The Education Specialist is responsible for engaging diverse audiences by developing and facilitating programs. Programs include experiences for school groups, teachers, families, youth, community groups and guests on grounds. The Education Specialist will use inquiry and problem-based learning practices to engage guests and program participants in building a conceptual understanding of science concepts.
The Education Specialist will assist with coordinating instructors, volunteers and seasonal staff to deliver exceptional quality programs that are engaging, relevant, inspiring and interactive learning experiences to provide our audiences with the knowledge and tools to take action and create positive change within our community. They will maintain and strengthen existing organizational partnerships while exploring additional opportunities. The Education Specialist will work at the Belle Isle (Detroit, MI) location.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Create and deliver inquiry-based and project-based learning experiences.
  • Serve as a liaison between the DZS, guests, program participants and outside organizations to promote the Zoo’s mission of celebrating and saving wildlife and wild places through education experiences.
  • Revise current programming to reflect best practices in the educational field, including inquiry-based and project-based learning experiences.
  • Research and develop new programs to meet departmental and organizational goals.
  • Coordinate staff and/or volunteer educators to implement programs.
  • Actively pursue and participate in professional development opportunities (including onsite workshops, webinars, offsite conferences, etc.).
  • Actively engage with professional colleagues to support departmental goals and objectives.
  • Assist in the training and coordination of staff and volunteer groups engaged in a variety of educational, interpretive or service-related activities.
  • Operate a personal computer and utilize word processing and spreadsheet software.
  • Analyze statistical data and figures, prepares reports and research information.
  • Operate a motor vehicle such as a car or 12 passenger vans (May require a State of Michigan chauffer license).
  • As assigned, assist with a variety of special events and projects.

Education and Experience

  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree in General Science, Education, Zoology, Biology or other closely related field OR completion of a high school diploma or GED and four years (4) of experience in an informal or formal learning institution.
  • Minimum one-year of experience creating and delivering inquiry-based and project-based learning opportunities.
  • Minimum one-year experience supervising participants or students.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  • General knowledge of current and future state and national curriculum standards.
  • General knowledge of conservation strategies in captive and field conservation programs, zoology, biology and life sciences.
  • Familiar with youth developmental stages and best pedagogical practices to meet those needs.
  • Knowledge of audio-visual equipment and the ability to operate a personal computer and utilize word processing and spreadsheet software.
  • Skilled in organizing and presenting information to educational groups on a variety of life science, environmental and humane education topics.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to supervise participants/students effectively in a variety of environments
  • Ability to interact effectively with the public, departmental personnel, volunteers and other community organizations
  • Ability to acquire additional skills and knowledge.
  • Requires a valid State of Michigan Driver’s License.
  • Record of professional community networking experience and/or current knowledge/ties to Southeastern Michigan community organizations.
  • Teaching certification and/or experience in a formal/informal learning.
Working Conditions

Work is performed indoors in a typical office environment and frequently outdoors, with exposure to all seasonal weather conditions. Exposure to video display monitors. Frequent exposure to the public by working in the Zoo and Nature Center, the community and with partner organizations. Frequent travel throughout SE Michigan with the possibility of regional, national and/or international travel.

Physical Requirements

Able to perform essential functions of the role including reading standard text, often on video display monitors. Walking and standing for long periods of time; stooping; kneeling; and bending; lifting up to 30 pounds. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.