vp of education & community engagement


Contact our HR Department at hr@pittsburghzoo.org

Position Title: Vice President of Education & Community Engagement
Department: Education & Community Engagement


The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium is looking for its next VP of Education & Community Engagement. Candidates must be dynamic and detail-oriented leaders who excel in building relationships, customer service, strategic thinking and bringing people together. This position will oversee the conservation education department and will be directly responsible for building the zoo’s community engagement programs and ensuring the zoo meets our strategic goal of meaningful engagement of our surrounding communities.

With new leadership, the zoo is pursuing a new vision that centers around best practices for animal care, education, employee engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, customer service, community engagement and partnerships and overall excellence.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is currently accredited by the ZAA, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and is certified by American Humane. The Zoo is currently enrolled in the AZA’s Pathway towards membership program and anticipates applying for AZA accreditation in 2023.


The newly created position of VP of Education & Community Engagement exercises considerable authority and direct responsibility in the overall management and direction of the conservation education staff, educational programming, and interactions with the surrounding communities in a manner which continues the Zoo’s leadership on a national level. The VP of Education & Community Engagement will ensure that the goals and objectives established by the Pittsburgh Zoo in support of its mission and strategic plan are met both at the Zoo and the Zoo’s 1,000 acre off sight facility (ICC). Responsibilities include personnel hiring, training and evaluation, budget development and management, departmental strategic planning, participation in site and facility planning, program development and implementation, assistance in development and fundraising activities, professional networking, public relations and public speaking, and collaborating with other institutions and organizations. This is a Senior Leadership position which reports to the President & CEO and may be required to serve as on-site supervisor for the entire facility.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Helming a collaborative process between the education and community engagement departments and other departments in the zoo to further the zoo’s mission;
  • Provide leadership to the department in the form of long-range planning;
  • Work with senior leadership on strategy for the organization;
  • Hires, supervises and monitors performance of all education staff;
  • Oversees the development of formal programs for schools and teachers;
  • Oversees the development of informal programming for Zoo members, community groups and general Zoo visitors;
  • Attend community meetings representing the zoo;
  • Develop programming and projects for the zoo to partner with surrounding communities;
  • Prepares and manages departmental budgets, tracks expenses and writes reports;
  • Provides leadership to staff and teachers;
  • Monitors all animal care aspects of the ambassador animal collection;
  • Supervises assistant curator, education specialists, reservations coordinator, aides and kid science coordinator.
  • Develops goal and projects for the department;
  • Advances the goals in the zoo’s strategic plan;
  • Completes annual performance reviews for all staff in a timely manner;
  • Oversees development and implementation of special programming specific to the Zoo’s conservation partners such as Polar Bears International and Seafood Watch program;
  • Works with assistant curator to monitor staff performance and document any necessary disciplinary action.
  • Attends weekly animal management meetings and department head meetings as required;
  • Work with Development department to apply for grants, track fund expenditures as needed;
  • Works with Creative Services department to develop interpretive and other signage for exhibits;
  • Actively participates in spring and fall staff retreats;
  • Live the core values of the institution

Other Functions:

  • Occasionally serves as zoo senior supervisor on weekends and holidays.
  • Develops and coordinates safety effort within the department;
  • Must be an active member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
  • Performs all other duties as assigned and directed.

Performance Factors:

  • Attendance and Dependability: The employee can be depended on to report to work at the scheduled time and is seldom absent from work. The employee can be depended upon to complete work in a timely, accurate, and thorough manner and is conscientious about assignments.
  • Communication and Contact: The employee communicates effectively both verbally and in writing with superiors, colleagues, and individuals inside and outside the Zoological Society.
  • Relationships with Others: The employee works effectively and relates well with others including superiors, colleagues, and individuals inside and outside the Zoological Society. Exhibits a professional manner in dealing with others, and works to maintain constructive working relationships.
  • Provides excellent customer service in the areas of guest relations and park beautification:
    • Answers visitor inquiries or finds someone who can;
    • Is knowledgeable of the location of exhibits, restrooms, concessions, rentals, etc.
    • Disposes of litter and waste throughout the park and zoo facilities.


Experience and Education

Position requires a Bachelor of Science degree in education, zoology or a related field or equivalent experience.  Minimum of seven years’ experience in conservation education or related field in a supervisory capacity is required.  Valid PA driver’s license (within 6 months of hire) and Act 33 and 34 clearances and FBI clearances are required.

Skills and Aptitudes

1. Knowledge of:

  • Principles of education across all age groups
  • Various methods of community engagement
  • Conservation issues and zoology
  • Budget planning

2. Demonstrated ability to train, lead, supervise, and direct the work of others.

3. Ability to:

  • Plan, organize and supervise a diverse staff of educators.
  • Provide input on exhibit designs in relation to its educational features.
  • Maintain effective working relationships with other departments, staff, professionals from other zoo organizations, and the general public.
  • Prioritize and delegate work.
  • Communicate effectively both oral and written.
  • Standardize operations across the department.

4. Computer skills – Fluency in Microsoft Office.

Preferred Experience

  • Bilingual

Physical Requirements:

Position is located primarily in an office setting, with exposure to outside weather conditions.  Must be available to work evenings, weekends and holidays, as well as travel locally and out of town as required.  Position involves working with education animals and requires some pushing, pulling, carrying, lifting, walking, talking, bending, stooping, etc.

Current Covid vaccinations required.


Submit resume, cover letter, and pay rate requirements to:

Zoological Society of Pittsburgh
Human Resources Department
One Wild Place
Pittsburgh, PA  15206