Director of Communications and Marketing

Buck Institute for Education - Novato, CA - Full time

Buck Institute for Education - Novato, CA - Full time

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Organization Summary

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Northern California, is the industry leader in providing professional development and support services related to Project Based Learning (PBL). BIE creates, collects, and shares high-quality PBL tools and resources with K-12 teachers and leaders across the country. At BIE, we believe that all students—no matter where they live or what their background—should have access to quality PBL instruction to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life. We seek to build a multi-talented staff who are passionate about equity in education. At the end of 2016, BIE launched an ambitious new strategic plan that provides a clear roadmap for ensuring equitable, consistent, and positive student outcomes while also creating the evidence base for further adoption of PBL. 

Position Summary

The Director of Communications and Marketing (DCM) will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for marketing, events, and communications at BIE. In this position, you will be responsible for developing, planning, and executing strategic and responsive communications and marketing initiatives that support consistent growth, grow brand equity, and help BIE grow its reach and influence to help all kids learn through PBL. You must be a creative storyteller as well as an innovative, well-organized strategic thinker with powerful writing chops and strong analytical skills.

Key priorities will include successfully building the BIE and High-Quality PBL brands, introducing new products and services to clients/customers, and ensuring the coordination of marketing communication across BIE. This is a newly created position that reports to the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer.

Key Responsibilities

The Communications & Marketing Director will:

  • Work with the Management team to develop, implement, and monitor all communications and initiatives at BIE to support ongoing organizational growth.
  • Lead branding and brand-building strategies and oversee brand integrity of BIE, High-Quality (HQ) PBL, and PBL Done Well.
  • Plan and implement publicity as a thought leadership strategy, and oversee creation of op-eds, publicity releases and other publicity initiatives.
  • Lead all external communications efforts, working across the BIE organization to insure that all external communication is clear, consistent, and true to the vision of BIE. Create & execute communications guidelines and internal training.
  • Edit and author content for presentations, social media, advertising, newsletters, quarterly and annual reports.
  • Lead special initiatives such as a website rebuild linked to our learning platform.
  • Lead marketing strategy and activities for BIE books and publications.
  • Organize and publicize public events, including PBL World. Oversee event logistics planning for other BIE events.
  • Develop and maintain key external-facing collateral including website, print, digital, and video content.
  • Manage marketing and communications budget; hire and manage freelancers to support marketing and communications work.
  • Work across BIE to continuously improve upon systems and structures that will enable BIE to sustain and grow its impact on behalf of the students whose lives we aim to improve.

Qualifications and Abilities

The successful candidate will be a high-energy and adept marketing strategist with exceptional leadership and communication skills. You will have a creative mindset, strong writing skills, and leadership experience. We are seeking candidates who are deeply passionate about solving racial and economic inequities in our education system, and who believe in deeper learning and PBL. You will have experience leading a team, building highly effective marketing plans, events, and programs, a deep understanding of branding, a passion for content marketing, and demonstrated marketing results.

The successful candidate will bring this experience to the role:

  • A minimum of eight years (preferably more) hands-on experience including all aspects of marketing; publicity, communications, events, website, branding, video and print collateral, and digital marketing.
  • At least 4 years of highly successful experience managing others, providing coaching and leadership that inspires and creates a highly effective team.
  • Experience managing a mix of freelance workers, contactors and direct reports to achieve excellent results on time and on budget.
  • Experience creating successful communications vehicles including websites, newsletters, videos, and other marketing collateral.
  • A track record of creating successful publicity at the national level.
  • Brand growth with at least one other highly respected brand.
  • Bachelor’s degree or more.

The successful candidate will possess these skills:

  • Superlative writing and verbal communications skills, with a storyteller’s approach.
  • Ability to analyze results of marketing efforts and to readjust plans based on data.
  • Proven ability to manage a budget and to make strategic choices about what can be outsourced.
  • Proven ability to create and execute an overall marketing plan and to create strategic priorities for marketing efforts. A relentless focus on using analytic tools to create and evaluate plans.
  • A savvy understanding of digital platforms and tools including: Salesforce, MailChimp, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram). Knowledge of website optimization and SEO (Google Analytics, Alexa)
  • Demonstrated project management skills. Highly organized and capable of managing many workstreams at once and able to move seamlessly between high-level/strategic work and details of implementation.
  • Superlative leadership skills, both in managing others and in working across an organization.
  • Strong analytical skills; basic business intuition, and common sense.

The successful candidate will reflect these attributes:

  • Integrity, a positive attitude, and self-direction.
  • An ability to build relationships with the flexibility and finesse to “manage by influence”. An ability to pursue objectives without an ego, balancing thoughtfulness with high productivity & efficiency, and balancing confidence with humility.
  • A belief that equity and inclusion is critical for our students and for BIE.
  • A team player who can interrelate and operate effectively with peers and other associates within a collegial, yet demanding, work environment.
  • An infectious enthusiasm and sense of excitement for the work we do together.
  • A proven ability to work independently, an entrepreneurial spirit who enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives
  • Strong work ethic and passion for BIE's mission

Reporting & Relationships

The Director of Marketing and Communications reports to the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer and will manage 2-3 others. They will have critical collegial relationships with our Editor-in-Chief (creator of our blogs and other content), with our Director of Partnership Development (who brings in new partners and will need leads and marketing support), our Executive Director (who is our most visible and active spokesperson), and many others across BIE.


The job is located in BIE headquarters in Novato, CA. The position will include some travel to key events and conferences.

Compensation / Benefits

This is a full-time position with full health benefits (including medical, vision and dental), generous retirement contribution, life and disability insurance and a cell phone stipend. BIE offers a competitive salary (commensurate with experience) and a generous benefits package. BIE is a certified Marin County Green Business with a dog-friendly working environment.


If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your resume and a compelling cover letter to You must reference "Director of Communications and Marketing" in the subject line of your email. BIE will contact you if there is a match between the job requirements and your skill set. Please do not contact us directly.

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Experience Level

Senior Level

Buck Institute for Education

At the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), our highest priority is to help teachers prepare students for successful lives. We do this by showing teachers how to use Project Based Learning in all grade levels and subject areas

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