Communications Director

The Communications Director will serve as a senior leader in the organization, reporting directly to the Executive Director. The Director sets, guides, and executes the strategy for all communications, including messaging, media relations, public relations, and social media, to ensure we maximize our advocacy and campaign effectiveness and increase our brand recognition.

This includes developing, implementing, and evaluating an annual communications plan in collaboration with Advance Illinois senior management that aligns with long-term and annual organizational goals and priorities.

The plan includes:

  •  a robust marketing and communications strategy to ensure high-impact communications, earned media, and strong support of all Advance Illinois efforts;
  • a comprehensive public relations strategy to strengthen and elevate Advance Illinois’ brand, effectively message our policy campaigns and create content for our coalitions;
  • communications campaigns that tie to each of the organization’s advocacy goals to create momentum, awareness, and action using earned media, social media, and grassroots communications tactics;
  • tools to monitor online metrics and analyze results on audience demographic trends and preferred content and to identify opportunities for targeted engagement.

The Communications Director oversees the organization’s communications and is responsible for creating compelling, persuasive, relevant, and accurate content that will increase the public’s engagement with the organization and build community support for improving schools across the state. This includes presentations, testimonies, op-eds, letters to the editor, media alerts, one-pagers and press releases. The Director will also ensure that all written materials reflect clarity, conciseness, effectiveness, and alignment with Advance Illinois’ brand. The Director will work closely with colleagues to produce collateral material to support their work.

The Communications Director is the lead contact with the media and will cultivate and maintain media relationships for disseminating information, positioning Advance Illinois as a media source and leveraging public relations opportunities.

The Communications Director serves as a member of the senior staff, providing overall leadership to the organization, including presenting to the Board and working with Board members, assisting with annual planning, budgeting, and goal setting, and contributing to a collaborative team environment.

The Communications Director oversees a small staff and various contract vendors.


The ideal candidate will be passionate about improving public education in Illinois through policy change and state-level impact; will recognize and be able to articulate the multiple ways having in place strong state policy infrastructure serves the needs of students and families throughout the state; and will also be committed to educational equity and learning from and partnering with communities.

The ideal candidate will:

  • bring tremendous drive and strong ability to achieve outcomes, work well in a fast-paced environment, be comfortable working in an ever-shifting political environment, and familiar with state political and legislative environment.
  • be a strategist with robust knowledge of how to craft an effective message that will resonate with our diverse network, coalitions, and constituent base.
  • be a strategic thinker and rapid problem-solver to effectively handle crisis communications, an outstanding and fast writer and editor, and will be comfortable pivoting between high-level, strategic work and smaller tasks. No job is too big or too small.
  • quickly grasp and effectively communicate complex, detailed information in a clear, concise manner for a variety of audiences and will have extensive knowledge of public education issues and/or experience supporting high-impact advocacy campaigns.
  • be experienced in effectively using social media in today’s media landscape and enthusiastic about emerging technologies as tools for social change and also bring strong press and media relationships within Chicago and Illinois, including political and education reporters covering Springfield and Chicago.
  • be committed to learning and committed to other’s learning, energetic, and strong, and bring a collaborative approach to the organization and to the work.
  • be an excellent manager and committed to developing the Associate staff team and a good, supportive colleague to peers.
  • be of absolute integrity, unquestioned ethics, and bring a high level of professionalism.
  • be a thought partner, teacher, coach, and mentor, willing to model and coach others and be a willing student, committed to learning from others.

The ideal candidate will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and 8 years’ experience in a communications, public relations, or marketing role (government or political campaign experience a plus). The ideal candidate will also have experience effectively managing and supervising a diverse team of staff.


Competitive salary that is commensurate with experience along with excellent benefits, such as health/dental insurance; short-term/long-term disability plans; retirement plan with a company match; flexible spending account; generous PTO plan.


The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications should include a letter of interest and a current resume and be submitted electronically.

Nominations, applications, or inquiries about the position and/or the search process should be directed to:

Advance Illinois is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to engaging the skills and leadership of people of color, low-income persons, LGBT persons, differently-abled people, and other people from diverse backgrounds. People from these and other historically marginalized backgrounds and communities are strongly encouraged to apply.