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Director of Education, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

BACKGROUND

Our Vision: To be a world leader in connecting the history and lessons of the Holocaust to the issues of today, and inspiring and enabling people to take meaningful action.

Mission Statement: The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference. The Museum fulfills its mission through the exhibition, preservation and interpretation of its collections and through education programs and initiatives that foster the promotion of human rights and the elimination of genocide. 

Additional Background:
The founding principle of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center (IHMEC) is Remember the Past, Transform the Future.  IHMEC uses the history and lessons of the Holocaust to transform the future - to equip students, educators and public visitors with knowledge, skills, and courage to take a stand for humanity. From simple beginnings as a single classroom, the organization has grown to become the 3rd largest Holocaust Museum globally and an internationally recognized leader in the fields of the Holocaust and museum education. 

The Museum currently welcomes and touches the lives of more than 170,000 people of all ages, nationalities and cultural backgrounds each year. Visitors are empowered to become Upstanders for social justice, to speak out against intolerance and genocide, and to lead by example.  Cutting-edge exhibitions, innovative public programming, high-quality student and educator services, and partnerships with arts and cultural organizations, educational institutions, and law enforcement agencies are all used to teach the lessons of the Holocaust. Special exhibitions and programming go deeper into the aspects of the Holocaust and broader into other areas of human rights. 

The recently opened groundbreaking, multi-million dollar Take a Stand Center, is an immersive permanent exhibition with a forward-looking emphasis on multiple areas of social justice and the World Premiere of the interactive, holographic Survivor Stories Experience. Four interactive galleries guide visitors through social justice issues, empowering them with knowledge and inspiration and reminding them to stand against hatred in all its forms.

Educational programs include, but are not limited to, the following: The Brill Law Enforcement and Democracy Initiative, which trains recruits and promotional classes (Sergeants and Lieutenants) to the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff and Correctional Department recruits, and suburban law enforcement officials; Speakers’ Bureau of Holocaust Survivors and children of Survivors; travelling Teaching Trunks for schools, student field trips, teacher professional development, and public film, arts and lecture programs. 

THE OPPORTUNITY

Two of the three goals highlighted in the new strategic plan are focused on education.  The first goal is a continued focus on innovating how people connect with the history and lessons of the Holocaust and take action.  The second strategic goal is to increase the number of people (students/educators and general audiences) interacting with the Museum. This includes not only increasing the number of visitors to the Museum itself but also continuing to create learning and engagement opportunities outside the Museum walls. 

The resounding success of the award-winning Take A Stand Center, named one of 12 must-see exhibitions globally by Smithsonian Magazine, is propelling the Museum to continue on a trajectory of innovation and providing true experiential opportunities for visitors to the Museum.  New areas of programming are being developed that will require input and leadership from education such as audio-guides of the Museum’s Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition and Take A Stand Center. A number of exciting projects in the concept phase will ensure that IHMEC continues to be a leader in human rights education by creating innovative approaches to delivering content and creating experiential opportunities for visitors.  The Director of Education is an important member of the internal management team, comprised of the Museum’s leadership, that helps develop these initiatives.  Additionally, geographic expansion of educational programs is in the planning phases. Developing docent presentations and materials for programming at local libraries or community center in southern Illinois locations is expected to pilot in 2020. 

Currently, approximately 37% of those reached annually are school groups and this visitor group has shown steady increases over the past five years. Listening to the needs of educators ensures that the programs stay relevant and continue to attract and retain school groups.  This also applies to the educational programming for law enforcement.  New education program areas that are on the docket include creation of Teaching Guides and Teaching Trunks specific to Survivor Stories in connection to documentaries of Survivor stories in development; and, formalizing training agenda, modules and partners for a Leadership Training partnership with the Naval Station at Great Lakes and First Division Museum. 

Ongoing programs include developing training materials for docents, tools for educators for new exhibitions and developing materials that enhance the overall visitor experience. Continuing to address current events that relate to combatting hatred, prejudice, indifference, genocide and human rights violations, and address social emotional skills, social justice, and character education in a timely and collaborative fashion is an ongoing focus. Along with this is the ongoing need to build partnerships and collaborate with other organizations that address these themes. 

