Title: Communications Manager

Department: Communications and Public Relations

  • 7 Direct Reports

Regular office hours (with regular checks of e-mail outside of regular office hours as necessary)

Reports to: Executive Officer, Communications and Public Relations

Job Purpose

Reporting to the Executive Officer, Communications and Public Relations, the Communications Manager is a critical senior position within the department, shaping and executing communications and public relations strategies which contribute to the development and maintenance of a positive internal and external environment for the Durham District School Board. The Communications Manager will manage the day to day operations of the department, lead and direct staff, oversee writing, media relations, digital media strategies, communications campaigns and video functions, along with ensuring the effective management of issues (e.g., contentious, public and politically sensitive) to maintain or enhance the DDSB's brand and reputation.


RECOMMEND AND DIRECT COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES: Recommend and direct communications strategies including stakeholder involvement, media relations and messaging by consulting with key stakeholders including, the senior team and department managers to determine key messages that support the board's brand and reputation. Develop a system to support ongoing issues management and development of key messages. Produce media releases, statements to the media, media interviews via print and/or broadcast, and responses to social media posts/commentary. Act as the DDSB Spokesperson in media interviews or coach others to successfully conduct media interviews as required. Manage media relations and monitor media coverage to measure success and identify inaccurate media reports that require follow up with editors to ensure corrections are secured. Provide communications advice to manage school-level contentious issues, by clarifying the issue(s), determining the veracity of the concern(s) expressed, and determine the best strategic public/media relations strategy.

WRITE COMMUNICATIONS: Write a wide variety of communications under tight timelines and pressure, using the best communication mode(s)/tool(s) to support the Director of Education, Superintendents, Trustees, and School Principals based on the situation and ensuring all communications are thoughtful and sensitive including, speaking notes, media releases, statements to the media, correspondence, internal issue notes, memos to all DDSB staff, communication plans, video scripts, reports, fact sheets, and letters from principals related to specific incidents regarding student safety.

MANAGE OPERATIONS: Provide leadership, strategic planning, vision and direction to manage the department in accordance with policies, procedures and the goals of the organization. Ensure effective operations of the department by managing and supervising daily operations and directing the work and activities of staff, ensuring high standards of delivery of communications. Prepare and manage budgets, resources and expenditures. Ensure communications and marketing plans, and milestones are achieved on time and on budget. Oversee the effective implementation of communications processes to ensure consistency among departments. Ensure high quality customer service and responsiveness to social media and e-mail inquiries. Manage the successful implementation of publications, projects, events, campaigns and evaluate levels of success.

LEAD AND MANAGE THE TEAM: Lead and manage employees by delegating work, managing performance, mentoring, coaching, and promoting and enhancing the professional development of staff, providing support to resolve issues, make decisions related to assigned work, and leading staff meetings. Works with the communications team to create social, digital and traditional media strategies that delivers high quality materials and contributes to the board's brand reputation.

DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN EFFECTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: Develop and maintain effective working relationships with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders to proactively prepare for, strategically manage, and effectively respond to issues or crises by ensuring effective communications are shared with identified entities within the required timeframe (e.g., Durham Regional Police Services, media outlets, other school board communications staff, Ontario Ministry of Education Field Office, municipal and regional levels of government, local MPPs and MPs, Health Department and other public safety agencies).

MANAGE PROJECTS: Manage projects by directing and managing a seven-person team to ensure successful implementation of their projects. Track projects through the various stages including, identifying the scope of the project, who leads the project, tasks and subtasks, dependencies, manageable units, timelines, milestones, status, cost and an assessment of whether the project was delivered on time, on budget and achieved predetermined outcomes. Directly manage high profile projects and events.

Knowledge and Skills

Strong commitment to equity, inclusion, anti-oppression and to dismantling racism

Knowledge of school board processes, policies & procedures

Knowledge of the Ontario education landscape and stakeholder needs including the Ontario Education Act and the numerous Ontario Ministry of Education initiatives

Knowledge of communications expectations/protocols of the Ontario Ministry of Education

Strong leadership, strategic thinking, planning and presentation skills

Ability to work with, and advise senior management and school administrators (e.g., Director of Education, Associate Directors, Superintendents and Principals)

Management skills including a demonstrated ability to effectively motivate and lead staff, manage performance and delegate work

Demonstrated experience in managing crises in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment

Knowledge and demonstrated understanding of media relations and the news cycle

Writing, editing, and proofreading skills, with the ability to produce a wide variety of clear and compelling communications materials

Ability to develop, successfully implement and evaluate complete communications strategies

Project management and organizational skills, and the ability to work under pressure, managing multiple priorities and tight deadlines

Problem-solving, consultation, and negotiating skills (e.g., with staff and others at all levels)

Ability to build relationships with key stakeholders

Budgeting and financial management skills

Education and Experience


Completion of a post-secondary Undergraduate Degree in a related field (e.g., Communications, Marketing, Public Relations and/or Journalism) or a combination of education, training and experience deemed to be equivalent. Professional accreditation such as APR or CMP and/or a relevant Masters Degree such as MCM preferred.


8 Years Professional Communications experience required

4 Years Working directly with Senior Level/Executive Team experience required

4 Years Experience as a Spokesperson / Media Relations required

4 Years Experience as a Communications Manager in Education or similar field required

4 Years Public Relations, Marketing and/or Journalism experience required

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) is responsible for public education in the rural settings of Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog Townships and the urban settings of Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa. The DDSB accommodates a school population of nearly 75,000 day students, through 132 elementary and secondary schools and learning centres, and thousands more who take advantage of a wide variety of continuing education and adult credit courses.

The DDSB is committed to equity and inclusion in the recruitment and hiring of qualified staff who reflect the diversity of our region. We encourage submissions from candidates who represent the various dimensions of diversity. We are committed to providing barrier-free and accessible employment practices in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Should you require accommodation through any stage of the recruitment process, please make them known when contacted and we will work with you to meet your needs.

While we appreciate all applications received, only those to be interviewed will be

Employer Information

Whitby, ON, Canada
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