Director of Strategic Communications

Who We Are

The Learning Policy Institute is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to shape policies that improve learning for each and every child. We are a robust team of 50+ who work with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others who care about improving public schools to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for all children.

Executive Summary

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) seeks an experienced, engaging leader to serve as Director of Strategic Communications (DSC). The ideal candidate will combine exceptional talent for managing and leading a robust, growing communications team with a passion for fostering equity and access to a high-quality education for all children. 

LPI is headquartered in Palo Alto with an office in Washington, D.C. The Director of Strategic Communications manages a team of 8 located in both offices and can be based out of either location. Reporting to the Executive Director (ED), collaborating with the President, and serving as an integral member of the senior leadership team, the DSC is responsible for the development and implementation of LPI’s communication strategy.

The DSC develops top-notch strategic communications plans for events, products, and projects,  directly managing communications activities that support LPI’s research and policy goals while working to promote, enhance, and protect the organization’s brand. The DSC works closely with the Director of Media Relations to develop, integrate, and implement a broad range of public relations activities related to the strategic direction and positioning of the organization and its leadership, including crisis communications. The DSC is an ambassador for the organization and is responsible for LPI’s varied and integrated communications products and services. These include social media, online communications such as blogs and LPI’s website, media and public relations, interactive tools, newsletters and other online and print publications, and marketing. The DSC is also responsible for overseeing analytics and impact metrics for all communications activities.


Communications Strategy, Vision, and Leadership

  • Create and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to 1) advance LPI’s research and policy goals; 2) translate research and policy positions into action through communications with key stakeholders including federal and state policymakers, legislative staffers, other education organizations, and the media; and 3) build and maintain LPI’s brand.
  • Analyze the results of communications efforts to inform and integrate lessons learned into future strategic communications planning.
  • Work with the leadership team and staff to recognize external communications opportunities and challenges and define and execute appropriate strategies to address them.
  • Provide communications advice to the President, Executive Director, and the leadership team.

Communications Operations

  • Coordinate and manage a communications team of eight direct reports and relationships with key vendors.
  • Manage, in collaboration with the leadership team, the development, editing, and production of LPI communications, including social media; LPI’s website (and any additional project websites); blogs and other online outlets; interactive resources, such as infographics and infograms; research reports, briefs, and white papers; presentations; the annual report; online newsletters; and videos.
  • Track the impact and reach of LPI efforts, including web and social media analytics, as well as interactions with other organizations and policymakers.
  • Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and oversee the preparation of talking points, speeches, presentations, and other supporting material as needed.
  • Support the President, Executive Director, and other leadership team members to prepare for media opportunities and presentations.
  • Collaborate closely with the research and policy teams to coordinate LPI events (e.g., conferences) and the production and promotion of LPI resources.
  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of the communication department’s functions, including budgeting, planning, and staff development.
  • Cultivate relationships with decision-makers, influencers, allied organizations, and emerging partners to achieve common goals.

Team Development/Management

  • Recruit and manage communications team (including full-time staff and consultants and freelancers) to support the development and execution of the communication strategy.
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality.
  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis.
  • Establish and support staff performance and development goals, set objectives, establish priorities, and conduct annual performance appraisals.


While no one person will embody all of the qualities detailed below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.
  • Passion and commitment to LPI’s equity-driven mission.
  • Minimum 10 years of experience in a senior communications role, including team management, preferably in the nonprofit sector.
  • A strong knowledge of k-12 education issues and existing relationships in the field preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing comprehensive strategic communications efforts, media relations, and marketing to advance an organization’s mission and goals.
  • Extensive successful writing and editing experience (externally focused) for a variety of audiences and formats, including news releases and commentary, summaries of research, white papers, fact sheets, and social media.
  • Excellent and persuasive communicator.
  • Demonstrated skill in successfully positioning subject matter in multiple communications channels (press, social media, publications, websites, etc.), to achieve high impact in changing media landscapes.
  • Highly collaborative, with demonstrated success working across teams.
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized; comfortable using a range of tools to track and manage workflow among multiple teams.
  • A creative and thoughtful approach to using new media technologies as they emerge.
  • Experience in building, mentoring, and coaching a team of communications specialists.
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution.
  • Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs.

Please submit resume and letter of interest to:​

LPI is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.