Director of Government Relations (Chief Lobbyist)

28 Apr, 2020


Director of Government Relations (Chief Lobbyist)

Washington Education Association
Olympia, WA

Scion Executive Search ( has been retained to conduct the search for the Washington Education Association’s incoming Director of Government Relations.

The Washington Education Association is an incredible and impactful union dedicated to optimizing public education to benefit the students, staff, and communities of Washington State through the advancement of educator professional interests. This full-time opportunity operates primarily from WEA’s office in Olympia, WA and requires an additional weekly presence in Federal Way, WA (varies throughout the year/based on legislative session).

The Washington Education Association was founded in 1889 and is the largest representative of public-school employees in Washington State.  It is WEA’s goal to build confidence in public education and increase support for Washington’s public-school system. WEA is recognized as the voice of public educators in Washington, advocating for quality public education, reasonable class sizes, professional pay, and respect for those responsible for public school children.
WEA’s organizational objectives include:
  • Increasing WEA members’ and employees’ professional status and job satisfaction.
  • Improving the quality of and access to public education for all students.
  • Ending institutionalized racism and bias in public education.
  • Increasing the participation of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in all aspects of WEA activities.
  • Forging partnerships with parents, business, other unions, and community groups.
  • Promoting a just and inclusive society with respect for the worth, dignity, and equality of every individual.


WEA seeks a collaborative, communicative, and highly experienced Director of Government Relations. In addition to overseeing the Public Policy Center, the Director of Government Relations leads the overall operation of the public policy program, which includes the political and legislative programs, general government relations activities, and member organizing to achieve organizational objectives in campaigns/elections and policy making. If you are a strategic leader who confidently makes smart decisions, while engaging internal and external stakeholders effectively- we’re very interested in learning more about you!
Effectively acting as Chief Lobbyist, the Director of Government Relations is an influential position which routinely engages with Washington State officials- including the Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as Senate and House Leadership.  The Director of Government Relations reports to the Executive Director and works closely with WEA’s management team and regularly interacts with the Board of Directors. This impactful role is best suited for candidates who are passionate about public education, identify with union values, have comfort with public speaking, are deeply familiar with influencing public policy, and highly adept at building consensus within high stakes, fast-moving environments.


  • Directs the overall operation of the public policy program, which includes the political program, the legislative program, general government relations activities, and member organizing to achieve organizational objectives in campaigns/elections and policy making.
  • In conjunction with managers as well as executive leadership, creates and oversees the implementation of the Association’s legislative programs and strategies, including WEAPAC activities (in a manner consistent with WA State law).
  • Promotes the organization’s legislative agenda through strategic relationships with key legislative and regulatory officials and staff (including both elected and appointed officials) as well as key education and labor stakeholders and organizations (including labor, education, and business interests).
  • Monitors the legislative, regulatory, policy and political landscape to identify opportunities to advocate for the organization’s position on priority issues; partners with internal stakeholders to facilitate strategic and tactical planning.
  • Working in concert with the leadership team, develops and executes strategies to ensure a comprehensive government relations and legislative advocacy program which informs, advocates, and influences public policy at the state and local level while also engaging and informing membership on public policy matters.
  • Formulates, executes and oversees the budget and staffing resources for the Public Policy Center.
  • Directs and manages a talented staff of eight (8), including political lobbyists, organizers, budget and healthcare analysts, and support staff. Facilitates teamwork/collaborative work and transparent communication through established trust.
  • Serves as liaison to the NEA Governmental Relations Team.
  • Assists and participates in national, state, and local labor actions as necessary.


  • 5-7+ years of management experience within a large, highly visible and strong service and/or membership-based organization which spans diverse geography and divergent political settings.
  • BA/BS Degree or equivalent with an emphasis on public administration, labor relations, political science and/or public policy.  Equivalent experience in public administration, labor relations, politics, and or public policy may substitute for the area of study in addition to a BA/BS degree or equivalent.
  • Hands on experience working with elected officials and demonstrated history strategically navigating political campaigns as well as the political system and governmental/legislative structure at all levels (local, state and federal). Candidates well suited for this role have experience as a lobbyist as well as political organizing – existing/established political relationships in Washington State are ideal!
  • Knowledge of the complexities and passion for working in a union environment with an understanding and appreciation for the societal, civic, and cultural importance of public education.
  • Proven skill in reaching across the aisle to effectively engage bi-partisan audiences.
  • Collaborative and engaging leadership style; proven ability to motivate/inspire staff while working collaboratively with employees, managers, and others in varied settings (office locations, field-based locations, etc.)
  • Working knowledge/experience with current educational issues, organizations, policies, and trends.
  • Budgetary oversight experience ($3M+)
  • Existing understanding of the Washington State education budget and state budget development process.
  • Experience working with/in historically underrepresented groups of people and/or within communities of color to further the causes of racial and social justice.
  • Knowledge and understanding of power manifestation in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability, language, immigration status, national origin, and socio-economic circumstances.
  • Exceptional and persuasive presentation skills; ability to actively listen and effectively communicate (verbally and in writing), to large and small groups in a range of settings (formal and informal).
  • Willingness to accommodate a flexible work schedule, including extended hours during each legislative session.
  • Existing technological skills, including but not limited to the mastery of Microsoft Office, the ability to use a computer, email, etc.
  • Ability to obtain a valid Washington State Driver’s License, consistent access to a reliable vehicle, and maintained vehicle insurance (meeting established coverage requirements)
  • Support and advance the mission of the Washington Education Association, as well as organizational goals, objectives and priorities.

This phenomenal full-time opportunity offers the ability to make significant impact on communities across the State on behalf of Washington State educators. This exciting role offers a competitive base salary of $175K – $190K (DOE) as well as exceptional full benefits and a generous retirement savings program.Benefits include a comprehensive group health insurance package paid for individual and family (medical, dental, vision, flexible spending accounts, and life insurance); 401(k) plan in which the organization contributes 9% of your base salary; generous vacation, sick, and holiday paid time off; Short and Long Term disability, employee life, and AD&D insurance; and other great perks. This is an opportunity, position, and mission that will inspire you daily!


WEA has retained the services of Scion Executive Search, a national executive search firm specializing in mission-driven organization recruitment, to assist in conducting this important search. For immediate consideration please apply with your cover letter and resume, via:
Please address your application to:
Elissa Dumiak, Senior Executive Search Principal
Scion Executive Search
(888) 487-8850
Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made.
WEA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity and equity in all facets of the organization’s work. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other protected class.
Scion Executive Search is a retained executive search firm connecting executive nonprofit leadership to nonprofit organizations and foundations across the country. Born out of the nonprofit sector, we provide expert search strategies and leadership for your organization. Our executive candidates are true agents for change, and we are experts at matching their talents, motivations, and passions to your organization’s mission. Scion Executive Search has led hundreds of successful executive searches; information on our firm is available online for review via
Scion is an equal opportunity employer and service provider committed to not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or belief, or any other protected class. We are committed to the principals of Equal Opportunity Employment and are dedicated to making employment decisions based on merit and value, for ourselves, our client companies, and for the candidates we represent.

Job posted: 2020-04-28