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Director of Education [The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk]

Posted by Amanda Gustin on July 1, 1971 in job announcements |

Director of Education at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
The Institution

Since its founding in 1988, The Maritime Aquarium has grown to be the
second-largest family cultural institution in Connecticut, attracting
450,000-500,000 visitors a year, 150,000 of them students and scouts.
It is an aquarium focused on Long Island Sound, the amazing ecosystem in
which most of its visitors live.  Its mission, to inspire people of all
ages to appreciate Long Island Sound and protect it for future
generations, is carried out through living exhibits and science
education programs.  Exhibits explore the various habitats of the Sound
and its watershed, and feature seals, river otters, sea turtles, sharks
and a wide variety of local fish and crustaceans.  Knowledgeable
volunteers at the touch tanks provide a personal, intimate experience
that is a hallmark of the institution.  IMAX films take students and
families into other worlds.  Over the years, The Maritime Aquarium has
become a beloved institution for families and a valued partner to
schools from the tri-state region.
Over the next several months, the Aquarium will be undergoing a rebirth,
with renovations to every permanent gallery.   New experiences — like a
40-foot touch tank for sharks and rays and a giant interactive map where
visitors match creatures of the Sound to their habitats — and a
reinterpretation of the permanent exhibits will make the story of the
Sound vibrant and engaging.  The ³new² Aquarium will open to the public
in February of 2012.

The Education Programs

The Aquarium¹s education programs are among its greatest strengths.
Using the animals in its collections and outdoor habitats surrounding
the Sound, the Aquarium offers 25 inquiry-based science programs that
address educational standards in both Connecticut and New York State.
Summer and holiday camps for the general public are based on these
programs.  The IMAX Theater offers the opportunity to support social
studies curriculum, as well. The traveling teacher program brings live
animals and hands-on experiments to 40,000 students a year. Through its
Long Island Sound Biodiversity program, 8,000 students a year gain field
experiences in nature aboard the Aquarium¹s research vessel, at local
rivers and at beaches.  The Aquarium partners with five inner-city
elementary schools to provide intensive hands-on science education to
every child in the school, train their teachers, and coordinate with the
school curriculum.  In these schools, test scores show impact in closing
the achievement gap in science.  For high-school and college students,
an intern program offers a chance to work side-by-side with aquarists
and educators.
The range of programs offered is built on a solid core of proven
experiences that focuses primarily on animal observation, classification
and measurement, using the scientific method and inquiry-based learning.
They employ the power of living animals to motivate students, instill a
sense of wonder and spark interest in science.

Under the direction of the current Curator of Animals and Director of
Education, whose core expertise is animal husbandry and marine biology,
the Aquarium¹s education programs have become highly respected and
widely used, especially by public schools in underserved communities.
They are carried out by a team of four highly experienced, motivated and
dedicated full-time professionals and a staff of 30 part-time educators.

The Opportunity

As The Maritime Aquarium moves into maturity as an institution, it seeks
to reorganize in order to strengthen the quality of its educational
offerings, devise appropriate new programs that can capitalize on
already existing strengths, and attract more funding.  The Aquarium
seeks a credentialed, experienced, creative educator to take this
program to a new level of excellence and growth.  The new Director of
Education has the opportunity to reexamine and strengthen curricula,
build new programs, develop program metrics, strengthen and relationships
with existing partners, develop relationships with new
partners and integrate the rich educational content offered to students
into the public visitor experience.
Education programs are the primary vehicle for private philanthropic
support.  The Director has the opportunity to form meaningful
relationships with current and potential donors.  Of particular
importance is the opportunity to attract government funding, which is
currently not part of the revenue picture.

The Maritime Aquarium regularly develops new exhibits. Exhibits are the
most widely-used educational experiences offered by the institution.
There is an opportunity, as part of the exhibit development team, to
contribute to the content of exhibits and the visitor experience, so as
to maximize the effectiveness of learning at the Aquarium for all
audiences.

The Aquarium is putting a new emphasis on educational programming for
the public.  Interesting and accurate educational content is an
essential part of these programs.  The Director will play a seminal role
in developing a new range of experiences for visitors that increase
their knowledge and appreciation of nature, and will manage the
operation of these public programs.
While standardized science testing has demonstrated dramatic increases
in student achievement among the underserved students participating in
two of the Aquarium¹s intensive school partnerships, there is little
other objective impact data on the effectiveness of programs, other than
teacher surveys, which are overwhelmingly positive.  Impact data is
increasingly required to attract dedicated funding, upon which these
programs depend.  The Director of Education will have the opportunity to
devise and implement valid evaluative measures.

Qualifications

PhD in science education, with a focus in marine biology, biology,
ecology, or similar relevant content field,  teaching experience and at
least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in an informal
education setting, preferably an institution with exhibits (ie: science
museum, zoo, aquarium, natural history museum), or an equivalent
combination of education and experience.  Proven ability to lead, manage
and motivate professional staff.  Proven ability to develop new programs
and attract funding.  Experience in and on the water.  Articulate
communicator, both written and oral.  Experience with multi-cultural and
multi-lingual programs a plus.  Ability to work in cross-departmental
teams essential.  Expertise in educational assessment desirable.

Reports to:

President and CEO

Supervises:

Manager, Traveling Teacher Program

Manager, Research Vessel Oceanic/Jefferson School Partnership

Manager, Teacher Training/Intern Program/Long Island Sound Biodiversity
Project

Associate Manager, Whole School Partnerships/Part-time Educators

Responsibilities:

Set strategy for the department in concert with the President and the
strategic plan.
Manage daily operations of the education department, currently
consisting of 4 full-time and about 30 part-time employees, to assure
delivery of quality programs related to the Aquarium¹s mission and tied
to CT and NY state science standards.
Oversee the development and administration of a budget of approximately
$1 million per year, and make the budget grow.
Assess existing programs and strengthen the best of them.
Devise and implement new programs that address our mission and
strategies, including recruiting new program partners.
Devise and implement quantitative and qualitative metrics that measure
program effectiveness.
As a member of the exhibit team, work closely with the President,
Curator of Animals, Exhibit Director and others to contribute to new
exhibit development.
As a member of the programming team, work closely with the Director of
Development, Membership and Volunteers to develop program content and
assure program quality.  Directly manage content-related public
programs.
Work closely with the Development Office to Represent the education program
in the education community and with
donors, prospects and Board members.
Staff the education committee of the Board of Trustees.

To be considered, please send a letter and resume by July 31st, 2011 to:

Jennifer E. Herring, President and CEO

The Maritime Aquarium

10 North Water Street

Norwalk, CT  06854

jherring@maritimeaquarium.org

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