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Southern Methodist University
  • Position Number: 5136562
  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Position Type: Athletics/Coaching

Active Playful Learning Coach (HR Title: Senior Program Specialist)

Salary Range:

Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications

About SMU

SMU's more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and 80 countries to take advantage of the University's small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences and undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs through eight schools.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is increasingly recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical leaders in their professions and communities. The University's entrepreneurial spirit lives in people from every academic discipline who see opportunities to create something new in the world - and work hard to bring their innovations to life. SMU's relationship with Dallas - the dynamic center of one of the nation's fastest-growing regions - offers unique learning, research, social and career opportunities that provide a launch pad for our students, faculty and alumni to make a global impact. On the most beautiful college campus in the country, SMU Mustangs are energized by unbridled opportunities - from teaching, learning and research to creativity, performance and athletic endeavor.

About the Department:

SMU CORE provides a range of research and evaluation services related to education and human development. We specifically focus on evaluation and applied research aimed at understanding and improving programs, policies, and practices to improve the health and well-being of individuals, schools, organizations and communities.

About the Position:

This role is an on-campus, in-person position.

The Active Playful Learning (APL) Coach will work with SMU CORE, a sub-recipient of a LEGO Foundation education grant, to support the goals of the project measuring the impact of Active Playful Learning in classrooms across the U.S. The coach will support elementary teachers in local school districts through training, coaching, and observations as they implement the Active Playful Learning framework in their classrooms. The APL Coach will support the aims of the national project by participating in professional development and APL resource creation as well as work alongside the Dallas APL team to achieve project outcomes. The APL coach will be a member of the SMU CORE research team and will assist with data collection for the APL project.

This position is contingent on grant funding.

Essential Functions:

  • Conduct bi-weekly practice-based coaching sessions with teacher participants that include:
    Creation of effective coaching agreements and schedules, co-designing goals and action plans that integrate and expand new learning, conducting focused direct observations around targeted practice, facilitate reflection and provide feedback to coachee.

  • Engage in ongoing professional development and serve as the Active Playful Learning expert for the Dallas site:
    Participate in summer workshops and attend ongoing trainings with national APL team to bring evidence-based practices to coaching activities. Seek further education to build upon and refine own coaching skills.

  • Other administrative duties:
    Communicate effectively with all members of the school community to schedule and conduct coaching activities. Serve as liaison between school community and CORE research team. Documentation of coaching logs, surveys, observations, and other data collection duties with strong attention to detail.


Education and Experience:

Bachelor's degree is required. A master's degree in field of study of education, psychology or related field is preferred.

A minimum of five (5) years of experience is required.

Candidate with teaching experience is required; preferably at elementary level. Bi-lingual (Spanish/English) candidate is highly desired.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Candidate with experience coaching in a school setting is required. Working experience in development, preparation, and presentation of professional development is preferred. Candidate must demonstrate ability to work effectively with adult learners by providing encouragement and emotional support to teachers. Candidate must feel comfortable offering constructive feedback to facilitate change, demonstrate flexibility, openness, and willingness to implement new ideas.

Candidate must possess an up-to-date understanding of how to utilize technology in a classroom setting to facilitate learning experiences. Must demonstrate ability to conduct coaching activities including creating materials, scheduling, and communication.

Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of constituencies. Must also demonstrate strong written communication skills.

Candidate must possess strong problem-solving skills with the ability to identify and analyze problems, as well as devise solutions. Must also have strong organizational, planning and time management skills.

Specific trainings, such as IRB CITI training will be required upon hiring.

Physical and Environmental Demands:
  • Sit for long periods of time

Deadline to Apply:

This position is open until filled. Priority consideration will be given to candidates who apply by April, 30, 2024.

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,


SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution.

SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU's retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU.

The value of learning at SMU isn't just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.

Primary Location: USA-TX-Dallas

Job: Office and Administrative Support

Organization: Simmons School of Education

Schedule: Regular

Shift: Staff

Employee Status: Individual Contributor

Job Type: Full-time

Job Level: Day Job

Travel: Yes, 25 % of the Time

Job Posting: Mar 27, 2024, 3:47:18 PM

To apply, visit

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