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Job Opening: Director of Learning & Public Programs

Job Opening: Director of Learning & Public Programs

Reports to: Executive Director

Status: Full-time

Location: Springfield, IL

Application Deadline: Open until filled

Start date: Immediately

Salary Range: $45,000 - $55,000; Salary commensurate with experience. 

About Kidzeum: Kidzeum is a wonderful start-up family destination in the heart of historic downtown Springfield, IL, whose mission is to serve as a place of learning and discovery through play for children of ALL abilities. Kidzeum is committed to nurturing health and wellness, promoting science education, and to developing environmental and global awareness through innovative programs and exhibits. Learn more at www.kidzeum.org

Kidzeum has been closed to the public due to the pandemic but has been serving the public in other ways. Plans are being developed to reopen later this year.

Position Description: Kidzeum of Health and Science believes in learning through play. We are seeking an enthusiastic, confident and engaging Director of Learning & Public Programs. This person’s primary responsibility will be to oversee the STEAM Residency Program, a partnership with Springfield School District 186, anticipated to begin in the fall of 2021.

STEAM Residency Program: Kidzeum and District 186 are creating an immersive STEM/STEAM program that is project-based and cross-curricular, combining math, literacy, science, social studies and arts in one comprehensive program. Teachers will partner with Kidzeum educators to deliver the content in a museum setting, offering new opportunities to engage a variety of learners in a dynamic way. Throughout the school year, classes of second grade students will come to the Kidzeum for a multi-week program.

The project is influenced by existing museum-school partnerships in the U.S. and the U.K. and leverages an underutilized educational asset in Springfield to deliver experiential science and social studies content through robotics, coding, GIS, health sciences, earth sciences, exhibit design, and more. The program is designed to address District 186’s desire to enhance the elementary school science curriculum and strengthen the STEM career pipeline.

Program goals include:

  1. Address equity issues in education. Every second-grade class from all District 186 elementary schools will participate in this multi-week immersive program. It is designed to provide a unique learning opportunity for all students in the district in the selected grades, with no barriers to participation.
  2. Strengthen the STEM career pipeline. The future is in STEM, and we do not currently have enough talent to fill the need, particularly women. This program will engage students at a young age and help develop their confidence in and love for STEM.
  3. Provide opportunities for older students to help teach younger students.
  4. Inspire lifelong learning.  The more we inspire young people to love to learn, the more successful and content they will be throughout their lives. Connecting learners with museums at a young age increases their use of museums as educational resources as adults.

Other Programmatic Duties: This person will work collaboratively to augment exhibit content in the exhibit galleries; help train floor staff to enhance the visitor experience; create and deliver museum programs, camps, classes, family events, school tours, and birthdays. S/he will also work to develop educational materials and curricula.

Duties and Responsibilities: The Director of Learning & Public Programs is charged with the leadership, strategy, and direction for all Kidzeum’s programs and activities around learning. These programs will further the museum’s mission and keep the Kidzeum at the forefront of the children’s museum field.

The director will:

  • Be the primary point of contact for the STEAM Residency Program
  • Organize and execute all aspects of the STEAM Residency Program which may include:
    • Scheduling classes
    • Handling all onsite logistics
    • Greeting classes and providing orientation
    • Developing educational programs for project participants
    • Leading district teachers and administrators through curriculum development in a way that maximizes the use of museum assets
    • Training and overseeing part-time staff who assist with the residency program
    • Preparing reports on program effectiveness
    • Overseeing and being responsible for grant-related activities and reporting
  • Integrate education, public programs, and interpretation strategy to provide dynamic learning opportunities for our audiences
  • Engage in and model playful, impactful interactions with children and families and coach teammates and volunteers to engage in memorable play moments with guests
  • Manage day-to-day department operations including budget, personnel, and education staff meetings
  • Work collaboratively with other departments to build cross-disciplinary programming that addresses multiple audiences and multiple learning styles
  • Foster relationships with Kidzeum staff, trustees, volunteers, and other key figures
  • Conceive and implement educational programs that continue to attract broader and more diverse audiences.
  • Oversee staff who interact with visitors in the galleries, and who deliver an additional layer of content and engagement
  • Develop and maintain relationships with teachers and school administrators. Create educational curricula, school tours, outreach programs and educational materials that meet the needs of their students

Qualifications, Skills and Abilities:

  •  Bachelor’s degree in education, science, health or related field
  • At least 5 years of experience in education or early childhood, with demonstrated success in creating and leading informal, play-based learning experience
  • Established content knowledge in child development and a willingness to share that knowledge in a playful, accessible manner to a variety of audiences
  • Leadership experience and proven excellence in building capacity and cohesion of a highly performing team
  • Ability to share and build knowledge across the team about the importance of play, children’s ages and stages of development, effective strategies for facilitated learning through child-led play, and engaging caregivers in play
  • Demonstrated leadership, staff management, and strategic planning skills
  • Ability to generate financial support in partnership with the Development department
  • Exceptional written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills

Work Schedule: This is a full-time position with a base schedule of Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with extended evening or Sunday hours as needed to oversee programs and participate in other museum activities.

Physical Demands & Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.  Physical requirements may include stooping, kneeling, bending, standing, crawling, and walking. Lifting and transporting of moderately heavy objects, such as boxes, etc. may be included.

Application Process: Please send a cover letter, resume and three references to our Assistant Director, Kaitlyn Miller, at Kaitlyn.Miller@kidzeum.org

Kidzeum is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Additionally, we strive to make the Kidzeum community – staff, visitor base, programs, and exhibitions – representative of the diversity of the city of Springfield and Central Illinois, and to carry forth the spirit of access, inclusion, and equity in all we do. If you need an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at: info@kidzeum.org.

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KIDZEUM OF HEALTH AND SCIENCE 412 E. Adams St, Springfield, Illinois 62701