Share Email Opening

Vice President, Learning and Innovation 


The Woodland Park zoo is seeking a Vice President for Learning and Innovation to advance the mission and vision of the organization. The Vice President oversees and directs the development and implementation of a diverse and innovative suite of life-wide and lifelong learning programs and engagement experiences that support conservation of the world’s wildlife. This position leads the engagement of audiences at the zoo and beyond, through informal learning opportunities and behavioral engagement that promote social change and environmental conservation action. 

Reporting to the President and CEO and serving as a member of the zoo’s executive leadership team, this position is critical in developing and executing strategies to guide the Learning & Innovation team and to further the mission of the zoo and driving social change for conservation of our natural world.


  • Drive a strong social innovation thread across all programming by expanding access to, and engagement in, scientific inquiry for all audiences, inside and outside the zoo, and particularly for underserved communities in the greater Seattle area.
  • Continue to expand our framework for outcome-driven social innovation programs, while implementing and monitoring quantifiable impacts for our strategic and operational plans.
  • Provide leadership and vision to Learning & Innovation staff, zoo-wide staff and volunteers and the Board of Directors regarding the development of innovative, creative, fun and effective learning programming.
  • Serve as chief spokesperson for the department. Make personal appearances and presentations to various media, organizations, educational and corporate entities, funders, and others.
  • Work in coordination with the Development Department and the CEO to advance the learning and innovation agenda of Woodland Park Zoo, including the development of proposals, cultivation efforts and garnering government and foundation support.
  • Partner with President and CEO and work closely with the Development team and others to raise funds to meet zoo goals. Continue to nurture a culture of revenue among all Learning & Innovation Department managers.
  • Develop and administer the Learning & Innovation Department’s budget, (subject to strict fiscal budgetary discipline). Monitor grant budgets and grantee expenditures. Maximize net revenues for earned income programs.
  • Oversee signature programs, including the Ace for Wildlife collaborative network, the Empathy Collaborative, our comprehensive volunteer initiatives, and various community engagement programs, distance learning and visitor engagement opportunities.
  • Oversee the volunteer program, including the expansion of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives for audiences, learners and volunteers. Explore new and innovative ways to engage volunteers virtually and across multiple channels.
  • Serve as an active participant and lead as needed, in multi-departmental teams that advance issues related to learning, conservation, innovation, exhibit development and revenue.
  • Stay current with, and promote implementation of the latest informal science education, conservation psychology, audience research, behavior change and other relevant professional developments.
  • Articulate and translate a vision and strategy in a way that inspires and motivates resources and people, and focuses energy on achieving our strategic plan.
  • Build a positive image and create public awareness of and interest in Woodland Park Zoo.
  • Foster strong relationships with key institutions, individuals, and stakeholders to harness support and create a positive environment for Woodland Park Zoo and enhance the organization’s impact.
  • Work in close cooperation with local, national and international institutions, professional networks and communities to develop joint social innovation, wildlife conservation and science education programs.
  • Collaborate and participate within AZA, AAM and other professional networks to advance our strategic plan and social change outcomes.
  • Partner with President and CEO and other leadership team members in engaging the Board of Directors, and particularly in driving the Conservation and Education Committee of the Board.
  • Establish and maintain a strong, effective partnership with Board members to foster a culture of collaboration, cooperation, and consultation. Prepare materials for the Board.
  • Stay abreast of important trends (including business competitive, technological, social, and economic) that could potentially affect the organization.


  • Deep awareness of the organization’s core capabilities and vulnerabilities; understanding of the industry, its related industries, and the competition; must have specific strategies to gain competitive advantage. 
  • Develop a clear vision that follows the zoo’s strategic plan.  Maintain a long-term, big-picture view of the organization and identify future needs and opportunities.  Anticipate the evolution and future of the industry and how the organization must adapt to these changes in order to sustain competitive advantage. 
  • Clearly communicate the organization’s vision and goals; excite and energize people behind the vision and direction, build consensus and collaboration. 
  • Partner with the President and CEO on all operational and strategic issues as they arise; provide strategic recommendations to the President based on analysis and projections.  Participate in the ongoing strategic planning process as an integral member of the executive leadership team.  Engage all members of the executive leadership team to align operational management with short and long-term planning and projections.


  • Leverage complex systems of people and processes, create connections and align them with vision and strategy.  Envision and drive changes and sponsor and support changes championed by others. Drive continuous improvement in all organizational processes and services.  Establish appropriate performance measures to ensure organizational success.
  • Leverage constructive and effective relationships with team and leaders within the organization. Provide regular management reporting that will assist in guiding daily business.


