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Vice President, Policy and Government Relations

Washington DC

The Vice President, Policy Government Relations Research is responsible for establishing a rigorous and probing agenda that helps to define and inform the execution of AACTE’s state and federal policy interests, creates capacity for AACTE and its interests among and with key stakeholders, and oversees the policy and government relations team. The vice president plays a key role on the senior leadership team by providing guidance, analysis, direction, innovation, oversight and hands-on implementation of all aspects of AACTE’s policy and government relations agendas in support of AACTE’s strategic plan at state, regional, and national levels. S/he leads efforts to engage the board of directors, other key volunteers, and membership in advocacy at the federal and state level. The vice president serves as a primary contact for Congress, federal agencies, members and other interested parties in relation to policy issues and activities associated with federal and state advocacy efforts.



  • Establish parameters for nonpartisan issue advocacy consistent with AACTE’s brand, including clear standards for developing data-driven policy recommendations.
  • Lead public policy working groups that articulate clear, concise, and data-driven positions on established high-priority issues within teacher education specifically and higher education more broadly.
  • Oversee the development and publication of fact sheets, reports, and recommendations that compellingly articulate the association’s policy recommendations to elected officials, key partners in the higher education and PK-12 sectors, potential and actual supporters, and members.
  • Work closely with the Member Services and Events, and Programs and Professional Learning teams, to unite cross-organizational resources into a comprehensive public policy strategy, including public campaigns, government relations, and partnership-based programs.

Government Relations:

  • Establish measurable goals and objectives that enable AACTE’s government relations program to advance overall organizational strategy.
  • Identify and formalize Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators that continually measure and assess the advocacy plan’s execution and responsiveness to evolving demands.
  • Oversee political action programming at both the national and state levels, ensuring that candidates, ballot initiatives, bills, and regulations are continually identified, evaluated, and monitored.
  • Envision, develop, and implement a state-based advocacy team to broaden the influence and reach of AACTE.
  • Develop sophisticated and creative approaches to nonpartisan coalition building, anticipating and seizing opportunities to forge new alliances and create new political alignments.
  • Craft sophisticated and tailored plans to cultivate and steward high-level decision-makers, gatekeepers, and influencers of all political and ideological backgrounds.
  • Forge and maintain strong working relationships with key stakeholders in the public policy sphere, including elected officials, government staff, political consultants, and government relations professionals.
  • Serve as one of AACTE’s chief advocates before executive branch agencies, senators, and congressional representatives.
  • Work with the Members Services and Events team to prepare the President/CEO, Board members, and other senior leaders to represent AACTE in Congressional testimony, public forums, and private meetings with officials as necessary.
  • Serve as a lead ambassador to allied organizations and identify and pursue opportunities for partnerships that advance AACTE’s commitment to revolutionize education for all learners.

Leadership & Management:

  • Evaluate and build a staff structure that aligns investments with policy and government relations goals and objectives.
  • Assess individual and team strengths, identify skills gaps, and refine staffing plans to build AACTE’s internal capacity.
  • Lead recruitment, hiring, and retention processes that attract a diverse pool of top public policy, government relations, and advocacy talent.
  • Foster a culture of inclusive innovation in which multiple perspectives are considered indispensable to strategic decision-making.
  • Model a high standard of collegiality within the Policy and Government Relations team and in its collaborations with all other departments within AACTE.

Budget & Fiscal Management:

  • Work with the President/CEO, Board of Directors, and other senior staff to oversee the development and implementation of organization-wide budgets, ensuring adequate revenue streams are available for new and evolving budget priorities.
  • Generate and monitor a public policy and government relations budget that aligns financial resources with critical goals and objectives.
  • Set a high standard for the efficient and responsible use of resources consistent with respect for AACTE’s mission.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the President/CEO.


  • Directly supervise a team of 2-3 staff members
  • Directly supervise a team of contractors/consultants that are subject matter experts 



  • Master’s degree in political science, public administration, management or a related field required;
  • JD or doctoral degree a plus


  • A minimum of 10 years of executive leadership experience in public policy, government affairs, or other political work.
  • Knowledge of higher education, PK-12 education, and educational policy essential.
  • Association experience in an executive management role a plus
  • Systematic, goal-oriented, and data-driven approach to the development of policy.
  • Ability to engage in imaginative, nonpartisan coalition building.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and mentor an innovative cross-functional team.
  • Exceptional written communication and presentation skills.
  • Recognized and well-connected at the federal level.
  • Record of fiscally-sound decision making in response to evolving organizational needs.
  • Ability to recognize/analyze problems and formulate creative solutions.
  • Strong adherence to deadlines and is detail-oriented.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities.

Posted September 10, 2019

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