Vice President for Education and Engagement

Vice President for Education and Engagement

Museum of the City of New York

New York, NY   |   September 9, 2020

About the Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York fosters understanding of the distinctive nature of urban life in the world’s most influential metropolis. It engages visitors by celebrating, documenting, and interpreting the city’s past, present, and future.

The Museum of the City of New York was founded in 1923 by Henry Collins Brown, a Scottish-born writer with a vision for a populist approach to the city. The Museum was originally housed in Gracie Mansion, the future residence of the Mayor of New York. Hardinge Scholle succeeded Henry Brown in 1926 and began planning a new home for the Museum. The City offered land on Fifth Avenue on 103rd-104th Streets, and construction for Joseph H. Freedlander’s Georgian Colonial-Revival design for the building started in 1929 and was completed in 1932. During the next few decades, the Museum amassed a considerable collection of exceptional items, including several of Eugene O’Neill’s handwritten manuscripts, a complete room of Duncan Phyfe furniture, 412 glass negatives taken by Jacob Riis and donated by his son, a man’s suit worn to George Washington’s Inaugural Ball, and the Carrie Walter Stettheimer dollhouse, which contains a miniature work by Marcel Duchamp. Today the Museum’s collection contains approximately 750,000 objects, including prints, photographs, decorative arts, costumes, paintings, sculpture, toys, and theatrical memorabilia.

The Museum of the City of New York has an annual operating budget of $11.5 million and a team of approximately 60 full-time staff.

For more information on the Museum of the City of New York, please visit the museum’s website.

The Opportunity and Key Responsibilities

As the Museum of the City of New York approaches its 2023 centennial year, we seek a Vice President for Education and Engagement to provide leadership and strategic direction for the creation and enhancement of dynamic programming that explores the unique historic and contemporary issues New York City faces and the complexity of how the decisions we make today impact our city’s future.

Education and Engagement comprises a current staff of six full-time plus pre-doctoral fellows and per diem educators, and encompasses three essential areas: The Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center serves nearly 50,000 children and adults annually through its thriving field trip offerings, professional learning opportunities for educators, family and community events, and out-of-school time programs for students of all ages. Adult programs served over 17,500 people in FY2019, engaging them through lectures, conversations, panels, musical performances, film screenings, and walking/bus tours. A Volunteer Council supports the visitor experience through docents, interns, and volunteers.

The Vice President for Education and Engagement reports to the Director, serves as a part of the Museum’s Executive Team, represents the department at board and senior leadership meetings, and provides direction for staff, all while developing strategies for programs and operations that support the Museum overall and the department’s specific strategic vision and plans.

The Museum of the City of New York is committed to fostering a collaborative and respectful work environment with a staff as diverse as New York City and the audiences who are curious about learning more about its history and engaging in contemporary urban issues. The Museum’s staff members are dedicated to working towards a common goal: creating the most dynamic and inspiring city museum in the world.

The Museum of the City of New York is an equal opportunity employer. As such, the Museum provides equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants without unlawful discrimination with respect to age, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identification, marital status, military status or veteran, national origin, political association, political/personal convictions, predisposing genetic characteristics, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio‐economic status, geographic location, philosophies, or any other classification protected by federal, state or local laws, in all employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, promotion, demotion, transfer, lay‐off, and termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment. All employment‐related decisions are based solely on relevant criteria including training, experience, and suitability.

Key responsibilities of the Vice President for Education and Engagement include, but are not limited to:

Community Engagement and Program Leadership

  • Establish long‐range vision, general operating plans, and annual goals, objectives, and priorities for Education and Engagement
  • Lead the design and development of creative engagement, education, and learning opportunities with programs for all ages that:
    • Align with the Museum’s Mission, Strategic Plan, and broader organizational priorities
    • Leverage the assets of the Museum
    • Create visibility for the Museum as a thought leader and through engaging prominent New Yorkers and ‘boldface’ names as participants
    • Incorporate instructional best practices to achieve optimal learning outcomes for a range of stakeholders including children, students, teachers, and adults
    • Are feasible within organizational constraints and goals
    • Reflect and enhance exhibition themes and the diversity and breadth of contemporary issues
    • Educate, inspire, and engage a broad range of audiences through a variety of formats and platforms
    • Drive attendance, strengthen visitor experience, and deepen connections to the varied communities of New York, and the East Harlem community in particular
  • Think holistically about strategic initiatives to make informed choices about program creation and enhancements
  • Collaborate with Museum colleagues in the Curatorial, Collections, Visitor Services, and other departments to create a coherent and shared learning experience for all visitors
  • Spearhead initiatives to engage diverse communities
  • Further develop, build, and manage partnerships with external stakeholders—cultural institutions, educational professionals, community groups & leaders, government agencies
  • Monitor and measure the success and impact of programs
  • Develop marketing strategies for programs in collaboration with Marketing and Communications staff so programs achieve maximum reach and educational impact
  • Cultivate ongoing relationships with potential funders and donors
  • Expand the Museum’s use of volunteers

