Nonprofit and Social Impact, Research, Youth Development and Educational Equity

Senior Director, Research & Evaluation, FIRST

  • For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)
  • Flexible Location

This position has been filled.


For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges.

The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

An international not-for-profit organization (501(c)(3)) founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers.

FIRST  Core Values

The FIRST Core Values emphasize friendly sportsmanship, respect for the contributions of others, teamwork, learning, and community involvement and are part of our commitment to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The FIRST Community expresses the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our Core Values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • Impact:  We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

For more information on FIRST, please visit its website.

The Opportunity

The Senior Director of Research and Evaluation will be responsible for leading the evaluation, data analytics and reporting functions for FIRST. Ensures that FIRST has a robust learning and impact agenda that drives to a culture of data-driven decision making, continuous learning, improvement and impact. Collaborates across all departments and programs to define, measure and monitor the effectiveness and impact of FIRST, its theory of change, and supports staff in their capacity to use data to learn and make strategic decisions.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Apply a culturally relevant and equitable framework to evaluation, data analytics, and reporting.
  • Steward the learning agenda for the organization including testing & refining the Theory of Change, evaluating impact, and extracting key learnings to inform program improvements and impact.
  • In alignment with the learning and impact agenda provide expertise, guidance, and leadership to evaluate programs and strategic initiatives, deepen learning and impact, expand reach, and provide data-driven insights on strategies and learning.
  • Work cross-functionally to identify, measure and monitor key performance indicators that align to the strategic plan and key initiatives.
  • Through papers, reports, presentations, and infographics, disseminate impact findings to both internal and external audiences.
  • Lead and manage a team of evaluators and data scientists who are focused on the full data lifecycle including: evaluation plan development and execution, global data collection, data analysis, business intelligence, and reporting.
  • Provide guidance to Program Delivery Partners who lead high visibility, federally and/or state funded critical evaluation projects.
  • In collaboration with Development and other internal teams, embed the learning agenda and impact findings in large foundation and federal grant applications.
  • As a key Data Governance Team member, develop and apply strong data governance practices and processes with a focus on improving data quality and integrity, and protecting sensitive data.
Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Experienced individual who has independently led program evaluation projects, possesses advanced evaluation methodology knowledge, and has in depth experience with quantitative and qualitative tools, software, analytics, and visualization.

  • Advanced degree required in relevant discipline; Ph.D. preferred.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to articulate and synthesize large amounts of information in a compelling and organized manner.
  • Strong and effective leadership skills with experience managing teams.
  • Ability to succeed and thrive in an environment with competing and changing priorities and tight deadlines.
  • Nonprofit experience a plus.
Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy and Sarah Wilson here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, age, religion/creed, and military/veteran status in its programs and activities.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit

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