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Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Charter School Action Fund Director

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

OVERVIEW

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter movement.

With over three million students attending charters and hundreds of thousands hoping to do the same, the work of The National Alliance and the charter school movement itself has never been more current, visible, and vital. With increased growth, public awareness, recognition, and parents’ increased appetite for options, the stage is set for much bigger impact signifying some of the most important reforms of the public education system in generations. Fueled by that sense of possibility, the National Alliance is seeking a new, DC-based federal advocacy expert who can capitalize on this opportunity and fulfill its potential.

ORGANIZATION

When given the option, parents increasingly are choosing to enroll their children in public charter schools. In most communities, the demand for charter schools is far outpacing the supply. What began as a small movement in a couple of states has grown into a major force in education reform. Today there are more than 6,700 charter schools in 43 states and Washington, D.C., educating over 3 million students. By 2020, we expect that 10,000 high-quality charter schools will be serving over four million students, and more than 200 communities will demonstrate their support for charter schools by growing their enrollment share to 10 percent or higher.

The National Alliance occupies a critical role in the charter movement: as a leader in federal education policy, as a major supporting force to improve state charter policy and advocacy, and as a prominent national voice in the policy and public discourse on public charter schools. In order to support the growth of a high-quality charter school community, we work to:

  • Fuel the growth of high-quality public charter schools by advocating for increased public funding of charter schools;
  • Improve the overall health and perception of the movement in order to increase our political influence with policymakers; and
  • Shape federal and state policy to create the climate in which high-quality charter schools can grow.

The National Alliance speaks and advocates for the millions of students attending and hoping to attend a charter school. Through our advocacy efforts at the federal and state level, our legal activities, our research, and our national communications work, we ensure lawmakers, the media, opinion-shapers, public charter school leaders, thought leaders, and the general public understand what charter schools are, the promise they hold for our children, and how best to promote the growth of high-quality, innovative schools nationwide. Additional information about The Alliance can be found at www.publiccharters.org.

LANDSCAPE

The National Alliance today is a recognized leader and resource at the forefront of a bi-partisan movement which is growing exponentially. The charter movement celebrated its 25th anniversary this year in an environment which now includes more and more parents clamoring for access to charters and increasing numbers of superintendents and policymakers who see high-quality charters as crucial not just for closing the achievement gap, but also for getting public school students college- and career-ready and, in turn, ensuring the global competitiveness of America. The National Alliance unveiled a special 25th anniversary video to commemorate this milestone, which can be viewed here.

Post-election, the National Alliance is buoyed on several fronts at the Federal- and State-level: President-Elect Trump has voiced his support for charter schools and his secretary of education nominee is an ardent supporter of parental choice; Vice President-elect Pence’s home state of Indiana has the strongest charter school law in the nation (according to the NAPCS 2016 ranking of state charter laws); we are poised to enact a charter school law in Kentucky and strengthen the quality of the law in Virginia, one of the nation’s weakest. Despite defeats at the ballot box in Massachusetts and Georgia, our movement in California, New York, and Louisiana was able to secure or save electoral victories for pro-reform candidates.

Even so, the movement has well-organized and well-funded detractors. The National Alliance is called upon not only to promote the charter school movement, but to defend it; not only to advocate for continued progress, but equally as important, to defend the progress that has been achieved to date. The National Alliance and the charter school movement are in the national spotlight, expectations are high, and effective advocacy is essential.

ROLE

The Senior Vice President will lead the federal advocacy efforts of NAPCS – a 501(c)(3) – and the Charter School Action Fund (CSAF) – a nascent 501(c)(4). S/he will be responsible for the design and implementation of strategies to: (1) increase the advocacy capacity of the nationwide charter school community and (2) drive the success of federal legislative initiatives defined by NAPCS and CSAF.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Senior Vice President for Advocacy will be expected to:

Serve as a senior leader at NAPCS. Specifically:

  • Work closely with the President & CEO of NAPCS, and the government relations, advocacy, and communication teams to provide national leadership and guidance on achieving federal and state policy, and fundraising goals;
  • Contribute to the overall management of NAPCS and the design and growth of the c4 by participating in high-level strategic visioning, planning, and implementation activities; and
  • Build relationships with the broader education reform community to help align advocacy activities.

Lead legislative strategy. Specifically:

  • Build a robust federal advocacy shop that leverages NAPCS data and research to continuously inform and elevate the importance of charter schools at the federal level; Lead NAPCS’s federal relations team to secure enactment of NAPCS’s and CSAF’s key legislative initiatives aimed at dramatically boosting funding for the federal Charter Schools Program to $1B by 2020; and
  • Manage staff and lobbying consultants.

Lead national advocacy and communications initiatives.  Specifically:

  • Revise the c4 strategic plan in support of near, mid, and long term legislative initiatives;
  • Design and implement grassroots strategies in support of federal legislative initiatives and organize corresponding events to mobilize charter school supporters to take meaningful action on local and state issues necessary for building greater support for federal initiatives; and
  • Represent NAPCS and CSAF in a variety of settings and participate broadly in the education reform community, including serving on panels and presentations.

Generate resources. Specifically:

  • Support the President in correspondence with current and prospective c4 donors; and
  • Help raise operating funds to support CSAF and related advocacy campaign activities.

REQUIREMENTS

The following credentials and experience are required:

  • A portfolio of accomplishments, seasoning, and contacts resulting from at least ten years working on Capitol Hill and/or electoral and advocacy campaigns
  • Demonstrable success in directly mobilizing grassroots efforts and advocacy campaigns
  • Substantive, impactful work with lobbyists and federal and state legislative staff/agencies
  • The ability to execute in a fast-paced environment and manage multiple priorities
  • A track record of success in fundraising
  • A Bachelor’s degree

Success in the role will require the following skills and knowledge:

  • Seasoned management skills
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • The ability to work independently and with minimal supervision
  • MS Office proficiency; experience leveraging CRM systems

The successful candidate will possess the following qualities:

  • Comfort, confidence, and finesse relating to senior executives, Hill staffers, and elected officials
  • Polished and professional demeanor, including excellent interpersonal skills and salesmanship
  • A collaborative nature, including the ability to manage stakeholders without formal authority 
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, and results-driven
  • The ability to relate to individuals on both sides of the aisle

REPORTING STRUCTURE

The Senior Vice President will report directly to the NAPCS President & Chief Executive Officer.

LOCATION

Washington, DC

To Apply: The executive search team at Bellwether Education Partners is leading the search. Inquiries and applications, comprising a resume and letter of interest, should be sent to: Leslie Nair, Principal, leslie@bellwethereducation.org. Bellwether is a nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations become more effective and achieve dramatic results, especially for high-need students. Our Talent Services practice identifies, places, and supports education leaders through comprehensive executive searches, customized search advisory services, and individual coaching. We also partner with clients to build talent-ready organizations where diverse teams can work, develop, and thrive.