Communications Director

27 Jan, 2021


Communications Director

Tennesseans for Student Success
Nashville, TN

Communications Director l Tennesseans for Student Success
Tennesseans for Student Success is a statewide network of teachers, parents, community
leaders, and volunteers dedicated to supporting, championing, and fighting for Tennessee’s
students and their futures. We are committed to building on Tennessee’s historic gains in
education. Having been named the fastest improving state in the nation in education, breaking
ACT records, graduating more students on time, and offering early opportunities for success is
just the beginning. We work every day to make sure today’s students are more prepared and
have even more opportunities for success than those who graduated before them. Our
organization’s efforts, including legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, and engagement
across the state, and issue advance to support high-quality public education systems across
The Communications Director is a seasoned communications and media strategist that works
across our policy, outreach, and advocacy teams to design and implement a communications
strategy that advances the organizations policy and political objectives. The Communications
Director will utilize a variety of communications efforts including digital, social media, email
marketing, media relations, paid-media campaigns, and other tactics to boost the
organization’s awareness, brand, policy priorities, and advocacy goals. As an essential member
of our team, supporting all aspects of our work, you will also be responsible for growing the
structural capacity and sophistication of the organization’s long-term communications efforts.
You will work closely with the senior leadership, as a trusted advisor, to create and implement a
communications strategy that aligns with the mission and vision.
The mission of the Communications Director is to lead the organization’s communications and
public relations strategies, leveraging their media-savvy and superior industry expertise to
influence policy and political debates. The Communications Director is an essential member of
the Tennesseans for Student Success team, working with staff and the CEO, engaging at every
level to leverage our external communications to engage partners and stakeholders, influence
debate, and ensure the issues, solutions, and successes of Tennessee students are front and
center so our state’s public education system and policymakers respond to the diverse needs of
The Communications Director will have the following primary responsibilities:
Communications Director
Full-Time Position
Communications Director l Tennesseans for Student Success
• Develop and implement a statewide communications and media strategy for the
organization and its major program areas
• Create earned-media moments, develop a paid-media strategy, conduct rapid response,
dispute inaccurate coverage, and create compelling narratives
• Create and manage a crisis communications strategy
• Proactively identify potential media risks and craft responses, ensuring the reputation of
Tennesseans for Student Success is protected and enhanced while also advancing the
organization’s policy agenda
• Create, execute and measure strategic and effective communications and social media
programs including the development, integration, and implementation of a broad range
of public relations and social media activities relative to the strategic direction and
positioning of TSS and its leadership
• Lead website maintenance—ensure that new and consistent information (articles links,
stories, and events) is posted regularly
• Build and maintain positive working relationships with the press and partners, creating
two-way channels of information and sourcing.
• Use creative storytelling to create, share, and frame problems and solutions impacting
Tennessee’s students
You are a proactive and persistent problem solver. You hold yourself personally responsible
for results and are patiently persistent as you follow up and follow through. You find ways to
get the information you need to meet your goal. You get the job done and are allergic to
excuses. You do not wait to be told what to do. You’re adept at laying out a project plan that
reflects the organization’s expectations as well as the team’s skills and then driving the team
toward successful implementation, ensuring that key deadlines are met along the way and
navigating unexpected challenges or changes in the environment. You think of the needs of
other team members and their projects, constantly anticipating and problem-solving in advance
of deadlines.
You are a “details” person. Your inbox and hard-drive are well-organized, and you can find
documents in just a few seconds. You also thrive on organizing others, creating and
implementing systems to ensure every moment is well spent. You make sure things don’t fall
through the cracks. You would be embarrassed to go into a meeting unprepared. You think five
steps ahead, anticipating legislator, staff, partner, or stakeholder needs.
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 that shape a given
situation. You have significant experience working in politics, policy, and advocacy, such as
communications, legislative and policy advising, coalition-building, campaigns, or lobbying. You
have a strong understanding of the art and science of building and exercising political power
and influence toward specific policy outcomes. You can synthesize qualitative and quantitative
Communications Director l Tennesseans for Student Success
data quickly to 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. You understand the significance of relationships
and events independent of prevailing attitudes, or your own biases.
You are able to set a clear vision and strategy. Once you set a goal, you can establish a clear
vision for others and create a set of strategies likely to achieve that goal. You’re also able to
adeptly adjust your strategy as needed, recognizing it as a tool and not an implementation plan.
You can quickly shift from strategy to execution when it comes to getting things done. You are
grounded in and capable of setting the big picture goals and strategy. Still, you are ruthless
about getting the details right and navigating nuance.
You have credibility as an expert. You demonstrate mastery on a wide range of topics. Your
opinion and perspective in areas where you have expertise and experience is respected and
sought out. You have a probing mind that seeks to resolve problems based on their priority. You
are able to absorb new information quickly. To stay informed, you continually seek out new
information, data points, and ideas.
You are an excellent communicator. You use clear and concise language without being overly
verbose or talkative, your writing is concrete and actionable. You’re comfortable writing
proposals and memos and building presentations from scratch. Others have said that your
writing is concrete and actionable. You use examples to back up your claims. You understand
the context in which you are communicating, and respond professionally and effectively,
tailoring your message depending on the audience. You are skilled in communicating with a
wide-range of critical stakeholders and are comfortable drafting anything from a proposal to a
PowerPoint presentation. You also know how to present data graphically, in a logical and
visually appealing way, that allows those not as familiar with the data to understand the story
behind the numbers. In responding to inquiries, you understand how to be honest and
strategic, while navigating legal and political implications, as well as the news readers
perception of your quote and how it will fit into the larger story.
You are innovative and have an entrepreneurial spirit. You understand that the only constant
in life is change and you are able to adjust quickly to changing priorities or a new direction
entirely. You are skilled at taking pieces of the original plan and molding them to the new one,
remaining organized even in the face of change. You rise to the challenge of dealing with the
unfamiliar, effectively coping and staying calm and composed. 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.
Education: Bachelor’s degree required. Graduate-level degree preferred.
Communications Director l Tennesseans for Student Success
Experience: At least five (5) years of communication experience, ideally as an in-house lead
Physical: Ability to stand or sit for prolonged periods.
Job Type: Full Time, Salaried (with killer benefits)
Travel: 25% (As of March 16, 2020, all work-related travel has been suspended by Tennesseans
for Student Success)
To apply, please send cover letter and PDF of your resume via email to
1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume.
2. A writing sample (memo, presentation, or other material) similar to that which may be
produced in this job. The sample should reflect your analytical, research, and
communication skills.

Job posted: 2021-01-27