Job Description:

Title: Director of Instructional Design, Reading Universe

Status:  Full Time, Exempt

Reports to:  Senior Director, Reading Universe


Reading Universe is an ambitious new national project which we hope will become the definitive online guide to teaching reading and writing effectively.  Reading Universe is a collaboration among WETA, the Barksdale Reading Institute, and First Book, with other national organizations engaged as partners and supporters.  We launched our prototype site in July 2023. 

Reading Universe aims to be a state-of-the-art, research-based, video-rich service that offers systematic, comprehensive professional development.  Reading Universe will primarily serve teachers in grades pre-K-6th grade, along with reading coaches and other educators.   Reading Universe complements WETA’s established national education websites, which include (among others) Reading Rockets, Colorin Colorado, and

As the Director of Instructional Design, you will play a leading role in developing, drafting, and editing the “Skill Explainers” at the core of Reading Universe, where we provide detailed guidance about how to teach each skill that students need to master to become skilled readers and writers.    You will be integrally involved in planning our in-classroom video production and working with the teachers we film and our video team.  You will also serve as our leading in-house expert on the research about teaching reading and writing, which we hope to present accurately throughout the Reading Universe website.   You will work closely with the Senior Director of Reading Universe and the Managing Editor of our service.


  • Produce accessible, authoritative, and appealing online professional development resources for Reading Universe and review content written by others.
  • Help to identify, scout, and prepare the schools we select for our in-classroom video, including planning what content to cover, how best to capture the lessons, and how to provide the support material that teachers need.
  • Review and comment on rough cuts of in-classroom video.
  • Help ensure that our content reflects the best and most current research in the field.
  • Consult periodically with members of our national advisory board for their input on reading and writing research and their advice on how teachers can apply that research in the classroom.
  • Write design briefs and contribute to creating wireframes for digital assets and print material.
  • Represent Reading Universe as requested in holding meetings with partners and experts and in making public presentations.
  • Monitor blogs, websites, journals, and news articles for new developments in the world of literacy.
  • Help ensure that Reading Universe meets all deadlines and fulfills its commitments to funders, partners, and underwriters.
  • Perform related special projects or other duties as assigned, primarily for Reading Universe but also possibly for our other education websites.


  • Deep knowledge of current reading research and of the challenges facing schools and teachers in grades pre-K-6.
  • Proven ability to develop and create professional development content that teachers value.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully perform in an atmosphere of multiple projects, shifting priorities and deadline pressures.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Clear and colloquial writing style.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise considerable initiative and sound judgment.


  • College degree, preferably in the humanities.
  • Masters degree or doctoral degree in education or a related field (e.g. linguistics or speech pathology) strongly preferred.
  • Experience with professional development efforts focused on literacy and elementary education, online and/or in-person. Teacher training and coaching experience is helpful.
  • Experience as a published writer, especially articles about reading and elementary education, is helpful.
  • Teaching experience in grades pre-K through 6th grade is desirable.
  • Or equivalent combination of education and experience.


WETA and NewsHour Productions are Washington, DC established media and news organizations.  We are a largely local workforce based out of the Campbell Place office in Arlington, VA.  WETA and NewsHour Productions value employee flexibility when possible.  Most positions based in our Arlington, VA office will be onsite or hybrid, depending upon the role.


WETA and its subsidiary NewsHour Productions LLC serve local and national public media audiences by producing and distributing content of intellectual integrity and cultural merit. Through broadcast, digital and community services, the organization offers compelling, diverse programming on five television channels, including primary channel WETA PBS, and on WETA Classical, the exclusive home for classical music in the nation’s capital; produces a portfolio of national television productions, including PBS NewsHour, recognized globally for bringing balanced, in-depth news coverage to all Americans; creates impactful documentaries with longtime production partners Ken Burns and Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; features a variety of content offerings on, WETA Passport, the PBS Video App and the WETA Classical App; and serves communities near and far with education and engagement initiatives that contribute to the company’s mission of public service.


WETA/NewsHour Productions is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. Fostering a culture of mutual respect is a top priority and something we take very seriously. 

Employment at WETA/NewsHour Productions is based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, age, ethnicity or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sex (including pregnancy), physical, mental or sensory ability, HIV Status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, past or present military service, family medical history or genetic information, family or parental status, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws. We are also committed to demonstrating fair and equitable systems, practices, and processes related to how we recruit, develop, retain, promote, reward, compensate, and terminate talent.

We know that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is fundamental to the success of our business and our people, and we will continue to recognize it as part of our guiding principles.

Job Location: 
Arlington, VA
United States
Job Category: 
Job Type: 
Full time
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