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Executive Director

Madison, Wisconsin
Closing date
Jul 7, 2024

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Job Role
Manager / Director
Job Type

Wisconsin Center for Education Research

University of Wisconsin-Madison


Madison, WI

Search for the Executive Director


WIDA, the international leader in the research and development of products and services to support multilingual learners and their educators, seeks a dynamic and strategic leader to serve as the organization’s next Executive Director (ED). WIDA offers a fully integrated, research-based academic language development system, including language standards, assessments, professional learning, research, and technical assistance, delivered through its unique consortium model currently serving 42 states, territories, and federal agencies. This comprehensive system, based on research and educator feedback, is built on standards, assessments, and professional learning. The organization is housed in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the top-ranked School of Education (SOE) within the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). Since its founding in 2003, WIDA has experienced impressive growth and currently employs 150 staff members with annual revenues of $90 million.

Reporting to the Director of the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, the Executive Director will join the organization at a moment of tremendous opportunity. Over the past 21 years under the direction of Founder Tim Boals, WIDA has evolved from a grant proposal involving three states into the nation’s foremost provider of language development resources for multilingual learners (MLLs) and their educators. WIDA’s products are unmatched, as is its commitment to providing world class educational opportunities for MLLs, which is infused into the policies and products it develops. In recent years, the business landscape of multilingual learning has transformed, leading to greater competition in the language assessment market. The political landscape has similarly evolved, reinforcing the need for WIDA to ensure its educational philosophy is reflected in its products and services.

The Executive Director will lead the organization through a critical period of transition as Founder Tim Boals moves into the new role of Founder/Sr. Principal Investigator in the organization. In setting the strategic direction for the next several years, the new Executive Director will work to maintain WIDA’s dominant position in an increasingly competitive market; champion WIDA’s founding mission in a changing political and educational landscape; manage external relationships with education departments, policymakers, and other testing organizations and education technology companies; and help to guide internal organizational culture.

A mission-focused, strategic, and process-minded leader, the Executive Director will bring a deep knowledge of PreK-12 education; balanced assessment systems including formative, interim, and large- scale assessment; standards; and professional learning, with a steadfast commitment to WIDA’s vision of remaining the most trusted and valued resource in supporting the education of multilingual learners. The successful candidate will hold a master’s degree, preferably in education, linguistics, business, or a related field, and have at least seven years of management experience effectively leading a team of committed and mission-driven professionals. A Ph.D. or Ed.D. is preferred.

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the search process is completed. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes with cover letters should be sent in strict confidence to:

Jeff Kessner, Diana Carmona, and Jenny Rubin

Isaacson, Miller

The University of Wisconsin System will not reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing. See Wis. Stat. sec. 19.36(7). Candidates who are selected as finalists will be invited for campus interviews and their names will be announced publicly.


The University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

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