Director of Education

POSITION SUMMARY:  

The Director of Education develops, implements and supervises an innovative environmental education program consisting of adult outreach and school-based programs and interpretive facilities using understandings and methods of ecological anthropology, effective nature interpretation and environmental education to effect positive change in ecological literacy and cultural behavior.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Develops and implements an innovative, integrated program of ecological education consisting of adult outreach and school-based programs and interpretive facilities that incorporates relevant understandings of ecological anthropology, semiotic ecology and cutting-edge environmental education to order to effect positive change in the ecological literacy and cultural and individual behavior.
  • Manages multiple physical interpretive facilities (including Nature Center at Avalon Canyon, Airport-in-the-Sky Nature Center, Two Harbors Mobile Nature Center, Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden interpretive displays and collection interpretation, Eagles Nest Lodge, Trailhead Visitor's Center, Nature Trails) developing and updating interpretive content, panels, video and displays.
  • Aggressively identifies and pursues funding opportunities from foundations, organizations and government agencies to assist in financing education programs and projects, research, and appropriate data collection.  
  • Supervises permanent and seasonal staff for Department of Education and approves timesheets and develops, coordinates, trains, and implements safety policy and procedures for assigned areas.
  • Develops and manages operating and capital budgets, including purchasing services and materials, preparation of capital equipment specifications, and coordinates budget expenditures. 
  • Recommends to Chief Executive Officer appropriate environmental education programs and practices to improve the ability of the Conservancy to accomplish the mission of conservation, education and recreation.
  • Effectively communicates project, data collection, and research results through appropriate professional organizations and publications, staff training and technical direction, presentations for general public and internal publication’s and external media.  Coordinates, stimulates, and assists in planning and implementing ecological education programs and projects with government agencies and NGOs, universities, and colleges. 
  • Works closely with Director of Visitor Services and the Director of Conservation and Wildlife Management on project implementation.  Keeps the Chief of Conservation and Education informed of essential issues.
  • Updates and enhances knowledge by continuing education for professional growth, i.e., attends relevant conferences, seminars and certification programs.
  • Provides direction and targets for special projects with available budget.
  • Active involvement with Education Department staff to coach and develop.
  • Represent Education Department at community and board meetings in a variety of settings.
  • Development of interpretive educational content for Conservancy and stakeholders.
  • Set priorities in educational programs for children, students, families, and adults including staff and volunteers.
  • Develop training programs for staff, volunteers, and stakeholders.
  • Seek grant, foundation, and fundraising opportunities for Education Department and programs.
  • Exhibit/interpretive content development and project management.
  • Grant writing, budget tracking, reporting and administration. Commitment to evaluation with exceptional writing and communication skills.
  • Schedules hands-on science interactive learning.
  • Submit a yearly work program.
  • Performs other duties as needed or assigned.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS:  

  • Demonstrated experience in designing and implementing innovative environmental education programs.
  • Experience in managing nature centers and other interpretation infrastructure (signs, trails, gardens, etc.) as well as guided tours very desirable. 
  • Strong experience in project and grant management. 
  • Strong management experience in supervising professional and non-professional employees, and volunteers. 
  • Demonstrated experience in budget management and grant writing. 
  • Strong natural history field skills (birds, plants, geology, etc.) and familiarity with Southern California flora, ecology, indigenous cultures and natural history desirable.

 

COMPLEXITY/PROBLEM SOLVING: 

  • Able to think critically and creatively to develop solutions to complex environmental education, cultural change, conservation, facility operations and land use problems
  • Ability to adapt and respond to unexpected or unplanned educational, ecological (e.g. fire, drought, new invasions) or programmatic (e.g. changes in organizational priorities or funding) circumstances while still progressing towards core program objectives.
  • Excellent communication skills (verbal and written), visioning, and problem solving. 
  • Ability to analyze diverse facts and develop clear, concise reports and recommendations. 
  • Solid understanding of the social, legal, and ecological basis for land management policies that influence ecosystem restoration and management decisions. 
  • Ability to function flexibly and effectively in a complex organizational environment with a range of different departments and operations. 
  • Ability to work both independently or as part of a team.

COMMUNICATIONS/INTERPERSONAL CONTACTS: 

  • Strong management experience in supervising full-time and part-time staff and volunteers required. 
  • Strong customer service skills (internal and external) extremely important. 
  • Ability to function and thrive in role of internal consultant within a complex, multi-goal (conservation, education, recreation) organization with diverse professional staff (scientists, operations professionals, visitor experience managers, marketing and public relations) is crucial. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills are needed.
  • Ability to work both independently or as a part of a team is essential.

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE

Masters degree in Education, Child Development, Anthropology (Ecological, Environmental), Environmental Education, or a related field in the natural or social sciences (ecology, biology, zoology, etc.) or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  Several years of progressively more complicated and more responsible applied experience is expected, especially within conservation or governmental land use or similar organizational environments.  Museum experience is a plus.

DEMANDS:

  • Employee must live and work on Catalina Island
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions for this job:  the Director of Education work location is at the Nature Center in Avalon Canyon in Avalon, CA;  the location has moderate noise levels and is a non-smoking environment
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job: the authority of the job duties are performed in an office environment; the employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

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