Executive Director

The ASSISTments Foundation is Hiring An Executive Director

What is the ASSISTments Foundation? Cristina and Dr. Neil Heffernan are the husband and wife team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who created ASSISTments, one of the most highly regarded education platforms in the country. This year, officials at the US Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse declared the tool to be one of a handful of proven interventions in mathematics. Based on these impressive research results and the fact that the project has already scaled to 50,000 students and is growing, WPI is spinning off a non-profit 501(c)(3), called the ASSISTments Foundation. The foundation is being launched with support from multi-million dollar investments from philanthropic foundations. Therefore, the ASSISTments Foundation is looking to hire an Executive Director to help Neil and Cristina scale-up ASSISTments. Shortly after that the ED needs to hire a Chief Technology Officers, Manager of Product, Manager of User Experience, and multiple other roles to assist the current staff.

The ASSISTments Foundation is an entity that promotes the use of ASSISTments by teachers and researchers across the country. Over the course of its tenure, ASSISTments has received $25 million in federal and philanthropic funding. Like many non-profit research organizations such as AIR, EDC and WestEd, our business model is based on receiving federal and philanthropic funding to carry out research. Last year 1,000 teachers across the U.S. used ASSISTments, and their students solved 12 million math problems.

Our vision at ASSISTments is to do research to improve education for all students. Dr. Heffernan and the ASSISTments team currently have a 10+ funded projects that Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the foundation will be working on together. The research is conducted under the umbrella of our Testbed housed at WPI. In this context we think of ASSISTments as a shared scientific instrument. Our Testbed allows researchers to study human learning at a much lower cost than was previously possible.

ASSISTments is completely free to help students around the world get the education that they deserve. Our motivation for being free can be described in a bold comparison. Dr. Heffernan has a similar vision as Jimmy Wales, the innovative creator of the Wikimedia platform. Wales did not write the articles that populate Wikipedia, but built a platform that would allow writers to contribute content for free. To encourage writers to keep contributing their free content, Wales needed to keep the Wikipedia platform free to users. ASSISTments has begun to crowdsource hints and explanations for all the commonly used questions in middle school mathematics, in particular those offered as Open Educational Resources (OER). Teachers would be reluctant to contribute their work if they thought we were selling ASSISTments. By keeping ASSISTments free, we will be able to impact as many teachers and students as possible!

Are you the person who can help Cristina and Neil Heffernan scale the ASSISTments Foundation to help millions of students across the U.S.? Please apply to one of the positions to Cristina Heffernan at ch@wpi.edu!

For the Executive Director position:

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Represent the ASSISTments Foundation to support a growing staff.
  • Coordinate grant proposal with WPI and other foundations
  • Create and maintain general operating and project budgets.
  • Develop a 5 year strategic plan to grow this non-profit.
  • Coordinate all aspects of the educational outreach strategy.

Required Qualifications

  • Passion for improving K-12 education.
  • Demonstrated experience some aspects of managing budgets, fundraising and project management.
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively to identify and solve problems.
  • Experience in people management.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience with education technology and tools.
  • Familiarity with academia.
  • Experience working in nonprofit settings.
  • Grant writing experience.
  • Scaling up experience or thinking strategically.

Application Requirements for this Position.

Please submit your application materials to Cristina Heffernan at ch@wpi.edu.

  • Submit a letter of interest describing your background, pertinent skills and why you would be a successful candidate for the job.
  • Include a resume of your education and work experience and provide a personal email and phone number.
  • Be prepared to provide a list of references.

Links embedded in the Announcement (in order):

Additional information about ASSISTments:

  • Boston Globe article on Dr. Heffernan’s backstory including another reason it is free.
  • Playlist of Videos of Teachers and The Heffernan’s discussing ASSISTments.
  • Journal article on the History of ASSISTments.
  • The 4 steps we are expecting new users to take.
  • Complete description of our study in Maine. (note: this is at our old website)
  • Dr. Heffernan's webinar explains the past, present and future of ASSISTments.