Strategy and Partnerships Director

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Jobs at SOWA

Job Description

Strategy and Partnerships Director

For three decades, School’s Out Washington (SOWA) has served a critical role to advance equitable expanded learning ecosystems in Washington state. We work to ensure high-quality afterschool and summer programs are available so all of Washington’s youth—and especially low-income youth and youth of color—can have the opportunities they deserve to thrive. SOWA is dedicated to building responsive community systems to support quality afterschool, youth development and summer programs for Washington’s children and youth ages 5 through young adulthood.

Position Summary
The Strategy and Partnerships Director is a new senior leadership position responsible shaping SOWA’s efforts to advance equity for youth of color and youth in poverty by developing and strengthening the expanded learning ecosystem in Washington state, in alignment with a strong theory of change and organizational strategic plan. This position will oversee strategic partnerships with state agency partners, including DCYF, OSPI, and Department of Commerce, lead our expanded learning system-building strategy, including mobilizing cross-sector system and policy leaders in collective learning, coordination, and action, collaborate closely with our Policy and Advocacy Director to strengthen our statewide advocacy coalition and leadership, and oversee our small but growing research and data efforts. The Strategy and Partnerships Director will serve on the Leadership Team.

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer
Location:  Remote from anywhere in Washington state, or from our King County office


Strategic Initiatives

  • In partnership with the CEO, lead the process to establish, implement, and evaluate SOWA’s strategy to strengthen expanded learning systems and ecosystems across Washington state
  • Lead the development of our theory of change and strategic plan (supported by planning consultants)
  • Ensure ongoing engagement, collaboration, and evaluation of our strategies with SOWA staff and stakeholder communities, including youth programs located across the state, and BIPOC-led youth programs and providers, school and community partners, policy makers, and when possible, youth and families.
  • Lead the design of the Systems Track at the annual Bridge Conference, in partnership with community partners, which focused on engaging system leaders and youth program providers in joint learning around the development of an equitable expanded learning ecosystem in Washington state.
  • In partnership with Philanthropy NW and SOWA’s CEO, lead and support the Expanded Learning and Youth Development Funder’s Table, which focused on strengthening the knowledge, engagement, and coordination of private philanthropy in advancing an equitable expanded learning ecosystem.
  • In partnership with the CEO and leadership team members, identify and cultivate opportunities to deepen our strategic impact through new partnerships or strategies in the areas of expanded learning provider professional learning and Youth Program Quality, Advocacy, and Grant Making.
  • Working closely with the Director of Policy and Advocacy to mobilize support for SOWA and the Youth Development Strategy Table’s advocacy priorities, including the establishment of a state agency home and grant program for youth development.

Partnership Development

  • Build and grow relationships with existing statewide partners, especially with leadership at the following state agencies: DCYF, OSPI, and Commerce Dept., as well as with strategic collaborators such as Child Care Aware and Cultivate Learning
  • Build and grow relationships with national partners including the Forum for Youth Investment, the Mott Afterschool Network, and Every Hour Counts
  • Collaborate with the Program Quality Division to strengthen local strategic partnerships and collaborations in Pierce and Spokane Counties
  • Serve as a member of related boards, task forces and professional organizations related to the expanded learning and education fields
  • Represent SOWA at local, state, and national meetings, conferences and other community events
  • Build and maintain relationships with funders and system partners and seek to establish relationships with potential new partners

K-12 and Expanded Learning Partnerships

  • In collaboration with OSPI and the School Community Partnerships Manager, work to promote school community partnerships as a key strategy for more equitable access to expanded learning opportunities and more equitable youth outcomes
  • Oversee a special initiative with the State Board of Education and OSPI to strengthen culturally-responsive school-community partnerships at schools across Washington state, including providing content expertise and consulting to school leadership and overseeing a cohort of consultants to provide culturally-specific consulting to schools based on school-community demographics and goals
  • Oversee an internal community of practice among grantmaking and professional learning staff to strengthen our staff’s tools and expertise to support effective school-community partnerships as it intersects their bodies of work
  • Work closely with the team at the State Board of Education/OSPI and the project’s PD partners to plan, evaluate, and revise strategies throughout the project as needed

Research and Evaluation

  • Oversee SOWA’s Elevate Washington team and data project, working with the Elevate Director and the CEO to identify long term funding partners and maximize the strategic impact of this unique platform and data system
  • Bring content expertise and guidance to SOWA’s data and evaluation team, an internal team of data/evaluation managers working to support evaluation and continuous improvement across SOWA’s programs
  • Keep abreast of emerging trends and research in expanded learning system-building, including resourcing the field, advancing equity within and through expanded learning opportunities, and Youth Program Quality initiatives across the country. Strategize ways to implement new trends within the context of current and future work.

