Preschool Director

Lake Superior Zoo
Jobs - Full Time
Duluth, MN

Title:               Preschool Director                             Exempt/Non-Exempt:            Exempt

Supervisor:     Chief Executive Officer                      Employment Type:                 PT/FT

Revised:          July 2019                                           Hours:                                     Varies

Salary:             $15.00 - $18.00/hr DOQ


Summary: This position will provide administrative and educational leadership for the Lake Superior Zoo Preschool. This includes supervising staff, setting and monitoring goals, managing resources, and creating successful educational programming that meets or exceeds applicable standards. The Preschool Director must believe in and support the Lake Superior Zoological Society’s mission and organizational culture and must be a valuable and contributing member of the zoo team. It is anticipated that this position will be part time from September 9, 2019 to December 31, 2019 and full time throughout 2020. Beginning in calendar year 2021 the position will be full time for 10 months, with the option to negotiate part or full time in the summer. We anticipate opening a nature-based preschool for up to 20 children in September, 2020.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all day to day operations of the LSZ Preschool
  • Coordinate educational activities with LSZ Director of Education
  • Hire, train, schedule, and supervise all assigned staff
  • Accomplish necessary licensing and certifications in anticipation of September 2020 school opening
    • Design policies, forms and procedures
    • Design and set up classroom space
    • Purchase supplies as needed within annual budget
  • Plan, assess, and continually improve the school curriculum in both indoor and outdoor settings
  • Assure the safety, well-being, and healthy development of all enrolled children
  • Assure compliance with all applicable regulations. Be aware of and responsive to non-regulated best practices relative to the industry
  • Assure regular and effective maintenance and cleaning of the preschool space
  • Lead the public relations and marketing efforts for the school in coordination with LSZ Director of Marketing
  • Serve as a Lead Teacher as assigned
  • Engage regularly, positively and proactively with parents, preschool staff, zoo staff and zoo volunteers
  • Prepare and manage the annual operating budget for the preschool
  • Serve as a member of the senior management team
  • Serve as a substitute teacher for preschool and other zoo classes as needed
  • Assure all preschool activities are in compliance with Lake Superior Zoo policies and procedures
  • Other duties as assigned

Other Responsibilities:

  • Build working relationships with other organizations to explore partnership opportunities and ways that the preschool can grow as a community asset
  • As a member of the zoo’s senior management team, collaborate to achieve short- and long-term zoo-wide goals; advocate for visitor’s interests, needs and abilities; prepare reports for and attend meetings of the Board of Directors as requested
  • Participate in management and staff meetings to represent the interests and accomplishments of preschool staff
  • Support, develop, and implement sustainability initiatives and environmentally responsible practices within the preschool
  • Encourage all staff to develop and maintain environmentally responsible behaviors such that daily operations and activities are conducted in ways that minimize negative impacts on the environment
  • Participate in LSZ emergency drills – ensure safety of assigned staff and children as directed


Education, Experience & License Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from an accredited college or university required; advanced degree preferred
  • At least 5 years of experience in early childhood education; management experience at a licensed preschool preferred
  • Active interest in the natural world, conservation of animals, and a strong desire/commitment to use that as a central theme of the preschool
  • Preference of experience with teaching/designing nature-based curriculum
  • Demonstrated skills in planning, personnel management, budgeting and working as a team member
  • Possession of and ability to maintain a legal driver’s license and liability insurance
  • Ability to satisfactorily pass a background and criminal check
  • CPR/First Aid certifications (or ability to obtain)

Skill and Ability Requirements:

  • Strong skills in verbal communication and public speaking
  • Strong skills in written communication with attention to detail
  • Ability to offer positive and constructive criticism to staff
  • Ability to comfortably and effectively interact with and manage individuals of varying ages, ethnicities, experiences and abilities
  • Ability to act in a professional manner, maintain confidentiality, and possess a positive attitude
  • Ability to garner respect, support and cooperation from staff, volunteers, Board members, parents, and the public
  • Ability to prioritize and organize work, handle multiple concurrent assignments, meet deadlines, and problem solve
  • Ability to work as part of a team and independently
  • Self-motivated, organized and goal-orientated
  • Flexibility to work occasional evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Reliable and punctual attendance habits
  • Be interested and enthusiastic about the zoo

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to outdoor weather conditions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. Employees may be asked to work in physically close quarters. The noise level in the work environment can be higher than moderate based on the number of visitors at the zoo.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee is required to stand and stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, walk and stand for extended periods of time. The employee must occasionally lift and carry up to 30 pounds. The employee is occasionally required to carry and set up tables, chairs, boxes of supplies, and other necessary equipment. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, and the ability to adjust focus. Close vision is required to read paperwork and computer screens. Distance vision is necessary for supervising children outdoors and adequate crowd control.