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Senior Communications Manager- Education and Society

Department: EDUCATION
Location: Washington DC, DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Marylandís Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

The Aspen Institute Education and Society Program (Aspen Education) works with local, state, and national education leaders to share and build knowledge about how school systems can improve the education and life chances of young people, particularly students of color and students from low income families. Aspen Education pursues this work through several integrated strategies: professional learning/leadership development networks, reports and tools, and public as well as off-the-record convenings. Aspen Education also sponsors the time-limited National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (NCSEAD), which has empaneled a diverse and distinguished group of leaders to advance the full integration of social, emotional, and academic development to support the whole student. To learn more about Aspen Education visit: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/education-and-society-program/ and NCSEAD visit: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/national-commission-on-social-emotional-and-academic-development/.

 

Basic Function:

The Aspen Education team convenes education leaders from across the country and every level of work Ė from classrooms to capitols Ė with a focus on improving outcomes for low-income students and students of color. Aspen Educationís efforts are focused on equity, social emotional and academic development, and a systems approach to building educator expertise and increasing the quality and impact of professional learning within the education sector. By sponsoring ongoing professional learning networks and topical, off-the-record dialogues about critical education issues, and authoring publications, we help develop and refine policies and improvement strategies Ė and learn a tremendous amount in the process. We are committed to more proactively and strategically sharing what we learn to better inform and influence educators, policymakers, advocates, journalists, and foundation leaders; we are looking for someone to help tell this story.

The Senior Communications Manager (SCM) is a new position, which will serve as the Aspen Educationís chief storyteller and will play a key role in all the programís communication efforts, extending the reach and impact of Aspen Education by crafting and implementing a strategic communications plan. This will include outreach to and engagement of established partners and new audiences, development of digital strategies, and management of media and communication consultant relations. The ideal candidate will be an experienced storyteller who understands the field of education and who will focus on developing, synthesizing, and disseminating policy-and practice-facing content that advances the programís goals.

The SCM will advise leadership on how to translate our work into effective messaging-- leveraging various platforms and strategies, highlighting relevant education data and research, lifting learning from convenings and networks, targeting traditional and non-traditional vehicles for product placement, and identifying timely and relevant opportunities to disseminate policy and practice solutions. The ideal candidate will also be expected to advise leadership on how to marshal Aspen Education resources and staff to meet and execute communications goals. In this position, the SCM will engage with external stakeholders to help identify stories that lift up authentic voices and efforts that are advancing an equitable education for all students, particularly for low-income students and students of color.

S/he will liaise with the Aspen Instituteís Communications team, leveraging the Instituteís communications platforms to further promote Aspen Educationís work. S/he will also work closely with the NCSEAD communications team to strategize and coordinate Aspenís various communications and outreach efforts.

This position reports to the Assistant Director for Strategy and Operations and will interface with the Aspen Educationís leadership on a regular basis. S/he will join a mighty team of fourteen.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES:

Storytelling and Strategy

  • Craft and oversee the development and execution of a strategic communications plan that captures program voice and impact;
  • Work closely with the leadership team in all aspects of communications work, ensuring alignment between policy and practice in all external-facing communications, including advising leadership on how to translate our work into effective messaging-- leveraging various platforms and strategies, highlighting relevant education data and research, lifting learning from convenings and networks, and identifying timely and relevant opportunities to disseminate content, including media and press vehicles for amplification; and
  • Advise leadership on how to marshal Aspen Education resources and staff to meet and execute communications goals.

Content and Editorial Administration

  • Conceive and edit content that advances Aspen Educationís mission, including write, edit, and/or commission high-quality written products that synthesize learning and materials such as learning memoranda for various audiences, blogs, policy reports, op-eds, press kit documents, fact sheets, talking points, social media content, and related communications that are of interest to our network members as well as policymakers, practitioners and philanthropy at state and national levels; develop Aspen Education narrative and support leadership team with talking points, speeches, and presentations as needed;
  • Create and manage editorial calendar and oversee content production process, including brainstorm and help recruit partners, manage vendors and consultants, and engage with media and the field to ensure dissemination, uptake, and use of Aspen Education products; and
  • Coordinate with the Aspen Institute communications team to leverage the Instituteís platforms, including the Aspen Institute Magazine, Journal of Ideas, 5 Best Ideas of the Day, public programs, and other opportunities to promote Aspen Educationís work.

Website and Social Media Responsibilities:

  • Oversee and enhance programís digital presence and set new direction as needed;
  • Develop, manage, and curate website content; and
  • Coordinate with Aspen Institute communications team on social media strategy to complement existing outreach and promote Aspen Educationís work.

Shared Responsibilities:

  • Actively participate and serve as thought partner in helping inform program design and strategic planning and direction for Aspen Education;
  • Monitor media coverage of education issues and policy to inform programís content development;
  • Contribute to team-wide learning and knowledge management;
  • Seek out opportunities to draw on and contribute to other Aspen Institute programs and resources;
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the program; and

KNOWLEDGE, EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE:

  • College Degree and 7+ years strategic communications experience; clear results and advancement required. Preferred Masterís degree or equivalent experience in journalism, public policy, public relations, or communications;
  • Excellent writing and communications skills;
  • A love of learning and a passion for public education as an engine of opportunity;  
  • Content expertise in K-12 education practice and policy;
  • Effective and experienced storyteller with demonstrated big-picture strategy development and idea generation in communications-related to education field;
  • Experience working collaboratively with partners, as well as with a small team to maximize impact;
  • A proven ability to take initiative, be creative, effectively engage external experts and partners, cultivate strong relationships, and provide strategic analysis;
  • Proven experience in communications field, including knowledge of innovative strategies and tools for social media and digital platforms;
  • Keen understanding of the interplay of policy, practice and research and the needs of media, educators, policymakers, and other thought leaders;
  • Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite, PPT, Salesforce, and Internet research and experience with email marketing platform;
  • Graphic/web design skills and website development and maintenance a plus;
  • Strong organizational skills; the ability to plan and follow through with staff and a variety of constituencies in consistent, high-quality manner;
  • A sense of humor and willingness to be flexible.

To Apply:

To apply, please visit www.aspeninstitute.org/jobs and follow the instructions to apply for the Education and Society Communications Manager position. Applicants must submit cover letter and resume Ė those who do not provide both will be automatically disqualified. The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws.

Compensation is commensurate with experience.

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