Team Leadership

  • Establish annual goals, objectives, and priorities with each team, direct reports, and chair of the Volunteer Council
  • Develop and support the Education and Engagement staff
  • Meet with Education and Engagement staff to keep the team abreast of decisions made by the Executive Team
  • Assess hiring needs for the department
  • Submit timesheets for select staff
  • Represent the department at Senior Staff meetings, and in strategic planning with the Board of Trustees
  • Serve as the Executive Team representative on the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) committee helping to harness the ideas of staff members who elect to volunteer their time and channel these ideas into projects that can be actualized

Administration and Operations

  • Maintain the $800K budget for the department and think strategically about the resources needed for sustainability and growth
  • Work with the Development team to identify and apply for funding opportunities from individual, government, foundation, and corporate sources
  • Manage the department’s grants and awards
  • Collaborate with the Museum Director, CFO, and project staff to manage program budgets
  • Understand earned income and attendance fluctuations, and create opportunities to develop these areas
Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will possess the following professional and personal attributes, skills, and characteristics:

A bachelor’s degree is required in education, history, urban planning, humanities, social sciences, or related field; an advanced degree is preferred; deep professional and leadership experience in a comparable setting will also be seriously considered.

Creativity and Innovation in Programming

The Vice President for Education and Engagement will demonstrate at least ten years of educational or programmatic leadership experience in a senior role and bring a strong track record of providing creative leadership to design and deliver impactful educational, public programming, and community building experiences to fulfill and amplify the Museum’s mission.  Preferred candidates will have a robust knowledge of best practices in program design, evaluation, and curriculum development. With exceptional conceptual and strategic thinking abilities and a high level of intellectual curiosity, the Vice President for Education and Engagement leads teams to curate and evolve “big ideas” into reality and deliver results within budgetary parameters, while boldly pushing the boundaries of the work and encouraging innovative and creative ideas and initiatives toward reaching new audiences. The Vice President for Education and Engagement must possess a commitment to working with children and families and experience working with diverse audiences and cultures in authentic and meaningful ways.

Building Relationships and Using Influence

The Vice President for Education and Engagement offers excellent interpersonal skills, establishes rapport and cultivates relationships across all levels of the organization, and empowers a diverse staff and external constituents to deliver results; this includes staff, Trustees, educators, artists, historians, donors, and a broad range of other external constituents. It is imperative that they foster an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership across the organization. The Vice President for Education and Engagement leads and manages teams with empathy, a high standard of excellence and accountability, and inclusivity, allowing for the building of consensus and recognition of teamwork. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to manage through change with flexibility, poise, and a sense of humor. The Vice President for Education and Engagement is capable of recognizing somewhat hidden talents and able to coach and develop a wide range of experiences with a small staff. The Vice President for Education and Engagement is fiscally responsible while being a catalyst for change and growth who inspires others to think entrepreneurially and inject new ideas. They will understand the need to learn the history and culture of the Museum and appreciate the complexities it faces today before making recommendations. The Vice President for Education and Engagement offers creative, yet practical ideas to achieve the strategic direction of the Museum, doing so with a deep understanding and commitment to the traditions and nuances of the organization and community.


The Vice President for Education and Engagement is a gifted leader who will serve as an ambassador for the Museum in the education, public programming, and community building domains and beyond. A charismatic spokesperson, the Vice President for Education and Engagement enjoys the external side of the role, working to inspire enthusiastic relationships with educators, artists, scholars, architects and urban planners, civic and community members, government officials, donors, foundations, and corporate executives to broaden and deepen interest in the organization. The Vice President for Education and Engagement represents the Museum as it seeks to increase engagement, particularly with our East Harlem community, citywide, and beyond the metropolitan area. They are  a passionate, articulate, and effective advocate for the Museum to a wide range of constituents. This individual believes deeply in building and nurturing a robust network of relationships to foster collaboration and advance the Museum’s mission. The Vice President for Education and Engagement is entrepreneurial and creative when thinking about how to best cultivate new groups of stakeholders in the mission of the Museum and create a welcoming environment for all visitors and program participants. They will be a good listener and compelling communicator capable of leveraging multiple platforms to advance the organization’s goals and articulate its value proposition to a wide range of constituents.

Passion for the Mission

The  Vice President for Education and Engagement of the Museum of the City of New York will be an ambitious, inventive, and collaborative leader who is inspired by the mission of the Museum and can inspire others as well. Fully embracing the mission of the Museum, the relationship with the local and broader communities, and the commitment to its various stakeholders, the Vice President for Education and Engagement will have a love of learning, a deep interest in New York City history, and the desire to proactively address issues of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion with regards to the content and staffing of programming, the visitor experience, and community engagement.

They will be passionate about working in partnership with the staff, donors, and other partners to advance the mission the Museum and its educational and programmatic initiatives. In addition, the Vice President for Education and Engagement will embody an understanding of and appreciation for the role that cultural institutions and other informal environments can play in learning. They will possess and promote a deep appreciation for the collections, programs, building, history, research, and scholarship of the Museum and will demonstrate a commitment to public involvement, community building, and the visitor experience. Working closely with the President/Director, the Vice President for Education and Engagement will serve as a bridge between the internal staff and external partners and will fully embody the values of the Museum of the City of New York. Finally, the ideal candidate is an individual of integrity, ethics, and values, who can be trusted without reservation.


Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Naree Viner and Stephen Milbauer are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link or email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The Museum of the City of New York strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit