Director of External Relations

The Education Trust–West (ETW) works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps. We work alongside parents, students, educators, policymakers, and community leaders across the state in transforming P-12 and higher education institutions to serve all students well. Lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, shape our state policy agenda.

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 (e.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

Apply for Director of External Relations using the link below:

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”