Founding Executive Director | Net Impact

Founding Executive Director

Atlanta Education Advocacy Organization

New Atlanta Education Advocacy Organization, Founding Executive Director

ORGANIZATION
The mission of the Founding Executive Director of a new Atlanta Education Advocacy organization is to drive the execution of a multi-faceted strategy to build influence in support of high-quality public schools of all types in Atlanta. The Founding Executive Director will, among other activities, drive electoral work in Atlanta; invest a broad-based coalition of funders, education organizations, faith-based institutions, parents, community groups, civic organizations, and others; educate and engage with policymakers in Atlanta and across the state; and execute detailed plans to build the necessary infrastructure to catalyze policy changes in education over time.

OPPORTUNITY
The Atlanta Education Advocacy Founding Executive Director will have a deep understanding of how to drive electoral efforts in support of policy, a nuanced understanding of how to build influence with key stakeholders in Atlanta, and a mission-driven mindset rooted in creating sustainable, systemic change in Atlanta. The right candidate for this role will approach the work with a comprehensive perspective that takes into account how each stakeholder within the education system views the challenges and opportunities around public education.

MINDSETS
You understand the world of politics and political strategy. You have an exceptional ability to identify and articulate the macro- and micro-level political dynamics and considerations that shape a given situation and policy making. You have significant experience working in some aspect of politics, policy, and advocacy, possibly including communications, legislative and policy advising, coalition-building, campaigns, and lobbying. You have a strong understanding of the art and science of building and exercising political influence in service of specific policy outcomes. You can formulate insights and draw conclusions about the political dynamics of any given context. You can articulate concrete recommendations on how to organize and deploy resources to achieve policy and political goals and execute effectively in accordance with those recommendations. You understand the significance of relationships and events independent of prevailing attitudes or your own biases and personal politics.
You are action-oriented. You are able to convert political savvy and policy knowledge and experience into action expediently and effectively. You are also able to balance long-term goals with near-term opportunities. You have a winning track record in politics and advocacy and do not let a lack of resources or uncertainty stand in the way of effective execution.
You are innovative and have an entrepreneurial spirit. You find early stage efforts invigorating and respond to challenges in a positive and proactive way. You are resourceful, have a creative approach to problem solving, and believe in the continuous improvement of processes. You are excited to come in near the ground level and build something whose impact (if successful) will last well beyond your lifetime.
You are comfortable fundraising. You are able to identify, create, cultivate, and act on fundraising opportunities. You can build a robust pipeline of prospective funders and leverage your board and networks for additional fundraising opportunities.
You are a relationship and coalition builder. You can quickly build relationships that inspire people toward action while respecting their interests. You intuitively understand barriers and motivations and regularly motivate others to action based on that understanding. You can create and sustain a diverse coalition and forge consensus in groups, even despite tension. You have a bias toward communicating with partners and coalition members, even when not convenient. You are well-regarded among peers, superiors, and individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences even -- and especially -- when operating outside of the limelight.
You are comfortable with constructive conflict. You are willing to navigate discomfort and tension in service of moving powerful people toward ideas and actions, even when difficult and unpopular. You are able to set aside personal ambitions and be comfortable with elected officials and powerful people being occasionally unhappy with you or your position on a given issue.
You are an outstanding communicator. You are proficient at communicating across a variety of mediums, including one-on-ones with key stakeholders and with large groups and media. You can produce compelling, concise, high-quality written materials quickly. You can distill complex policy problems and solutions succinctly and in layman’s terms. You are able to tailor a message to a wide range of audiences.
You have an understanding of relevant policy. You have an understanding of relevant policy. You have a working knowledge of critical issues around education, including equity, safety, school finance, accountability, access, autonomy, and charter schools. You may have familiarity with other issues impacting families from low-income backgrounds.
You are proactive and comfortable working in a matrix structure. You move quickly and execute without being overly abrasive, no matter the support or resources you have to work with. You do not wait for direction when opportunities arise. You can build plans and drive action in the face of ambiguity and a lack of resources. You are comfortable with and effective at blocking and tackling work directly and through and with partners with whom you do not have any direct managerial relationship. You think expansively about your “team” stretching beyond yourself and your organization. No task is too big nor too small for you.

