Director of Government Relations

Nashville, TN


SCORE’s Director of Government Relations will play a critical role in advancing the organization’s work and Tennessee’s efforts to improve student achievement. Thought leadership lies at the core of SCORE’s mission, and the kind it seeks to provide — objective, fact-based, and solution-oriented — will rely on the outstanding policy insight provided by the person in this role.

The Director of Government Relations will lead SCORE’s efforts in 1) assessing where, how, and why statewide reforms are — or are not — meeting ambitious student-achievement goals and proactively anticipating and assessing ways of overcoming barriers, 2) leading SCORE’s government relations efforts to drive policy and practice change, 3) managing SCORE’s government relations team, including contract lobbyists and a legislative fellow, and 4) building relationships with policymakers and working with key local, state, and national external policy and advocacy partners. This position requires an ambitious strategic thinker who is able to work in close and productive collaboration with SCORE colleagues and with public officials, policy leaders, and practitioners at the state and local levels. The Director of Government Relations will report to SCORE’s Vice President of Policy and Government Relations.


“The progress that our students have made in recent years is inspiring — there is no doubt that they are capable of achieving at high levels and leading Tennessee into a bright future. While education stakeholders are already working together in exciting ways in Tennessee, it is our responsibility to redouble our innovative efforts to ensure that we are supporting our students to truly excel and thrive. The future of our state depends on it.”

— Senator Bill Frist, Chairman and Founder, SCORE

Tennessee has been making significant progress in advancing a bold education reform plan over the last fifteen years and has been a leader in the nation in dramatically improving student achievement. Over the last decade, Tennessee has been among the fastest improving states for student achievement according to the Nation’s Report Card.

While Tennessee has made significant gains, there is much still to do in public K-12 education, college and career readiness, and postsecondary completion. The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) plays a critical role in advancing student achievement, aligning K-12 and postsecondary education, and ensuring that all students can achieve career and life success. We work to inform and improve state education policy, support and invest in innovative education leaders and promising proof points in both K-12 and higher education, and monitor progress and data to measure impact and identify challenges for students.

SCORE is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization founded by former US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and is dedicated to the goal that all students can achieve success in college, career, and life. SCORE supports student success in public schools across Tennessee by ensuring all schools and systems meet high expectations; preparing, recruiting, supporting, and retaining excellent teachers and leaders; and aligning K-12 and college with career and life success.

SCORE is based at Vanderbilt University’s John Seigenthaler Center and has a hybrid work schedule with team members expected to be in person (in the office) at least 15-20 hours per week. For more information on SCORE, please visit


· Provide strategic thought leadership on education policy issues and priorities affecting Tennessee

· In consultation with SCORE leadership and education stakeholders across the state, help illuminate opportunities and advance SCORE’s impact model and policy agenda

· Develop and maintain relationships with members of the Tennessee General Assembly and other staff in the state legislative and executive branches

· Identify opportunities to advance SCORE’s impact model by working directly with policymakers, agency staff, or advocacy partners

· Represent SCORE at external meetings with government and advocacy partners and manage graduate fellows and contract lobbyists to support SCORE’s government relations strategy

· Work collaboratively with the Director of Policy and other workstreams to manage government relations strategy through all of SCORE’s policy and practice work

· Support the Vice President of Policy and Government Relations in developing advocacy and policy strategies for SCORE’s various education priorities each year

· Given the nature of this role, the Director of Government Relations will be required to register as a lobbyist with the Tennessee Ethics Commission


SCORE is looking for an innovative and driven individual with a passion for improving education in Tennessee. The Director of Government Relations must have at least three to five years of demonstrated experience in government relations; experience in education policy is preferred. The Director of Government Relations must be able to work in close and productive collaboration with SCORE colleagues, particularly SCORE’s Director of Policy, and with policy leaders, public officials, and other education stakeholders at the local, state, and national level. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree; a master’s degree in public policy or a law degree is preferred. Other candidate requirements include:

· Sufficient knowledge of major K-12 and/or higher education policy issues at both the state and federal level in order to turn policy ideas into legislative and policy proposals

· The ability to analyze policy windows and political contexts in order to identify opportunities and plan strategies that will advance proposals with an eye towards positive impact on Tennessee students

· Excellent communication skills with the ability to convey complex concepts in concise and compelling ways, in writing and verbally to both large and small groups

· High emotional intelligence and understanding of political nuance

· Strong ability to meet with high-level leaders and government officials in an advocacy capacity

· The ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously with attention to detail in a fast-paced, rapid-growth, high-intensity, and intellectually demanding environment

· The ability to problem solve in the moment and proactively consult with other team members as appropriate

· Exhibit SCORE’s core values of student focus, collaboration, excellence, optimism, and innovation

SCORE focuses on creating a culture of growth through feedback and collaboration as well as various professional development options and support. If your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with the noted aspects of an ideal candidate but you are excited about this role, we encourage you to apply. You may be a great candidate for this or other roles on our team.


SCORE offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience.


SCORE deeply values team members and their well-being and is proud to offer a comprehensive benefits plan. All full-time SCORE employees are eligible for benefits, including:

· Medical insurance: including access to a high-quality network with SCORE paying the full medical premiums for the employee and 80 percent for eligible dependents across all plan options

· Dental insurance options

· Vision insurance options

· Employer-paid disability, life insurance, and EAP benefits

· Access to Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) for medical and childcare expenses and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) benefits

· Eligibility for participation in a 401K program with employer match after 90 days of service

· Paid parental leave time, including paternity, maternity, and adoption leave

· Paid time off:

o Twelve days per year for the first 12 months, 15 days per year after 12 months, 20 days per year after five years

o Holiday office closures (15 days total in 2023)

o Teamwide mental health days (four total in 2023)

o No-meeting days (five total in 2023)

o Paid floating holidays (three per calendar year, prorated for new hires depending on start date)

· Free on-site parking


SCORE’s mission is to drive transformative change in education so that all Tennessee students can achieve success in college, career, and life. From its founding in 2009, SCORE has been grounded in the belief that diverse perspectives are required to identify solutions that will best serve Tennessee students, so we seek to bring as many viewpoints as possible into our daily work and live out collaboration as a core value. 

Within our organization, we believe it is important for our team to reflect the rich diversity of Tennesseans and Tennessee students, and we aspire for our team to understand varied viewpoints, experiences, and backgrounds. We strive to build an inclusive organization where each team member feels respected and supported, knowing that when team members are empowered to use their individual gifts, we become more effective in advancing our mission. 

SCORE is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants are considered for all roles without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic or status.