Senior Director of External Affairs

  • Rochester, NY, USA
  • Full-time
  • Hiring Start Time: Immediate Start (SY 20-21)

Company Description

Uncommon Schools is a nonprofit network of high-performing charter public schools that are closing the academic achievement gap and preparing students from historically underserved communities for success in college and beyond. Uncommon currently manages 55 schools serving more than 20,000 students in six cities: Boston, Camden, New York City, Newark, Rochester, and Troy. Uncommon graduates persist in and graduate from college at rates far higher than their peers. We believe that every child deserves an outstanding education, and we are committed to working beyond the walls of our schools to achieve that goal through our professional development workshops, books, and district partnerships. 

Job Description



The Regional Senior Director will play a critical role in managing all external- and community-facing work for their specific region. The Regional Senior Director will work to advance Uncommon’s reputation and influence as a leading charter management organization in the region. The Regional Senior Director will build support for our schools by leveraging a deep understanding of the community and ensuring that Uncommon Schools is working as effectively as possible with key external stakeholders in the community. The Regional Senior Director will work closely with the Associate Chief Operating Officer, who oversees school operations for the region, and the central External Affairs team at Uncommon’s Home Office, as well as other school, regional and Home Office leaders within Uncommon. The Regional Senior Director will report to the Senior Director of External Affairs at Uncommon’s Home Office, and will oversee an External Affairs Manager..



We are seeking a mission-aligned, high-energy, detail-oriented, people-driven and community-embedded leader who will create and execute on the strategic plan for external affairs in the region, and build deep and lasting relationships with school, regional, and external community members and stakeholders (e.g., parent leaders, community leaders, elected officials, school Board of Trustees, charter authorizers, other charter leaders).  Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:


Management of External Affairs & Stakeholders

  • Regional advocacy and government affairs
    • Plan and execute elected official engagement strategy, including managing high-level key relationships, supporting the team to plan for and execute on initiatives and strengthening relationships with elected officials (e.g., school visits, community projects, meetings)
    • Overseeing execution of a parent advocacy strategy and successful coalition-building to support Uncommon Schools and education reform interests, and manage and implement Uncommon advocacy initiatives within the regional context (e.g., Get Out the Vote campaigns, voter registration, parent advocacy & organizing, etc.)
    • Monitor local, state and federal policy as it relates to K-12 education and charter schools, and inform and make recommendations to internal stakeholders regarding policy implications for Uncommon Schools in the region

·        Board management

o   Serve as the key owner and liaison for the regional Board of Trustees, including long-term relationship management and facilitation of all board meetings and sub-committee meetings

·        Other high-level external relationships

o   Partner with the central Uncommon External Affairs team on Uncommon Impact work related to supporting our district partnerships

    • Implement, and manage a system for school tours/visits by external stakeholders
    • Plan for and support all other high-stakes relationships in the region (e.g., district leaders, fellow charter sector leaders, local coalition leaders, etc.)


Strategic Planning & Execution

  • Partner with regional and Home Office leaders to create and implement a robust external strategy for the region
  • Manage and drive strategy for all charter and governance compliance, including managing authorizer relationships, managing the charter application and renewal processes and ensuring adherence to all relevant governance policies and procedures;
  • Determine and drive strategy for core initiatives/relationships in the region, including but not limited to: relationship with local school district(s) and implementation of district/city policies; supporting student recruitment


Collaboration & Team Management

  • Work seamlessly with regional and organizational leaders, especially around projects involving school implementation and Board of Trustees management
  • Work closely with External Affairs, Development, and Media/Marketing teams and leverage organizational resources for the region
  • Serve as an exceptional role model as a leader and manager, investing deeply in supporting and developing team members and growing their capacity to learn, contribute and engage in the work of the team and organization
  • Develop and manage a budget for board-related and community engagement expenses in the region.
  • Establish team and individual staff goals that contribute to organizational objectives
  • This position will manage 1FTE



  • 6-8 years of substantive work experience with increasing responsibility in external affairs in a non-profit and/or educational setting.
  • Ability to create effective strategic plans and project manage to execute on that strategy.
  • Excellent relationship- and coalition-building skills and ability to move and communicate seamlessly and effectively among and between varied audiences (e.g. board members, school/regional leaders, elected officials, school district leaders, Uncommon parents, etc.).
  • Demonstrated experience in navigating and leveraging high-stakes relationships and negotiations.
  • Experience and background in the community, professionally or personally
  • Ability to serve as an effective ambassador for Uncommon Schools
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, high-change organization; flexible; able to work autonomously as well as take direction as needed.
  • Excellent organization, time management, and follow-up skills; ability to prioritize and demonstrate an appropriate sense of urgency.
  • Ability to navigate within ambiguity and successfully drive decisions given current context and desired outcomes


Travel Requirements

This role requires local travel around the region as well as multiple overnight trips to the State Capital each year, as well as occasional travel between Uncommon regions.



  • Strong commitment to the organizational mission.
  • Bachelor’s degree required

Additional Information

Uncommon Schools offers salaries commensurate with experience and a very generous benefits and vacation package. All staff members receive extensive professional development, and are equipped with a laptop computer and all necessary supplies.

Uncommon believes in the importance of being a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization that enables our students and staff to thrive. We are committed to building a talented team that reflects the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students. At the same time, we work to ensure an inclusive community through creating a space for meaningful dialogue about issues of race and identity for our staff and students.  As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability.

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