The promotion of the former Director of Education, Kelley Szany, to the Vice President of Education and Exhibitions role, creates the opportunity for a dynamic and creative educator to continue to lead an innovative and multi-layered educational program.

THE POSITION

Reporting to the Vice President of Education and Exhibitions, the Director of Education provides leadership to the Education department and supervises all educational programs and trainings that include: student tours, teacher professional development, leadership programs (students, law enforcement, and attorneys), teaching trunk program, docent volunteers and enrichment, Survivor and Second-generation Speakers’ Bureau, and all public programming.

The Director facilitates interdepartmental projects and cooperation within the Museum and is also responsible for cultivating relationships with new and existing external partners. S/he must be a strong facilitator and trainer working with a diversity of audiences.  S/he will play a key role on collaborative projects and activities that fit within the Museum’s mission and education strategy.  Assisting in the Museum’s long and short-term strategic vision, educational mission, and financial and marketing strategies for audience growth and outreach is expected.  The Director of Education leads a department comprised of five full-time employees, two interns, and over two hundred volunteers.   Direct reports include the Director of Public Programs, Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Educator, Assistant Manager of Education, and the Education Outreach Coordinator.

Major responsibilities:

  1. Provide strategic leadership and planning for IHMEC’s education and public programs as well as day-to-day oversight and coordination of the Education department.
  2. Lead development and execution of trainings for teachers, docents, students and law enforcement professionals.
  3. Lead and oversee the creation of public programs related to exhibitions, commemorations and other Holocaust, genocide and human rights topics.
  4. Lead the exploration of opportunities, resources, and contacts, and, create partnerships that build awareness, expand the reach for IHMEC and potentially lead to increased funding for educational  and public programs.
  5. Lead the charge internally and externally with marketing to fill programs and communicate IHMEC’s education and outreach goals and coordinate these activities with appropriate IHMEC departments.
  6. Work closely with the development department including writing or reviewing necessary reports, plans, and procedures, including funding proposals
  7. Engage in professional interactions with peers and allied institutions, serve on appropriate committees, attend necessary meetings and conferences, make pertinent presentations, and assist in planning and implementation of special events and programs.
  8. Represent IHMEC through presentations to community groups, op-ed pieces, and media appearances (tv, radio and print).
  9. Prepare and supervise education budget.
  10. Lead staff in their performance and development.

CANDIDATE PROFILE

We seek a dynamic candidate with a passion for human rights and Holocaust education.  Knowledge of the Holocaust, genocide, and/or human rights is needed.  Prior experience developing innovative and creative programs that are presented in attractive and comprehensible ways to different public audiences is required. 

The successful candidate will have the ability to work with and lead a staff in the development and implementation of education and outreach programs. The ideal candidate will be a strong writer and have grant writing experience and knowledge of other funding strategies.

S/he will be an effective and inspiring communicator.  Clearly communicating IHMEC’s mission to diverse audiences requires a high level of public speaking skill. The ability to communicate effectively in writing, and in other forms of media as appropriate is expected.  The successful candidate will be an engaging public speaker, facilitator and trainer who has worked with audiences of diverse ages and backgrounds

Qualified candidates will have strong mentoring skills, will be decisive, collaborative and solutions-oriented.  S/he will need to be poised and confident, both when working interdepartmentally with peers and staff throughout the organization, as well as with external constituencies.  

Demonstrated collaborative approaches to problem solving in previous roles is needed. The successful candidate will have the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously with grace and good humor. Qualities of the ideal candidate include: empathy, enthusiasm, a positive, can-do attitude, passion for making a social impact, adaptability, flexibility, and creativity. The successful candidate will embody the vision, mission and values of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.

Qualified candidates will have a minimum of seven or more years of management and leadership experience, conducted in museums, historic sites or other appropriate settings preferably in the area of education.  A minimum of a B.S. or B.A. in education, public history, museum studies or related field of study is required.  Graduate study is preferred.  

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