DOWNCITY DESIGN: Education Director

Position Overview

DownCity Design is seeking an Education Director to oversee all DownCity Design youth and adult education programs. The Education Director will support and coach our team of Design Educators, curate a series of Professional Development workshops, help develop new curricula, and ensure that all of our programs align to our core program philosophy and embrace the DCD design process. The Education Director represents DCD at convenings and conferences, sharing our work and our approach to design education broadly. If you are passionate about the power of design to strengthen communities, we want you on our team!

Who We Are

DownCity Design is a non-profit community design studio that empowers people to imagine and create stronger futures for their communities, using the tools of design. Our free design education programs help residents become change-makers by inviting them to create interventions that respond creatively to challenges and opportunities in their communities. Participants in our free in-school, after-school, and summer youth design programs work together to design and create amenities that make their neighborhoods better places to live, work, and learn. We also convene adult design programs and community design dialogues to help groups re-imagine public spaces and address pressing community challenges using the design process as a framework for collaborative problem solving.

Since our founding in 2009, over 2,800 teens have participated in DownCity Design’s in-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. Together, those students have designed and built over 90 urban amenities in and around Providence, including community gardens, play structures, greenhouses, and outdoor classrooms. Our young designers identify and deeply understand a community need or problem, brainstorm and prototype possible solutions, share and refine their ideas, and build solutions. Our youth programs help develop essential skills and habits of mind like collaboration, communication, creative problem solving, and persistence, while showing teens that they have the power to make change happen.

The Education Director is part of a community of individuals who are committed to promoting the mission of DownCity Design. We are looking for a joyful collaborator and skillful coach with a design-based creative practice, fluid communication skills, flexibility, and a willingness to learn and grow.

The Education Director has oversight of all DownCity Design programs, including Youth Programs at the DCD Studio and at Providence Career and Technical Academy, and our Adult Programs. They maintain external relationships with program partners and support the Executive Director and Deputy Director in advancing the mission of DownCity Design.

This is a new position reflecting the growth of our organization, ideally commencing in June 2022.

Key Responsibilities

Program Leadership and Management

  • Develop design education curriculum resources and work with DCD Design Educators to adapt those resources to meet the needs and constraints of particular programs.
  • Lead and facilitate hiring process, training and orientation of new Design Educators.
  • Support Design Educators, Teaching Assistants, and Student Leaders with regular coaching, observations and feedback.
  • Design and facilitate reflection sessions for Design Educators and structured learning circles for Student Leaders and Teaching Assistants.
  • Curate monthly professional development workshops for our Design Educators and Staff, responsive to the program cycle and to emerging needs.
  • Design responsive measures to ensure our participants’ health, safety and well-being, including emergency procedures
  • Coordinate with community service project client partners to ensure that they are involved appropriately in the design and development of projects.
  • Oversee program evaluation to demonstrate the impact of DCD programs and ensure continuous program improvement. This includes  developing and analyzing participant surveys and hosting regular focus groups for students, family members, and Design Educators.
  • Support fund development and grant writing efforts by providing key program information for grant narratives and reports.
  • Work with Deputy Director to set goals for sustainable growth of DownCity Design programs.
  • Serve as DCD staff liaison to the DCD Board of Trustees Program Committee.

External Relationships

  • Maintain clear, consistent verbal and written communication with program partners.
  • Build connections with other community organizations, keep informed about relevant community meetings, and participate in those meetings when they relate to our mission.
  • Represent DCD at convenings and conferences, sharing our work and our approach to design education.
  • Support Executive Director in communications efforts to spread the word about DCD’s mission and work.
  • Engage youth program participants’ family members in program reflections and workshops

Instruction

  • Serve as lead Design Educator for one bi-weekly DownCity Design program each week, when those programs are in session.
  • Lead groups of students through the process of designing and fabricating service projects to meet community partner needs.

Management

  • Oversee the work of the DownCity Design Youth Program Managers at DCD and PCTA, which includes logistical coordination, program recruitment, tool purchasing and maintenance, shop organization, and procurement of program supplies and construction materials.
  • Meet regularly with the DCD Youth Program Managers to set deadlines, manage workflow, and provide feedback on performance.
  • Additional responsibilities consistent with the role of advancing the organizational mission.

Qualifications

Highly qualified candidate will have/be:

  • 4 or more years of professional experience (or equivalent), preferably in design or education
  • An undergraduate or graduate degree in Education or Design (or equivalent experience) strongly preferred.
  • A deep knowledge of design processes and principles, including brainstorming, ideating, and prototyping.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, and professional; management experience is a plus
  • Teaching experience in a formal or informal classroom environment (ideally working with middle and/or high school students)
  • Ability to communicate fluently in Spanish is a plus, as is experience teaching Multi-Lingual Learners and/or Differently Abled Students
  • Strong curriculum design skills
  • Experience coaching educators and ability to model instructional practices
  • Experience coordinating projects and communicating with partners and constituents
  • Team leadership skills and the ability to manage a dynamic team with differing professional development needs
  • Consistent and thorough documentation and data analysis skills
  • A growth mindset and openness to creative collaboration
  • Excitement about project-based learning and social practice

The Education Director can expect:

  • To become a valued member of the DownCity Design community, with colleagues dedicated to designing a just and equitable future
  • Meaningful work in a supportive, collaborative environment
  • Professional development opportunities for continuous growth
  • Regular engagement with an inspiring generation of young people
  • New connections with a team of passionate and innovative design educators
  • Access to fabrication tools at the DownCity Design studio, including laser cutter, 3D printer, table saw, miter saw, drill press and hand tools

Additional Information

The Education Director will report directly to the Executive Director and will provide regular weekly updates on ongoing program activities. Performance will be reviewed three months after the date of hire, with an annual review thereafter. 

This is a full-time, permanent position. The Education Director will be expected to work an average of 40 hours per week throughout the year, with occasional evening and weekend hours. DownCity Design is currently hybrid; the Education Director will be expected to live within commuting distance of Providence.

DownCity Design has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all employees to ensure the safety of our staff and program participants. It is expected that all employees are fully vaccinated within 30 days of their hire date, unless they meet requirements for a medical or religious exemption.

Benefits

Compensation: $48,000 – $54,000 annual salary, commensurate with experience

Health & Dental Insurance:  DownCity Design offers a menu of health insurance plan options, and pays 50% of a “gold” level health and dental insurance premium. Spouse and dependent benefits are available, paid in full by the employee.

Retirement Plan: DownCity Design matches contributions to a SIMPLE IRA retirement plan, up to 3% of employee’s salary annually.

Paid Time Off: DCD offers 4 weeks of paid time off annually, including 2 weeks of flexible vacation time and fixed week-long breaks in December and August. DCD also offers 15 paid staff holidays, including your birthday!

Paid Sick / Personal Leave:  7 days / year

Non-Discrimination Policy

DownCity Design is committed to supporting a diverse staff and creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees, volunteers, contractors and participants. Individuals identifying as BIPOC, members of traditionally marginalized populations, and multilingual individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

DownCity Design provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all its employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, gender identity, domestic abuse victim, genetic information, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

How to Apply

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; final deadline to submit applications is May 22, 2022. Please submit a resume, cover letter, and portfolio of at least 3 design and/or teaching work samples through our application portal linked here. No phone calls, please.