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Head of Strategic Communications

Contact: Lisa McGrath
Emma Willard School


  • Position Title: Head of Strategic Communications
    Department/Employee Category: 12-Month Administration
    Reports To: Head of School 

    Honoring our founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.

    Our goal is to advance a vision of purposeful courage and informed action. Our work is to create a strategic design to invigorate our programs, practices, and spaces. Our success rests on one heroic goal in mind: Developing girls that will grow into the women that can shape and shake the world.

    Position Purpose / Expected Results:
    The Head of Strategic Communications is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the School’s communications and marketing efforts. This is a hands-on and creative role, based on our campus in Troy, NY, responsible for crafting, planning, and executing messaging for Emma Willard School. 

    This individual will play a key role in the strategic communications rollout of the new vision, strategic design, and fundraising campaign. The position oversees publications, advertising, website, visual identity, and branding across all divisions and departments and does so with a team of two additional communications professionals. 

    This position reports to the Head of School and serves on the senior leadership team, and any additional school-wide, strategic committees, as appropriate. 

    This individual works in concert with the Heads of Advancement and Enrollment Management to ensure coordinated, timely, strategic and compelling messaging to support fundraising and enrollment.

    Key Areas of Responsibility:
    Mission and Strategic Vision: Develop a strategic vision for the communications office; managing the School’s market position, vision, and identity

    Leadership Communications: Support the communications needs of the Head of School, the leadership team, and Board of Trustees

    Strategic Communication to all Constituencies: In collaboration with the Head of School, Advancement and Admissions Offices, craft the school’s strategic message. Create messaging targeted to each constituency: admissions (prospective families), advancement (alumnae), Emma Willard community (students, parents, faculty and staff), external audiences (local and global community and the media). Ensure cohesive messaging throughout.

    Integrated Marketing: Lead and prioritize the School’s integrated marketing efforts by developing and implementing digital and print marketing, communications, and social media plans. Oversee market research. Lead the full production of Signature alumnae magazine. Produce print and electronic publications. Buy media and implement effectively. Create an advertising strategy. Analyze and assess the effectiveness of all programs.

    External Media Outreach: Serve as media contact for the School, strengthen relationships with various media outlets, and collaborate with the Emma Willard School community to determine appropriate opportunities for outreach. Working with the Head of School, lead and manage crises communications in partnership with our consultant at Ketchum Inc.

    Budget Management: Develop and monitor the department’s annual budget

    Minimum Requirements / Qualifications / Competencies:

  • Demonstrated experience being a leader, manager and mentor who can inspire colleagues’ best work
  • Demonstrated experience being a thinking partner to the head of an organization
    Strong and effective collaborator
  • Strategic, creative, and imaginative thinker who weaves the role of communications into all aspects of the school
  • Clever problem solver
  • Excellent writer and communicator: interpersonal, print, electronic, web and social media
  • Successful track record in handling sensitive media issues/crisis communications 
  • Passion for and desire to work in an all-girls school boarding community
  • Ten or more years of experience in the field of communications 
  • Experience in independent schools and with fundraising campaigns is preferred
  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; master’s degree preferred


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