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Public Advocates is excited to announce our search for a Senior Legislative Counsel or Senior Policy Advocate on our K-12 Education Equity Team. The position would lead our Educator Equity and Multilingual Learner campaigns and work and has traditionally been based in our Sacramento office but we are flexible for the right candidate.  

For nearly 50 years, Public Advocates has been at the forefront of social justice movements in California as a bold and highly regarded civil rights law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination. 

Our K-12 Education Equity Team is recognized for ground-breaking state and local advocacy that supports building power with grassroots partners. We work towards a racially just public education system where historically marginalized students and families have power and agency to lead in their school communities, and students and caring adults feel supported to thrive. Our team has led advocacy on significant improvements to our public education system. The K-12 team is responsible for shaping California’s landmark school funding legislation, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the largest overhaul of California’s school funding and accountability system in the past 50 years, and has been a leading advocate on issues of educator quality and equity for three decades. Even more than the win, Public Advocates is committed to making wins real by enforcing laws, implementing policy on the ground with our community partners, and continuing to shape legislation decades later with solution-oriented recommendations to policy makers, holding districts accountable for addressing educational disparities for most impacted students, and effectively supporting  historic community-driven efforts like the $4 billion for transformative community schools, the largest such investment in the nation.

Position Summary

The Senior Legislative Counsel or Senior Policy Advocate will work with the K-12 Education Equity Team to support and develop the team’s statewide policy and budget advocacy related to growing a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce that especially addresses the needs of most impacted students of color and for advancing and implementing state policies to improve opportunities and outcomes for multilingual learners.  

Our new team member will:

  • Advocate before members and staff of state agencies, including the CA Department of Education and State Board of Education, the CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the Legislature, and the Governor’s Office.
  • Lead statewide coalitions to advance educator equity and address urgent issues related to teacher shortages that drive disparities in access to fully credentialed and properly assigned teachers who are supported to provide culturally rooted and engaging teaching and learning. 
  • Develop and lead advocacy work on issues impacting the educational experience of Multilingual Learners, including under LCFF and California’s system of support and accountability.
  • Build strong relationships to collaborate deeply with our Local Power Building team and grassroots and community-based organizations to ensure state policy advocacy is driven and effectively implemented by low-income BIPOC communities across the state.
  • Work with members of our legal and policy teams, our statewide coalition partners, and local communities directly, to ensure alignment of our state advocacy with local and regional campaigns.


  • Legislative and Administrative Policy and Budget Advocacy: Develop, analyze and promote policy change at the state, federal and local levels; continue to grow Public Advocates’ role in amplifying the voices of students of color in local and statewide coalitions to implement K-12 education policy, budget and regulatory wins (especially in the areas of improving access for low-income BIPOC students to diverse, prepared educators and equitable educational opportunities for multilingual learners).
  • Community Partnership & Coalition Building: Participate in strengthening existing (and developing new) statewide networks and coalitions of diverse grassroots and policy organizations; building the capacity of local and grassroots groups to advocate effectively for state policy and investment reforms on issues of educator diversity and preparedness and improving outcomes for multilingual learners; leverage legal and policy expertise to enhance capacity of community partners and build power of students and families to impact K12 education system.
  • Strategy & Project Management: Help shape the strategic direction of our education program work—incorporating policy advocacy, community collaboration, media and communication, and possibly litigation to achieve our objectives; take initiative to plan and implement work in collaboration with coalition allies and  community partners.
  • Strategic Communication: Develop and execute outreach and media strategies, including messaging, community education, writing, social media and representing Public Advocates and coalitions to the press and public in partnership with the Director of Communication/communications team.
  • Resource Development: Help identify and develop funding opportunities; contribute to foundation relations.

Qualities and Skills Sought

PA encourages and welcomes applicants who are passionate about advancing racial and economic justice in K-12 public education. We are committed to equity in our hiring process and to building a staff with robust and diverse backgrounds. We recognize the value that lived experience in racial and social justice brings to a workplace and we encourage skilled candidates, including people from historically marginalized or underrepresented identities or communities, to apply even if not all formal qualifications are met. The Senior Legislative Counsel or Senior Policy Advocate will receive mentorship and support from the K-12 Educational Equity Team to grow the skills needed to be successful in this position.  

