Research & Development Specialist

Feb 1, 2019

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) seeks a Research & Development Specialist to join our team! The position will ensure that NCFL-produced materials, publications, and professional development are developed using the current research/evidence base and promising practices in the areas of family engagement and language/literacy development for children and adults, with an emphasis on early childhood education. The specialist will act as the connector between research/program evaluation, content development, and media communications.

NCFL envisions a world in which all families are provided opportunities to improve their lives and become strong contributors to society. We address our nation's literacy challenges by engaging family members in learning, with a primary focus on families living in poverty. To learn more about our nonprofit organization, please visit our website:

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that NCFL content is developed using current research, evidence-based, and promising practices (research to practice):
    • Maintain consistency of message across materials, publications, and professional development
    • Contribute to and advise content development for education and publications teams
    • Advise messages for Development and Communications (grant writing, website content, blog posts, etc.)
  • Review and distill information from NCFL program evaluations and research reports to support publications, curriculum development, and media releases
  • Contribute to internal editorial process. Review internal papers/briefs written by evaluators (from evaluation reports) and staff for content; review, ask questions, clarify, and conduct initial developmental edit.
  • Work with evaluators and education teams to solidify project questions and goals to support outcomes and NCFL mission.
  • Seek publication opportunities to submit NCFL evaluation work, research, and family engagement best practices via academic journals, education magazines, and other external publication venues.
  • Stay attune with the current research regarding family engagement, early language and literacy development, and reading, to keep NCFL staff abreast of current research and promising practices.
    • Conduct literature reviews to support content and publications development as needed
    • Stay abreast of and advance the work of early childhood language and literacy development
    • Apply current research in early childhood language and literacy development to materials, publications, professional development and other content development.
  • Explore data collection and research/evaluation methods for NCFL digital properties
  • Continue to support and enhance a research-based culture at NCFL.


  • Minimum of a Bachelor Degree (Master preferred) in education, with a strong preference toward a degree in early childhood education
  • Strongly demonstrated experiences in education, early childhood education, educational research, publications development, writing, and professional development.
  • 3 years minimum experience working in educational programming (early childhood setting preferred)
  • Strong working knowledge of early language/literacy development, reading, reading strategies, research/evidence-based reading strategies for children and adults, and family engagement.
  • Ability to write and produce content on a deadline.
  • Ability to manage deadlines and content development with a team.
  • Ability to design and deliver professional development
  • Demonstrated knowledge and use of APA manual of style.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and sensitivity to writing for diverse audiences.
  • Knowledge of product design, marketing, and dissemination a plus.

NCFL is located in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a full-time opportunity. NCFL offers a competitive benefits package for full-time associates including medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, retirement planning, and more.

If interested, please apply online here, or visit our website, and click on Careers.

NCFL is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to workplace diversity.  NCFL offers a competitive salary and benefits package.  For information regarding NCFL, visit our website at

Back to All Career Opportunities

NCFL Partners

Toyota Family Learning Program

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $35 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University