Director of External Relations

The Education Trust - West
California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Apr 07, 2021
May 06, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

The Education Trust–West (ETW) works for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-K through college. We expose educational injustices and inequities that separate students of color, English learners, and low-income students from their peers, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close equity gaps. We work alongside schools, districts, college campuses, and higher education institutions to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies intended to reduce and eliminate racial equity gaps. We use lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, to drive a state and national conversation about how our early education, K-12 education system, and colleges and universities can better serve underserved students of color, English learners and low-income students. To learn more, please visit


The Position


The Director of External Relations will lead the organization's initiatives to engage and mobilize a diverse group of advocates, at the state and local level, who are working on educational justice issues to forever close gaps in opportunity and achievement. The Director will develop and implement a comprehensive external relations strategy to ensure that ETW's efforts effectively focus the attention of key audiences on inequities in public education and the actions necessary to close equity gaps. The Director of External Relations will serve as a member of ETW's leadership team, oversee the External Relations team, and ensure the External Relations team coordinates with ETW's other teams, including Government Relations, Research and Policy Analysis, Operations & Grants, and Communications.

The position is based in Oakland or Los Angeles, CA, and requires an ability and willingness to travel regularly throughout the state. Due to the pandemic, ETW is currently teleworking, but team members will be expected to return to the office once it's deemed safe.

Essential Functions

Organizational Strategy & Executive Management

  • Lead the External Relations team, creating a cohesive vision, short-and long-term goals, strategies, and associated campaigns in alignment with ETW's strategic plan
  • Coach and mentor 2-4 members of the team, including ensuring that they set "SMART" goals, dedicate time in alignment with goals from ETW’s bi-annual strategic plan, and develop professionally
  • Serve as a member of Ed Trust–West's Leadership Team, working with other team leaders to craft the organization's broad strategic direction and operational plans
  • Maintain good funder relationships and help secure grants, including cultivating relationships and contributing to grant proposals and reports
  • Strategically guide regional work, including in the Bay Area and LA, by leveraging community-based mobilization expertise and creating a sustainable vision for ETW's field operations


Convenings & Campaigns

  • Work closely with leads across all teams to inform political and campaign strategy, including leveraging tools like power mapping and ladder of engagement
  • Oversee the targeted distribution of collateral and other releases
  • Promote the adoption of ETW's guidance and recommendations into policy and practice, in collaboration with the Research & Policy Analysis and Communications teams
  • Play a key role in deepening ETW's pre-K through higher education partnerships through events, relationship building, community partner support and engagement, and strategic grassroots mobilization efforts


 Partnerships and External Engagements

  • Oversee ETW's community partnerships, trainings and bootcamps, feedback loops, and general engagement efforts with community-based organization cohorts, including ETW's Community Partners Program and the Community Engagement for College Success Network
  • Manage and organize external events - including but not limited to ETW's Education Equity Forum and Advocacy Day - that reach a wide audience and advance ETW’s strategic policy priorities
  • Identify, cultivate, and strengthen relationships by building and participating in coalitions with diverse stakeholders, including community-based organizations, members from the business and civil rights communities, policymakers, and P-16 educators (g., school board leaders, college presidents, and other institutional and systems leaders).
  • Write and speak persuasively and clearly to a wide range of audiences, including students, parents, practitioners, and state and local policymakers, to represent ETW's positions on key issues
  • Travel regularly to represent Ed Trust–West as part of coalitions, media events, and advocacy meetings


  • 10–12 years of cumulative experience in any of the following areas: political or issue campaign management; grassroots or community organizing; state policy development; or public affairs
  • Experience in P–12 and higher education transformation-related programs; practice in this area is highly desirable
  • Knowledge about state and local policymaking and politics, and understanding of how they impact the development and execution of an integrated political advocacy and stakeholder outreach program
  • Experience building relationships and working with diverse stakeholders to cultivate productive partnerships and alliances
  • Ability to draft and deliver compelling written and verbal communication
  • Comfort with the conflict that may arise when pursuing groundbreaking data and research that may expose systemic educational inequities
  • Flexibility to deal with ambiguity while driving the work forward
  • Self-reflective and open to honest conversations about race, identity, and privilege and how these forces impact internal and external work
  • A track record of successful people and project management with tangible results
  • Well-honed ability to execute and exhibit good judgment
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Fluency in writing and speaking in Spanish is a plus
  • Undergraduate degree required




Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.  The Education Trust—West offers a comprehensive benefits package.

Application Process

Applications can be submitted via  Please provide a cover letter and resume, combined into one document and a writing sample. Priority deadline of April 14, 2021.


In the file name, please write the name of the position you are applying for and your last name: e.g. 'External Relations Director_Robinson"




The Education Trust—West is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status

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