Chief of Education

San Francisco, CA
Full Time
Senior Executive
Senior Executive

About the Opportunity
The Chief of Education (Roberts-Wilson Dean of Education) will provide visionary leadership, galvanize staff, and lead a lifelong learning and education strategy that brings together diverse voices, experts, and advocates for critical dialogue in support of the Academy’s strategic plan. Our new plan describes our transformation to a purpose-based organization that will focus beyond repairing and sustaining our ecosystems and climate. Instead, the Academy’s mission will center around Regeneration, which includes:

    1. Reversing biodiversity and habitat loss to fight climate change
    2. Restoring critical ecosystems—and our place within them
    3. Reshaping environmentalism to welcome diverse voices
    4. Remembering that we are part of, not apart from, the natural world

The Chief of Education also enables robust community engagement, fostering bold ideas that advance innovation, programming, and action toward a healthy, thriving future. This role oversees and builds upon the Academy’s extensive education programs, with an education team of 50 staff and ~500 volunteers. The CoE will report to the Managing Director and Chief of Strategic Partnerships and serve as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

Organizational Culture
As a public cultural institution dedicated to inquiry, exploration, and education, the Academy has a responsibility to critically assess how we benefit from and contribute to inequity. Beyond assessment, we need to act: By listening to, learning from, and lifting up the communities in our midst that suffer disproportionately from systemic racism, structural inequality, and environmental injustice, we can help everyone feel welcomed by science, not just an elite few.

The Academy strives to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and access at all levels of our organization, from our administrative offices and labs, to the museum floor, to research sites around the world.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) are more than just Academy core values—they are requirements for protecting and regenerating our planet. By ensuring that all people, especially Black, Indigenous, Mixed-race People of Color (BIMPOC), LGBTQ+, women, and people with disabilities, feel safe and welcome as staff, guests, and partners, we nurture the new ideas and fresh perspectives that will help us fight climate change, stop biodiversity loss, and inspire current and future scientists, activists, and educators.

Reflecting, Assessing, Listening
After police violence against African Americans and racist attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islanders roiled the nation in 2020 and 2021, the Academy invited Momentum Collaborative to assess our DEIA efforts by hosting a series of surveys, interviews, and workshops between January 2021 and April 2022. Often difficult, always illuminating, the conversations facilitated by Momentum brought our institutional blind spots to light and created a safe space for staff to air grievances, share stories, and find common ground.

Making science anti-racist
As a leading scientific institution, the Academy must cultivate an inclusive environment to conduct, share, and champion diversity in science for staff, visitors, and the global community. Read the statement drafted by scientists within our Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS), along with updates on our progress toward making science equitable and actively anti-racist at the Academy—and within the scientific community—now and in the future.

Join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values!  We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every one of the qualifications for the position.

This position is based in San Francisco, California. Staff are currently expected to work from the Academy offices at least 2-3 times per week, which may fluctuate based on business needs. Please do not apply if you are not able to work onsite. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

About the Education and Learning Division
The Education and Learning Division is responsible for leading the Academy’s extensive education and engagement programs.  Each year this team reaches hundreds of thousands of students and youth, thousands of educators, and 1.3 million museum guests —plus millions more online. Made up of three departments focusing on teacher professional development and student education, youth development, out-of-school youth activities, and museum guest engagement and volunteer programs, this division also oversees several museum spaces, including an outdoor education space, an early childhood space, and a hands-on interactive science space.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide visionary leadership to the Academy’s education strategy, including the execution of the environmental learning pathways within the strategic initiatives.
  • Ensure that the Academy’s educational deliverables are effectively focused on the Academy’s purpose of regenerating the natural world.
  • Strengthen science and environmental learning accessibility, delivery, and leadership on both the local and national levels.
  • Inspire and empower the next generation of scientific thinkers and environmental stewards through youth learning and engagement.
  • Lead the division to fulfill the institution’s 5-year strategic plan, steward existing successful programs, and initiate new projects.
  • Align public engagement and education programming with the institution’s mission, core values, strategic initiatives, advocacy efforts, and DEIA and anti-racism work.
  • Ensure the Academy’s education teams have adequate resources to create programming that centers the learner, aligns with education standards, attract positive press, and earns recognition from public and academic communities.
  • Strategize with Education division directors to balance online and in-person offerings that maximize impact and respond to the evolving needs of our audiences.
  • Provide thought leadership to the Director of Public Programs & Academy Volunteers to support their creation of a long-term volunteer engagement strategy for all divisions within the Academy.
  • Serve as spokesperson for the division; represent to funders the complete portfolio of education programs and resources.
  • Cultivate relationships with state and national government agencies to enhance the fundraising capacity of the Academy. This may include the California Department of Education, state senators, congressional representatives, federal agencies, etc.
  • Collaborate with the philanthropy and government affairs teams to raise funds for the Academy’s programs, including community engagement programs and education initiatives, securing multi-year funding whenever possible.
  • Partner with the Academy’s finance and philanthropy teams to continue to meet or exceed revenue goals, develop annual forecasts, and manage expense budgets.



  • A minimum of ten (10) years of progressive leadership and management experience in the Education field, including collaborating, unifying, motivating, and influencing a diverse population of community groups, government agencies, internal staff and volunteers, and other partners and developing and mentoring division directors
  • A minimum of five (5) years of experience working in formal or informal science education
  • Degree or academic background in education
  • A minimum of five (5) years of experience with fundraising and complex budget management


  • Academic or professional experience in museum studies or a similar field
  • Strong knowledge and demonstrated leadership experience in the areas of racial and social justice



  • Passion for the Academy’s mission, vision, values, and strategy
  • Strong understanding of how people learn; asset-based view of education
  • Proven experience engaging in deep listening with staff and with communities 
  • Cultural humility, awareness of racial and environmental justice issues, and sensitivity to the lived experiences of people who have been historically excluded from science and museums
  • Exceptional interpersonal, public speaking, and writing skills; ability to inspire and influence diverse colleagues and partners
  • Leadership skills and the ability to demonstrate and lead on values, initiatives, and culture of the organization
  • Demonstrated experience partnering and networking with communities and organizations for change


  • Experience with collective impact initiatives
  • Collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities
  • Cultural fluency and connections with the Bay Area and/or California communities

Physical Environment: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions. Ability to perform repetitive motions 75% of the time.

Compensation and Benefits
The Academy offers a generous total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits. The hiring range for this role is $220,000 - $240,000. Offers are based on the candidate’s years of experience and the practice of maintaining salary equity within the California Academy of Sciences.

Review of applications will begin on April 1, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled.

Please upload your resume and complete the brief online application

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity, status, and gender expression), religion (all aspects of religious beliefs, observance or practice including religious dress or grooming practices), reproductive health decision-making, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


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