Director, Early Learning
Job Details
Discovery Place, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
Full Time
Up to 50%
Week days and weekends


Summary: Oversees and leads the experience development and quality control of early childhood educational framework, learning experiences and initiatives to serve children ages 0-8, caregivers and families at Discovery Place KIDS (DPK) museums. Serves as a content expert in early childhood literacy as well as science, math, engineering and technology for young children. Implements new and current sources of funding for educational initiatives while integrating and developing current talents and resources to further the companys early childhood agenda locally and regionally.



Diversity and Inclusion: As an organization that holds equity and innovation as core to its mission and vision leaders are expected to embrace and embody Commitment to organizations values. By leveraging this commitment, leaders are successful in cultivating a team who seamlessly become change agents showing respect, sensitivity and value for cultural differences, and thriving in diverse and inclusive environments. Leaders are also encouraged to demonstrate:

  • Courage to challenge entrenched organizational attitudes and practices that yield homogeneity,
  • Cognizance of bias, their own as well as others,
  • Curiosity and Cultural intelligence, the open-mindedness and passion for learning and better understanding your own culture and those of others and interrogating the status quo, especially practices and perspectives of difference, and
  • Collaboration, creating an environment in which team members feel empowered to contribute leveraging each others diverse knowledge and capabilities for the ultimate progression of Discovery Places mission and positive impact working alongside community.



Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.


Leadership (40%)

  • Participates in institutional strategic planning and management to determine and implement vision, goals, priorities and scope of education experiences in early learning for Discovery Place KIDS (DPK).


  • Maintains current working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field of early learning education in areas of child development and family learning.


  • Serves as the knowledge expert in early learning for Discovery Place, exhibits, projects and initiatives; at times, working collaboratively across the organization to develop and advance early learning experiences.


  • Develops, mentors and trains managers, specialists and facilitators at all DPK museums to provide exceptional and consistent educational experiences and personal leadership within and on behalf of the organization. Responsible for establishing and maintain high quality experiences.


  • Champions and leads the growth and development of early learning professional development experiences. Facilitates experiences for museum staff as appropriate.


Experience Development and Implementation (35%)

  • Directs the development of early learning/early literacy content and the delivery of experiences and services for children and their families/caregivers at DPKs.


  • Directs the research, development and application of new educational programming and exhibits and manages the design and development of all curriculum-based programs, onsite (DPK) and in the community.


  • Leads the assessment of early learning experiences, events and content, as well as the development of new content and special programs/events; including those offered in conjunction with exhibitions.


Early Learning Community (10%)

  • Contributes to building relationships with community groups, organizations, school systems, and others to increase awareness of the institution as an educational resource. Contributes to the development of community collaborations and partnerships to develop and extend organization programs and audiences.


  • Leverages professional experience and stature in the museum and/or educational field for the long-term benefit of Discovery Place. This includes positively representing the company locally, regionally and nationally as required.


Administration (15%)

  • In collaboration with the Grants Manager, develops and prepares the scope of work for grants and manages the execution of grants and contracts that support these experiences and leads efforts to grow opportunities with new audiences. Manages the implementation of initiatives funded as a result of successful applications.


  • Works with other departments (marketing, sales, advancement, science & nature, graphics, exhibits/facilities) to develop and grow relationships with early learning organizations and programs/experiences to deepen relationships and increase impact.


  • Contributes to the development and oversight of department budgets - revenues and expenses and collaborates with leadership to identify funding sources to support education activities, programs, and materials.



Visionary Leadership - Displays passion and optimism; Inspires respect and trust; Mobilizes others to fulfill the vision; Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates.


Leadership - Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Inspires respect and trust; Accepts feedback from others; Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates; Gives appropriate recognition to others; Displays passion and optimism; Mobilizes others to fulfill the vision.


Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.


Judgment - Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.


Strategic Thinking and Management - Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals including adapting strategies to dynamic conditions. Understands organization's strengths & weaknesses and appropriately aligns ones work with museum and strategic goals. Consistently looks for ways to improve and promote high quality.


Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.


Business Acumen - Understands business implications of decisions; Displays orientation to profitability; Demonstrates knowledge of market and competition; Aligns work with strategic goals.


Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Benefits organization through outside activities; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.




  • Master's degree (MA/MEd.) in early childhood education with a strong experience in science; museum education experience is preferred. Bachelors degree required.
  • Minimum of six years of direct and/or closely related experience in a museum setting; or equivalent combination of education and experience. Prior experience leading teams of people and supervising people and projects is required.
  • High level of ethics, integrity, professional maturity and sound judgment.
  • Sense of humor, creativity and an appreciation of the role of philanthropy in building community.
  • Passion for and belief in Discovery Places mission, vision and values.
  • Problem solving and decision-making skills in dynamic environments; ability to adapt, plan for and manage multiple projects in a fast-paced setting.
  • Highly motivated, action-oriented self-starter with strong organizational skills, especially planning and coordination. Ability to excel in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication (oral and written) skills. Ability to work with all levels of leadership, donors, and others with poise, to garner respect, to demonstrate confidence and communicate with candor.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with departmental team, museum directors and staff and Chief Learning Officer.
  • Proven ability to work as a team player with diverse groups of people and excellence in managing and developing teams.
  • Excellent time and project management skills as evidenced by a proven ability to efficiently and effectively handle multiple tasks at the same time as well as appropriate delegation.
  • Experience managing budgets, including grant management.
  • Excellent skills and experience with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook; and related software.
  • Availability to work outside of traditional business hours, to travel locally and occasionally regionally and nationally.


Skills and other Competencies defined:

To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations.
  • Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; Plans for additional resources; Sets goals and objectives; Develops realistic action plans.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Able to read and interpret written information.
  • Interpersonal - Focuses on solving conflict; Maintains confidentiality. Keeps emotions under control. Remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
  • Guests Service - Manages difficult or emotional guests, members and internal team members (stakeholders) situations. Responds promptly to stakeholders needs; Solicits feedback to improve service. Meets commitments.
  • Teamwork - Balances team and individual responsibilities; Exhibits objectivity and openness to others' views; Gives and welcomes feedback; Contributes to building a positive team spirit; Puts success of team above own interests; Supports everyone's efforts to succeed.
  • Project Management - Develops project plans; Coordinates projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and budget; Manages project team activities.
  • Delegation - Delegates work assignments; Matches the responsibility to the person; Gives authority to work independently; Sets expectations and monitors delegated activities; Provides recognition for results.
  • Managing People - Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; Takes responsibility for subordinates' (whether by authority or by influence) activities; Makes self available to staff; Provides regular and timely performance feedback; Develops subordinates' skills and encourages growth; Solicits and applies customer feedback (internal and external); Fosters quality focus in others; Improves processes, products and services; Continually works to improve supervisory skills.



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.


The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include Close vision, Distance vision, Peripheral vision, Depth perception and Ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to manipulate objects, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl and talk or hear.



The foregoing description is not intended and should not be construed to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities of this job. Other duties may be assigned.