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Communications Specialist at See Forever Foundation

The Organization

Since it began operating in 1997, the See Forever Foundation's mission has been to create learning communities in lower income urban areas where all students, particularly those who have not succeeded in traditional schools, can succeed academically and socially. The Foundation operates the Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools in DC, as well as the Maya Angelou Academy at New Beginnings’ secure facility for committed youth in Laurel, MD. Our students develop the academic, social, and employment skills they need to build rewarding lives and promote positive change.

If you are interested in learning more about See Forever, please visit our website at www.seeforever.org.

The Touchstone

At the Maya Angelou Schools, the key to our success is rooted in building trusting, respectful and nurturing relationships with each other.  We strive to create safe spaces for all to be able to reach their limitless potential.  We are at our best when we work together to ensure the unique needs of our community are met.  We empower each other to grow successfully so we can see forever!  This is how we live the Maya Way, even when no one is watching.

Position Overview

The Communications Specialist is a key member of the Development Department of the See Forever Foundation (SFF). This position is responsible for working with the Chief Development Officer toward the conceptualization, planning, and execution of the communications strategy to promote SFF and its commitment to providing services to Maya Angelou Schools (MAS) and the Washington DC youth and families they serve. This position is responsible for the overall daily marketing and communications support and will work to achieve the outcomes identified in established marketing and communications plans, thereby supporting SFF’s key strategies among key audiences.

Working with the senior leadership, school staff and Board of Directors, the Communications Specialist focuses on cultivating local/regional print and broadcast and publicizing priority issues. This position manages all media contacts, proactive and reactive, as assigned and makes use of print, broadcast and electronic media to secure placements. In addition, this position will be responsible for the content development, messaging and production for special projects, social media, publications (print and electronic), events and issues. A significant part of the Communications Specialist’s responsibility will be writing and editing a variety of brochures, print and electronic publications, fact sheets, presentations, speeches, annual report, quarterly newsletter and Web content.

The Communications Specialist will lead the effort to create a compelling message and value-add statement and work to ensure consistency across the organization.  This position will assist as needed in strategic planning, special event coordination, Board committee coordination, crisis communications coordination and, other duties as needed.

Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with SFF and MAS staff with primary focus on the programs and issues of the SFF and schools.
  • Provide communications support to the CEO on internal and external communications strategies and messaging as needed.
  • Ensure the implementation of the media relations component of SFF marketing plans on time and on strategy. Use writing and communication tactics, creativity and problem-solving skills to attain best practices in media relations.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with key members of the local/regional media as required. Initiate story placement and respond to media inquiries.
  • Research, write and focus on proactive media placements. As part of that work, generate content that can be used in other ways such as on the program’s Web sites, newsletters and other communications.
  • Respond to media inquiries, performing necessary internal research and analysis and, create necessary reactive communications as needed.
  • Work with new and existing community partners to carry out needs of partnership agreement.
  • Maintain positive relationships with school leadership and staff.
  • Assist in monitoring local, regional, and national news coverage.
  • Provide consistent updates to organizational website, special events calendar, crisis communications plans and other areas as needed.
  • Maintain press clippings, news release, and media library for department.
  • Interrelate with staff at all levels throughout the organization to stay aware of potentially newsworthy developments.
  • Develop and nurture good relationships with journalists.
  • Identify strategic issues that need to be addressed by the CEO and CDO.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism or related subject.
  • Three to five years of experience implementing media relations programs and measuring results. Public relations agency experience preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. Extensive writing and editing, experience with a variety of print and electronic vehicles.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with a wide range of people, from interns to senior executives.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strong working relationships with both clients and media representatives. A proven track record of securing significant placements.
  • Desire to serve and work with diverse populations, especially urban youth.
  • Comfort with working in a fast-paced, non-profit environment.
  • Prior experience as a print or electronic reporter/editor desirable.

Core Beliefs and Desired Characteristics

Candidates should possess an unyielding belief that with the appropriate supports, coupled with high expectations, all students can significantly improve their academic skills, and can develop pro-social and culturally normative behaviors that will enable them to succeed at school and beyond. In addition, candidates should exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Honesty & Integrity: Does not cut corners ethically. Earns trust and maintains confidence. Does what is right, not just what is politically expedient. Speaks plainly and truthfully. 
  • Analytical skills: able to structure and process qualitative or quantitative data and draw insightful conclusions from it; exhibits a probing mind and achieves penetrating insights 
  • Persistence: Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to go the distance to get something done.
  • Strategic thinking/visioning: Able to see and communicate the big picture in an inspiring way; determines opportunities and threats through comprehensive analysis of current and future trends
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions; copes effectively with complexity and change
  • Enthusiasm: Exhibits passion and excitement over work. Has can do attitude.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience.  In addition, See Forever offers a robust benefits plan, including health care coverage, a 401k retirement savings plan, and the opportunity to positively impact students with a broad range of experiences and backgrounds. 

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