Director of External Relations

Education Trust-West

Director of External Relations


The Organization

The Education Trust–West (ETW) works for the educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre–K through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps 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 those gaps. We work alongside schools, districts, college campuses, and higher education institutions to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of reform strategies intended to reduce and eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps. We use lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, to drive a state and national conversation about how our K–12 education system and colleges and universities can better serve all 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 levels who are working on educational justice issues with the goal of forever closing 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 gaps in both opportunity and achievement. To that end, this person will serve as a member of ETW’s leadership team, lead the External Relations team, and ensure the External Relations team coordinates with ETW’s other teams including Government Relations, Practice, Research and Policy Analysis, and Communications. This position is based in either Oakland or Los Angeles California.

Essential Functions

Executive Management

  • Lead External Relations, creating a cohesive vision and short-and long-term strategies for achieving that vision
  • Strategically guide regional work throughout the state by leveraging organizing expertise, collaborating with other teams on internal needs, and creating a sustainable vision for ETW’s field operations
  • Coach and mentor members of the team to ensure that they develop professionally while meeting organizational goals
  • 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
  • Align the team’s work with the organization’s strategic plan

External Relations

  • Identify, cultivate, and strengthen relationships by building and participating in coalitions with community based organizations, organizational partners, policy makers, state and local legislators, and at the state and local levels, in order to promote equity in P-12 and higher education. This includes members from the business, civil rights, and education communities (school board leaders, college presidents and other institutional and systems leaders).
  • Play a key role in deepening ETW’s higher education partnerships through events, relationship building, and strategic organizing efforts
  • Work closely with leads across all teams to develop and support cross-functional campaigns by planning external events that reach a wide audience with our strategic message
  • Write and speak persuasively and clearly to a wide range of audiences, including parents, practitioners, and state and local policymakers
  • Travel on a regular basis (up to 40%) to represent Ed Trust–West as part of coalitions, at media events, and during advocacy meetings


  • 10–12 years of cumulative experience in any of the following: political or issue campaign management; grassroots or community organizing; state policy development; or public affairs
  • Knowledgeable about state and local policymaking and politics, and understands how they impact the development and execution of an integrated political advocacy and stakeholder outreach program
  • Experience building relationships and working with diverse stakeholders in order to cultivate productive partnerships and alliances
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects at the same time
  • Experience in P–12 and higher education reform-related programs and practice is highly desirable
  • Verbally fluent in Spanish preferred

Personal Characteristics

  • 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 will be successful if institutions better served them
  • A commitment to racial justice and a knowledge of the root causes of inequities in our education systems
  • Unflappable under pressure
  • Creative with a willingness to “do new things”
  • Professional maturity
  • Comfortably confronts and works through conflict, challenging the status quo


A Bachelor’s degree is required.


Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

Application Process

Please provide a cover letter and resume. Your cover letter should describe your external relations background, experience to date, and your alignment with the mission. Please upload a combined file of your cover letter and resume. All applications must be submitted by 12:00AM on November 18, 2018.

In the file name, please write the name of the position you are applying for and your last name: e.g. “DirectorOfExternalRelations_Wang”

To begin the application process, click here.

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.