Position Description

The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC), an early childhood center for infants through kindergarten, seeks an energetic and visionary leader to continue to build upon the successes of the school and the Center for Innovation in Early Learning, the professional development and community engagement arm of SEEC.  SEEC offers a rich learning environment for children, parents, and teachers while also sharing its innovative practices with professionals in schools and museums across the country.  SEEC is a model early childhood program that places children at the center of every experience, and uses the Smithsonian Institution and surrounding community resources as the foundation for the culturally diverse, emergent and project-based curriculum.

The next Executive Director will be the strategic leader and administrator of both the school and its community engagement arm.  S/he will maintain an excellent early educational program for SEEC students and support and nurture a strong, dedicated community of educators, administrators, parents, and children.  S/he will continue to grow the school’s relationships with the Smithsonian Institution, the local community, and museums and early learning sites nationwide.  As an ad hoc Board member, the Executive Director works closely with the Chair of the Board and the Board, providing administrative insight and educational perspective in relationship to current research, strategic direction, fiscal responsibility, and policy.

Background on SEEC

SEEC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, opened in 1988 and is fully accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  SEEC serves approximately 120 children and has a highly qualified staff of approximately 40 teachers.  All lead teachers hold at least a bachelor’s degree and many have a master’s degree.

SEEC uses project- and object-based learning and an emergent curriculum, allowing the children’s interests to drive lesson subjects.  The collections of the Smithsonian museums and resources within the surrounding community are at the heart of the curriculum.

The Center for Innovation in Early Learning manages weekend and weekday workshops and programs for parents and their children, and provides professional development to educators in early childhood schools and museums across the country.  The Center also manages and implements grants written by the team or partner organizations.

SEEC has strong relationships with many of the Smithsonian museums and provides leadership for its pan-Institutional Early Learning Collaborative group, which creates and manages a wide variety of projects at the Smithsonian, including community programs, professional development, and exhibitions.

Major Responsibilities

·      Provide strategic leadership to the school and the Center for Innovation in Early Learning, ensuring the wellbeing of SEEC’s children and the strength and quality of classroom and outreach programming.

·      Lead the visioning and implementation for the museum-based curriculum, keeping current with research, standards, and best practices in early childhood education.

·      Develop and increase revenue streams through grants, foundations, earned income sources, direct appeals, and effective marketing strategies; provide oversight for budgetary planning, accounting and all expenditures; and coordinate with the Board to ensure fiscal responsibility.

·    Recruit and retain a diverse, high quality staff; enable opportunities for their professional development and practice; and nurture a supportive, collaborative environment.

·      Continue to build strong relationships with different Smithsonian units and work with the Smithsonian on major initiatives and issues that involve SEEC and early learning, including the Early Learning Collaborative.

·      Forge a collaborative and mutually supportive relationship with SEEC parents and the Board.



·      Graduate degree in Early Childhood Education, Curriculum Development, Museum Education, or related field

·      Minimum of 10 years of experience in Early Childhood settings, with at least 2 years in an administrative position

Knowledge / Skills / Characteristics

·      Strong leadership and management skills; positive, supportive attitude and approachable, collaborative personality.  Creativity and vision in analysis and resolution of problems.

·      Knowledge of and experience with current theory and research about learning in early childhood development and education, including theories of learning, early childhood education standards and trends, NAEYC standards, and licensing requirements.

·      Commitment to active involvement in school life and interacting with students, teachers, administrators, parents, Board members, and Smithsonian leadership.

·      Demonstrated success in fundraising and knowledge of grant/foundation processes, and

strong financial management and business plan background and experience.

·      Experience in strategic planning and implementation; ability to assess and prioritize needs and actions in the context of strategic goals and objectives.

·      Commitment to and experience with growing organization-wide diversity.

·      Political acumen to navigate the complexity of the Smithsonian Institution, and knowledge and demonstrated proficiency in developing effective partnerships.

·    Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate clearly and compelling to various audiences.

·      An understanding of the world of museums and museum educators or a willingness to learn.

Job Information
  • Washington, Dist. Columbia, 22013, United States
  • 28467964
  • May 10, 2016
  • Executive Director
  • Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
  • Directors/Administrators
  • No
  • Full-Time
  • Indefinite
  • Master’s Degree
  • 2-3 Years
  • 10-25%