Posted: October 26, 2018

VP of Product

Columbus, OH
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Zaner-Bloser: We Are Literacy!

If you’re as passionate as we are about helping children become their best selves—we want you on our team!

Joyful, successful learning. It’s what we believe in.

Who are we? Zaner-Bloser is focused on the K-5 foundational skills that are the essential elements of teaching and learning.

As part of the Highlights family of companies, we believe children are the world’s most important people.

At Zaner-Bloser, our people…and their passion…help us build products that allow us to

exclaim: We are literacy!


Reporting to the President, the Vice President of Product is responsible for the evolution and growth of ZB’s product portfolio. As a member of the executive leadership team, this passionate and experienced candidate will create a vision for new products, develop a world-class product team, and execute on a multi-year product roadmap for supplemental K-5 products.

The VP Product will lead the development and delivery of relevant, engaging, easy to use, effective solutions aligned with ZB’s corporate vision, market research, and classroom instructional needs.

The VP Product will build productive partnerships with cross-functional peers in finance, operations, marketing, and sales to create a collaborative leadership environment and ensure alignment with the business strategy.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Actively direct new product planning and collaborate with the executive leadership team to jumpstart an innovative publishing plan that integrates educational trends, industry best practices, and the voice of the customer.
  • Partner with the VP of Marketing to build and scale product management capabilities, such as market and customer research, competitive analysis, product analytics and requirements, and business case development.
  • Deliver winning products on time and on budget. Establish procedures related to product development activities, vendor relationships, and product lifecycle management. Effectively manage the product development budget and drive cost efficiencies.
  • Lead and mentor the product team. Translate the corporate strategic vision and set goals to align work and drive high performance. Ensure ongoing professional development and growth of all staff members.
  • Define and exemplify ZB’s instructional vision. Uphold the integrity and quality of ZB solutions by overseeing editorial work and assuring the incorporation of appropriate technologies and research-based educational practices. Serve on industry panels, speak at education events, and meet with school leaders.
  • Lead the design, development, and launch of new and iterated products, including:
  • Design a strategic, profitable product plan from a wide range of market inputs and business needs;
  • Create prototypes and refine them based on research and feedback from customers and internal teams;
  • Define the pedagogical vision, product specifications, use cases, and attributes for the project;
  • Partner with Marketing to develop comprehensive go-to-market strategies and plans for impactful product launches;
  • Create and manage resource allocations, project schedules, and budgets;
  • Recruit and oversee freelance editorial support and/or outside development houses, product consultants such as advisory panels, and potential product authors to support the product plans;
  • Anticipate and solve problems as they arise, including adjusting workflows and resource allocations, and establishing work processes aimed at continuous improvement in reduction of the publishing cycle time and in quantity and quality of output;
  • Work with customer-facing teams, including sales, professional development, and customer service, to support product implementation and usage, as well as inform future product iterations and development.
  • Recruit and manage authors, contributors, and advisory boards. Engage with customers and enlist thought leaders to elicit ongoing feedback to make our programs as user-friendly and our instructional support as research-based and appropriate as possible.
  • Regularly review top competitors’ product lines and develop staff awareness of their strengths and weaknesses to identify product opportunities. Continuously monitor product performance and oversee modifications throughout the product lifecycle to increase effectiveness, win more, and improve profitability.
  • Provide input on proposed strategic partnerships and potential acquisitions, especially from an instructional perspective.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Education or relevant discipline; Master’s degree or higher preferred
  • 8+ years of leadership experience in product management and product development of K-12 instructional materials, including supplemental print and digital solutions
  • Management experience that includes planning, scheduling, budgeting, developing staff and managing vendors
  • Proven success in delivering on-time product launches that meet market needs
  • Experience in elementary literacy product development is considered a plus
  • Classroom teaching experience is considered a plus
  • Instructional design experience/know-how
  • Proven project management and organizational skills, including the ability to lead multiple projects simultaneously.


  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment
  • A strong mission orientation and commitment to education
  • Passion for innovation and continuous improvement; must be strategic, optimistic, and decisive
  • Drive to meet the real needs of teachers by thoroughly understanding the instructional environment they navigate every day
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to influence teams and key decision makers
  • A good listener who is receptive to entertaining contrasting voices and points of view and can ultimately make decisions that are aligned with the corporate vision, values and strategy
  • Demonstrates capacity for humor, openness, and accessibility
  • Proven ability to develop strong trust-based relationships, manage effectively and lead staff development
  • History of leading change management

Zaner-Bloser is a dynamic organization focused on delivering excellence in all facets of our business. We offer a positive environment and competitive compensation and benefits. EOE


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