Jul 23, 2021

Chief External Affairs Officer

$150,000 yearly
  • DSST Public Schools
  • Denver, CO, USA
Full-time Development and Fundraising Executive Leadership Marketing and Communications

Job Description

Chief External Affairs Officer

DSST Public Schools (DSST) seeks a Chief External Affairs Officer to join one of the leading charter school organizations in the nation.  We serve 6-12th grade students across Denver and Aurora with a mission to transform urban public education by eliminating educational inequity and preparing all students for success in college and the 21st century.

DSST Public Schools seeks extraordinary professionals with a track record of raising student achievement to join a team dedicated to providing a rigorous college preparatory program to a diverse population.  Our Home Office team is composed of leaders who play an integral role in ensuring student success through setting network strategy, supporting our school teams in implementing that strategy, and executing key centralized functions.

We believe a diverse, equitable and inclusive team leads to innovation, which allows us to better support our students, families, and the community – regardless of background, experience, social and/or cultural identity. DSST aims to be an inclusive & equitable workplace by valuing race, gender, sexual orientation and all aspects of individual identities. When reading this job description, we hope you feel energized by what you see, feel and hear. If you believe you could bring passion and commitment to the role but aren't sure you meet every qualification, please apply! Above all, we are looking for people who believe in our mission to eliminate educational inequity.

Overview of Position:

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief External Affairs Officer will join DSST Public Schools Senior Leadership Team and will oversee Marketing, Brand, and Communications; Development; Recruitment & Enrollment; External Affairs, Advocacy, Partnerships & Policy.  These focus areas will help ensure that we create and maintain relationships with stakeholders, communicate effectively with internal and external partners, garner resources, and hit our recruitment and enrollment goals all in pursuit of our mission. This person will create outreach, marketing, communications, and development strategies that support growth and long-term financial stability for DSST Public Schools.

What you will Own:

As the Chief External Affairs Officer,  you will focus on the following bodies of work:

Marketing, Brand & Communications: 

  • Setting a vision for DSST’s marketing and brand work that ensures DSST is represented accurately and with integrity across diverse audiences

  • Create goals that drive the team to that work and project manage all action items to motivate the team to achieve the stated goals

  • Ensure successful implementation of long-term approach for strategic communications, messaging and marketing materials differentiated by audience (e.g., families, teachers, donors, alumni)

  • Oversee brand positioning, crisis communications and public relations


  • In partnership with the CEO and Board of Directors, annually fundraise in support of our mission

  • Partner with the DSST Senior Leadership Team to determine revenue goals that align to annual budgetary needs

  • Develop, cultivate, and secure new donors and new funding streams

  • Plan and develop all special events, including the major annual Slice of Pi event

  • Participate in solicitations and manage a portfolio of major donors/funders through meetings, events and networking opportunities

Recruitment and Enrollment: 

  • Set and lead on strategy for student recruitment, new family onboarding and student enrollment (ORE), a critical funding stream for the entire networking representing over $20M in operating revenue 

  • Continuously assess current state of enrollment policies and utilize knowledge of enrollment best practices to drive continuous improvement

  • Oversee strategies and annual goals for successful persistence of newly enrolled students from admissions through October count processes

External Affairs, Advocacy, Partnerships & Policy: 

  • Identify and anticipate internal organizational needs and mobilize third-party partners to even more effectively support our students and stakeholders

  • Build relationships with key stakeholders and outside partners to gather input on current state and ideal state of this work and to lead development on culturally responsive communication strategies with an eye towards integrated schools family engagement and advocacy

  • Identify policy implications and best practice with the Special Counsel of Policy and External Affairs to ensure that the family engagement strategy aligns with the network’s advocacy strategy, with the ultimate goal of ensuring political support for DSST students and families

Additional Duties:

As a member of the Home Office Team, you will participate in and support the execution of Home Office and Network-wide Events and other initiatives as needed.

