Job:

Senior Manager of Legislative Affairs

Posted on: December 23, 2020 |

Position Title: Senior Manager of Legislative Affairs

Type: Full Time

Location: Chicago, IL

Compensation:  Competitive Salary Commensurate with Experience + Full Suite of Benefits

INCS seeks a Senior Manager of Legislative Affairs to support INCS’ efforts to create transformative policy conditions for high-quality charter public schools to serve students and families well. Reporting to the Director of External Affairs, INCS’ Senior Manager of Legislative Affairs will be a key asset in educating members of the General Assembly on the impact of charter public schools by elevating the voices of charter school parents, alumni, and school leaders.

BACKGROUND

Twenty 20 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 creating the conditions that allow high-quality charter public schools to grow, thrive, and serve students and families well. We believe the key conditions are informed community members supporting elected officials who enact laws providing equitable funding and accountability, and authorizers complying with the law and following transparent policies and practices for school oversight.

INCS advocates with elected officials, local school districts and other charter public school “authorizers,” supports nascent and existing school staff and organizes parents and communities. INCS’ advocacy efforts are supported by our communications, development, and operations teams. The organization is based in Chicago, where most Illinois charter public schools are located.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Work with the Director of External Affairs to set goals for a multi-year outreach, advocacy, and political strategy
  • Implement and manage advocacy tactics built within our outreach strategy for creating increased legislative support for charter public schools
  • Work with the Director of External Affairs on political and electoral initiatives
  • Help manage school tours, in-district meetings, and school events
  • Support the Director of External Affairs and lead on projects related to outreach to Illinois General Assembly
  • Engage in candidate interviews and endorsement process for INCS Action PAC
  • Lead planning, outreach, and participation for INCS Lobby Day
  • Support planning for advocacy summits and other events
  • Collaborate on caucus targeting and outreach strategies
  • Actively participate in regular advocacy meetings with member schools
  • Ensure that parents and community members have current information regarding charter public schools and how parents can become charter advocates through INCS
  • Support legislative efforts led by the Director of External Affairs
  • Draft legislation
  • Collaborate with Government Affairs Manager to review filed charter bills, draft summaries, and provide position recommendations
  • With Government Affairs Manager, develop implementation materials for member schools after bills are signed into law
  • Manage lobbyists in Springfield
  • Prepare for and hold weekly calls with lobbyists and coalition partners
  • Identify and track support for charter public schools with all members of the General Assembly
  • Establish a system for tracking organization-wide engagement with elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Build advocacy capacity, including supporting policy learning, providing advocacy skills-building and trainings, developing advocacy tools and resources, providing government relations technical support, and creating meaningful opportunities for advocacy engagement
  • Oversee advocacy communications, including monthly legislative updates, monthly policy webinars, action alerts, web content, and social media content, in collaboration with the communications team
  • Support Director of External Affairs to maintain relationships with federal elected officials, including responding to requests for information, inviting to site visits and volunteer opportunities, and sharing information about INCS policy agenda and legislative asks

EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS

First and foremost, candidates 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:

Required

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Minimum of 10 years of work experience, with at least 7 years of experience in public policy, advocacy, community organizing, government relations, political campaigns, public administration, or a related field
  • Experience with the General Assembly and committees
  • Understanding of how the Illinois General Assembly operates Strong ability to build relationships and effectively work with a wide range of people in complex and sensitive political environments
  • Ability to work independently, as an organized self‐starter with high expectations and a focus on results
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills and ability to create and present information clearly
  • and effectively for a variety of audiences
  • Adaptable; willing to learn new things
  • Resilient; able to motivate and encourage others
  • Confident, mature outlook and presence, sense of humor, relentless optimism, a spirit of problem-solving, and calm under pressure
  • Experience with advocacy, coalition building, community engagement, and/or government relations required
  • Supervisory experience, including the ability to lead and direct work of individuals and teams in collaborative environment
  • Keen political and interpersonal judgment
  • Ability to travel in Illinois
  • Experience living with, working with, or working on behalf of communities that share experiences with the communities that Illinois charter public schools serve
  • A commitment to embracing diversity and fostering an environment of inclusion and cultural competency (see our definition below)

Preferred

  • Master’s degree preferred
  • Candidates with education and/or legal experience, political and/or campaign experience, and management experience are preferred
  • Proficiency in MS Office-Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook

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 of injustice and its link to the persistent opportunity gaps that INCS and its member schools are focused on closing. It also requires us to strengthen our cultural competency by better understanding our own implicit and explicit biases and by reflecting on our words and actions through open dialogue.

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 take action 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

INCS believes 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. We are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

HOW TO APPLY

INCS will review candidates and their qualifications until the position is filled. To apply, please submit a letter of interest and a current resume to Jennifer Richardson, Manager of Human Resources, at jobs@incschools.org.