Education Curator (Director of Education) – Oregon Zoo

Posted: 27 October 2021   |   Full-Time   | Oregon Zoo | Location: Portland OR, USA | Deadline: Accepting applications through 9 November 2021 | Pay: $101,686 to $144,438

The Opportunity

Are you committed to inspiring communities to connect with nature and act for wildlife? Are you passionate about dismantling the barriers that hold great people back? Are you an innovative, thoughtful and experienced leader in non-formal learning? If so, the Oregon Zoo is excited to recruit you as Education Director. 

As the Oregon Zoo recovers from and adapts to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Education Director will take the lead in reimagining the zoo’s celebrated, award-winning education program. This position offers a unique opportunity to build upon the zoo’s strengths to create an inclusive, resilient, world-class suite of education programming. You will helm a state-of-the-art, $17M Education Center completed in 2017, reviving operations at this regional conservation education hub to inspire our community to connect with and act for the natural world. You will navigate this departmental revitalization guided by the zoo’s Strategic Plan and Integrated Conservation Action Plan, as well as your demonstrated commitment to innovation, equity and financial sustainability.


As Education Director, you will lead the reimagining of a more robust, equitable education department by directing staff recruitment, strategic planning, and program development, including volunteer, outreach, internships, school partnerships, community science, youth development, camps and classes and strategic partnerships, including the USFWS.

Leading your team of managers, volunteer coordinators and education specialists, you will ensure that programs center shared prosperity and equitable access while setting a course toward financial sustainability.

As a member of cross departmental working groups, you will also help develop and execute a unified “one mission” messaging and conservation action strategy for the Oregon Zoo, with the goal of establishing and maintaining a strong, consistent, united voice for conservation.

This position reports to the Oregon Zoo Director and serves on the Executive Team.


Lead the education team

  • Establish an innovative framework for the development and implementation of educational programs, events, and special projects within budget goals
  • Develop short-term and long-term strategies for achieving financial sustainability for the education department, working with Oregon Zoo Foundation and internal grant writers
  • Develop co-created partnerships with specific community-based organizations working with diverse communities across our region
  • Reimagine, strengthen and fund paid internship programs, with a focus on providing equitable access to zoo- and conservation-related career pathway advancement for all
  • Work closely with zoo’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion manager to dismantle barriers and provide equitable access to education programs, with a priority on communities of color, while ensuring zoo experiences are welcoming and inclusive
  • Prioritize and supervise goal-setting and evaluation of education program outcomes
  • Develop and manage the annual budget
  • Recommend related policies and procedures
  • Oversee compilation of departmental data, reports and publications
  • Critically evaluate effectiveness and financial sustainability of programs and re-align resources accordingly.

Serve on cross-departmental working group(s) that:

  • Develop on-grounds graphics and interpretive plans
  • Establish and refine training and interpretation processes for keeper talks, ambassador animal engagement and other on-grounds activities, in collaboration with animal care staff
  • Develop position statements; identify needs for resource guides and key messaging; make assignments
  • Solicit, identify and research conservation initiatives and issues connected with strategic mandates and make recommendations regarding messaging and potential public action or education campaigns, and guide the implementation process utilizing other Zoo staff, volunteers and partners as appropriate.
  • Develop and implement the campus master plan, including exhibit planning to align with conservation messaging.


  • Skilled communicator (public speaking and effective presentations)
  • Subject matter knowledge in interpretation, conservation and conservation education, sustainability and environmental education
  • Experience leading volunteer and community engagement programs
  • Commitment to community partnerships
  • Familiarity with principles of environmental literacy, nature connection, natural history, wildlife conservation, empathy and environmental justice
  • Strong education perspective and experience with non-formal teaching methods
  • Experience writing and securing education grants
  • Familiarity with educational evaluations of informal and formal programs
  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders to develop strategic messaging
  • Experience leading diverse teams to implement ambitious change
  • Experience developing, coordinating and implementing in-person education programming and virtually connecting field-trip and assembly content to standards-based classroom content
  • Ability to lead effectively, working with cross functional teams and others
  • Collaborative and inclusive approach
  • Transparent and adaptive communication style
  • Shared values of public service, excellence, teamwork, respect, innovation and sustainability


To apply, please click here. 

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