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Director of State Relations, Midwest and Mountain Regions

Cognia, Inc.
Tempe, AZ
  • Posted: over a month ago
  • Full-Time
Job Description

Please Note: Positions will be targeting the Midwest and Mountain Regions

Education is ever-evolving. And so are we.

We seek passionate people from diverse backgrounds who are committed to helping improve the work of schools as a trusted partner in advancing learning. By joining the Cognia team, you will be immersed in a community of energetic and resourceful people dedicated to a common vision to impact and inspire education providers to advance and enable pathways of success for all learners. At Cognia we have developed a holistic approach to education that empowers schools to create real outcomes and optimize learning for students of all backgrounds, servicing more than 36,000 institutions, 5 million teachers, and 25 million students in 85 countries. When you join Cognia, you join a team of experts passionate about our mission and embracing our core values in everything we do.


The Director of State Relations will be the primary liaison for key state-level stakeholders/policy actors (governmental and non-governmental) in a multi-state region. The Director of State Relations will proactively work to build and cultivate relationships with those in authority and/or indirect influence over education policy, functions/programs, and resource allocations. The Director will work in collaboration across multiple internal teams to ensure the success of the organization. It shall be the primary responsibility of the Director of State Relations that Cognia be regarded by key state actors, nationwide, as a proven solution to critical education policy concerns of evaluation, quality assurance, accreditation, and school improvement.

This critical audience of external partners includes:

  1. Stakeholders with chief responsibility, authority and/or concern for state education outcomes including Governors and Chief State School Officers (and their respective policy advisors), education committee chairs of the respective legislative bodies, state boards of education and workforce leaders (related Associations/Groups: NGA, CCSSO, ECS, NCSL, Council of State Chambers, etc.)
  2. Actors critical for ultimate adoption or expansion within a jurisdiction including respective heads of any legislative chamber (e.g., Senate President or President Pro Tempore, Speaker of the House, Council Chair, etc.), chairs of any/all committees empowered to allocate public resources (i.e., Appropriations, Ways/Means, Budget, Finance, etc.), and local delegation members directly impacted by program implementation (related Association/Groups: NCSL & ECS, etc.); and
  3. Elected/appointed officials serving on boards/commissions with relevant national groups and/or any other state-level education policy leaders. (Related Association/Groups: NALEO, NBCSL, US Conference of Mayors, Council of State Governments, etc.)


  • Provides vital input in short-term and long-term strategic and operational planning and positioning within the organization.
  • Helps identify and address organizational development issues that challenge and support mission effectiveness.
  • Recommends short- and long-range state relations plans and programs that support the organization's values and general objectives.
  • Designs strategies and actions focused on attracting, retaining, and increasing the organization’s services throughout the states and nationally.
  • Helps identify, cultivate, and develop relationships with the organization's leaders and representatives.
  • Actively represents Cognia at meetings and conferences hosted by external stakeholders.
  • Educates policymakers and key staff on benefits of Cognia programs and services.
  • Advise SVP of Policy and Advocacy on state issues and trends impacting education.
  • Manages consultants and other external resources in support of policy and advocacy objectives.
  • Monitors legislation and policy activities, updates and advises Cognia leadership and staff about relevant policy proposals and actions, and works to analyze potential impacts.
  • Performs duties and fulfills responsibilities that may, from time to time, include related or unrelated tasks.


Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public administration, public policy, political science, business administration, government, education (or related field) required; Master’s or other advanced degree preferred
  • Six (6) years of related experience in public policy, governmental affairs, or advocacy/constituent relations (with strong preference to experience in education advocacy, policy and/or administration) required
  • Travel on a regular basis to other program areas or meetings with contracting agency representatives required
  • Competency in all Microsoft Office applications required, and significant skills with mobile technologies preferred


  • Strong leadership: Capable of working independently to achieve the organizations objectives and goals of Cognia
  • Diversity Oriented: Ability to work effectively with people regardless of their age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or job type
  • Interpersonal: Ability to get along well with a variety of personalities and individuals
  • Organized: Possessing the trait of being organized or following a systematic method of performing a task
  • Relationship Building: Ability to effectively develop new and strengthen existing relationships with external audiences as well as colleagues and co-workers
  • Reliability: The trait of being dependable and trustworthy
  • Responsible: Ability to be held accountable or answerable for one's conduct
  • Ability to represent Cognia in a professional, courteous manner
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to use diplomacy, discretion, and good judgment when disseminating information

Anticipated Travel (will include local, state, and national)

  • Extensive travel (>40%)
  • Travel to Annual All Staff Company Meeting required

At Cognia, we recognize the critical role played by our teams in carrying out the organization’s important educational mission. As a reflection of that recognition our exceptional benefits offerings include generous paid time off and holiday breaks, comprehensive insurance plans, and a 12.5% retirement savings contribution which is immediately vested, all effective on your date of hire. This represents an affirmative commitment by the organization to attract and retain the highest quality workforce – to ensure our continued ability to effectively serve our mission for years to come.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy-related conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, protected veteran status, genetic information or any other characteristics protected by local, state, or federal laws, rules, or regulations. Cognia is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Cognia, Inc.


Tempe, AZ
85284 USA



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