About the Organization:

Research for Action (RFA) is an independent, non-profit educational research organization that seeks to use research as the basis for the improvement of educational opportunities and outcomes for traditionally underserved students. With over two decades of experience, our work is designed to strengthen public schools and postsecondary institutions; provide research-based recommendations to policymakers, practitioners and the public at the local, state and national levels; and enrich the civic and community dialogue about public education.


Director, Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC)


The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC) seeks an energetic, experienced, collaborative and entrepreneurial Director to lead it in its mission of conducting high-quality, actionable research aligned with the information needs of Philadelphia’s public schools.


Established in July of 2014 with a grant from the William Penn Foundation, PERC is housed at Research for Action (RFA), an independent non-profit educational research organization in Philadelphia.  For the past year, PERC has been overseen by RFA’s Executive Director, Dr. Kathleen Shaw, along with a governance committee consisting of high-level staff from the School District of Philadelphia and representatives of the city’s charter school sector.  A Research Advisory Group comprised of the Deans of the Colleges of Education at Drexel, Penn, and Temple universities has also been formed.  The first year of operation has been focused on cementing strong relationships with public school sectors and other key education stakeholders in Philadelphia, and conducting a multi-phased research project on blended learning, the results of which can be found on PERC’s webpage.  PERC is also well-positioned nationally.  Staff and members of the Governance Committee have participated in several national meetings that bring together educational research consortia from across the country.


Having just completed its successful first year of operation, PERC seeks a permanent Director.  The Director will be responsible for the success and overall strategic direction of PERC.  As such, s/he will oversee all management, research and communications functions.  In addition, the Director serves as the primary external “face” of PERC, and will therefore be responsible for cultivating and maintaining strong, positive relationships with a broad array of funders and stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels.  The Director will also ensure that PERC’s research is of the highest quality, and is of high utility to the City’s public schools.  PERC’s operations will be supported by Research for Action, a 30-person research organization with a two-decade track record of conducting high quality, actionable research in Philadelphia and beyond. This is an exempt position.


Working closely and collaboratively with PERC’s Governance Committee and with relevant RFA staff, the specific duties of PERC’s Director are as follows:

Internal Duties:

  1. Strategic Direction. Working with the Governance Committee, PERC’s Director develops and implements a strategic plan aligned to PERC’s mission and function.
  2. Management. The Director works with PERC staff to ensure the efficient and effective operation of all aspects of the organization.
  3. Fiscal Oversight. The Director works with RFA’s CFO to oversee the financial position of the organization including developing long and short range financial plans, monitoring the budget and ensuring sound financial controls are in place. S/he also sets financial priorities accurately to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs of the program and employees.
  4. Research. The Director works with research teams to ensure that all research is ethical, rigorous, relevant, and aligned to the mission of the organization.
  5. Communications Operations. The Director works with RFA’s Communications Director to ensure that PERC’s website is accessible, its social media presence is effective, and its communications with key stakeholders is consistently productive and effective.

External Duties:

  1. Stakeholder Relations. PERC’s Director is primarily responsible for cultivating and maintaining relationships with a broad range of external stakeholders, including funders, school districts, policymakers, other researchers and research organizations, and the media.  S/he also supports and cultivates the capacity of PERC staff to develop and maintain stakeholder relations.
  2. Development. The Director leads and oversees all efforts to obtain grants and contracts to support the work of the organization.  Responsibilities include identifying emerging funding opportunities; maintaining strong relationships with a broad range of funders; overseeing staff interactions with current and potential funders; and supporting their capacity to do so.
  3. Maintaining Positive, High Profile. The Director works closely with RFA’s Director of Communications to develop and ensure effective implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy designed to ensure that PERC’s reputation as an effective, ethical, and mission-driven organization is consistently strong.
  4. Relevance and Impact. The Director leads the development and implementation of a strategy to ensure that PERC’s research, its relationships with external stakeholders, and its dissemination strategy align to maximize its relevance and impact.


  • Minimum of a Masters’ degree, but Ph.D. or Ed.D. in education or a related field strongly preferred.
  • At least 10 years of professional experience conducting educational research; a strong track record of research in public school settings or with public school data is highly valued.
  • Proven record of successful leadership of a university-based or non-profit research organization or unit.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and alignment with PERC’s mission.
  • Capacity and willingness to adjust to dynamic, frequently changing external environment and funding opportunities.
  • Deep and nuanced understanding of a broad range of prek-12 educational issues.
  • Strong credibility in the educational research and policy arenas, as evidenced by a proven track record of publications, presentations, experience, and leadership roles in these arenas.
  • Capacity and desire to energetically and persuasively communicate PERC’s mission and accomplishments, and represent them effectively in a broad array of external situations.
  • Strong network of relevant relationships and contacts at the local, state and national levels. Would ideally include school districts, foundations, state and federal government, national research, policy and advocacy organizations.
  • Exceptionally strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Capacity and willingness to conduct aggressive, creative, and sustained development work. Demonstrated, proven track record in development a must.
  • A financially savvy and politically astute leader with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems; keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills, which support and enable sound decision making.
  • Strong commitment to the professional development of staff; successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team.

