Today, 60% of all California children birth to age five are dual language learners / from households where a language other than English is spoken / born into family and community surroundings rich with multilingual and multicultural assets. That number will continue to grow, so it is imperative to engage even more seriously/intentionally in making our public education system better prepared and capable to teach such a diversity of students and help them reach their fullest potential.
Despite legal precedents that English Learners are particular students with civil rights to receive an equal and effective education, for too long, public schools have not fully understood and not been equipped to address their educational needs. As a result, they can experience stigma and other barriers to forming healthy identities and a sense of belonging in schools, they often struggle academically and do not become proficient in English, and they have higher rates of diversion into special education programs and alternative schools, and overall lower rates of graduation and matriculation to college. Furthermore, they often lose their home language skills, creating barriers to maintaining family, community and cultural connections.
But with the right investments, focus, and support, we can center the needs and strengths of these students, and make our educational system into a space for their joy, growth and success. Research shows that when we view English Learners’ home languages as assets, and design learning to meet their needs, they succeed academically. And in today’s global economy, a next generation, multilingual workforce and civic body is a tremendous benefit to California. If we want to ensure that California realizes its true potential as a socially just and prosperous state, we must make these learners an essential, urgent priority.
In 2007, focused on improving outcomes for English Learners in San Jose and Redwood City, the Sobrato family began a philanthropic initiative with Dr. Laurie Olsen to design and pilot a new, comprehensive approach to learning in preschool and early elementary grades. The result of this pilot was the creation of the SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) model and it was subsequently implemented as a program across 100+ public school sites in the Bay Area, central California, and the greater Los Angeles region between 2008 and 2019.
Two separate and independent external evaluations of the model found promising evidence of SEAL’s effectiveness in increasing research-based instructional practices and contributing to stronger student engagement and positive outcomes for SEAL English Learners on measures of English proficiency and academic achievement. In 2019, fueled by these promising data, SEAL became an independent organization, operationally separate from the Sobrato family’s philanthropic enterprise, with the aim of scaling our impact and engaging new partners in projects and activities that connect educators, families, researchers, advocates, and policy leaders to elevate this important student group and to promote multilingualism for all students in California.
SEAL addresses English Learner needs at all levels - from practice, to research, to policy and advocacy - creating long-term systemic change through:
Practice: We partner with public schools over multiple years to train teachers in research-based pedagogy, spark cross-school collaboration, and build internal coaching and leadership capacity to support English Learners.
Research: We conduct research in classrooms, pilot new approaches, and publish insights to advance the field’s understanding of what works for English Learners.
Policy and Advocacy: We engage district leaders, educators and other education stakeholders, using our research, practice, and analysis to connect them to opportunities to advance policies that centralize the needs of English Learners.
With over a decade of experience implementing our evidence-based and research-tested model, we foster systems change by partnering with educators across the state and by helping transform classrooms into language-rich, rigorous, and joyful learning environments.
The Core Model
SEAL’s powerful approach to education is rooted at the intersection of research and educational equity. Our bedrock values are: commitment to developing the intellectual and linguistic genius of young children; honoring the value and role of families’ cultures and languages in students’ lives, and helping teachers cultivate the skills and mindset they need to become powerfully effective educators. Our high-leverage, developmentally appropriate pedagogical practices are aligned across the preschool through elementary grades, and address the language demands of increasingly rigorous, grade level standards in multiple disciplines including English, social studies, sciences, and the arts.
To learn more about SEAL, please visit SEAL.org.
In the context of a new strategic plan and program expansion, SEAL is adding the position of Head of Development & Communications (Head) to our leadership team. The Head will be responsible for growing SEAL's external presence, among funders whether private or public as well as across other key stakeholder groups including educators, school system leaders, and policymakers.
