Associate Communications Director

XQ Institute

Posted: 8/13/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Marketing/Communications

Primary domain: Education

City: Oakland

Postal code: 94607

State: California

Country: United States

Organization Information:


Not Available


Mission statement:

At XQ, our mission is to fuel America’s collective creativity to transform our public high schools, so every student succeeds. To accomplish that, we share engaging and informative stories of high school innovation; develop free, open-source tools and resources that help educators, students, families, and other concerned people reimagine high schools in their communities; produce cultural events that inspire people to become part of the change; and cultivate new data, information, and knowledge about high school education.

Position Details:

Job Description:

Little in our world looks the same today as it did 100 years ago. We’ve gone from the switchboard to the smartphone and the Model T to the Tesla. Yet high school in America—the system responsible for setting young people on the path to a bright future—has remained virtually unchanged. Our students deserve better.

At XQ, we fuel America’s collective creativity to transform our public high schools into engines of excellence and equity so every student graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in an ever-changing world. We work to inspire and amplify meaningful solutions—and real, enduring results. Learn more about us at

Our goals are bold and ambitious. To help us meet them, we need an Associate Communications Directorto join our team in Oakland, California, and support our efforts.

The Role

Are you a born storyteller with a gift for cutting to the chase and synthesizing jargon and complex ideas into simple, straightforward, compelling language?

Do you have a nose for news, an uncanny ability to predict what will “pop,” and a history of successfully pitching and developing relationships with even the most skeptical journalists?

Do you have good judgment, a flexible outlook, and the drive to do what it takes to get stuff done—and done well?

If so, we may have the job for you.

XQ believes in the power of imagination, innovation, and creativity to transform high schools so they work well for every student and family they serve. Reporting to XQ’s Communications Director, you will manage critical communications workstreams related to media and special events.

We have important stories to tell, and we want you to help us tell them. You must have a solid understanding of traditional news and online media, with a strong track record of effective media relations that produces real relationships and real results. You are an inspiring writer with a flair for voice and tone designed to engage and inspire. You will generate a drumbeat of ongoing coverage in target publications—working across national, regional, and local media outlets—and monitoring news and trends to proactively identify opportunities to showcase XQ’s work and leadership.

XQ is a dynamic environment, and we need an equally dynamic team player who is passionate about our mission and driven to deliver. That someone also seeks and sees opportunities—both proactive and reactive—they can leverage, demonstrating XQ’s brand attitudes: bold, smart, non-conforming, imaginative, and hopeful.

Key Responsibilities

Working with the Communications Director and the broader XQ team, you will:

  • Support XQ Schools
    • Identify stories that need to be shared and secure media coverage of the schools’ innovative approaches to teaching and learning as well as their results
    • Support school-based teams in media training and internal communications capacity building 

  • Manage media relations
    • Identify and pitch stories to help raise awareness of, and inspire, high school redesign efforts across the nation for a variety of target audiences
    • Develop and foster relationships with key media outlets and journalists
    • Write pitches, press releases, and other media-focused statements about XQ’s work and related issues
    • Strategize, develop, and execute media campaigns
    • Field media requests and advise and prepare XQ staff to respond

  • Track media coverage
    • Provide daily and weekly round-ups of relevant news 
    • Identify opportunities for story pitches based on timely and topical news
    • Organize and appropriately tag all earned media, leveraging outcomes data to inform content creation and media strategies

  • Support other XQ communications efforts
    • Help craft talking points and presentations for speaking opportunities
    • Staff spokespeople at events, including interactions with media
    • Develop and review content for organizational newsletters, presentations, blogs, and websites
    • Collaborate with internal work teams to manage projects and support strategies to achieve internal and external communications goals
    • Assist in the management of outside consultants
    • Other special projects and duties, as assigned, to support organizational communications efforts and ensure XQ achieves its mission


Key Skills We Seek 

  • Interpersonal:Your work is about people, storytelling, and relationships. You are approachable, friendly, and empathetic—able to relate to and connect with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences within XQ and across XQ schools, partners, journalists, and consultants. You have a collaborative spirit, and you thrive in a small-team environment as both an individual contributor and a team player. You are not too big to do the small things nor too small to do the big things.
  • Strategy and Growth:You understand the role of communications in achieving organizational goals and effecting change. And you have a track record of producing such results.
  • Copywriting:You are an exceptional grammarian and proofreader, and you have a creative flair for producing engaging copy in a variety of formats for a broad range of audiences. Attention to detail is crucial.
  • Presentation:You are confident and effective when speaking with individuals of all types. From communicating ideas to your team to presenting story ideas to reporters, you organize information in succinct, interesting ways to capture the audience’s attention.
  • Management:You are driven by results, with strong project- and time-management skills. You are able to manage multiple priorities simultaneously, work under tight deadlines, and meet the needs of your team and partners. You are comfortable working quickly and efficiently without compromising quality.
  • Resilience:You are agile and thrive in a fast-paced work environment. You consistently seek constructive feedback from all levels, and you embrace a growth mindset. When it comes to criticism or rejection, you handle it all like a pro.



What You’ve Done Before  


  • You have at least seven years of directly related experience in public relations, journalism, or a similar field—especially in agencies, in-house communications shops, or other deadline-driven media environments.
  • Knowledge of the education space and education policy or a history of working in K-12 education, as well as working knowledge of both AP and Chicago styles, will be helpful.
  • You also have a bachelor’s degree and a passion for and understanding of issues related to equity and social justice.
  • You are able to be on call on evenings and weekends to deal with urgent external communications needs as they arise, attend XQ events and meetings, and travel domestically.


  • XQ Institute offers competitive benefits and salary for this role.


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

  • Please apply online. In your cover letter, please address why your skills, interests, and experience align with the requirements for this role. Candidates whose cover letters do not address these points will not be considered.

    XQ is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. At XQ, promoting, celebrating, and supporting diversity is a core value. Individuals are considered without regard of race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, sexual expression, religion, veteran status, disability, marital status, or ancestry.


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