Director, Grow to Learn NYC: The Citywide School Garden Initiative



GrowNYC’s Grow to Learn Director leads Grow to Learn NYC: The Citywide School Garden Initiative. Grow to Learn is a partnership between GrowNYC, the Green Thumb division of the NYC Parks Department, and the NYC Department of Education, with a mission to support the growth of a sustainable learning garden for every NYC public school ( Grow to Learn provides material resources, mini-grant funding, and technical expertise to a network of over 675 schools citywide. Working under the direction of the Executive Director and closely with the Director of GreenThumb, the Grow to Learn Director will work with city and state agencies, non-profits, corporations, and other interested parties to ensure NYC’s public schools have access to the resources needed to start and sustain a garden program.


Grow to Learn: Programming Overview

The Grow to Learn program is focused on four primary areas of work:

1) Grow to Learn Network Registration: Schools interested in starting or sustaining a learning garden go through a planning and registration process with Grow to Learn. The Grow to Learn team works with new schools to complete the garden design and registration process, maintains a comprehensive registration database, and supports registered schools to keep records up to date and accurate.

2) Technical Assistance and Professional Development: The Grow to Learn team plans and leads an annual calendar of professional development opportunities for school gardeners (primarily school day teachers). Trainings focus on specific gardening or garden construction techniques, classroom integration strategies, and facilitation/community building strategies. The Grow to Learn team also provides site based technical assistance to registered schools as requested.

3) Mini-Grant Funding and Material Support: Grow to Learn manages a twice annual mini-grant program. Schools apply for $500-$2,000 to build a new garden or expand on an existing program. Grantees receive a year of more intensive support from Grow to Learn staff. In

addition, Grow to Learn provides seasonal giveaways available to all registered network schools, including seeds, seedlings, garden tools, and bulk materials.  Further, Grow to Learn coordinates closely with GreenThumb staff to schedule deliveries of bulk materials to school gardens.

4) Nutrition Education: The Grow to Learn team currently manages two nutrition education initiatives for 5th-7th graders. Seed to Plate is a 6-week curriculum that was designed by GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program to teach students about local food and farmers. GreenBeetz is a 21-session curriculum that allows teachers to take a deep dive into all aspects of the food system, including the science of digestion, the history and culture of food, healthy snack prep and cooking techniques, and the power of food advertising.


Grow to Learn Director: Position Description and Qualifications

The Director works with the GtL staff team and partners around the city to foster communication, cooperation, and collaborative efforts designed to help teachers, parents, kids and communities build, sustain, and integrate gardens into New York City’s public schools. The Director supervises staff

members, comprised of both GrowNYC and GreenThumb employees; administers the mini-grant program; builds coalitions; assists with fundraising; and oversees communications, including press, social media, website management, targeted outreach, and school inquiries. The Director is responsible for coordinating citywide school gardening resources, including identifying best practices in professional development and curriculum integration; developing informational tools; and promoting school gardening. The Director works with the GtL staff to keep up to date program records, design and implement program evaluations, and respond with program improvements. In addition, the Director coordinates activities with Grow to Learn program partners at GreenThumb in the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and the NYC Department of Education’s Division School Facilities, Office of Sustainability and Office of School Food.


Qualifications include:


•     At least 5 years experience working in non-profit or government (with a focus in education and urban agriculture/gardening strongly preferred).

•     Undergraduate degree required with advanced degree in related area strongly preferred.

•     Knowledgeable about New York City government and non-profit networks.

•     Interest in and awareness of environmental issues with emphasis on education and horticulture.

•     Experience in program or project management, including staff supervision. Experience with program evaluation and data management.

•     Strong oral and written communications skills, including public speaking, materials development and media outreach. Experience in website editing and content management preferred.

•     Experience with fundraising and donor cultivation. Proven sound fiscal management experience.

•     Proven ability to build coalitions and develop new partnerships and programs. Ability to work with a variety of constituencies, including government agencies and institutional partners.

•     Highly organized with the ability to juggle multiple tasks, deadlines, and project responsibilities.

Team player who works well with others as well as independently.

•     Computer literate with proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.


Salary Range: $65,000-$75,000 per year. This position is full-time with a generous benefits package including medical and dental insurance and paid time off.

Application Instructions: Email a cover letter, resume, and three professional references to with ‘Grow to Learn Director Application’ in the subject line. Preference given to applications received on or before August 4, 2017. Interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis.


GrowNYC is an Affirmative Action Equal Opportunity Employer and hires without regard to race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation or physical disability.


GrowNYC is a hands-on non-profit which improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. GrowNYC was originally created in 1970 as the Council on the Environment of New York City. Born out of the spirit of the first Earth Day, the Council was

initially a policy-based organization, writing comprehensive reports about quality of life issues like air quality, traffic, and noise. Over the past 40 years we’ve worked to become more engaged with New York City and its citizens. Whether it’s operating the world famous Union Square Greenmarket, building a

new community garden, teaching young people about the environment, or improving recycling awareness, if you’re a New Yorker, GrowNYC is working near you! For more information, visit us at

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