Executive Director of Communications
Alexandria City Public Schools
The executive director of communications (EDC), as part of the Department of School and Community Relations, serves as the principal advisor providing comprehensive and proactive internal and external communications strategies and planning, media relations, and news analysis to the School Board, superintendent of schools and chief of school and community relations. The target audience includes all stakeholders, including the School Board, the Superintendent’s Leadership Team, school district employees and students and their families, taxpayers, and news media and community leaders. The incumbent plans and conducts a broad information program concerning public education and all functions and services of the school system, so as to better articulate the appropriate messages.
The EDC must be a professional who is deeply dedicated to students and their families in support of their success not just during the school day, but also throughout the school year and after they leave the school. Passion for improving education and dramatically increasing achievement and life outcomes for low-income students of color; a belief that all students can reach high levels of achievement with support from adults, including parents and the community.
This position reports to the chief of school and community relations.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, or communications-related field. Master’s degree preferred. Accreditation in Public Relations a plus.
Experience: Minimum of five years of progressive, hands-on experience in communications, with public school experience preferred. Bilingual abilities are a plus.
- Superb management and interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively with school leaders, family members, community members, and other Division staff;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills;
- Outstanding organizational, intercultural, collaboration, human relations, and technical skills;
- Extensive knowledge of and experience with online, digital, non-print media, word-processing, databases, and related applications;
- Ability to work as a member of a team, maintaining sensitive and confidential communications;
- Proven skills in public relations, program management, research, planning, communications, marketing, and evaluation;
- Experience working with senior management in an organizational structure;
- Ability to work independently in a variety of situations often requiring extensive contact with local public leaders, local media representatives, community members, and special interest groups;
- Ability to think boldly and innovatively, with the ability to develop and enact new ideas;
- Experience in planning, implementing, evaluating, and budgeting for a communications program and managing personnel;
- Demonstrated ability to plan strategically with flexibility and creativity to meet specified objectives;
- Ability to establish and maintain effective working conditions; and
- Excellent analytical and critical thinking and judgment skills.
- Working in tandem with the superintendent, chief of school and community relations, and senior leadership of the school division, develops and implements strategic communication and engagement plan aligned with ACPS’ mission, vision, and goals, to enhance the division’s image and “brand” while imparting public information in a transparent manner;
- Supervises the Office of Communications, including Public Information Office, Web Services, Publications, Television Services, Media, Outreach and Engagement and Electronic Communications;
- Works in collaboration with the Office of Community Partnerships and Engagement to ensure effective internal and external communications and the development of strategic communications plans in coordination with family engagement and stakeholder best practices;
- Collaborate with colleagues within the organization to implement cross-functional strategies and initiatives; particularly with the Office of Community Partnerships and Engagement under the auspices of the Department of School and Community Relations;
- Directs and oversees the recruitment, hiring, and retention of staff within the Office of Communications;
- Provides professional learning and oversight of school newsletters, social media liaisons, websites.
- Coordinates with all departments on content delivered via the division website to ensure alignment of design, messaging, the accuracy of the content, and use as an effective and efficient communication tool.
- Develops and updates key internal and external communications, presentations, fact sheets, and messages – in various multimedia formats – for the superintendent, the Board chair, and other key officials to use as needed to highlight the exemplary work and achievements of the school system as the opportunity to use them arises;
- Drafts and edits remark, speeches, addresses, presentations, letters to the editor, op-eds, submissions for social media, and commentaries (with the input and assistance of subject matter experts within the school district) to be delivered or submitted by the superintendent or other senior leadership, with the intent of reflecting the mission, vision, and goals of the school district;
- Serves as a key member of the senior leadership as to crisis management in responding to exigencies of the day or emergencies as they occur, fashioning a coordinated effort that is communicated both within and outside the school district, and to key stakeholders;
- Responsible for creating, for the superintendent’s approval and, then, implementing a marketing program, including PSAs, that enhances ACPS’ image in the eye of the public and elected officials, as well as the corporate and grant community, with a recognizable “brand” reflective of a school district on an upward trajectory able to meet the needs of all its students;
- Considers, from time to time, the efficacy of polls, surveys, and other instruments to gauge the sentiment of staff, students, and/or parents to assist the school system in fashioning its approach to issues and programs;
- Supports the School Board with talking points and other communication tools to support the delivery of consistent messaging aligned with the goals of the ACPS Strategic Plan;
- Working with all departments across the school division to connect with families and serve them through a variety of different and culturally relevant communication channels;
- Ensures that activities and milestones are implemented and on track in alignment with Department Improvement Plan, Department Work Plan, and ACPS Strategic Plan; and
- Leads professional development activities in areas of communications and customer service.
- Criminal Justice Fingerprint/Background Clearance.
- Tuberculosis Skin Test.
Primary Location: Central Office
Salary Range: $103,670.40 – $156,588.00 / Administrator SAS-13
Shift Type: Full-Time