Please see the full job description for more details on this position and other K-12 science education positions at Asombro.
Scope of Position: The nonprofit Asombro Institute for Science Education is seeking a science educator to fill a new position leading Asombro’s award-winning science education programs for middle and high school students. The Science Education Program Leader works with other staff members, professional scientists, teachers, and volunteers to manage, develop, and implement Asombro’s inquiry-based science education programs (classroom and schoolyard lessons as well as occasional field trips to the organization’s nature park) to the diverse student population of the border region in southern New Mexico. The Program Leader also manages Asombro’s volunteer program, which includes leading volunteer recruitment efforts, organizing monthly volunteer work sessions, and arranging several volunteer appreciation activities each year. Must be creative, adaptable, and willing to work nontraditional hours and occasional weekends when large projects occur. Must be able to occasionally start work as early as 6:30 AM when teaching at a distant school. This position requires excellent time management, organizational, communication, and supervisory skills. The ideal candidate will be creative, enjoy working with a team, and be excited that no workday will ever be the same.
Major Job Responsibilities:
1) Lead the development, project management, and implementation of Asombro’s science education programs for 6th– 12thgrade students (ca. 40%). This includes three well-developed, longstanding programs:
Desert Data Jam– This eight-year-old program challenges middle school students to examine curated datasets that were collected by scientists in our region, identify a trend in the data, and develop a creative project (e.g., song, game, physical model, story) that communicates the data trend to nonscientist audiences (see paper in The Science Teacher, September 2018). The Data Jam model is used in a variety of short-duration projects, and the full Desert Data Jam competition takes place every spring.
Stepping Out for Science Education– Asombro has a contract with the Las Cruces Public School District to provide hands-on, inquiry-based science lessons for every 7th, 8th, and 9th grade student in the district. Each lesson is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and uses local phenomena and examples (e.g., natural selection of blanched lizards at White Sands National Monument) to address grade-level performance expectations.
Southwest Climate Hub– Asombro works with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to develop and deliver hands-on lessons to help students understand climate change issues in the southwest. Two modules have been developed so far: (1) Climate Change and the Water Cycle and (2) Effects of Climate Change on Agricultural Systems (https://asombro.org/free-curriculum-resources/).
The successful candidate will lead the development of new lessons, maintain records, implement evaluation plans, assist the Executive Director and Assistant Director with project budgets and reports, and perform other duties as needed to ensure the success of Asombro’s secondary education programs.
2) Prepare for and teach Asombro’s science education programs (primarily classroom lessons and occasional activities at other events) to K-12 students throughout New Mexico and the El Paso, Texas region (ca. 40%). The Science Education Program Leader will supervise and work with a Science Educator to teach Asombro’s inquiry-based classroom lessons throughout the region. While a majority of teaching for this position will be with 6th-12thgrade students, some work with kindergarten-5thgrade students will also occur. Many student participants are Spanish-English bilingual or English learners.
3) Lead Asombro’s volunteer program (ca. 10%). Asombro volunteers assist staff in education programs and perform behind-the-scenes education preparation work, primarily during monthly volunteer work sessions. The Program Leader will assist with several components of the volunteer program, including planning new volunteer recruitment efforts, organizing volunteer work sessions, and coordinating several volunteer appreciation activities.
4) Assist with other Asombro science education and administrative projects, such as teacher professional development workshops, collaborative projects with other organizations, communication activities, and other duties as needed (ca. 10%).
Required Skills and Experience:
The successful candidate will be an excellent educator, skilled at communicating scientific practices and natural science concepts in an age-appropriate manner to K-12 students and teachers in a variety of settings. Must be internally motivated, capable of juggling multiple tasks, and able to work both independently and also as part of a diverse team with a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. Other requirements include:
A Bachelor’s degree in natural science, education, or related field (graduate degree is a plus)
4+ years of experience teaching natural science concepts using hands-on, inquiry-based methods to K-12 students and teachers
Familiarity with Next Generation Science Standards
Comfortable teaching and working both in classrooms and outdoors
Excitement about working with Spanish-speaking students and finding ways to communicate science concepts to English learners
Extremely well organized and self-motivated
Ability to complete projects with deadlines
Exemplary collaboration skills
Working knowledge of common software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages
Ability to carry 30+ pounds
Valid U.S. driver’s license
Must pass a background check
Other desirable qualifications:
Knowledge of desert ecology
Additional Salary Information: Benefits: 12 paid holidays and 22 days (176 hours) of flexible, paid time off, which includes vacation and sick leave (increasing to 27 days after five years of service). Health and vision insurance.
About Asombro Institute for Science Education
The Asombro Institute for Science Education is a 29-year-old nonprofit organization in Las Cruces, New Mexico that is dedicated to increasing natural science literacy through engaging, place-based education. Asombro’s seven staff members deliver hands-on, inquiry-based science education programs to more than 25,000 K-12 students, 800 teachers, and 700 other adults annually. Most programs are inquiry-based classroom lessons, but Asombro also conducts teacher workshops, public events, and field trips to our 935-acre Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park and the adjacent USDA Jornada Experimental Range. While the topics and formats of programs vary widely, all Asombro programs are (1) inquiry-based, (2) related to current, local research through partnerships with scientists, and (3) aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and other national education standards.