What Skills You’ll Need to Be Successful:

Strategic Planning

  • You have the ability to analyze DSST’s competitive position by considering geographical markets and education trends related to the focus areas above; existing and potential advocates; and, strengths and challenges in each school community DSST serves. You are confident in developing and communicating goals in support of DSST’s vision and mission.  You apply your professional experience and knowledge to support the strategic implementation of DSST’s external affairs work.  

Team Leadership

  • As a team member, you constantly demonstrate the ability and desire to work cooperatively with others on a team; as a team leader, you have the experience, finesse, awareness, and ability to bring the right people together within the DSST organization to inspire and empower your teams to collaborate in service to our students, families, communities, and stakeholders. 

  • You have an uncanny knack for noticing, interpreting, and anticipating others’ concerns and feelings, and a thoughtful way of communicating empathetically to others.  You see the best in people and compel them to excel in unique and impactful ways.  Your influence reverberates throughout the entire organization.

Relationship Management 

  • You bring the capacity to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside and outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support. Additionally, you are able to gather collaborative support from stakeholders for ideas, proposals, projects, and solutions in support of DSST’s mission and vision.

Powerful Communication 

  • Connecting purposefully, intentionally, and masterfully with others in various ways is an apparent strength of yours. You express yourself with clarity, grace, style, and awareness in conversations and interactions with others. You are an expert in planning and delivering oral and written communications that make an impact.  You inspire others to think and empower them to act. 

Required Qualifications:  DSST Public Schools seeks candidates with strong character, passion for excellence and a relentless commitment to student achievement.

  • An unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all forms, internally and externally, as a personal and professional value

  • At least 10 years of senior-level development, external affairs, marketing, brand and/or communications leadership with track record of success and progressive responsibilities

  • Ability to set a strategy, build the development infrastructure, inspire, and manage a team to ensure loyalty, hard work, unity, stability, and effectiveness

  • Exceptional storytelling skills: ability to communicate with passion, energy, intensity and enthusiasm, making arguments in a compelling, nuanced and concise manner

  • Strong knowledge of how marketing, communications and public relations can further fundraising efforts and success using these tools to improve and optimize development outcomes

  • Drive to adhere to financial goals, analyze and identify challenges, and formulate creative solutions.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Spanish Speaking Proficiency        

  • Experience and understanding of urban charter/public school contexts  

Classification: Exempt

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer


Commitment to Equity

  • We believe that if we actively commit to equitable and inclusive practices aligned to our mission and values, our students and staff will achieve at high levels.

Commitment to Continuous Growth

  • We believe that if we foster our own growth mindsets, our students and staff will develop a commitment to continuous improvement and thus maximize their potential.

Commitment to Healthy Team

  • We believe that if we commit to modeling and fostering healthy teams, our students and staff will achieve a collective success that surpasses that of the individuals

Drives to Results

  • We believe if we strategically develop systems and people with a driven sense of urgency and focus on results, our students and staff will achieve ambitious goals.

Compensation and Benefits:

Starting salary for this position will begin at $150,000 and is commensurate with experience* 

*Final salary may be adjusted based on years of experience in a relevant, aligned role of similar level and responsibilities up to 6 years of experience.

DSST Public Schools is committed to providing our staff with benefit offerings that empower each of our employees to make the choices that best meet their individualized and personal needs while also keeping cost in mind.

DSST Benefit highlights include:  

  • Medical Plans offered through Aetna

  • Annual Health Savings account (HSA) gift from DSST Public Schools

  • 2 Dental Plans options offered through Aetna Whole Health 

  • Employee Assistance and Counseling Support 

  • 401 (k) retirement plan with 5% annual gift from DSST regardless of personal contribution

  • Access to additional discounts through our benefit partners exclusively for DSST staff

  • Paid leave beginning day one

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. This position is active and may require standing, walking, bending, kneeling, stooping, and crouching throughout the day. The employee must lift and/or move items up to 30 pounds. The employee must have sufficient hand, arm, and finger dexterity to operate a computer keyboard and other office equipment. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.

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