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Tennesseans for Student Success

Director, Government Relations

Tennesseans for Student Success


Job Summary


Tennesseans for Student Success is a statewide network of teachers, parents, community leaders, and volunteers dedicated to supporting, championing, and fighting for Tennessee’s students and their futures. We are committed to building on Tennessee’s historic gains in education. Having twice been named the fastest improving state in the nation in education, breaking ACT records, graduating more students on time, and offering early opportunities for success is just the beginning. We work every day to make sure today’s students are more prepared and have even more opportunities for success than those who graduated before them. Our organization’s efforts, including legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, and engagement across the state, and issue advocacy to advance and support high-quality public education systems across Tennessee.


The Director of Government Relations leads the organization’s legislative advocacy and serves as our organization’s face on Capitol Hill, raising Tennesseans for Student Success’ profile and influence. As a critical member of the Tennesseans for Student Success team, you will be responsible for increasing Tennesseans for Student Success’ profile on Capitol Hill. You will directly lobby the Tennessee General Assembly and collaborate with our outreach and advocacy teams on ways to utilize our statewide grassroots network and political resources to make a positive impact for Tennessee’s one million public school students. You will contribute to the implementation of our state-level issue advocacy campaigns. Through your relentless approach to this work, you will have the opportunity to expand our organization’s legislative and political influence resulting in more high-quality public school seats with better outcomes for all students.

Job Responsibilities


The mission of the Government Relations Director is to lead the execution of the organization’s legislative agenda, deepening our influence and impact to ensure student-focused reforms are adopted and protected on a long-term basis. The Government Relations Director serves as the face of the organization on Capitol Hill and is an essential member of the Tennesseans for Student Success team. You will work in partnership with the advocacy, communications, and outreach teams to identify and implement legislative and political strategies for supporting organizational initiatives.


The Director of Government Relations will have the following primary responsibilities:

  • Represent Tennesseans for Student Success on Capitol Hill and before the Governor’s Office, Department of Education, and before state boards and commissions
  • Build strong relationships with legislators, legislative staff, and other strategic partners
  • Ensure TSS’ policy positions are shared with government officials and all appropriate parties
  • Research and examine legislative and regulatory proposals
  • Influence elected officials, opinion leaders, and stakeholders on essential TSS policy priorities
  • Efficiently and effectively serve as a liaison to stakeholders, partners, and others
  • Support the ongoing development of a comprehensive state advocacy agenda for Tennesseans for Student Success and its partners
  • Work collaboratively with the Advocacy Director to develop influence strategies for legislative and advocacy work
  • Collaborate with the advocacy and outreach teams to implement an evergreen, multi-year strategy for achieving advocacy goals leaning on your knowledge of the legislative process to increase the speed and efficacy of student-centered policy
  • Build strong strategic partnerships with advocacy organizations statewide, leveraging the collective advocacy strength. Seek innovative ways to deepen relationships with existing partners while expanding the coalition to represent all students in Tennessee
  • Brief the CEO of critical activity, legislation, and other essential developments in real time



You understand the world of politics and political strategy. You have an exceptional ability to identify and articulate the macro- and micro-level political and legislative dynamics that shape a given situation. You have significant experience working in politics, policy, and advocacy, such as legislative and policy advising, campaigns, or lobbying. You have a deep familiarity and grasp of the education policy landscape. You have a strong understanding of the art and science of building and exercising political power and influence toward specific policy outcomes. You can quickly synthesize qualitative and quantitative data to formulate insights and draw conclusions about the political dynamics of any given context. You can articulate concrete recommendations on how to organize and deploy resources to achieve policy and political goals. You understand the significance of relationships and events independent of prevailing attitudes, or your own biases.

You have credibility as an expert. You demonstrate mastery on a wide range of topics. Your opinion and perspective in areas where you have expertise and experience are respected and sought out. You have a probing mind that seeks to resolve problems based on their priority. You can absorb new information quickly, prioritizing actionable information and disseminating it quickly to the right team members. To stay informed, you continually seek out new knowledge and ideas.

You are a proactive and persistent problem solver. You hold yourself personally responsible for results and are patiently persistent as you follow up and follow through. You are relentless and efficacious in managing your time and prioritizing your tasks. You know, intrinsically, how to spot essential and nonessential tasks. You find ways to clear barriers to meet your goal. You get the job done and are allergic to excuses. You do not wait to be told what to do. You’re adept at laying out a project plan that reflects the organization’s expectations and ensuring that key deadlines are met. You successfully navigate unexpected challenges and changes in real time. You think of the needs of other team members and their projects, always anticipating and problem-solving in advance of deadlines.

You are an excellent communicator. You use clear and concise language without being overly verbose or talkative. Your writing is concrete and actionable. You are comfortable writing legislation, policy briefs and memos from scratch. Others have said that your writing is concrete and actionable. You use evidence and examples to back up your recommendations. You understand the context in which you are communicating, and respond professionally and effectively, tailoring your message depending on the audience. You are skilled in communicating with a wide range of critical stakeholders.

You are innovative and have an entrepreneurial spirit. You understand that the only constant in life is change and you can adjust quickly to changing priorities or a new direction entirely. You are skilled at taking pieces of the original plan and adjusting to the new one, remaining organized even in the face of change. You rise to the challenge of dealing with the unfamiliar, effectively coping and staying calm and composed. You respond to challenges positively and proactively. You are resourceful, have a creative approach to problem-solving, and believe in the continuous improvement of processes. You are excited to come in near the ground level and build something whose impact (if successful) will last well beyond your lifetime.


Education: Bachelor’s degree required. JD, MPA, or another relevant graduate-level degree preferred. Experience: At least five (5) years of legislative advocacy or lobbying experience with established relationships on Capitol Hill and a deep understanding of education policy.

Physical: Ability to stand or sit for prolonged periods.

Job Type: Full Time, Salaried

Travel: 25% (As of March 16, 2020, all work-related travel has been suspended by Tennesseans for Student Success). Available to attend events and meetings outside regular work hours.

Additional Information



How to Apply


To apply, please submit the following via email to

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume.
  2. A writing sample (memo, presentation, or other material) similar to that which may be produced in this job. The sample should reflect your analytical, research, and communication skills.


  • Date Posted: August 28, 2020
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Other
  • Service Area: Education