The role will lead SEAL’s fundraising and communications efforts. This includes overseeing planning and implementation of a long-range fundraising plan and ensuring the quality, relevance and consistency of SEAL’s branding and messaging to a variety of stakeholder audiences. The role will also provide high level support to the board and CEO by serving as a thought partner on strategy, communications, and effective relationship building with leaders in the policy and advocacy space. This individual reports directly to SEAL’s CEO.
This is an ideal opportunity for someone with a clear understanding of California’s P-12 education and English Learner policy landscape who is committed to social justice and eliminating structural inequities to make a positive and measurable difference in the lives of millions of our state’s students. This role provides a rare chance to magnify the incredible assets of California’s culturally and linguistically diverse children and communities across the state and to leverage strategic partnerships towards improving education policy and practice so it better meets the needs of all Dual Language/English Learners and their families.
The three primary areas of responsibility are:
FUNDRAISING & DEVELOPMENT: While SEAL has a strong earned revenue model, it also relies on private philanthropy and public grants in order to offset costs related to its work to impact school systems and the broader field. The role will lead the effort to secure $8-10M in funding annually by maintaining strong relationships with SEAL's anchor funder (Sobrato Philanthropies) and building strong relationships with additional state-wide and national funders. The organization’s strategic plan indicates a desire to grow the overall budget, and therefore fundraising, beyond the $8-10M level in future years.
- Work with the CEO and the board to build a sustainable funding base; set fundraising goals, strategies and targets for all donor and funding segments including individuals, foundations, government and corporations.
- Communicate goals, strategies, and progress to the board.
- Drive donor cultivation, stewardship and direct solicitations; seek to build fundraising activities in sophistication and scope; create initiatives to develop diverse sourcing of revenue; identify special donor cultivation opportunities.
- Direct team members to successfully pursue public grant funding.
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING: SEAL has ambitious plans to influence the field by sharing research, stories, insights, tools, and resources with a range of stakeholders -- including educators, school system leaders, and policymakers in California and increasingly nationally. The role will direct the effort to define and execute SEAL's annual communications goals and strategies (aligned to the overall organizational strategy) through SEAL's website, broader online presence, thought partnership across respected conferences and journals, and other avenues for compelling communications.
- Lead the development of SEAL’s overall communications strategy, including but not limited to narrative analysis in the field, planning and executing targeted social media campaigns focused on communicating effectively in key education issues with influencers, the media, and elected officials.
- Influence the educational landscape by developing, curating, and disseminating SEAL’s expertise and perspectives through spreading stories, resources, & insights that change hearts, minds, knowledge, and practice across the ecosystem.
- Direct the team in the development and delivery of persuasive messaging for all external communications, including design, marketing, promotion, and delivery of high-quality campaigns.
- Oversee and develop content for many of SEAL’s publications (including stories, insights, and policy briefs) and oversee the publication and dissemination strategy for all SEAL publications to inspire and inform a broader range of national audiences.
- Publish resources & host events to bring our strategies to more stakeholders.
- Lead the branding and positioning of SEAL to effectively communicate its mission and establish a distinctive profile as an independent entity.
- Ensure that the SEAL name is used and branded for all practice activities.
- Market SEAL’s services and offerings.
EXTERNAL RELATIONS & ADVOCACY: SEAL fosters systems change in two ways: by continuing to transform more classrooms, schools, and districts and by advocating for state-level changes that focus on English Learners’ needs. To advance SEAL’s vision, this role will lead the development of strategic communication and advocacy activities that leverage practice and research work to achieve key policy goals.
- Represent the organization at the state and local level, with funders, with partner organizations, with the media, and at other opportunities to convene, collaborate, and influence.
- Ensure that the SEAL brand, strategic objectives and advocacy priorities are presented in a strong positive image to donors, partner organizations, policy makers, media, parent and student advocates, civil rights organizations, and other relevant stakeholders.
- Coordinate with the CEO, board, and leadership team on interactions with partners and the media, acting as a secondary liaison to legislators for advocacy and lobbying as appropriate.
