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Career Story: Education Manager At A Nature Organization

Education Manager At A Nature Organization

Job Title: Education Manager

Type of Company: I work for a non-profit nature organization with sanctuaries throughout the state

Education: BS in Ed UMass; MA from UMass; Certificate of graduate study from Bridgewater State

Previous Experience: 38 year career in education from kindergarten teacher to elementary grades to reading consultant to curriculum coordinator and then to principal of an elementary school

Job Tasks: As an education manager I supervise five teacher naturalists and the camp director. The naturalists work in the public schools for the most part and I coordinate their placements, review curriculum and lessons taught, shadow them in their work and provide ongoing assessments. Coordinating the after school programs are also part of the position. We work in a different program every afternoon for 6 to 8 week sessions teaching a common theme, such as recycling, habitats, the five senses, etc. Keeping these programs vibrant, different and exciting for children is part of the challenge. Another aspect of the position is the writing and reporting on grants that fund these positions. This is extensive work in that it requires a knowledge of budget, formal and informal assessments and developing relationships with funders. My work also entails overseeing the development of six teen ambassadors who work after school and weekends to help with public programs, assisting teacher naturalists with after school programs and weekend programs. Outreach is an important factor in the position as it is important we reach six surrounding communities, each representing different ethnicities, economic levels and social backgrounds.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I work with a small but dedicated group of ten. The director, teacher naturalists, camp director, property manager, and office manager all work as a team to insure our common mission is met. Everyone gives 100% and we share tasks as needed. The team is unique in that all perspectives are represented as well as all ages. The worst part of the job is the struggle to meet timelines when many occur at the same time of the year. There is no "down" time as we rotate from school year programs to summer camp to public programs and exhibits. Being open seven days a week, there is always activity.

Job Tips:
1. Naturalists need to be multifaceted with great expertise in the sciences and as much knowledge as working with children as possible. 2. Be flexible. 3. Creativity and vision are also very important.

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