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The Department of Education and Early Learning’s (DEEL) mission is to transform the lives of Seattle’s children, youth, and families through strategic investments in education. We believe equitable opportunities and access to high quality education services and support from kindergarten through postsecondary should be the reality for all children, youth, and families. Our staff is committed to eliminating opportunity gaps, advancing academic achievement, and ensuring students graduate prepared for a college and career path of their choice. 


Our department strives to embed the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative into its education objectives and seeks staff that value the importance of working together as a government and community to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity. Our core values of equity, results, stewardship, transparency, and collaboration guide our work, support our operations, and hold us accountable.


To support DEEL’s mission and vision for Seattle, we are looking for an Early Learning Division Director who will oversee and direct the Early Learning Division, which is the largest division within the department. Reporting to the Deputy Director, you will direct and manage all of the City’s investments in early learning, develop strategic partnerships with key stakeholders (including early learning partners, advocates, labor unions, the local school district, other government entities, and elected officials), oversee the Division’s investment strategy as the early learning landscape continues to evolve, and develop policy and program proposals for the Mayor and City Council for these programs and new investments. 

Your top responsibilities will include:

  • Ensuring the effectiveness of programs funded by the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy, Sweetened Beverage Tax, and other funds that collectively serve more than 4500 low-to-moderate income children from infancy through school age and their families 
  • Leading a team of 70 staff members
  • Managing a budget of over $65M


In this role, you will be overseeing the City’s investments in the following programs and be directly accountable for ensuring each investment’s specific measurable outcomes as well as DEEL’s and our contractors’ compliance with extensive regulations, quality standards, and different reporting/audit requirements: 

  • Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) – a City-managed program offered in partnership with community-based providers and Seattle Public Schools focused on improving access and quality of preschool for up to 2,500 three- and four-year-olds by 2026
  • Eight (8) Early Childhood Education & Assistance Programs (ECEAP) – State-funded nonprofit community-based organizations are subcontracted by DEEL to operate ECEAP classrooms serving approximately 360 three- and four-year-olds in Pre-K
  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) – a voucher system that provides families with financial support for childcare costs serving approximately 600 families with children birth through school-age and a quality supports program that ensures childcare providers are providing quality care
  • Prenatal-Three (PN-3) Investments through community partners
  1. Parent Child Plus – serving 251 children ages 2 and 3
  2. Nurse Family Partnership – serving 450 children and families
  3. Developmental Bridge Program – serving 184 children 
  4. 10 PN-3 Community Grants


More about what you’ll be doing:

  • Pursuing broader prenatal through postsecondary policy strategies in collaboration with City, State, regional, and philanthropic partners
  • Staying abreast of current research and promising practice in the field of EL
  • Delivering presentations to a wide variety of audiences, such as to City Council, education-related conferences, and frontline practitioners


You will be most successful if you have extensive experience providing high-level leadership and management to a large team (particularly teams of 50 or more). A commitment to listening, creating space for diverse perspectives, centering on children in planning and decision-making, and the achievement of educational equity must be at the center of your professional practice. The ability to communicate at all levels tactfully and effectively will also contribute to your success. Specifically, you’ll be prepared to take on this role if you have a combination of the below:

Experience in:

  • Providing leadership, focus, direction, support, and development to large, diverse, multidisciplinary teams 
  • Working with organizational leaders, school principals, and education advocates to improve systems, practices, and student outcomes
  • Writing and implementing policy, particularly in early learning 
  • Overseeing large budgets ($5M+)
  • Managing multiple large projects with competing deadlines 

Knowledge of:

  • Financial management, budget development, and administrative processes in a government or institutional environment
  • How to successfully navigate a dynamic political environment 
  • Effective strategies for communicating, both verbally and in writing, with multiple stakeholder groups and audiences, including providers, community groups, staff, and elected officials 
  • Early learning landscape, including educational issues and mechanisms to enhance educational equity
  • Integrating and aligning policy and programming across the birth through postsecondary continuum

The ability to:

  • Effectively manage a large and diverse team, develop staff, and create positive team culture 
  • Drive for impact, assess team effectiveness, and make course corrections as needed
  • Communicate with internal and external audiences as a representative of the department on significant issues for the purpose of garnering support, shaping opinions, advocating controversial positions, and achieving equity in educational outcomes
  • Provide counsel on key policy issues to decision makers and elected officials
  • Develop implementation strategies 
  • Represent the City to early learning and afterschool providers and parents 

Additional Information

This position is classified as an Executive 2 and is exempt from the Civil Service System. 


This hiring process involves a background check of conviction and arrest records in compliance with Seattle’s Fair Chance Employment Ordinance, SMC 14.17. Applicants will be provided an opportunity to explain or correct background information.


The City of Seattle recognizes every City employee must play a role in ending institutional and structural racism. Our culture is the result of our behavior, our personal commitments, and the ways we courageously share our perspectives and encourage others to do the same. To cultivate an antiracist culture, we seek employees who will engage in the Race and Social Justice Initiative by working to dismantle racist policies and procedures, unlearn the way things have always been done, and provide equitable processes and services. If you share these values and meet the qualifications, we encourage you to apply for this position. 


The first round of interviews for this position are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, August 3 and Thursday, August 4, with the second round taking place on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. 



To be considered for this position, you must submit your complete application, including answering all supplemental questions and attaching a cover letter, resume, and policy writing sample, at no later than 4:00pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Your writing sample should demonstrate your policy writing skills and should not exceed 5 pages in length. This position is open to all candidates that meet the minimum qualifications. The Department of Education & Early Learning values diverse perspectives and life experiences. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, medical condition, or pregnancy. The Department of Education & Early Learning encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experiences. If you have questions, please contact Lindsey King at