To Apply:
Interested applicants should submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to applicants@researchforaction.org.




The Comptroller is responsible for creating, implementing, maintaining, and leading effective financial controls for the organization. This position will maintain and continually improve a finance operations system that reflects and accommodates for organizational financial complexity that supports the development and management of budgets and production of reports and analyses. The Comptroller has internal contacts with the entire administrative staff and external contact with funders, government agencies, vendors, and the community. This position has access to sensitive RFA financial information and is expected to handle such information with integrity and professionalism. This position has regular contact with members of the business community and is expected to represent RFA in a professional manner. This position will report directly to the Chief Financial Officer and participate in department activities as necessary.


  • Knowledge of and implement accrual based accounting practices
  • Knowledge of automated financial management system and ability to identify and correct errors to ensure accurate application of transactions
  • Knowledge of techniques in maintaining, balancing, and categorizing account in an accounting system to assist in year-end closing
  • Ability to analyze existing accounting systems and make appropriate adaptations to money handling procedures
  • Ability to review and monitor expenditures against budget and make appropriate judgments regarding payments and purchases
  • Ability to create financial reporting using financial software including budgets, cash flow analysis, variance reports, balance sheets, trial balances, income statements, etc.
  • Ability to manage the accounting operations of RFA’s departments, with particular emphasis on their control systems, transaction-processing operations, and policies and procedures
  • Ability to maximize return on financial assets by establishing financial policies, procedures, controls, and reporting systems
  • Exercises prompt corrective action in response to actual or potential significant variations from budget
  • Provide financial analyses as needed, in particular for capital investments, pricing decisions, and contract negotiations

Reporting Functions:

  • Generate and analyze the financial statement (activity statements, statement of financial position and statement of cash flow) and spending levels in a monthly basis
  • Prepare appropriate reports and information to support CFO and Board
  • Review and monthly reconciliations of all balance sheet accounts
  • Analyze and interprets financial data and recommends changes to improve financial performance
  • Prepare financial dashboards using accounting system
  • Collate financial reporting materials for government, corporate, and foundation grant
  • Provide financial analyses as needed, in particular for capital investments, pricing decisions, and contract negotiations

Budgeting Functions:

  • Prepare a departmental budget, participate in the organization’s budget preparation process, and operate within budget limitations.
  • Review the input of the agency budget into the Accounting system
  • Review and post the agency budget into the Accounting system
  • Compare budget to actual results with a view to identify, explain, and correct variances as appropriate.
  • Communicate and train organization stakeholders on internal budget process

Accounting Functions:

  • Maintain accurate accounting records and manage the monthly closing process in the Accounting system
  • Identifies process improvement opportunities and initiates changes to streamline and accelerate the accounting close
  • Manage Accounts Receivable – billing/collection
  • Review and analyze the monthly cash receipts and revenue postings to A/R schedule
  • Ensure that maintain records accurately and to submit invoices on a timely basis using a computerized invoices system to properly report expenditures from the Accounting system
  • Manage Accounts Payable – payment/discounts
  • Reconcile Bank accounts/loans on a monthly basis
  • Design and maintain Chart of Accounts that is in compliance with GAAP, State and Federal regulations
  • Develop and implement new procedures for the Finance department in accordance with the GAAP and the Federal Audit guidelines such as: Capitalization & Depreciation; Monthly Closing; Payroll processing and allocations; Salary and Expense allocations; Payroll additions, deletions and changes; Expense allocations; credit cards; Audit; Budgeting; Recordkeeping; cash disbursements; Independent contractors; Purchases; Deposits; Cash Receivables and Account Payables; Revenue Recognition; Tax Compliance; Internal Financial reporting; Physical Security; Segregation of Duties; Employee expense reimbursement
  • Prepare and file Form 990
  • Complies with federal, state, and local requirements by studying existing and new legislation; enforcing adherence to requirements; advising CFO on needed actions
  • Review balance sheet reconciliations monthly to ensure processes are adequately controlled and balances are accurate
  • Review and approve new contracts when received
  • Review the salary projection and allocations for the all departments (Post the salary spreadsheet’s journal entries on a monthly basis)

