Community Organizer - Silicon Valley, CA

San Jose, CA
Annual salary range begins at $63,000 and is dependent on the candidate’s experience.
Feb 28, 2018
Mar 30, 2018
Focus Areas
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
High School
Experience Level

Are you passionate about building a movement to make sure every student in the Bay Area has a world-class public school? Join us as a community organizer to find, train and coach parents leaders so they can advocate effectively for more high-quality public schools in the Bay Area. Reports to Director of Organizing, Silicon Valley.

About Innovate Public Schools

Innovate Public Schools is a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring that all Bay Area students, including low-income students and students of color, receive an excellent education. We’re building a movement of families, educators, and business and elected leaders who together will make this vision a reality. We build the capacity of parents and educators to innovate and act together to create world-class public schools, and we publish easy-to-understand school quality data and research that highlights both problems and solutions.

Innovate Public Schools supports parents across the region to build powerful community organizations in their local communities that can successfully push for better schools and hold the system accountable to the needs of families and children. Innovate leads a network of grassroots community organizations led by passionate parent leaders from across the Bay Area in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties.

About the Position

As an Innovate community organizer, you will work alongside of the most veteran community organizing staff in the country, including professional organizers who have built successful low-income, volunteer-driven education reform efforts throughout California. This is a full-time / exempt position.

Key Responsibilities

  • Identify, train and develop community leaders in the principles and practices of community organizing in order to build powerful parent-driven organizations affiliated with Innovate Public Schools
  • Develop and manage relationships with a broad base of constituents from targeted neighborhoods (including faith-based institutions, public officials, local government agencies, social service agencies, teachers and school leaders), and build their support for the reform efforts of Innovate’s affiliated parent organizations.
  • Conduct at least 15 one-to-one visits with parents and community members every week
  • Over time, build and manage multiple parent organizations that drive local school reform work and bring new community leadership to communities in San Francisco or Santa Clara / San Mateo Counties
  • Plan and coordinate large public forums and meetings, led by parent leaders
  • Participate in local, regional and national staff development sessions with organization partners
  • Participate in fundraising and administrative activities as required

Your Resources

  • Extensive formal training in community organizing through participation in Innovate’s national, year-long Community Organizer Training Program (COTP)
  • Membership in a national cohort community of organizers through the COTP, with the opportunity to learn from and share with others in your fiel
  • Weekly coaching and development from veteran organizing team members and national experts in the field
  • Learning about latest changes in education policies and cutting edge practices in designing new, world-class schools through collaboration with experts on Innovate’s other teams

Sample "Week-in-the-Life" of a Community Organizer

  • Meet 1-1 with one of your parent leaders to strategize about the next steps in your campaign to expand educational options in the district
  • Prepare and then support your team of 15 parent leaders as they hold their first meeting with the local superintendent about the district's plans to improve outcomes for low-income students
  • Meet with Innovate's Research and Policy Team to plan a powerful presentation on achievement gap data for a local congregation
  • Role-play your upcoming training on power and leadership for the organizing team and receive feedback from your colleagues
  • Train a parent to chair a meeting with her local school board president, and coach her to think through the appropriate tone and level of challenge the group should bring to the board member about their issue
  • Make calls to invite parents to attend an upcoming meeting and schedule 1-1 visits with them for the next week
  • Meet with your supervisor to evaluate your previous parent leader team meeting
  • Schedule a 1-1 with a local nonprofit leader to learn more about their work with families and the changing political environment in local cities
  • Read and reflect on a classic organizing text, like Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

Qualifications (Required)

  • Baccalaureate degree or equivalent work experience
  • Work experience in low-income communities
  • Demonstrated ability to build strong relationships with diverse stakeholders and communities
  • Ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively, including speaking in small and large group settings
  • Strong strategic thinking skills and an ability to analyze policies and institutions
  • Experience with and sensitivity to multicultural work environments
  • Willingness to work as member of and contribute to a team in a dynamic, learning environment
  • Passion for creating more high-quality school options for working families
  • Eagerness to learn and apply Innovate’s approach to community organizing
  • A valid driver's license and reliable, insured vehicle (needed to fulfill job requirements)
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the United States
  • Ability to work frequent evening meetings (average 3-4 per week) and some weekends

Qualifications (Preferred)

  • Proficiency in Spanish (strongly preferred)
  • Two to five years of professional community organizing or community development experience
  • Understanding of the education reform landscape
  • Academic or experiential knowledge related to building social capital and political power in low-income and multilingual communities
  • Skills as a trainer with specialized knowledge in grassroots leadership development, political context, public policy development, and/or public education
  • Experience developing and supporting public policy solutions to local or regional problems
  • Experience working with African American and/or Latino communities

Work Environment / Physical Demands

The work environment characteristics and the physical demands described here are representative of those an employee encounters while successfully performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


Please submit a cover letter explaining your interest in the position and what you would bring to Innovate Public Schools, as well as a copy of your most recent resume.

Application deadline: open until filled.

Innovate Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer, and takes pride in maintaining a diverse environment. We do not discriminate in recruitment, hiring, training, promotion or any other employment practices for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.

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