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Participate in the development of the SOWA annual budget
  • Develop and oversee project budgets and grant reporting for system building, Elevate Washington, and special initiatives
  • Lead contract negotiations and ensure staffing, programming, and services are aligned to meeting contract deliverables and program goals
  • Participate on the SOWA Leadership Team to provide organizational leadership on strategic planning, evaluation, and organizational development

Personnel Management

  • Provide direct supervision and support to the School-Community Partnerships Manager and the Elevate Washington team (director and coordinator); Over time may grow to supervise an Evaluation Manager and Advocacy Manager
  • Perform recruiting, hiring, and onboarding for direct reports
  • Coach and mentor direct reports to strengthen their leadership skills and provide culturally responsive conflict resolution and problem-solving strategies

Other Responsibilities

  • Support overall office functionality and organization
  • Participate in staff and team meetings
  • Serve as an ambassador for the organization, both formally and informally
  • Perform other duties as assigned


  • At least 5 years’ leadership or management experience with responsibility for strategic planning, partnerships, evaluation, and staff supervision in the education or youth development sector
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required, Master’s preferred, in social service, public administration, education, child and youth development, recreation, or related field
  • Deep knowledge of equity and social justice principles and practices and experience working toward racial equity within organizations
  • Direct knowledge and/or lived experience and connections to BIPOC communities
  • Demonstrated relationships with local, state, and national stakeholders and partners
  • Experience and expertise around working within and partnering with K-12 systems and/or schools
  • Strong leadership skills in convening and communication with high level stakeholders of diverse backgrounds and opinions
  • Experience with various forms of public policy efforts and a clear understanding of education reform from a variety of perspectives
  • Understanding of the legislative process and relationships of state agencies
  • Understand the use of technology to support communication in different geographic locations
  • Ability to synthesize, interpret, and communicate research and data to general audiences (or non-technical audiences)
  • Ability to translate information across sectors and diverse backgrounds
  • Strategic thinker, with experience proposing and designing new programs or strategies
  • Excellent oral and written communication and public speaking skills
  • Knowledge of the Washington State Quality Standards for Afterschool & Youth Development Programs and the Washington State Core Competencies for Child and Youth Development Professionals preferred
  • Requires flexibility in time requirements/constraints; may require some early morning, evening, weekend meetings, including some statewide and national travel and limited overnight stays


40 hours per week, Monday-Friday. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Classification: Exempt

Eligible for Full Benefits

Starting salary range: $85,000 to $105,000 DOE

Benefit package includes medical, dental, vision, long-term disability, 403b retirement savings plan, and generous paid time off

In accordance with COVID-19 safety practices, School’s Out Washington has a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, and all new hires need to be fully vaccinated prior to their first day of employment or have an approved reasonable accommodation (based on a documented disability or sincerely held religious belief) exempting them from the requirement. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series vaccine or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine.

School’s Out Washington is an Equal Opportunity Employer. School’s Out Washington has a commitment to addressing racism, sexism, heterosexism and other discriminatory practices and a commitment to working toward racial equity through undoing institutional and structural racism. Women, People of Color, and LGBTQ individuals are encouraged to apply. 


Interested candidates should send their resumes and cover letters as one document to with the subject line “Strategy and Partnerships Director.” Applications without cover letters will not be considered.

Cover letters should be no more than 2 pages and should outline how your professional background, experience, interests, and passions specifically correlate to the position and YDEKC’s mission and work.

Applications received by 5:00 PM (PST) September 21, 2022, will receive full consideration. Applications will continue to be accepted after this date. However, preferential consideration is given to those submitted by September 21. The announcement will remain posted until the position is filled.