  • An agile leader with a balance of strategic and tactical leadership experience
  • Must have coaching and mentoring experience to develop employees.  Ability to identify appropriate levels of resources and talent needed to meet objectives.
  • Create an environment of enthusiasm and excellence by communicating high expectations and fostering optimistic, positive attitudes about people and their work in the organization. 
  • Carry out managerial responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws.
  • Provide leadership and oversight over assigned functions, staff, projects and daily operations.
  • Provide effective and inspiring leadership, as well as stewardship, to the organization by being actively involved in all operations. Promote regular and ongoing opportunities for all staff to give feedback regarding operations.
  • Ability to operate in a Labor Union environment within the framework of a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • Prepare and deliver employee performance evaluations, appropriate disciplinary actions and documentation of excellent work performance to assure a mutual understanding of goals and progress towards ever improving professional achievement.


  • Masters of Education (M.A.) degree or equivalent degree from a nationally accredited college or university and at least 10 years relevant work experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience with progressively higher management and executive level leadership responsibility is required.
  • Valid Washington State Driver’s License required with 90 days of hire.
  • Ability to create an environment of diversity and respect, dignity and entrepreneurial spirit while constantly promoting organization’s vision, culture and mission both internally and externally.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of audiences including all levels within the organization, external leaders, community organizers, scientists, peers, and the zoo community at large.
  • Ability to operate and lead in a Labor Union environment with a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Familiarity with asset-based, participatory design and/or social impact design approaches to community development and volunteerism. Track record of building authentic relationships with racial, socio-economic, and gender diverse communities. High cultural competency and humility and the ability to train others to become more culturally competent.
  • Understands the roles and contributions of all sectors of the community and can mobilize resources (financial and human) through meaningful engagement.
  • Knowledge of current relevant theories and best practices in community building, outreach, community relations, capacity building, convening and meeting facilitation
  • A solid understanding of, or direct experience working collaboratively with, individuals from all sectors of the community and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Identifies, cultivates, and maintains relationships with community leaders, organizations, and networks that expand community engagement and programmatic efforts.
  • Dedicated to shared and measurable goals for the common good by creating, resourcing, scaling, and leveraging strategies and innovations for broad investment and impact.
  • An understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias; and a genuine commitment to equity and inclusion.
  • Experience in development of free-choice learning programs and curriculum development in an informal setting required. Free-choice and/or science education in a zoo or museum preferred.
  • Experience in driving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across various learning environments strongly preferred.
  • Familiarity with and direct experience in, development of distance/technology-based learning and other recent innovations in non-formal education.
  • Ability to clearly articulate a vision of the zoo’s responsibility and opportunity for wildlife conservation, social innovation and change; and provide leadership to mobilize staff, board, and donor support for that vision.
  • A demonstrated record of operating results proving an ability to plan, organize and direct work programs in an effective manner, and to supervise and evaluate staff members as well as volunteers.
  • Ability to lead teams in solving problems, setting priorities, meeting deadlines and implementing programs.
  • Excellent written and verbal English communications skills to include persuasive writing and negotiations.
  • Possess a customer service orientation.
  • Ability to lead and work individually as a part of a team. Operate in a constantly changing environment, with a minimum of supervision.
  • Inspire, motivate, and marshal resources throughout entire organization.
  • Ability to experiment and cultivate the creative ideas of others, make connections between ideas, and project potential outcomes. Enjoys the challenge of unfamiliar opportunities.
  • Ability to design and manage multiple projects simultaneously, setting deadlines and ensuring program accountability.
  • Commitment to the mission of the zoo and the organization’s core values.


  • This position may be required to lift up to 30lbs.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to perform essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to a typical office environment and/or outdoor weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. While under COVID-19 restrictions, this position may start out as working remotely but it is typically a full time on grounds position.   

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid WA driver's license (or the ability to obtain one within 90 days of hire). A criminal background check and driving record review will be required of the selected applicants.

Application Directions: Applications are accepted online through our Jobs Page at; no other forms of application will be accepted. Cover letter and resume are required. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in application and employment for any reason, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, age, disability or medical status including genetic information, and/or veteran’s status.

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in all of its services. If you need accommodation in the application or interview process, please contact our recruiting team at

Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
Exempt/Non-Exempt Exempt  
Req Number LEA-20-00003  
EOE Statement Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in application and employment for any reason, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, age, disability or medical status including genetic information, and/or veteran’s status.

This position is currently not accepting applications.

To search for an open position, please go to


Other Jobs Within Same Category
Advanced Inquiry Program Instructor in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 4/19/2021
[Apply Now]

Camps Coordinator in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 3/6/2021
[Apply Now]

Camp Instructor Lead in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 2/23/2021
[Apply Now]

Camp Instructor in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 2/23/2021
[Apply Now]

Evaluation Specialist in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 2/11/2021
[Apply Now]

Other Jobs Within 60 Miles
Evaluation Specialist in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 2/11/2021
[Apply Now]

Camp Instructor Lead in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 2/23/2021
[Apply Now]

Camp Instructor in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 2/23/2021
[Apply Now]

Camps Coordinator in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 3/6/2021
[Apply Now]

Advanced Inquiry Program Instructor in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 4/19/2021
[Apply Now]


Click here for technical assistance.