Program Director
North Cascades Institute

Program Director for the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center at Diablo Lake, WA

Work from the Institute field campus on Diablo Lake in the heart of North Cascades National Park.


Program Director

North Cascades Institute
Diablo Lake, Washington
$4,583.00 / month
Previous experience required
Start Date:
Job starts in about 2 months (Dec 04, 2017)


North Cascades Institute is seeking a dynamic, energetic leader to be its new Program Director. Candidates must have a strong connection to, and passion for, the Institute’s mission to inspire and empower environmental stewardship for all through transformative educational experiences in nature. This is a wonderful opportunity to join North Cascades Institute at a time of exciting growth.

The Program Director is responsible for overseeing education programs at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. We expect the Program Director to build upon our strong reputation as a leading place-based educational institution, developing a world-class organization with broad regional and national reach. The Program Director is a core member of the Institutes Leadership Team, engaged in strategic planning, annual operational goals and budget objectives.

Working from the Institute’s field campus on Diablo Lake in the heart of North Cascades National Park, this position oversees core education programs serving people of all ages throughout the year. Supervised by the Learning Center Director, this position works closely with Institute staff, partners and contractors to support a wide array of educational programs. The Institute strives to further our identity as an institution that welcomes and embraces diversity in community and curriculum, works to redress historical inequities, and seeks a diverse pool of candidates.

Since 1986 the Institute has helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of natural and cultural history. Our goal is to help people of all ages and backgrounds experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest – so all will care for and protect this special place. The Institute is committed to innovation and excellence in environmental learning and leadership in the nonprofit community. We believe that sustainable communities are built on healthy environments, vibrant economies and social equity.


Required Ability and Experience:

  • Enthusiasm for the mission of the North Cascades Institute.
  • Demonstrated ability to coach and motivate staff and foster a positive workplace environment. 
  • Initiative/ability to prioritize tasks with exemplary time management and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong writing and presentation skills.
  • Professional experience in environmental or place-based education (minimum 3 years)
  • Strong leadership skills (minimum 3 years supervisory experience)
  • Ability to accommodate a varied work schedule including occasional evenings and weekends.

Preferred Ability and Experience:

  • Residential learning centers, camps, schools or similar facilities
  • Teaching interdisciplinary natural and cultural history
  • Program evaluation and assessment
  • Partnerships, particularly agencies and/or higher education
  • Leading and teaching in place-based, field and backcountry settings
  • Environmental education with urban or tribal communities or in international settings
  • Communities that are historically marginalized or underrepresented in the field of environmental education or with a social justice component
  • Familiarity with Performance Coaching model of supervision 
  • Fluency in multiple languages, Spanish preference
  • Current certification as Wilderness First Responder

Other Requirements

  • Ability to comply with a smoke- and drug-free work environment.
  • Ability to travel over uneven terrain.
  • Possession of current driver’s license; acceptable driving record for past 3 years.
  • Criminal history disclosure form and background check will be required.


Leadership and Supervision

  • Works collaboratively with Learning Center Director to provide leadership of the Learning Center community; nurture and coach staff to reach their full potential
  • Maximize use of Learning Center program staff and facilities to achieve goals related to program audience, quality, content, enrollment and finances.
  • Serves as member of the Institute’s Leadership Team; sustains programmatic, administrative and fundraising links to other teams and staff
  • Reports on programming to Learning Center Director, Executive Director, Board of Directors and staff. Prepares materials to keep board and staff informed and engaged in the evaluation and evolution of Learning Center programs.
  • Welcomes and hosts participants and guests at the Center.
  • Plays an active role in risk management, strategic planning, inter-office communications, special initiatives, and other duties as assigned by the Learning Center Director or Executive Director.

Education Programs

  • Provides overarching vision of Learning Center programs; balances needs and requests of individual programs to support the Institute’s mission; ensures high-quality educational programming while optimizing limited resources.
  • Oversees design, implementation and evaluation of high-quality education programs at the Learning Center and in the field in collaboration with the Leadership Team. Coaches and supervises three program leads who manage professional staff providing administrative, logistical and instructional oversight and support for multiple program suites at the Learning Center:
    • School Overnight Programs (Mountain School)
    • Adult and Family Programs (Base Camp, Family Getaways, Classes and Field Seminars, Skagit Tours)
    • Graduate M.Ed. Residency (Western Washington University partnership)


  • Works closely with Learning Center Director and staff to develop and support cooperative relationships with National Park Service, Seattle City Light, US Forest Service, Western Washington University, and other partners to further the Institute’s mission.
  • Represents North Cascades Institute at local, regional and national conferences.
  • Develops new partnerships and programs as directed by the Institute’s strategic plan.

Budget and Finance

  • Develops and manages annual budgets and work plans for Learning Center programs based on strategic priorities; monitors financial performance to achieve budget goals.
  • Provides support to development staff engaged in donor cultivation, grant writing and reporting.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

  • Consistent with the Institute’s equity, diversity and inclusion goals, ensure that Learning Center programs are welcoming, relevant and accessible.
  • Seeks to recruit, hire and support a diverse workforce.

Compensation, Benefits and Housing

Salary range is $55,000.00 - $65,000.00 depending on experience. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position. We offer a competitive compensation package; benefits include paid time-off, medical/dental insurance, short and long-term disability, tax-deferred annuity and defined contribution retirement plans. Institute housing may be available for rent. Pets and smoking are not allowed in on-site housing or during programs. Nearest towns to the Environmental Learning Center: Diablo and Newhalem (8 miles), Marblemount (20 miles), Rockport (31 miles).

Application Deadline

Review of applications will begin immediately. Position will remain open until filled. Start date negotiable. 

To Apply

Please apply online on our website at:

Complete the online application and upload a resume and a cover letter applicable for this position.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is a high priority at North Cascades Institute. The Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, military, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, citizenship or any other basis prohibited by law in any of its policies or programs.

About North Cascades Institute

North Cascades Institute ( is a respected, national leader among U.S. environmental education organizations. The Institute is in sound financial health with a $3.5 million budget, strong reserves, and more than a decade of Four-Star ratings from Charity Navigator. The Institute was voted “Best Place to Work” in the 2013 Bellingham Alive – Best in the Northwest annual readers’ poll. Our administrative office is co-located with the National Park Service and US Forest Service in Sedro-Woolley, WA. The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is located on Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park.

North Cascades Environmental Learning Center

Named a "Top Three Spots in the North Cascades" by The Seattle Times and "Top Ten Great Getaways" by ParentMap Magazine, the Environmental Learning Center is a hub of discovery for all ages in one of the wildest, most biologically diverse landscapes in North America. Operated by North Cascades Institute in partnership with the National Park Service and the City of Seattle, our award-winning residential campus is nestled on the shores of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park. Activities include school and youth programs, a graduate program, classes for adults, teachers and families, and a wide array of conferences and retreats. Featuring earth-friendly design and operations, our tree-sheltered campus features 16 buildings:

  • Multimedia classrooms, a research library and aquatic and terrestrial labs
  • Overnight lodging for up to 92 participants, plus housing for graduate students and staff
  • A lakeside dining hall with a recycling/composting center
  • An amphitheater, outdoor learning shelters and trails leading into the surrounding wildlands
  • A dock on Diablo Lake for paddling adventures
  • ADA-accessible facilities and pathways                                  

How to Apply

Please apply online on our website at: Complete the online application and upload a resume and a cover letter applicable for this position.

Contact Info