You are here

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden-DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION-Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:17pm



Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
1800 Lakeside ave
Richmond, , VA 23228

Employment Type

Job Categories

Job Details

Job Description 

Our next Director of Education will be an energetic, capable, intuitive, and collaborative leader, who inspires innovative and creative thinking among staff to perpetuate and accelerate excellence in the Garden’s formal and informal educational programs, events, exhibitions, and partnerships. The successful candidate will delight in motivating and being part of a successful team that strives to engage our diverse community ever more fully. The Director of Education will be a cheerful and approachable servant leader, a tireless advocate for mission balanced with an appreciation of finite resources. The successful candidate will be adept at assessing and the strengths of team members, promoting their professional aspirations, and encouraging their best possible efforts.

The Director of Education is responsible for managing:

Formal and informal education programs at the Garden, the Reserve, and in the wider community
Seasonal exhibitions
16 full-time equivalent employees and 16,000+ hours of unpaid support from Garden volunteers
Training and development of paid and unpaid staff
Planning work by the education team in preparation for expanded gardens and facilities
Assigned budget
Thorough integration of education department into mission, goals, and objectives of entire Garden in support of our local community

Duties & Responsibilities 

Position Description
The Director of Education reports to the Executive Director, and oversees a department of 15 year-round and ten seasonal staff. The department’s responsibility is to devise and deliver programs and exhibitions to engage visitors of all backgrounds and all ages—from toddlers to seniors—in active experiential learning, where first-hand experience and observation of the natural world help to build knowledge, expand awareness, and encourage attitudes of stewardship. The educational program framework is organized broadly into five topical categories: lifelong learning, personal enrichment, applied ecology, sustainable horticulture, and the urban landscape. The program seeks to find new and innovative ways to engage all our guests, to help them understand all they are seeing and sensing, and how that relates to the changing world around them.

Leadership and Interpersonal Relations
• Serves on Garden’s leadership team, participates in long range planning and the design and implementation of programs and projects
• Determines annual budget needs, authorizes budget expenditures, manages assigned budgets, and provides periodic reports to Comptroller and Executive Director
• Embraces the Garden’s commitment to excellence in horticultural display and guest services, willingly and cheerfully integrating work of education and exhibitions department with the efforts of other departments
• Works with Board of Directors, board committees and Garden patrons and allies
• Collaborates with Advancement to support fundraising and stewardship initiatives related to educational objectives, and with PR/Marketing to more broadly share the Garden’s accomplishments, aspirations, and most importantly its stories on all platforms including social media
• Provides technical advice and educational consulting for community engagement and Beautiful RVA projects
• Pursues professional development and leadership opportunities in regional and national associations related to horticulture, garden and museum education, etc. (e.g., CVNLA, APGA)

Education, Exhibitions, and Interpretation
• Implements elements of the current strategic plan related to education and exhibitions “Interpret the natural world through innovative and authentic experiences that foster a sense of joy and wonder with children and adults alike, cultivating a lifelong love of nature.”
• Manages year-round program offerings and services for adults, youth, and children of all backgrounds, abilities, and skill levels, to include but not limited to
o Multiple adult workshops and classes
o Annual symposia and conferences
o Youth camps, classes, and service learning and leadership opportunities
o Garden tours and interpretation
o Library services and archives
o Regularly scheduled and pop-up events
• Ensures the design and implementation of innovative and effective informal education offerings Garden-wide, to include community days with over 10,000 guests
• Ensures curation of non-living collections
• Ensures design and execution of seasonal exhibitions and designated events of shorter duration that support the Garden’s mission, engage our community, and encourage visitation (e.g., Butterflies Live! and GardenFest of Lights)
• Cultivates and administers Garden’s collaborative programmatic partnerships with regional universities, museums, schools, governmental agencies, and green industry associations
• Devises, implements, and tracks metrics to ensure success of delivered programs and offerings

Supervision and Training
• Direct reports: Adult Education Coordinator, Children’s Education Manager, Exhibitions Manager, Librarian, and Group Tour Developer
• Interviews, assesses, screens, and hires candidates for direct report positions
• Trains, supervises, nurtures, encourages, assesses, and counsels subordinate leaders as well as other paid and unpaid staff in department
• Addresses and resolves personnel issues promptly, professionally, and appropriately
• Fosters teamwork and mentors staff members by modeling best practices alongside them
• Empowers staff by granting authority and autonomy whenever possible
• Designs, implements, and monitors intern training programs
• Teaches occasional classes as part of the Garden’s education program and provides internal training for Garden staff and volunteers
• With supervisor, establishes and implements safety and risk management programs and training
• Devises and implements proper inventory control measures
• Establishes professional and cordial relations with fellow professionals locally, regionally, and nationally
• Negotiates, manages, and administers mutually beneficial contracts and memoranda of understanding with vendors, adjunct faculty, and allied organizations (e.g., plant societies, garden clubs, etc.)

Each Employee of Lewis Ginter
• Must comply with provisions of the current Employee Handbook, all published personnel policies, and the requirements of their individual job descriptions
• Must conduct herself or himself and perform all duties in a manner consistent with a public garden serving multigenerational and multicultural individuals and families, and in accordance with directed practices and procedures
• Must be aware of surroundings and vigilant to threats to the safety of visitors, volunteers, and staff or to security of their property, ensuring that all concerns are reported promptly
• Must report all mishaps, injuries, and incidents immediately and ultimately in writing to supervisor(s) and to the Executive Director
• Must ensure compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations
• Must perform other duties as assigned by supervisor

Physical Demands/Working Conditions
• Must be able to lift 30 pounds occasionally
• Must be able to move around garden in all weather conditions
• Must be able to handle appropriate educational and horticultural tools

Note: Duties described above have been identified as essential functions as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Skills and Abilities
• Must be a seasoned, successful, intelligent, intuitive, and empathetic leader
• Must possess outstanding organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to be self-motivated and disciplined
• Must be goal-oriented with a bias to action, yet flexible and adaptable to the potential of unanticipated opportunities
• Must be able to communicate clearly, effectively, and comfortably in written and spoken word with staff and volunteers, individually or in groups
• Must possess a commitment to the Garden’s mission and its core values, particularly honesty and integrity
• Demonstrated ability with computers, Microsoft software programs, social media platforms, and curatorial software or other databases
• Must have access to a car on a daily basis and a valid state driver’s license or ability to transport self as needed
• Must successfully pass a criminal background check

Education and Experience 

Education and Experience
• Bachelor’s degree in horticulture, botany, science education, natural history, museum studies, or related field (advanced degree desirable)
• Minimum of three years’ experience successfully leading informal and formal education opportunities for diverse audiences
• Minimum of three years of successful nonprofit management or leadership experience in managing programs, projects, or exhibitions.
• Experience and demonstrated sensitivity in working with persons of varied backgrounds and abilities among volunteers and staff and within community
• Experience in public gardens or horticulture with an understanding of the history and current trends in garden or museum exhibitions and programs
• Demonstrated ability to support organization mission as defined by superiors with competence, energy, and tact
• Demonstrated ability to develop and work with peers, co-workers and volunteers
• Proven track record in designing and managing successful projects or programs
• Experience developing and managing budgets
• Other combinations of education/experience appropriate to the job will be considered.

Application Instructions 

To apply, please see the full Director of Education job description (PDF) and forward a resume and cover letter to Shane Tippett, Executive Director, at

Full Name 
Shane Tippett