  • Experience, ability and motivation to do the highest caliber policy advocacy work; 7 or more years of policy and/or administrative advocacy, legislative or campaign experience or equivalent legal or advocacy experience, at the federal, state or local level 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively about policy issues to legal and community audiences
  • Social justice and racial equity lens; motivation and experience working with Black and other communities of color and/or low-income communities; commitment to community power, self-determination and leadership development 
  • Strong political instinct and judgment; adept analytical skills
  • Initiative, creativity, diplomacy and capacity to work collaboratively with our team, allies, and across political differences to promote Public Advocates’ policy agenda
  • Strong organizational skills; ability to successfully manage multiple and changing priorities and deadlines
  • Passion for public education with a growth mindset around becoming an expert in multiple aspects of the K-12 education landscape, 
  • For the Senior Legislative Counsel position, a J.D. and California Bar Admission are required. 
  • Preference for two or more of the following:
    • Education policy and/or budget advocacy experience
    • Knowledge of K-12 education legal and/or policy issues, especially as concerns educator quality and/or multilingual learners 
    • Experience in facilitating, building and working with statewide coalitions
    • Experience working with grassroots or community-based organizations
    • Experience working in K-12 public schools, especially as an educator and/or credentialed teacher
    • Legal research and writing, statutory analysis or litigation experience
    • Communications and storytelling experience
    • Experience in providing trainings and presentations
    • Experience and interest in supervising and supporting the professional development of interns, law clerks, fellows, and junior attorneys or advocates
    • Experience in securing program grants and other fund development, organizational planning and/or writing for publication (for senior-level position)
    • For the Senior Policy Advocate, a Masters of Public Policy, J.D. or other relevant graduate degree or experience.

Qualities uplifted by all Public Advocates staff include integrity, high professional standards, commitment to progressive social change, racial and economic justice, and working successfully with diverse colleagues, clients and community partners.  This includes active participation in promoting healthy workplace culture through our organizational diversity and inclusion initiative – an ongoing process of communication, trust-building and learning about our individual and organizational areas for growth.  We strive to build a culture of cooperation and mutual support and value flexibility, resilience, optimism, curiosity and a sense of humor.

Compensation, Work Setting & Location

This position will ideally be based out of our downtown Sacramento office as it would include in-person advocacy to the Legislature as well as administrative agencies. PA will consider non-Sacramento-based candidates who commit to travel regularly to Sacramento (e.g., 1-2 days at a time, 2 or more times/month). Such candidates might be based out of the San Francisco office or work remotely.  At the time of this posting, our office-based staff are currently adhering to a hybrid-model of remote and in-person work (1-2x per week based on  Community Covid-19 Levels). This policy is subject to change. Our Sacramento office is located a few short blocks from the Capitol, and is convenient to public transportation (we offer access to tax-advantaged commuter benefits). Some travel would be likely within California, including to our main San Francisco office as well as to locations around the state or possibly nationally.

Competitive salary range begins at:

  • $86,000-$108,000 for a Senior Legislative Counsel with 7-8 years of experience but actual salary is negotiable and will be based on relevant experience and internal equity considerations.
  • $75,000-$95,000 for a Senior Policy Advocate with 7-8 years of experience but actual salary is negotiable and will be based on relevant experience and internal equity considerations. 

All jobs in the organization are assigned to a level for which there is a salary band, based on data from comparable non-profit sector jobs. Opportunities for salary growth include but are not limited to COLA, longevity raises, and salary band refreshes at least every three years. Benefits include full health and dental insurance for employee and eligible family members; flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care; life and long-term disability insurance; generous vacation; 403(b) retirement plan; parental leave; professional development budget; and paid sabbatical after 7 years.

Public Advocates adopted a COVID-19 vaccination policy, effective March 11, 2022, that requires all employees to either establish that they have been fully vaccinated and have received any booster dose(s) when eligible as recommended by the CDC  or obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation.  All staff are expected to abide by this policy and any subsequent revisions.

Application Instructions

Applications welcome immediately; position open until filled.  Priority review will be given to applications received by April 10th.  

To be considered, applications must include: 1) a cover letter that a) explains your specific interest in this role and in our advocacy model, b) addresses how your identity and background have prepared you to be an effective advocate for social justice and c) describes a project or challenge you have managed that will help us understand your qualifications; 2) a resume; 3) a writing sample that illustrates your analytical reasoning and communication skills; and 4) names, email and phone numbers of three references, at least two of whom have directly supervised your work. Submit your application (and/or questions) by email to

Background Organizational Information

We pride ourselves on skillfully deploying a diverse set of legal and policy tools to achieve tangible legal victories and help low-income communities of color build their power to participate meaningfully in public decision-making.  In addition to the K-12 education team, PA recently launched a Higher Education project focused on improving opportunity and outcomes for low-income students and college students of color, particularly those attending California’s community colleges.  

Visit our website to learn more about our areas of work across school funding, diverse and prepared educators, data and accountability, and seeding democracy through the development of meaningful student and parent power in school communities and on college campuses.

Public Advocates seeks to fill this position with someone who shares our values. At Public Advocates, we’re always looking for great people to work with. We value diversity in our workplace, including people of color, women, people with disabilities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category.  Read our Diversity Vision Statement.

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