RESPONSIBILITIES
The primary duty of the Atlanta Education Advocacy Founding Executive Director is to drive the execution of a multi-faceted strategy to create and sustain the policy conditions needed for high-quality public schools of all types to flourish in Atlanta.
Key Responsibilities of the Founding Executive Director include:
Driving Electoral Work: Identify, recruit, and support outstanding candidates for key positions. Coordinate support for select candidates (direct or independent expenditure). Manage an issues-based political action committee.
Fundraising: Build and maintain a donor base to support advocacy efforts at a scale necessary to achieve success.
Driving Strategy and Execution: Develop and refine a clear political and advocacy strategy spanning multiple organizational entities that is continuously updated based on new information and learned experiences to execute on policy priorities that result in increasing educational outcomes for all Atlanta students. Build relationships with state and local leaders. Generate policy solutions in partnership with others.
Drive Engagement with Elected Policymakers: Create a plan for the ongoing development and support of candidates who are elected to office. Directly or through partnership with other organizations, coordinate an engagement strategy for key school board members and legislators.
External Communications: Work with key partners to contribute to communications strategy that generates support for catalyzing educational change.
Coalition-Building: Participate in, and in some cases develop, a coalition of organizations to work collaboratively in generating support for catalytic change in education. Help build capacity among allies with an aligned vision, including schools, grassroots parent groups, and non-education focused advocacy groups.
Project Management: Manage all research, database development, vendors, and events related to this effort.
Internal Communications: Regularly interface with key funders and allied organizations on progress and priorities.
Legal Compliance: Ensure regulatory compliance with federal, state, and local requirements relating to advocacy and charitable organizations.
PRIORITIES
A successful first year in this role for the new Executive Director will include:

Candidate Identification, Recruitment, and Screening: Identify (in partnership with key organizations and individuals) candidates for all targeted races in the 2021 election cycle.
Resource Development: Raise sufficient resources among top funders; work with the education community to socialize funders to policy and advocacy work. Develop a 2021 resource development plan by which to track the following benchmarks. Finalize materials to use in donor solicitation efforts. Establish relevant giving platforms. Secure $300,000 in commitments.
Database Development: Build and maintain a shared database with an enriched voter file to allow more targeted GOTV, canvassing, and other activities during elections, especially over the long term.
Development of a Well-Articulated Policy Agenda: Develop in partnership with allies around Atlanta an advocacy agenda that focuses on critical education issues potentially including equity, school funding, accountability, autonomy, safety, and access.
Elected Engagement: Create a plan for the ongoing development and support of candidates who are elected to office. By December 2021, directly, or through partnership with other organizations, coordinate an engagement strategy for key school board members. By the end of March 2022, these engagement strategies will be underway (e.g. be in the process of implementation).

QUALIFICATIONS
In order to fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal Founding Executive Director candidate will be:

Experience working in elected politics, advocacy, issue-based campaigns, coalition management, or lobbying and history of achievement in said arenas;
Demonstrated ability to raise significant financial support;
Experience successfully managing an organization or multiple projects in a fast-paced and high-performing environment while following through on commitments;
Demonstrated ability to communicate with and build strong relationships across lines of difference, including with philanthropists, educational leaders, and civic leaders;
Willingness and an ability to learn quickly, including knowledge of the Atlanta policy and advocacy landscape;
Experience managing a startup organization preferred;
Available during nontraditional hours as needed, including nights and weekends.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
This position offers a competitive salary range of $140,000-165,000 and robust benefits including medical, dental, retirement and family leave. More details can be provided upon request.

TO APPLY
Please submit a resume online at https://bit.ly/3231mlg. For additional questions about this position or to speak with someone about your interest, please contact Ron Rapatalo at rrapatalo@edgilityconsulting.com

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY We do not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff and contractors, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors.