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Program Manager, Academics

Bridge International Academies

Bridge International Academies

Nairobi, Kenya
Posted on Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Program Manager, Academics

Nairobi, Kenya

Bridge Kenya

Bridge Kenya is a community school programme that partners with parents, communities and teachers to provide a life changing education and gateway to success.

Bridge Kenya transforms lives and opens the door to a successful future for its pupils. Together with its teachers, school leaders, families and communities, it creates schools that deliver academic excellence, build the essential skills for success, and provide a caring, nurturing community that supports growth.

In 2009, Bridge Kenya opened its first school in Nairobi’s Mukuru Kwa Njenga. Since then we have iterated and innovated, building a transformative community school programme that is data-driven and evidence-based and accountable to families. We have re-engineered every part of the education system, from teacher training and support, to lesson delivery and design, construction, and administration; making community schools as effective and transparent as possible. Our success in Kenya has enabled us to create other community school programmes in Africa and beyond.

Since 2015, Bridge Kenya’s national (KCPE) exam results have continued to prove academic excellence, significantly outperforming national averages. Every year, tens of pupils from some of the most underserved communities in the country score 400+ in their KCPE with 1000s’ more scoring over 300 marks. Our Community school graduates have gone to top secondary schools and universities; both within Kenya and the US. These graduates continue to excel in various top national secondary schools in Kenya including Maranda High, Starehe Boys, Alliance Girls, Pangani Girls and MPESA Foundation. In addition, some of our first cohort of pupils are now in top universities including Nairobi University, Kenya and Amherst College in the US.

Outside of the classroom, our pupils participate in extracurricular activities such as debates and sports to help them build confidence, teamwork skills and independence. They continue to prove their co-curricular prowess – with schools competing at the national level co-curricular competitions every year and participating in East Africa regional competitions.

We are not just a community school programme, every day we work to transform lives. We are nurturing children holistically, by empowering teachers and teaching pupils to be disciplined and confident using positive behavioural techniques and approaches. These traits empower pupils to lead and a successful future long after they graduate.

Our community school programme has a long legacy of success and has opened the door to opportunities that many of our pupils and their families could never have imagined.

A quality education has the power to transform the opportunities for Kenya’s children. In joining us, you will join a group of dynamic and passionate Kenyans taking concrete action to help ensure a better future for the children of Kenya.


The objective of Academics is to drive student achievement. To do so, we consider each minute of each class period of each school day for the typical child, in every grade level. The student’s daily experience -- her path to achievement -- emerges from her relationship with the school’s teachers and the content that is shared with her. Academics ensures that Schools have children’s learning at its core. Academics in each territory or program works with our shared services Academics Department, including Instructional Design and Learning Innovation. Instructional Design, with a core focus on structured pedagogy, is one of our core levers to support teachers and to empower children to learn. With a relentless focus on improvement of learning at scale, Academics works with our Learning Innovation team to scientifically test improvements to our work. Academics works to ensure that we are deploying locally appropriate content aligned to the state or national syllabus; that we are carefully tracking the use of our instructional design materials and their efficacy; that we are evaluating the best use of the school day and school year; that we are measuring learning in each grade level, in each school; that we are preparing children to succeed in state and national exams; and that we support graduates transition into secondary school. We keep children’s learning and development as our focus. We never waver from our belief that every child can learn and that schools are the center of the social justice movement to end generational transfer of poverty.

About the Role

The Programme Manager, Academics will work on developing scalable solutions for Bridge Kenya pupils to excel beyond primary school. At the core of this work is test preparation. The expectation of every Bridge pupil is to excel on High Stake Exams . The Programme Manager will also work with pupils to be prepared beyond the classroom for secondary level studies and on building an alumni network beyond primary school.

This role will be a mixture of designing, tracking, and communicating. With the support of the Academic Director, the Programme Manager will design and test ways to increase scores, improve soft skills, increase scholarship recipients, and many other projects. You will also track higher secondary application acceptance rates, report on graduating class and alumni success, and other matters pertaining to post primary education. All of this work will require communication and coaching with schools to increase sustainable support and the greater community to source new scholarships, get the support of local leaders, and create alternative avenues to secondary success.