Expense Management Functions:

  • Champions the use of new and innovative expense management tools and methods
  • Designs and implements reports that monitor various components of expense management
  • Creates expense management processes and alternatives used throughout the industry

Fixed Asset Management Functions:

  • Provide analysis to support the capital budgeting process
  • Analyze the controls over the capital expenditure processes
  • Perform reviews of assets and records to ensure accuracy of property records
  • Institute and monitor procedures to ensure timely updates for asset disposals and transfers

Internal Control and Audit Functions:

  • Create and Maintain Policies and Procedures
  • Review and Maintain Internal Control Systems
  • Develop Action Plans relative to internal control needs
  • Manage and participate in the preparation of audit schedules before fieldwork commences

Additional-Essential Functions:

  • Attend relevant workshops or join professional groups as necessary to maintain professional knowledge and licensure
  • Adheres to the RFA’s security guidelines and ensures the appropriate handling of sensitive information
  • Facilitates and attends relevant staff meetings to promote communication and execution of goals
  • Completes special projects specific to the function of the department or as needed for the department as directed by Supervisor
  • Other duties as assigned within the scope of position expectations

Education, Experience, and Licensure

  • BA/BS degree from an accredited college or university with a concentration in Finance, Accounting or Business. CPA designation is preferred
  • 7-10+ years of progressively responsible experience including positions as an Accountant, Sr. Accountant, Asst. Comptroller or Comptroller
  • Thorough knowledge of Microsoft Excel required
  • Thorough knowledge of automated financial/accounting reporting systems and federal/state financial regulations
  • Outstanding accounting and communication skills, a positive attitude and professional demeanor
  • Ability to work independently
  • Non-profit accounting or public accounting experience is required
  • Ability to analyze financial data and prepare financial reports, statements and projections
  • Working knowledge of short and long term budgeting and forecasting, rolling budgets, cost and capital analysis
  • Ability to work in a team structure – demonstrating ability to collaborate and contribute to the team’s work
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule
  • To Apply: Please visit https://researchforaction.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=2 to apply.




Research for Action (RFA) is seeking independent contractors to contribute to the qualitative research component of mixed-methods research projects. Applicants must have prior experience transcribing interviews, focus groups, meetings, and/or other forms of audio-recorded data. RFA is seeking individuals who can transcribe one hour of a standard one-on-one interview in 2-3 hours. Compensation will be based on prior experience and speed.

To Apply: Send your resume and a brief description of prior transcribing experience to applicants@researchforaction.org. Please include the title of the position in the subject of your email.

Qualitative Senior Research Associate or Director of Qualitative Research


Research for Action (RFA) is seeking a full-time Qualitative Senior Research Associate to contribute to policy and evaluation studies in educational settings through research, data analysis, and writing.  The Senior Research Associate will participate in a variety of team-based research projects across a range of content areas.

There is potential for this hire to also join RFA’s senior management team as Director of Qualitative Research. The Director of Qualitative Research will lead a team of seven qualitative researchers, work with the other four Department Directors and the Executive Director respond a wide range of organizational issues, and lead some elements of the development process.

Job Qualifications for Senior Research Associate:

  • Doctoral degree in a relevant field such as education, sociology, psychology, or public policy.
  • Significant qualitative research experience in educational settings.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including ability to work collaboratively with team members on projects and ease at building rapport with interviewees, clients, and colleagues of diverse backgrounds.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with academic, policy, and practitioner audiences.
  • Demonstrated research interests in one or more of RFA’s core research areas:
    • K-16 district, state and federal policy
    • Urban school reform
    • Out-of-school programming
    • Youth development
    • Literacy
    • Teacher quality and effectiveness
    • College access and success
    • Educational needs of vulnerable youth (e.g. youth in foster care and/or juvenile justice system)
  • Commitment to improving public education. 

Additional Qualifications for Director of Qualitative Research:

  • Desire to become a productive member of a highly energetic, mission-driven senior management team
  • Strong evidence of ability to think and act strategically in service to the mission of the organization
  • Proven track record of leadership capacity resulting in high morale and high quality of work
  • Superb external communications skills, including evidence of successfully interacting with a wide variety of high-level educational stakeholders
  • Track record of successful fund-raising or development
  • Strong reputation



Internships at RFA

Spring internships run from January – May. Exact start and end dates are based on the needs of the project and the availability of the student. A full list of intern openings will be posted here in early December.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until all positions have been filled. Research for Action qualifies for work study and PHEAA and interns may also be eligible for course credit. Students not receiving work-study will be paid $7.25/hr.