Director of Communications

Jobs

Director of Communications

Illinois needs an advocate to ensure policymakers and families know accurate facts about charter public schools and understand their valuable contributions to Illinois communities and the health of our state’s public school system. INCS is that advocate. The Director of Communications will be a key leader in this effort, reporting directly to the President. The Director will provide strategic direction and team leadership, and develop and execute a communications strategy that tells the transformational impact of charter public schools.

BACKGROUND
Twenty years ago, when educators and community members started the charter school movement, people questioned whether students in low-income communities could succeed at the highest levels. That debate is now over. They can, and they do, as evidenced by the high school graduation rates and post-secondary success of thousands of Illinois charter school students. The only remaining question is whether we have the will to make this happen for more families. That is the work we are committed to.

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) advocates for the improvement of public education by leveraging the charter school model as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. INCS works to ensure that charter public schools have adequate and equitable resources, the autonomy to find innovative approaches to meet student needs, and a fair and transparent policy landscape that allows high-quality options to thrive.

In 2017, years of concerted effort led to a change in Illinois’ education funding law that resulted in a statewide increase of $55 million in new charter school funding. Ensuring that the increased funding flows to charter public schools and that additional schools are authorized and open will take additional, creative efforts in the next year. We’re thrilled by the progress that occurred in 2017 and will continue to work with policy-makers, school leaders, parents, and community members to secure high-quality educational options for underserved communities and students in 2018.

As the voice of Illinois charter schools, INCS engages a diverse coalition of policy-makers, school leaders, parents, and community members to create systemic change and secure high-quality schools for underserved communities. INCS makes its impact through several program teams: Government Affairs, Charter Growth and Support, and Communications. These teams are supported by our Development and Operations teams. The organization is based in Chicago, where most Illinois charter schools are located, and has a satellite office in Springfield.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Strategy and team leadership:
• Set strategies and priorities in line with the organization’s strategic plan and annual goals, monitor progress toward goals, and correct course based on data and reflection.
• Manage, coach, and develop communications team members, delegating leadership opportunities in line with their professional goals and the needs of the organization.
• Create, oversee, and manage annual team budget with the Senior Manager of Finance.
• Advise President and Leadership Team on media, publication, and marketing opportunities across the organization.

Media relations strategy:
• Drive proactive and reactive media strategy to push INCS brand as a trusted, credible source of public education policy issues.
• Serve as a spokesperson for the organization in the media, at press conferences, at CPS Board of Education meetings, and other public forums.
• Ensure that INCS’s messaging is consistent with overall brand and mission and is understood by a variety of stakeholders.

Charter school network support and communications:
• Provide unified messaging and strategy to charter operator communications staff on high-priority advocacy issues or news stories to ensure the charter community is prepared and aligned on responses to the media and other stakeholders.
• Drive organization’s approach to communicating value of INCS and the charter network to member schools and the breadth of INCS’ membership services.
• Represent INCS externally with partners in larger charter communications campaigns, establish and advise President on INCS’ participation in collective strategy.

Oversight of INCS communication channels, platforms, and procedures:
• Oversee communications team operations, including processes and platforms related to all communication channels.
• Manage INCS and INCS Action brands across all communication channels.
• Oversee strategic use of all communication channels, including INCS website, email, social media, direct mail, etc.
• Manage vendor relationships owned by communications team, such as website provider.

EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
First and foremost, the Director must believe that every child, regardless of socioeconomic factors or their academic starting point has the potential to succeed in school, career, and life. In addition, candidates should have an awareness of how public education systems have historically and disproportionately disadvantaged vulnerable communities and must believe that charter schools have the power to transform public education and the lives of students. Ideal candidates will possess the following characteristics:
• Bachelor’s degree or higher
• Relevant professional experience in public relations/communications/marketing; direct experience in education or non-profit sectors preferred
• Demonstrated track record of success using multiple media channels
• Ability to navigate complex and sensitive political environments, including dealing with vocal opposition that is often not fact-based

  • Experience working with a variety of stakeholders, developing partner relationships, and supporting schools with their communications needs
  • Experience with iContact and Salesforce, or similar platforms for use in distributing communications
  • Ability to work with purpose, creativity, and accuracy in a deadline-driven environment, balancing various short-term and ongoing projects
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds
  • A commitment to embracing diversity and fostering an environment of inclusion and cultural competency (see our definition below)
  • Confident, mature outlook and presence, sense of humor, relentless optimism, a spirit of problem-solving, and calm under pressure
  • Highly proficient with Microsoft Office tools to create written documents and presentations
  • Data interpretation (website, email, social media metrics) skills

CULTURAL COMPETENCY AT INCS 
Cultural competency is a lifelong process of building the knowledge, mindset, and skills necessary to engage fully and effectively with students, colleagues, and stakeholders of different backgrounds. This process requires us to deeply understand our nation’s history and its link to the persistent opportunity gaps that INCS and its member schools are focused on closing.

INCS invests in building greater cultural competence and responsiveness across our team by supporting ongoing reflection, learning, skill-building, and positive actions. We know that culturally competent teams, especially when inclusive of individuals who share the racial, socioeconomic, and/or academic backgrounds (e.g., first generation college goers) of member schools’ student populations, are best equipped to act to ensure fairness inside and outside of INCS. To that end, we believe in building a richly diverse and inclusive organization, including a mission-critical imperative for all staff to both model and contribute to the vision we hope to achieve. 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY 

We believe it is critical for leaders to reflect the communities that they serve and that diversity across multiple dimensions enables us to achieve our mission of transforming lives and communities through public education. We don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our staff, member schools, and the broader community. INCS is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search. 

COMPENSATION 

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.  INCS provides a suite of competitive benefits. 

START DATE 

As soon as possible.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE 

INCS will review candidates and their qualifications until the position is filled.

To apply, please submit a current resume to Rich Haglund at rhaglund@incschools.org.

Apply for the position