Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications
Walnut Hill School for the Arts seeks an innovative and collaborative Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications to develop and implement a best-practice communications and content marketing program for this global leader in arts education, one of only three independent arts high schools in the U.S.
As a key member of the Head of School’s cabinet, the Director serves as an influential strategist and tactician in helping to advance the school’s mission, brand and institutional priorities. Located 17 miles west of Boston, Walnut Hill School for the Arts combines a comprehensive college-preparatory academic curriculum with intensive, pre-professional artistic training in Theater, Dance, Music, Visual Art, and Writing, Film and Media Arts.
The Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications will “advance the story” of the School to both current and prospective families, current and future donors, and potential employees. The Director will play a critical role in furthering the visibility and reputation of Walnut Hill to garner acclaim for the School, increase enrollment demand, and help philanthropy reach record levels. Walnut Hill is a global leader in the arts with students from across the United State and the globe. Positionally, the School can be elevated to the preeminent arts school in the world, while centering itself as an arts entity worthy of support from arts benefactors and major foundations.
At the broadest level, the Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications will be responsible for articulating and promoting the School’s mission, strategic goals, and institutional brand. The Director will create and execute Walnut Hill’s overall marketing and communication plans, investing in deep partnerships with the Development and Enrollment Management teams. Collaboration with other areas of the School will be critical as well, including arts and academic departments, senior leadership, deans, faculty, parent/guardians, and students.
Most immediately, this role will also oversee a set of exciting new and ongoing projects critical to the School’s growth, which include celebrating 50 years as an arts school, launching an ambitious strategic plan, embarking on global initiatives, and energizing the School’s current base while expanding the circle of visibility and support to new audiences.
Strategy and Vision:
- Engage with the Head of School in high-level strategic thinking to transform the School’s overall marketing efforts, as well as for discrete initiatives such as the launch of Walnut Hill’s strategic plan and celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Arts;
- With Head of School and Board committee involvement, develop, test and refine a compelling message set and a case for support to increase: 1) enrollment demand 2) current family satisfaction 3) philanthropy 4) diversity of potential faculty and staff;
- Effectively and gracefully transition the department from a “Creative Team” (mostly visual identity and design work) to a “Strategic Marketing and Communication Team,” adjusting job responsibilities and contract work accordingly, and ensuring priorities align with the School’s strategic direction and mission;
- Develop a truly unique visual identity and written voice for Walnut Hill that leverages and amplifies the School’s singular position as the premier high school for the arts;
- Influence internal communications and guide senior leaders in their respective communication efforts to ensure alignment between internal and external constituents, including how the School is represented to prospective employees;
- Synthesize data in order to make the best decisions and anticipated needed adjustments to the strategic marketing and positioning of the School; and
- Serve as an expert thought partner to the Head of School and the Board of Trustees; identifying key opportunities and threats to the School’s external image and market position.
Communications and Media Relations:
- Develop and oversee the execution of a comprehensive data-driven communication plan for for the School that differentiates and prioritizes projects by constituency and is strategic, compelling, and efficient;
- In partnership with the Digital Content Manager, develop a digital strategy for the School, including employee guidance and policies for social media posting;
- Curate the School’s brand (visual and messaging) to provide a consistent and unique voice for Walnut Hill;
- Oversee the School’s public relations and manage press interactions to ensure consistent and positive representation of the School’s public image;
- Serve as the lead for crisis communication, develop a crisis communication plan, and identify external firms to assist the School during a crisis;
- Manage high-level School communications and consult on other pieces of writing by faculty and staff;
- Oversee and manage action plans and editorial calendars related to social media, publications, and other marketing and communication materials;
- Manage relationships and output of external graphic designers, freelance writers, videographers, photographers, and other vendors;
- Develop a comprehensive media placement list (print, web, television, radio) and expend effort with external media sources in order for Walnut Hill to be more visible;
- Establish processes and procedures to support School-wide collaboration and unified, one-school messaging and storytelling; and
- Understand the lifecycle of each Walnut Hill constituent to curate a relevant, meaningful, and mission-inspiring set of touchpoints and experiences.
Management and Community Life:
- Supervise, coach, and provide vision to the department to build a strong, collaborative team that serves the high-level goals of the School; meet regularly with staff, providing constructive feedback and support, and identify opportunities for professional growth;
- Manage the budget for the Creative Department, prioritizing all resources for a strategic ROI;
- In collaboration with the Head of School, manage periodic community surveys to keep a pulse on satisfaction, culture, and market position, and inform data-driven, audience-centric decision making;
- Establish a rubric of metrics that determine the effectiveness of the School’s marketing and communication efforts;
- Be visible in the School community, observing classes, attending assemblies, and performances; participate in parent events getting to know the needs of prospective, current, and past parents; and
- Actively participate in the student community by supporting the Student Life program which may include serving as a faculty or club advisor, chaperoning School events, or other opportunities for community involvement that arise throughout the school year; this work informs understanding and builds audience awareness.
- BA/BS and advanced degree in related field preferred;
- 5+ years’ progressive experience in marketing and communications;
- Expert level skills in marketing strategy, message development, and branding;
- Established track record of elevating the success of an organization through strategic marketing and communications;
- Ability and track record of assessing and synthesizing competitive strengths, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the School’s competitor set, and develop action plans accordingly;
- Sophisticated understanding of converting customers through the sales funnel (admission), retaining customers (re-enrollment) and donor journey (fundraising/philanthropy);
- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills and a proven ability to present and work closely with a wide range of internal and external constituents;
- Proficient at data collection and analysis;
- Hands-on experience in the creative process: marketing and graphic design;
- Solid understanding of technologies like FinalSite, Google Analytics, InDesign, and Email marketing software;
- Strong interpersonal skills and charisma to serve as one of the “chief evangelists” for Walnut Hill;
- Impeccable organizational and project management skills with the ability to successfully manage near and long-term projects with precision and aplomb;
- Innovative mindset that seeks best practices and stays abreast of trends and advancements in marketing and communications, both in the educational space and other industries;
- Commitment to, and strong understanding of, cultural competency and DEI principles; ability to work successfully with constituents from a wide variety of identity sets and expectations of Walnut Hill;
- Experience with an arts or education organization is preferred;
- Fluency in a language other than English is a plus; and
- COVID-19 vaccination or valid exemption required.
Submit resume, cover letter, and a list of 5 references including current supervisor, along with a writing sample through the Walnut Hill School for the Arts online Career Center. Semifinalists will be asked to submit a brief portfolio of their work (video, print materials, etc.) that demonstrates strong marketing acumen.
Note: All offers of employment are contingent upon the successful completion of state and federal background checks. Walnut Hill does not provide visa sponsorship.