School and Public Programs Manager

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Seattle, WA
United States

Job Category:


Job Type:



Posted:                  Open to internal and external applicants   

Reports to:             Director of Conservation Engagement & Learning

Status:                   Full-time, salaried, benefitted position

Hours of work:       Standard Monday–Friday workweek. Typical hours are 8am–5pm. Occasional need for weekend or after-hours work as related to programs and events.

Date needed:         ASAP

Posting expires:    Open until filled

About the organization:

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world’s one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment through a variety of channels, including a compelling exhibit experience and engaging daytime and evening events; conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds; community outreach to underserved populations; research that advances understanding of animals in our care and their counterparts in the wild; advocacy and policy work; an award-winning volunteer program; strong and consistent marketing efforts; and more.

We’re noted for our collaborative, communicative and team-oriented working environment. Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices; creating awe-inspiring experiences; constantly learning and improving; fostering an inclusive community; maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices; and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.

Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we’re the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and we welcome over 850,000 people through our front doors each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we’ve developed a master plan to substantially increase in size and impact by opening a new exhibit building, the Ocean Pavilion. Our current annual budget is $20 million.

Position description: 

The Seattle Aquarium is looking for a school and public programs (SPP) manager to join the Conservation Engagement & Learning team. The SPP manager defines and implements the vision and goals for the Seattle Aquarium’s instructor-led nonformal education programming targeted at school, family and public audiences. Current programming includes preschool programs, summer camps, school programming and some professional development for educators. Programs are conducted on site, at schools, in the field and virtually. The manager will lead the strategic exploration of new program areas, including Aquarium self-guided school programming, integrating empathy into socio-emotional learning standards, virtual engagement and a more robust teacher professional development program.

The position works closely with the director of Conservation Engagement & Learning, other managers within the Aquarium’s Conservation Engagement & Learning department, and colleagues throughout the Seattle Aquarium to ensure that the needs of our school, family and public audiences are met and that Aquarium programming and culture is equitable and inclusive.

Essential functions:

  • With guidance from Human Resources, supervise, mentor, train and evaluate staff, volunteers and interns that report to the manager directly. Ensure indirect reports are well trained, high performing and aligned with the Aquarium’s S.A.L.I.S.H. and D.E.I. values.
  • Coordinate, implement and evaluate (in cooperation with principal evaluator) existing education programs for families and schools, with consideration to cultural responsiveness, age appropriateness, school curricula, cultural relevancy, and both state and national learning standards.
  • Lead the research, development and creation of new hands-on, experiential education programs aligned with Seattle Aquarium’s mission and outcomes, with attention to inclusive, evidence-based, effective practices.
  • Create, develop and implement relevant professional development workshops for internal and external audiences in coordination with grant funds, and other opportunities.
  • Actively examine Aquarium education programming using an equity lens and make changes where needed to continually ensure cultural responsiveness, and improve accessibility and inclusion for all audiences.

Additional responsibilities:

  • Create a working environment that is inclusive, energetic, innovative and collaborative.
  • Keep familiar with current research, technology and programming trends for education in informal/nonformal learning environments. This includes current trends and best practices for serving diverse audiences in nonformal education.
  • Maintain and grow the credibility of the Seattle Aquarium as a regional and national conservation education organization.
  • Establish collaborative relationships with other local, regional and national organizations interested in conservation/education.
  • Perform other related duties of a comparable level/type assigned.

Required skills, abilities:   

  • Interest in marine science and conservation.
  • Model active and personal commitment to DEI education; solid understanding and proven literacy around DEI topics.
  • Interest in fostering empathy for animals.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work with people of all ages and handle a variety of situations—including those that may be complicated or challenging—with grace, empathy and a sense of humor.
  • Proficiency in office software applications, particularly spreadsheets (e.g., Excel).
  • Understanding of trends and research in informal/nonformal science education.
  • Familiarity with state and national educational standards, Ocean Literacy Principles.

Experience, education and certifications:

We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education in order to meet minimum requirements. 

  • Requires a combination of education and work experience that demonstrates an understanding of educational pedagogy, lesson and curriculum design, learning psychology, and child development (similar to what could be acquired through a B.A./B.S. degree in education or related field).
  • A combination of education and work experience that demonstrates an advanced understanding of the theory and practice around key areas of the work would be valued in a candidate (similar to what could be acquired through a master’s degree in education or related field). Examples would include early childhood education, special education, informal learning, outdoor education, science education or developmental psychology.
  • A combination of education and work experience that demonstrates (through examples) knowledge of nonformal science/conservation education program development and delivery, including audience assessment, use of planning tools like logic models, development of content and approach that matches audiences and use of evaluation from program improvement.
  • Work experience managing staff that demonstrates (through examples) knowledge of hiring, training, evaluating, coaching/mentoring and performance management while creating a culture of accountability and excellence for staff and self.
  • Work experience managing budgets that demonstrates (through examples) ability to build program and team budgets, monitor budgets with software tools (like spreadsheets), project expenses in the near term and make recommendations to the director. 
  • A combination of education and work experience that demonstrates an ability to develop and refine education programs using an equity lens to ensure accessibility and inclusion for diverse audiences.
  • Work experience that demonstrates participation in the process of writing grants and other funding proposals (e.g., providing information to grant writer to support grant narratives or for the reporting of results).

Working conditions:

  • Due to the pandemic, this position will function partially from home on a temporary basis using tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other technology. A computer will be provided and the final candidate will need to provide their own suitable work-from-home workstation and internet connection (per the Aquarium’s telecommuting policy) strong enough to take calls regularly over work channels.   
  • While on site at the Aquarium, majority of work is performed in a normal office setting at a computer workstation for the duration of your shift; shared office with another manager.
  • Frequent interruptions; walking, standing, sitting for extended periods of time.
  • While on site at the Aquarium, some exposure to elements as employees are located in campus environment with multiple buildings and outdoor/semi-covered areas.
  • Must be flexible for occasional evening, early morning or weekend hours. Some travel. 

*Regarding COVID-19:

Open daily, the Aquarium prioritizes health and safety for our staff and visitors, embracing science to guide our operations. Staff are required to wear face masks while working on site and maintain physical distance during work hours. In addition, we maintain high standards of cleanliness and all high-touch surfaces (like windows, railings, restrooms and elevators) are continuously cleaned.

In alignment with King County’s current COVID-19 vaccine health order, all Aquarium staff and volunteers must provide proof of vaccination or approved medical or religious exemption by December 13, or date of hire. If you have questions about this policy or for information regarding the exemption process, please contact the Human Resources department at  


We anticipate the following recruiting schedule for those candidates who are selected for consideration. The following dates are preliminary and subject to change. We will work with candidates to set interviews that work for all involved. If hired, relocation assistance is not available.

  • Application deadline: Open until filled 
  • Priority given to applications received by December 7.
  • First round interviews, using Zoom: complete by December 23.
  • Second round interviews, in-person ideally: complete by Jan 7.
  • Start date: February 1, 2022, ideally.  

Job Duration:


How to Apply:

How to apply:

The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal-opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. One of our core values is fostering an inclusive community and we want our staff to reflect our community. To that end, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous and People of Color applicants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Interested candidates should upload a résumé to our online application in order to be considered. Application review will begin immediately.  

Please apply:

Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job by emailing us at

Note: Must pass a background check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position.

Job Compensation:


Compensation Information:

Salary and benefits:

$68,000–$80,000/year, D.O.E. Please include salary expectations in your materials.  Full-time staff are eligible for Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, employer-funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, an Aquarium Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.