Position Overview:

The Director of User Experience Research conducts end-to-end user experience research on projects in alignment with Summit’s research agenda. This involves many elements of UX research, including conducting literature reviews, surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, and other qualitative and quantitative research methods. The Director of UX Research leads the definition, design, execution, communication, and follow-up of user experience research within supported projects, ensuring all aspects of the project are completed on a timely basis and in accordance with the needs of the users of the research.

The Director of UX Research thus collaborates closely with the Senior Director of Research, as well as specific users of the research who may include leaders on R&D Team, Schools Team, the Summit Learning Program Team, and others. The Director of UX Research also works with the Senior Director of Research to lead capacity building and scoping of UX work across UX researchers on Summit’s R&D Team, serving as a mentor and coach. The Director of UX Research also helps represent Summit’s user experience work to external audiences, and when needed coordinates overlaps and/or works directly with UX related to Summit’s learning platform, in close collaboration with the head of UX Research at CZI.

Who we are:

Summit Public Schools is a leading charter management organization serving diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington State with currently 11 schools serving over 3000 students. Summit’s mission is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to not only attend, but succeed in, a four-year college or university. Driven by our unwavering commitment to our core values, Summit works every day to ensure our students are receiving a world-class education. We seek phenomenal individuals with the talents needed to transform children's lives, as well as those who are interested in working on the cutting edge of education. If you're excited by the prospect of transformative growth for yourself, as well as the students, schools, and communities we serve, Summit may be the place for you!

  • 99 percent of Summit students have been accepted to one or more four-year colleges, and our graduates are completing college at double the national average.
  • Fast Company named Summit Public Schools a top 10 most innovative organization in education
  • Our two flagship schools, Summit Prep and Everest, are named among US News & World Report's Best High Schools of 2015, and also ranked among America's Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post.
  • Summit has a fully Common Core aligned curriculum, and has worked with university, technology, and non-profit partners to continually improve.  This curriculum is made available for free to our many Basecamp partners across the nation and, soon, around the world.  You can explore the curriculum here, using the demo code jnqgwbct.

Summary of Responsibilities:

  • Conduct user experience research on specific research projects, using a suite of UX research tools including literature review, surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, and other qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • Manage a research process for specific projects from definition of research questions through research methodology design, execution, communication, and follow-up.
  • Support capacity building and scoping for all user experience researchers on Summit’s R&D Team, serving as mentor and coach.
  • Create compelling resources to communicate research insights
  • Be a thought leader, problem solver, and contributor to internal and external discussions on research, trends, and proposed interventions
  • Travel to Summit Learning sites across the country to assess components of Summit Learning through qualitative research
  • Use user experience methods to elicit possible needs for the research agenda from students, educators, and others in the Summit Learning community.
  • Strategic planning:  ensure that quantitative and qualitative research projects within the role’s purview are defined, bound to metrics, and making progress.
  • Collaboration: Serve as a collaborative team member, working closely with all members of Summit’s Research vertical, the Data and Analytics vertical, and many others across the organization.
  • Communicate strategically and responsively with key ‘users’ of research projects within the role’s purview, especially including leaders with the Research & Development, Schools, and Summit Learning verticals.
  • Represent Summit’s user experience work to external audiences
  • Coordinate overlaps and/or work directly with UX related to Summit’s learning platform, in close collaboration with the head of UX Research at CZI.
  • Share best practices effectively and scalably.
  • Report regularly to the Senior Director of Research so that resources can be most effectively deployed to departments and individuals.

Key Qualities and Skills:

At Summit, we use the research-based Educator Skills Rubric to define and make transparent areas of professional strength and areas for focus.  Each role at Summit is mapped to this rubric, which becomes a key data point in hiring, and central to professional development and retention.

For the Director of Research Projects, essential skills include:

  • Vision
  • Data analysis
  • Strategic planning
  • Progress monitoring
  • Time allocation
  • Creating appropriate supports
  • Strategic communication
  • Responsive communication
  • Coaching
  • Team culture
  • Collaboration

Additionally, we greatly value Habits of Success, including emotional intelligence and an orientation towards learning, holding high expectations, and supporting others.

For the Director of Research Projects, key habits of success include high levels of:

  • Emotional awareness
  • Learning orientation
  • Initiative
  • Empathy
  • Organizational awareness
  • Values-based leadership


  • Meet health clearance, and pass the reference, background/criminal checks, per education code.
  • Master’s Degree in Education or in a qualitative research based field (e.g., Psychology, Social Science, Anthropology, Information Science, etc.)
  • Expertise and experience in qualitative research: focus groups, ethnographic research, contextual inquiry, case studies, interviews, survey creation and research design
  • Experience conducting UX-type research for a technology platform/product is preferred
  • Demonstrated ability to be a team player that thrives in collaborative environments, and develops forward-moving solutions amidst ambiguity
  • Resourceful and active learner
  • Excellent interpersonal, writing, communication and presentation skills, with a variety of stakeholders including researchers, educators, and senior leaders
  • Exceptional project management and organizational skills with good attention to detail
  • Ability to analyze and assess quantitative and qualitative data
  • Demonstrates empathy and ability to apply understanding of an audience to deliver desired products and/or services
  • Successful management of complex projects involving diverse stakeholders
  • Experience managing others is a plus
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