Program Director, Explainers

October 4, 2019
San Francisco, CA
Job Type
Pier 17 The Embarcadero, Ste 100
Contact Name (not public)
Stephanie Reina



The Director of Explainers is a key leadership position within the Exploratorium, and reports directly to the Senior Director of Visitor Experience. This position has oversight of two core programs, The High School Explainer Program and the Field Trip Explainer Program, which directly impact our visitors and employ teens and adults. The ideal candidate will have a passion for teaching and learning; enthusiasm for working with people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities; the vision to lead and innovate programs; and the desire to create unique and meaningful learning experiences in a museum setting.

About the High School Explainer Program: The High School Explainer program is an integrated work and learning experience for Bay Area high school aged students. Explainers began serving as museum docents in 1969, when the Exploratorium opened its doors to the public. High School Explainers are the Exploratorium’s youngest employees, every year 120+ students engage visitors at exhibits, lead tinkering activities and on-floor demonstrations, and run many museum operations. Some are interested in science; all have a spark for learning new things.

About the Field Trip Explainer Program: The Field Trip Explainer program works to support Field Trip Audiences when they visit the Exploratorium, through orientations and floor facilitation. Field Trip Explainers are a group of experienced educators who love working with kids. While they are at the Exploratorium, they work to develop their skills as educators through extensive training and reflective practice.


Strategy and Program Direction

  • Develop the strategic direction for the Exploratorium’s facilitated programs, which include Field Trip Explainers and High School Explainers who also lead on-floor Tinkering activities.

  • Lead efforts to align operations and management of facilitated programs.

  • Develop high-quality goals for each program, evaluate and identify new program metrics and impact measures.

  • Collaborate with Senior Director of Visitor Experience and other leaders to improve all aspects of the visitor experience.

Management and Leadership

  • Lead and mentor two teams consisting of 4 managers, and 4 program staff, towards a collaborative approach to enacting best practices in youth development, workforce development and audience engagement,

  • Oversee the management of 120+ High School Explainers, and 22+ Field Trip Explainers, and the Tinkering Facilitator.

  • Foster a culture of experimentation, learning, and creativity that attracts, inspires, and motivates a diverse staff.

  • Develop staffing plans and oversee departments’ recruiting, hiring, and training. Conduct ongoing needs analysis for training practices and develop new training strategies as needed.

  • Work closely with the Administrative Director to develop and manage budgets (4MM), tracking expenses, and revenue.

  • Maintain involvement with professional associations and activities to stay current with best practices and developments in the field.

  • Ability to work nights and weekends as needed.


  • Identify and review grant opportunities; and participate in donor solicitations, grant writing, and grant stewardship in close collaboration with the Institutional Advancement Team.

  • Maintain and cultivate positive donor relations.

  • Lead the effort to ensure fulfillment of deliverables, documentation, evaluation, and reporting on all grant activities



  • Seven or more years’ experience in education, workforce or youth development

  • Five years’ experience in program management and supervision, preferably in a museum, informal science education institution, or related creative environment

  • Ability to articulate a vision for a program, lead it through implementation evaluation and success

  • Experience participating in donor relations and grant writing

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and highly effective interpersonal skills

  • Experience in designing and implementing training plans for informal educators

  • Ability to organize time effectively, set priorities, and to quickly shift focus and work successfully on multiple projects

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in developing inquiry-based learning experiences, preferably for public audiences

  • Knowledge of best practices within informal science education and youth development

  • Knowledge of inquiry-rich, constructivist-based educational pedagogies

  • Ability to make data-driven decisions

  • Experience managing a program budget of $500k+

  • Sensitivity to community issues and barriers, particularly those of underserved communities


Open until October 30, 2019 or until filled

How To Apply


This is a regular, full-time (37.5 hours per week), exempt position that includes benefits. Please, no phone calls in regards to this job. To apply, please visit the Exploratorium job page.

The Exploratorium is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity. We welcome and strongly encourage applicants from all backgrounds. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment.

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