- CT Director of External Relations, USA
Start Date: ASAP
Team: External Relations
Location: Connecticut [Hartford area preferred]
About Achievement First:
Achievement First, a non-profit 501(c)3 charter school management organization, operates 35 public charter schools in Brooklyn, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The mission of Achievement First is to close the achievement gap and deliver on the promise of equal educational opportunity for all children, regardless of race or economic status. Achievement First currently educates more than 14,000 students in historically underserved neighborhoods, with over 90% of our students identifying as Black and Latino. With its college-preparatory focus, the Achievement First approach is attaining breakthrough academic gains throughout the network. Beyond our students and schools, Achievement First is an engaged and prominent partner in the larger conversation about how to improve public education and student achievement in our country.
Achievement First’s approach to teaching and learning enables every student to succeed at the highest levels. This involves:
● Recruiting and developing successful teachers and school leaders and empowering them to use student data to strategically drive instruction;
● Creating a joyful school culture where it is “cool to be smart” that emphasizes character education and focuses students on college;
● Providing students with more time on task and intense intervention when they are struggling so that no child falls through the cracks.
For more information about Achievement First’s mission, approach, schools and team, please visit our website at www.achievementfirst.org.
Summary of the role
Achievement First (AF) seeks a Connecticut Director of External Relations who will help lead our student recruitment, advocacy initiatives and community engagement efforts across Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. This is a unique opportunity for a talented, committed, and results-oriented individual who is passionate about advancing educational social justice through the work of engaging, supporting and partnering with families, schools and communities. The Director of External Relations in CT will report directly to the Chief External Officer. The Director of External relations will manage a small team of Community Outreach Associates (COAs) to accomplish these goals and also support this work network-wide through cross-team collaboration with the NY Director of External Relations. This is a unique opportunity to work closely like-minded individuals who are passionate about providing children with a high-quality education, while working at one the leading charter school management organizations in the country. Please note that some early morning, late evening and weekend work is required, along with regular travel to schools and community sites in both Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, CT.
Responsibilities of the CT Director of External Relations will include, but are not limited to:
Team Leadership & Performance Management: (~ 20% of the role)
● Provide direct supervision, coaching, direction and evaluation of the team to ensure that all team members execute at high levels of excellence and shared enthusiasm for AF’s mission.
● Establish and maintain high standards of team performance by developing clear short-term goals and annual goals, and rigorously tracking performance against them throughout the year.
● Ensure that the team operates in a way that is consistent with AF’s mission, culture and values, and always puts our schools and our students first.
● Actively maintain and deliver regular reports about progress made towards student recruitment, advocacy, community partnerships, and other projects.
● Manage relevant data and organize reports which can be used to track and inform ongoing work and future initiatives.
● Team time: help lead and participate in broader Team External Relations and network-related related meetings, initiatives and coaching sessions
● Learning & Development: develop and pursue a personalized Learning & Development Plan, in consultation with your manager, the Chief External Officer, to support your continued
professional growth, advancement and interests and oversee this process for your direct reports –the Community Outreach Associates.
Student Recruitment (~ 40% of the role)
● Main objective: Team External Relations informs families and the community of the high-quality options available to them at AF schools, supports the administration of AF lotteries, and
partners with schools to ensure all available seats are filled so that as many scholars as possible have the opportunity to receive a life-changing education.
● Planning & Execution: lead development of and help execute a robust student recruitment campaign that leverages a variety of grassroots, school/community-based, and marketing
activities and initiatives;
● Family Engagement: Inform, educate, engage and respond to families directly about the educational opportunities at AF schools;
● Community Engagement: Inform, educate and engage local organizations about AF schools,
including scheduling/leading presentations and visits/tabling to daycare centers and other community-based organizations;
● Lotteries: lead a successful planning and administration of school lotteries and post-lottery notification to families;
● Training: design trainings working with the Chief External Officer to equip, support, and train school-based staff, parents and volunteers in their participation of student recruitment activities
● Systems & Data: lead strong maintenance of and support our student recruitment and enrollment online platform (SchoolMint) and input related data and materials; (b) Input and
manage data and issue reports that track progress towards goals;
Advocacy (~25% of the role)
● Main objective: Team External Relations helps to advance AF's policy and budgetary priorities, works in concert with like-minded partners and supports our schools in building stronger
cultures of advocacy so that our scholars and schools receive the funding, facilities and freedoms they need to succeed.
