Education Specialist

General Statement of Duties

An employee in this position is responsible for the year-round implementation of the on-site and community-based education programs and for providing exceptional husbandry for the ambassador animal collection at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History. Programming and animal care occurs on weekdays, weekends, holidays, evenings and overnights. This position reports directly to the Education Services Manager.

General Responsibilities

Maintain an enthusiastic, self-reliant and self-starting approach to job responsibilities and accountability. Strive to anticipate workload and initiate proper acceptable direction for the completion of work with a minimum of supervision or instruction.


  • Present a variety of Education programs for a wide range of ages and audiences. Utilize appropriate techniques to engage and educate participants, based on age, interest, and learning abilities.
  • Establish and maintain effective and cooperative relationships with teachers and informal educators, students, volunteers, and visitors in all types of programming and special events. Communicate with appropriate contacts to schedule Education department programming.
  • Prepare program attendance reports, invoices, master calendar listings and routine correspondence with regard to the Zoo and Museum in a timely fashion.
  • Work closely with the Education Services Manager, Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator, Education Specialists, and seasonal Education staff to ensure effective planning, preparation, and execution of all Education programs, including camps, early childhood programs, overnights, on-grounds programming and outreach.
  • Develop lesson plans for programs for all grade levels and align lessons with cross-curriculum components in accordance with both South Dakota and national standards. Work in coordination with the Education Services Manager and Education Specialists with ideas, comments, evaluations tools and suggestions for future program development.
  • Demonstrate teamwork and coordination when dealing with other departments including facilities, guest services, volunteers, and animal care.
  • Duties may include supervision and/or coordination of the Zoo’s Junior Zookeeper program, as well as training, scheduling, and communicating with teen, adult, and group volunteers.

Animal Care

  • Perform all husbandry-related duties for the education animal collection including cleaning and diet preparation; maintaining enclosures in a clean and presentable condition at all times; providing training and enrichment appropriately.
  • Observe the animal collection for any signs of illness, lethargy, injury, or dietary problems and report any problems to the Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator, Education Services Manager or Senior Director of Animal Programs. Assist the Veterinarian in routine animal examinations and medicate animals with any prescribed treatments.
  • Work with the Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator to train and maintain husbandry and show behaviors for the education animal collection in order to ensure their safe program use. Maintain accurate records of animal husbandry, enrichment, and training.
  • Follow all protocols and procedures to ensure that all education animals are maintained in a safe and secure environment when cleaning, training and conducting programs.

Additional Duties

  • Work with the Education Services Manager on maintaining the collection and interpretive materials for the Delbridge Museum of Natural History.
  • Assist with cleaning, inspecting, and cataloging of museum artifacts.
  • Work weekends, evening, overnights, and holidays as required.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned by the Education Services Manager or other Sr. Management staff.

Education, Experience and Qualifications

Requires a college degree in biological sciences, education or related field. Experience presenting informal or formal education programs and experience caring for animals is required. Applicable experience may be considered in place of degree requirement. Requires a valid driver’s license.


Must be comfortable with children of all ages, adults, and animals while speaking to groups of various sizes and ages.  Manual dexterity is necessary to carefully handle a variety of education animals and museum artifacts. Requires knowledge of Windows based software and the ability to produce written materials for various publications and marketing tools.

Health and Safety

Must be able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds. Must pass a background check prior to employment. Must be negative on an annual TB test. Must be certified in CPR and emergency first aid.

To apply, send a cover letter and resume to:

Lisa Smith, Senior Director of Animal Programs
Great Plains Zoo
805 S. Kiwanis Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Position open until filled.