The Programme Manager will report to the Director, Academics

What You Will Do

  • Work with the Instructional Design team to create a world-class preparation programme for High Stake Exams

  • Create a framework for non-instructional programming to competent our classroom-based approach to test preparation

  • Build a strong system to support and track the secondary admissions process in Kenya. This will include searching for secondary scholarships, creating scalable systems to support the application to those scholarships, and tracking all pupils throughout their secondary school journey.

  • Think “Beyond High Stake Exams”- how are we setting up ALL pupils for success beyond primary school, including soft skills like grit and growth mindset.

  • Oversee the planning and implementation of large-scale programming for high-stakes test preparation and delivery, scholarship identification and promotion, and alumni tracking and support

  • Collaborate effectively with other Bridge Kenya teams - Operations, People, Schools, Policy & Partnerships

What You Should Have

The Programme Manager must be a data-driven individual with experience in the High Stake Exams and secondary admissions. You must be an expert in Secondary Level Admissions while being someone that can motivate and support pupils in excelling beyond Primary School. Ideal candidates have worked in organisations with a proven track record of generating High Stake Exam Performance performance.

In addition, the Program Manager must:

  • Be a self-starter and problem-solver.

  • Be hard working and collaborative, with the tenacity to plough through challenges and an appreciation for teamwork toward achieving a shared vision.

  • Be a fast learner and someone who is able to flourish in fast paced, dynamic, and sometimes ambiguous environments.

  • Be both detailed and results-oriented, driven by the data that will allow us to know what is working and what isn’t working for kids.

  • Have strong project management skills and excellent organisational skills, with keen attention to detail and ability to follow up systematically on a broad set of initiatives and decisions.

  • Be an effective, articulate communicator who can represent Bridge Kenya to external audiences.

  • Be humble and ready to “roll up your sleeves” to get things done.

Education and Qualification

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a related field

  • Past experience with High Stake Exams, such as a teacher, tutor, test designer, or related roles

  • Previous project management experience

  • Work experience in secondary admissions is a plus but not a requirement

You’re also

  • A detailed doer – You have a track record of getting things done. You’re organized and responsive. You take ownership of every idea you touch and execute it to a fine level of detail, setting targets, engaging others, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. You can multi-task dozens of such projects at once and never lose sight of the details. Likely, you have some experience in a start-up or other rapid-growth company.

  • A networking mastermind – You excel at meeting new people and turning them into advocates. You communicate in a clear, conscientious, and effective way in both written and oral speech. You can influence strangers in the course of a single conversation. Allies and colleagues will go to bat for your ideas. You have an existing network from prior experience in the country, preferably in the regulatory, education, or business sectors.

  • A creative problem-solver – Growing any business from scratch comes with massive and constant challenges. On top of that, Bridge works in often fragile, sometimes volatile low-resource communities and with complex government systems. You need to be flexible and ready to get everything done effectively, quickly, and affordably with the materials at hand.

  • A relentless advocate – The children we serve and teachers we empower never leave your mind. You know them, get them, have shared a meal with them (or would be happy to in the future). You would never shrink back from shaking a parent’s hand or picking up a crying child, no matter what the person was wearing or looked like. Every decision you make considers their benefit, experience, and value.

  • A malleable learner – You believe you can always do better. You welcome constructive criticism and provide it freely to others. You know you only get better tomorrow when others point out where you’ve missed things or failed today.

  • A data-driven decision-maker – When making decisions, you don’t rely on your intuition alone. You collect data, you analyze it and make decisions with clear justifications.

  • A curious investigator – You ask why a lot. You don’t just take what you see and accept it. You wonder why it is that way, and are aware that the world we see is created by human choices and actions – and it could be different. You wonder, and see the world as wonderful even when you want to change a part of it that is unjust.