● Oversee state external team’s partnership with Families for Excellent Schools (FES), providing strategic guidance and direction, and ensuring strong coordination and execution of the
program and strong school-based engagement. Participate in check-ins with FES to remain aligned on all aspects of the advocacy program, track progress against goals, ensure FES has the
supports they need to succeed, problem-solve as needed, and identify any challenges or areas of improvement in our advocacy work and share feedback.
● Review and support facilitation of advocacy update meetings with FES’ leadership team every 6- 8 weeks with all school leaders
● Review and provide timely feedback to FES on all campaign materials before distributing to school teams
● Review and edit Parent Ambassador meeting materials including ensuring strong logistics and content
● Review and share digital and social media tactics through AF accounts (in coordination with Team Marketing and Communication).
● Lead the state’s external team in supporting schools with elected engagement and their advocacy efforts and needs within the local school communities including:
○ Informing: Keep elected leaders informed of important news, highlights and happenings about our schools and network on a regular basis via emails, meetings, calls, etc.
○ School Visits/Tours/Events: Invite, plan and execute school visits and opportunities for elected leaders to see, experience and learn about AF first-hand;
○ Partnerships: Collaborate with like-minded advocacy partners & organizations on advocacy-related initiatives;
○ Support Advocates: Help identify, equip, empower and connect our AF Team & Family with opportunities (ex. public events, meetings, hearings, etc.) to advance the interests
of our schools, schools and communities;
○ Promote Cultures of Advocacy: Help encourage, equip and empower school-based staff with materials, tools, resources and supports to increase the level of public engagement
and building strong cultures of advocacy within their school communities.
Community Outreach & Engagement (~ 15% of the role)
● Main objective: lead the CT External Relations team by facilitating relationships with local leaders and organizations in the communities we serve, in a manner that builds connections,
strengthens bonds and wins “hearts and minds" in support of our schools and shared priorities.
● Manage your team in developing community based partnerships between AF schools and local
organizations around shared interests, initiatives and priorities including but not limited to:
○ School visits/tours/events
○ Informing local leaders of important school/network news and highlights
○ Community meetings/events
Across all areas of responsibility:
● Liaison & Partner: Serve as a liaison and partner to school-based staff, Network Support teams and other key external stakeholders (ex. school district), ensuring strong (effective, efficient,
consistent) communication, coordination, execution & performance
● Material Development: Help develop high-quality and impactful communications, materials, tools and resources for schools/network in service of our collective work
● Project Planning & Knowledge Management: Develop and execute strong project plans marked by air-tight operations, coordination, execution and knowledge management
Skills and Characteristics
Detail-oriented, highly organized and exceptional project planner who can manage multiple complex, collaborative projects, with impeccable follow-through on execution.
● Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to effectively interact, communicate and persuade internal and external partners and stakeholders at all levels
● Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
● Strong political acumen, knowledge and savviness
● Training, management and/or coaching experience
● Strong work ethic and a self-starter “roll-up-my-sleeves” attitude
● Results-oriented individual and willing to do “whatever it takes”
● Belief in the Achievement First mission and educational model
● Spanish language proficiency is a plus
Educational Background and Work Experience
● 7+ years of work experience
● Demonstrated results in one or more of the following: advocacy/political campaigns/governmental affairs, community engagement/organizing or student recruitment/application management
● Experience managing, evaluating and motivating teams
● Knowledge of the current educational and political landscape in the state and across the country
Salary for this position is competitive and commensurate with experience. Additionally, Achievement First offers a comprehensive benefits package.
Achievement First is an equal opportunity employer and an organization that values diversity. People from all diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Spanish language proficiency is a plus.
You can learn more about diversity at Achievement First here: http://www.achievementfirst.org/aboutus/diversity/.
Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we will unfortunately only be able to notify those who advance to a phone interview. All other applicants will be considered for other open roles at Achievement First.
Job posted on 14th December 2017
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