- Continually build and maintain keen awareness of the policy landscape, policy players, and how to build and leverage relationships to both grow the profile of SEAL and secure funding for the organization.
PRIORITIES A successful first year in this role for the new Head of Development & Communications will include:
- Embedding SEAL’s new strategic direction into a refreshed portfolio of marketing materials and collateral to promote SEAL’s capabilities, accomplishments and benefits to students from philanthropic investment in SEAL.
- Developing direct relationships with senior leadership of key California education advocacy and civil rights organizations, businesses, community-based organizations and the media to promote SEAL priorities.
- Collaborating with the CEO and the Board to enhance fundraising and individual donor strategy and outcomes with a target of $9M raised.
- Working with the CEO and leadership team to develop an annual planning agenda with key reform and social impact partners to promote SEAL’s and partners’ shared policy and political priorities.
- Hiring at least one additional full-time employee to strategically support the deliverables of the role and build capacity for development and communications.
QUALIFICATIONS In order to fulfill these responsibilities, the ideal Head of Development & Communications candidate will be:
- An accomplished leader with seven (7) or more years of demonstrated success in nonprofit/social service management and experience in community organizing, policy advocacy and/or in the P-12 education sector.
- Deeply committed to SEAL’s mission of improving DLL/EL student outcomes and opportunities, and eliminating the inequities and reimagining/redesigning school systems in California so all DLL/ELs can learn, thrive, and lead.
- Experienced in raising funds for their organization (at a similar level to SEAL’s budget needs) including a track record of building successful partnerships and/or major fundraising.
- A builder of authentic relationships with community partners, policymakers, funders and other supporters, able to engage with a variety of individuals and can consistently articulate the organization’s goals and priorities in a clear and compelling manner.
- Skilled in strategic planning, project management, and organization; able to focus on and communicate organizational priorities while not losing sight of the details and can align vision with defined values.
- Steadfast and resilient in the face of personal, professional, and political opposition.
- Skilled in supporting, collaborating with, and engaging governing boards.
- Knowledgeable about P-12 education policy and diverse communities’ struggle for equity of opportunity and access.
- A culturally competent and a self-reflective leader who understands the effects of race, class, ethnicity, language, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and other issues of difference in society and is able to lead direct, honest conversations about them with stakeholders at all levels.
- Effective and inspiring in their management style; willing to devote time to coach and develop team members while holding them accountable to measurable results.
- Education credentials that support preparedness for this role and bilingual skills are desired.
- Hold a valid driver’s license and/or regular access to a vehicle; willingness to travel regionally.
- A resident of California or willing to relocate.
- Proficient with Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Adobe, Google Suite, Zoom, etc.
A successful Head of Development & Communications will be able to demonstrate, model, and coach the team on SEAL’s core competencies, including:
- Strategic and critical thinking
- Effective communication
- Presenting and facilitating
- Effective planning and follow-through
- Adaptability and growth mindset
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Connection to mission and values
- Demonstrates a commitment to equity
- Expertise in area of focus
- Emotional intelligence
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS The salary range for this position is $175,000-200,000 and the anticipated start date is July 5, 2022 or before.
Our highly competitive benefits package includes: 100% coverage for employee medical, dental, vision, life and AD&D, long and short-term disability benefits. 50% coverage for dependent(s) for medical, dental and vision benefits. Up to 6% 401k matching. Medical/Dependent Care FSA.
TO APPLY Please submit a resume online at https://apply.workable.com/j/22463EB7D2. For additional questions about this position or to speak with someone about your interest, please contact Brett Kunsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At SEAL, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organization in which we give voice to, and meet the needs of, the communities, teachers, and students we serve. We believe in lifelong learning and continuous improvement, and we are ever-evolving the processes through which we select and support team members and foster a culture of universal belonging and empowerment. SEAL encourages applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds and lived experiences, especially those from immigrant and English Learner communities, people of color and members of other historically marginalized groups. SEAL is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment.