Director of Education

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Syracuse, NY
United States

Job Category:


Job Type:


Job Description:

Essential Job Functions:

Strategic Leadership:

  • Provides overall vision, leadership and strategic direction for role of education department within the zoo, as well as the Central New York community at large. Works to position the zoo as a local leader and indispensable resource in conservation education.
  • Identifies target audiences to create programming for populations not reached by current programming and take advantage of growth opportunities.
  • Establishes and maintains strategic partnerships with community contacts, including but not limited to: local school districts, community organizations, colleges and universities and other local conservation groups to meet education goals and reach diverse audiences.
  • Regularly evaluates programming structure, individually and systemically, to balance ROI and mission impact.Implements changes as needed to maintain overall balance of programming offered.
  • Analyzes and aligns earned and contributed revenue goals with forecasted expenses to ensure resources are available for mission fulfillment.Assumes ultimate accountability for the departmental budget.
  • Works with development department to secure grant funding for department, including preparation of proposals and reporting on project outcomes.

Programming and Planning:

  • Oversees planning and implementation of all educational programs at the zoo including: on and off-site programming, grant-based programming, camps, teacher workshops and education special events.
  • Assists with the teen ZooGuides program, including securing grant funding, cultivating partnerships for recruiting, training youth, supervising ZooGuide Coordinators and working towards established goals for program.
  • Works with volunteer coordinator to plan and implement education training for volunteers, and structure tours and biofact stations for the public and special groups.
  • Functions as Zoo Camp Director in absence of Education Program Manager/Zoo Camp Director.
  • Actively contributes to the planning, design and implementation of interpretation and graphics.
  • Coordinates maintenance of zoo’s biofact collection.
  • Maintains outcome assessment records and statistics for grant reporting, as well as County and Friends reporting.
  • Consults with vendors for supplies and materials needed for zoo education programs; prepares bid calls for major supplies.
  • Works with public relations manager and director of marketing to promote zoo’s educational activities in local media.
  • Reviews and approves all educational materials for public use.
  • Recruits, hires, coaches and supervises education department staff including training, assignments, evaluations, salary increases and terminations in consultation with HR.
  • Coordinates and supervises maintenance of educational facilities and resources, including Explorer’s Outpost and Playspace.
  • Regularly schedules staff meetings for direct reports and education team.


Additional Responsibilities:

  • Will be required to work nights and weekends.
  • Required to work in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Must be able to serve as program instructor during busiest times, during staff absences and/or to model effective techniques.
  • Attends regular staff meetings including, but not limited to: Direct Reports, Senior Staff, Program Team and All Staff.
  • Coordinates and facilitates Education Committee of Board of Directors
  • Works with volunteer coordinator to manage volunteer committees pertaining to education operations as necessary
  • Adheres to Zoo policies and protocols.
  • Performs other duties as requested.

Desired training and experience: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, museum studies, zoology, biology, environmental science or a related field.
  • A minimum of 5 years experience as an educator or interpreter in a zoo, museum, nature center or related facility.
  • Minimum of 3 years of management/supervisory experience leading or assisting leadership of a department.


Skills / Knowledge Required:

  • Ability to motivate, lead and coach a team of informal educators and animal care staff to meet institutional goals
  • Ability to develop and cultivate strategic partnerships to connect programming to diverse audiences
  • Awareness of role of New York State Learning Standards as pertains to relevance of informal education programming
  • Hands-on budget management experience
  • Excellent oral/written communication skills and interpersonal skills
  • Must be technologically adept, including familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite and online tools such as Google apps
  • Ability to earn Red Cross certification in CPR and First Aid in order to serve as Camp Director
  • Ability to work autonomously, as well as with a team, and achieve established goals
  • Must have a valid NYS Driver’s License, reliable transportation and a registered and insured vehicle.Must be able to use personal vehicle for work purposes.NYS DMV Clearance.



Job Duration:


How to Apply:

To Apply:
Email your resume  along with a cover letter, salary requirements and a minimum of three references to (Word or PDF attachments only) with the job title in the subject line.

Job Compensation: