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SMD, External Affairs

Teach for America

Teach for America

Washington, USA
Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2024

ROLE TITLE: Senior Managing Director, External Affairs

POSITION REPORTS TO: Levi Mogg, Executive Director

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Priority Deadline - July 15th; Application Closes - August 2, 2024



Teach For America - Washington seeks a Senior Managing Director, External Affairs to build champions for our organization within our city and state by being a storyteller, stewarding public and community partnerships, and activating our network to advocate for our work.

The ideal candidate for this role has extensive prior external affairs, coalition-building and school district strategy experience. You are fulfilled by taking deep personal responsibility for the success of your organization and igniting passion in potential partners to fight for our shared work. You are an expert in the Washington external affairs space, and have a strong political acumen. You fearlessly pursue a seat at the table with powerful decision makers, and are committed to using your voice to work toward educational equity. You are a skilled public speaker and influencer and also enjoy the behind the scenes of the work of turning what you’re learning internally into strategy and project plans. You also are highly skilled at engaging with high-impact alumni leaders within our communities, and enjoy connecting this portfolio of leaders with each other and other local leaders, all toward building stronger coalitions in the communities we serve.

As a result of your work, Teach For America will have the state funding, public, institution, and legislative support, and network affinity to sustain and grow our local operation and foster systems-level change toward educational equity in Washington.


Strategy and Planning:

  • Set the vision and strategy for our region’s External Affairs work, including public engagement, community affairs, network engagement, activating our members and alumni leaders, and marketing and communications

  • Develop goals and priorities for critical areas within the External Affairs portfolio, tracking progress to goals, and driving towards outcomes

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Build and steward relationships with a portfolio of high-impact alumni leaders within our communities, with the aim of strengthening our talent matching and coalition building within this group and within the broader communities we serve

  • Portfolio manage or lead key relationships in the public sector, influencing support, advocacy and funding for Teach For America. This includes relationships with legislators, city and district officials, non-profit leaders, senior executive alumni, etc.

  • Serve as an advisory and proxy of the Executive Director around External Affairs work

  • Secure bipartisan support of our work, including partnering with our Development team and testifying to secure state and public funding

Policy Development and Oversight:

  • Develop analysis, commentary, and mobilization strategies on relevant state policy issues, including state licensure regulations and certification policy, as well as other PK-12 education issues of interest and focus for the Washington Region that is aligned with Teach For America’s 10 year goal

  • Manage the contracting process with our local districts where we place corps members

Collective Responsibilities:

  • Will operate flexibly to lend skills and capacity to meet the needs of emerging projects or priorities as they arise


Over the course of any week, the SMD, External Affairs might spend time:

  • Meeting with legislators, district officials, and other key decision makers to influence their support around Teach For America and reducing barriers for educators to work toward equity. The SMD will also set up the Executive Director to do the same

  • Meeting individually and collectively with our senior-level alumni leaders throughout the state, in support of both our talent matching and 10-year goal advancement work

  • Checking in with and laterally coaching teammates to advance the External Affairs agenda of our organization and activate our network to realize systems change

  • Collaborating across the regional team to ensure every arm of our work is aligned to our org and local brand standards

  • Advising the Executive Director on external relationships and issues facing our strategy and landscape

  • Spending time setting strategy and laying the groundwork toward state appropriation in the 2025-2026 cycle

  • Pitching in on projects outside External Affairs to help fellow regional and national team members achieve our shared goals


Your areas of knowledge and expertise that matter most for this role (minimum qualifications):

  • At least 10 years of experience in external affairs, including cultivating relationships with public officials in government affairs and executive roles

  • Strong knowledge of the Washington State and Seattle political landscape and ability to use it to understand and navigate power and decision making to influence change

  • Excellent public speaking skills with the ability to convey complex ideas concisely and compellingly to a range of external audiences

  • Advanced ability to understand the beliefs, motivations, contexts and barriers of others and the ability to influence

  • Experience using organizational skills and detail orientation to manage complex teams and projects

  • A cultural leader who operates as a standard bearer for your organization’s values. You actively and productively engage in dialogue to further your commitment and your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusiveness

  • A transparent and inclusive decision maker, viewing every step you take as a leader as an opportunity to build trust and community

  • Displays and models a learning orientation, including around one’s own personal identity. Open to ambiguity, adaptability, risk taking, and learning from failure in a constantly evolving context

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, and Salesforce

BONUS (preferred qualifications)

  • Experience working in senior leadership in a local school district central office

  • Experience securing state appropriations for non-profit organizations

  • Strong network within the Washington education sphere


Since 2011, Teach For America has been relentlessly fighting for educational equity in Washington State. Our region has one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S., and an educational system with elements that are truly world class. At the same time, it remains a deceptively beautiful state. While potential is evenly distributed across lines of race and class, access to opportunity is not, and is particularly limited for students of color and those growing up in poverty-impacted communities. As these realities have become clearer at the federal and state level, many efforts have been made to improve educational outcomes for students. Teach For America - Washington works in deep partnership with communities across Washington state to build a sustainable movement in pursuit of the day when every child in the region has access to an excellent, equitable education.


The applicable salary range for each U.S.-based role is based on where the employee works and is aligned to one of 3 tiers according to a cost of labor index in that geographic area. Starting pay for the successful applicant will depend on a variety of job-related factors, which may include education, training, experience, location, business needs, or market demands. New hires are typically brought into the organization at a salary between the range minimum and the salary range midpoint depending on qualifications, internal equity, and the budgeted amount for the role. The expected salary range for this role is set forth below. This range may be modified in the future.

Salary Range: $128,500 - $192,800

You can view which tier applies to where you plan to work here. If your location is not listed, please click here for additional total rewards information.