Vice President - Government Affairs and Communications (search relaunched)
The Education Trust - Washington, DC

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ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND

The Education Trust (Ed Trust) is a Washington, D.C. based organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream. The Ed Trust strives to accomplish its mission by working alongside educators, parents, students, policymakers, and civic and business leaders in communities across the country. It analyzes local, state, and national data and uses what it learns to help build broader understanding of achievement and opportunity gaps, and determine the actions necessary to close them. It also participates actively in national and state policy debates, and builds the case for policies that will help all students and schools reach high levels of achievement.

The Ed Trust has a talented, knowledgeable, dedicated staff that has experience in a wide variety of backgrounds: K-12, postsecondary education, advocacy, policy development, and community organizing. Our single-minded attention to what is best for students, especially low-income students and students of color, and dedication to two-way learning partnerships with local and state-level educators and activists, sets The Education Trust apart from many other Washington-based education groups.

Historically, major components of the Ed Trust’s advocacy agenda have included:
  • Ensuring that all students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and career;
  • Raising the caliber of our teaching force, while ensuring that low-income students and students of color get at least their fair share of our strongest teachers;
  • Ensuring that teachers and students have the support that they need to reach high academic standards;
  • Adopting accountability and public reporting systems that provide parents with honest information about school quality and hold schools and districts responsible for improving the achievement of all groups of children;
  • Making access and success of low-income students and students of color a higher priority for the nation’s colleges; and,
  • Expanding need-based student financial aid.
The Ed Trust consistently has been recognized as one of the most influential players in the Washington, D.C. policy debates on both K-12 and higher education. Because of recent changes in the federal/state partnership on education, the Ed Trust is working now to expand its influence on state policy, both directly and through partnerships with state-level advocates. To learn more, visit www.edtrust.org .

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

The Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications will develop and implement a comprehensive external relations strategy to ensure that the Ed Trust’s efforts effectively focus the attention of key audiences on inequities in public education and the actions necessary to close gaps in both opportunity and achievement. To that end, this person will ensure tight coordination between and among the division’s four departments, as well as close collaboration with other divisions.

The Division of Government Affairs and Communications currently consists of four departments – Communications, Legislative Affairs, Field Operations, and Editorial & Design.

Based in Washington, D.C., the Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications will report to Kati Haycock, President; will serve as a member of the Ed Trust’s executive team, and will lead a team of approximately 14 staff members.

The Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications will:

Executive Management
  • Lead the Government Affairs and Communications division, setting short-and long-term strategies and goals for the division, prioritizing key initiatives, and providing feedback and mentorship to team members across the division’s four departments.
  • Serve as a member of the Ed Trust’s Executive Team, working with other division leaders to craft the organization’s broad strategic direction and operational plans.
  • Play a lead role in helping the organization—in consultation with a wide array of education activists, inside and outside the system—to re-craft and re-boot the equity agenda for the decades ahead.
  • Advise the organization’s Executive Team on effective communications strategies, positioning for specific initiatives, and general branding for the Ed Trust broadly, leveraging the organization’s resources to advance that agenda.
  • Work collaboratively with Policy and Practice teams to develop policy positions that advance the organization’s equity goals.
  • Advocate internally for the work of the Government Affairs and Communications team, garnering the internal resources and support necessary to move team efforts forward in a timely and efficient manner.
External Relations
  • Raise the profile of the organization’s efforts, finding ways to extend its impact by attracting attention and respect from the broad community of stakeholders invested in K-12 and higher education.
  • Strategically guide the organization’s efforts to ensure that the organization fosters effective working relationships with national, state, and local leaders and organizations that can help further our mission.
  • Serve as a primary spokesperson with the media, and represent the Ed Trust by speaking publicly to the media and to audiences at external meetings and conferences, elevating the profile of the organization’s work.
  • Manage existing and new donors, cultivating the support of the funding community and providing regular updates and briefings, where appropriate.
Team Management
  • Provide clear strategic direction and effective oversight of a coherent and collaborative Government Affairs and Communications team to ensure that the division’s work is aligned with the organization’s strategic plan.
  • Oversee the dissemination of the organization’s work for maximum impact through a variety of media, including print publications, electronic platforms, and social media.
  • Guide and support the development of productive working relationships with policymakers and legislators at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Strategically guide the development of an effective field and outreach team.
  • Coach and mentor members of the team to ensure that they develop professionally while meeting organizational goals.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE/QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 10-12 years of progressively of senior level experience in political campaign management, federal & state policy development, issue campaigns, and/or public affairs. Direct campaign/grassroots experience is a must and the ability to travel is imperative.

