat's Finance and Contracts departments to oversee Practice finances. 
•     Work across all Practices to staff projects and optimize resource utilization.

Project Execution and Quality

•     Maintain our culture of client satisfaction to ensure we continue to achieve the highest client ratings.
•     Conduct project risk reviews and develop risk mitigation strategies.
•     As needed, develop or update policies and procedures to continually strengthen the quality of our work, be more cost efficient, and to streamline operations.

Talent Management

•     Mentor leaders within the practice.
•     Attract and retain talent for the organization. 
•     Oversee staff supervision and staff development efforts. 
•     Assure hiring plans are in place to support project execution.

Basic Qualifications:

•     An advanced degree at the Master's level, Doctoral degree preferred.  
•     A minimum of 15 years' experience conducting research and/or technical assistance in a government contracting organization.
•     Strong strategic vision combined with experience developing and executing business strategy. 
•     Demonstrated business development leadership.
•     Experience overseeing education projects (predominantly at the federal level) with a strong commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. 
•     A proven track record of bringing innovation to research and evaluation, and capacity building projects.
•     Recognized thought leadership, including conference presentations, published work, and relationships with the U.S. Department of Education.
•     Demonstrated communication skills.

This role is eligible for a remote work arrangement, remote workers should anticipate 30-50% travel.

Westat offers a well-rounded and comprehensive benefits program focused on wellness and work/life balance. Subject to plan requirements, employees may participate in:
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Vacation Leave (20 days per year)
  • Sick Leave (10 days per year)
  • Holiday Leave (7 government holidays and 2 floating holidays per year)
  • Professional Development
  • Health Advocate
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Life and AD&D Insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Health Savings Account


Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status under applicable law.