S/He will also have demonstrated success in leading and managing a department; sound judgment; and the ability to direct, motivate, and measure employees, advise/influence senior-level executives, and marshal organizational resources to achieve goals. S/He must also have a broad knowledge/sound understanding of economic, political, public opinion, and business factors that shape policies and decision making. Experience in K-16 education reform-related programs and a practice is desirable, but not required.

The successful candidate will:
  • Have deep, relentless passion for improving the educational experiences and outcomes for low-income students and students of color, and an unwavering belief that these students could be much more successful if institutions better served them.
  • Have the ability to think creatively about how the Ed Trust should position itself and its work externally.
  • Be knowledgeable about federal, state, and local policy-making and politics, and understand how they impact the development and execution of an integrated political advocacy and stakeholder outreach program.
  • Possess strong leadership skills, be unflappable under pressure, and be confident without being overbearing and creative with a willingness to “do new things.”
  • Have a track record of success in complex, fast-paced, high-performing organizations, with an ability to prioritize projects and work cross-functionally.
  • Have demonstrated experience building partnerships and strategic alliances. Because of his/her collaborative approach, s/he will have the ability to gain internal respect and build consensus with superiors, peers, subordinates and the Ed Trust’s executive management team.
  • Exercise sound judgment in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of programs in accordance with the Ed Trust’s strategic goals.
  • Possess keen analytical skills with the ability to synthesize and coordinate complex concepts.
  • Have the capacity to write and speak clearly and persuasively to a wide range of audiences, including parents, practitioners, and federal, state, and local policymakers.
  • Have professional maturity, with the ability to handle a dynamic and changing agenda, adapting to a changing landscape, where appropriate, and operating effectively amid ambiguity.
  • Possess exceptional relationship building skills, with the capacity to work effectively with diverse stakeholders, cultivating productive partnerships and alliances.
LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS

Understanding the Business
• Knows the government relations and communications business and the mission-critical technical and functional skills needed to do the job; understands various types of business propositions and understands how businesses operate in general; learns new methods and technologies easily.
Creating the New and Different
• Is able to come up with the next great breakthrough thing to do; is creative, a visionary, and can manage innovation; is an effective strategist full of ideas and possibilities; sees multiple futures; has broad interests and knowledge; can both create and bring exciting ideas to market; comfortable speculating about alternative futures without all of the data.
Getting Organized
  • Is well organized, resourceful, and planful; effective and efficient at marshalling multiple resources to get things done; lays out tasks in sufficient detail to mark the trail; is able to get things done with less and in less time; can work on multiple tasks at once without losing track; foresees and plans around obstacles.
Getting Work Done Through Others
  • Manages people well; gets the most and best out of the people he/she has; sets and communicates guiding goals; measures accomplishments, holds people accountable, and gives useful feedback; delegates and develops; keeps people informed; provides coaching for today and for the future.
Dealing with Trouble
  • Fearlessly takes on all issues, challenges, and people; comfortably confronts and works through conflict; delivers negative feedback and messages without hesitation; deals promptly and fairly with problem performers; lets everyone know where they stand; thrives in crises and is energized by tough challenges; not afraid to make negative decisions and take tough action; challenges the status quo.
Communicating Effectively
  • Writes and presents effectively; adjusts to fit the audience and the message; strongly gets a message across.
Relating Skills
  • Warm, friendly, and interpersonally agile; easy to approach and talk to; relates well to all kinds of people; makes a pleasant first impression and builds solid relationships.
EDUCATION

A Bachelor’s degree is required. An advanced degree is preferred.

COMPENSATION

Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

HOW TO APPLY

Interested candidates please send a resume and cover letter to EdTrust@kornferry.com .

The Education Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in all facets of the organization’s work.

The Education Trust - 14 months ago - save job