Founding Director of Oakland Space Academy

About Chabot

Chabot Space & Science Center is a deeply loved and cherished community-based institution located on a stunning campus nestled amongst the redwoods in the Oakland Hills.  For nearly 140 years, Chabot has inspired adults and kids of all ages through educational programs, interactive exhibits, artifacts, and Planetarium shows that teach and inspire about the Universe and Planet Earth.  Now, recognizing the rapidly growing opportunities in aerospace and space exploration and the critical need for a diverse workforce in this sector, Chabot is launching the Oakland Space Academy.  The Academy’s workforce development program will create pathways into careers in Aerospace and Space Exploration for communities in Oakland and the East Bay.



Chabot has strong partnerships with East Bay schools (specifically Oakland Unified School District), connections to the aerospace industry, a formal partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, and deep relations with the City of Oakland and its community-based organizations.  The Oakland Space Academy will leverage these relationships to create a STEM-Learning Campus that addresses well-documented gaps in the STEM workforce.  While advancing current work to spark curiosity and inspire a scientific mindset through the boundless possibilities of space and astronomy, Chabot will prepare the next generation with the skills, tools, identity, and access necessary to pursue successful and meaningful careers in Astronomy, Aerospace, and Space Exploration.

The Oakland Space Academy will encompass two complementary initiatives, partnering with the public and private sectors, to create a seamless pathway through high school, college, and workforce entry. The first is an evolution of the 20-year-strong Galaxy Explorer high school youth development program, deepening content and skill acquisition to strengthen workplace readiness within selected pathways such as engineering, media, and robotics. In the second initiative, Chabot will expand this high school program to include a new 13th-14th year certification program, providing an innovative bridge between high school, college, and careers.  Supporting these initiatives, the Science Center will continue to invite visitors of all ages and backgrounds to share the excitement of the current space exploration renaissance.  Taken together, this work will position Chabot to have a significant impact on the aspirations and access of our youth to space-sector careers in the Bay Area with a particular focus on under-represented communities.


Position Summary

Chabot is searching for an entrepreneurial, dynamic leader to be the inaugural Director of the Oakland Space Academy.  This position is responsible for leading the design, development, and implementation of the program.  The ideal candidate has cross-sector experience, weaving together expertise from multiple educational backgrounds such as formal education, informal education, community-based organizations, and workforce development programs.  A successful candidate will be a creative, associative thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit, someone who relishes the opportunity (and challenge) of forging new pathways and building new programs.

The Oakland Space Academy Director is a member of the Senior Leadership team and reports directly to the Executive Director / CEO.


Position Responsibilities


  • Lead the design, development, and execution of the Oakland Space Academy, Chabot’s workforce development program.
  • Actively cultivate and engage staff, industry representatives, partnering organizations, board members, families, and volunteers in the development and implementation of the Oakland Space Academy.
  • Maintain a laser-like focus on student outcomes, ensuring a high-quality program that prepares youth for successful space-sector careers.
  • Create a culture of belonging and excitement for youth who may not yet envision themselves in space-related careers.
  • Create a positive, productive, and inclusive culture for families, staff, and partners.
  • Participate at a leadership level in Chabot’s strategic planning process.
  • Participate as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.



  • Build and deepen educational partnerships with external institutions, government agencies, and community groups, including K-12 schools, NASA Ames, and other Bay Area research labs, post-secondary institutions, and community-based organizations throughout the region.
  • Work with local organizations to create equitable pipelines into Chabot’s workforce development programs.
  • Work with public and private sector industry partners to create equitable on-ramps to the workforce including internship and apprenticeship programs.
  • Represent the organization to partner agencies, organizations, and the general public. Attend events and programs as a representative of Chabot.



  • Build and lead the Oakland Space Academy team.
  • Advocate for the Oakland Space Academy while cultivating a culture of collaboration and teamwork across the institution.
  • Set and manage program and department budgets.
  • Prepare and deliver reports on program activities to Staff and Board.
  • Develop the program staffing plan and lead recruiting, hiring, training, and review of Staff.
  • Foster a culture of experimentation, learning, and creativity that attracts, inspires, and motivates a diverse, well-qualified staff.



  • Identify potential grant opportunities.
  • Guide/facilitate proposal development in close collaboration with the Executive Director and Director of Institutional Advancement.
  • Maintain and cultivate positive donor relations.
  • Write or oversee the preparation of programmatic grant reports.



  • BS/BA in education or a science-related field, master’s degree or teaching credential preferred.
  • 10+ years of leadership experience in educational settings, including at least 3 years in a senior level management position. Leadership experience in multiple sectors is a plus. (K-12, higher ed, non-profit, government, industry).
  • Experience developing and/or leading innovative educational programs with a workforce development focus.
  • Experience connecting current learning to readiness for college & career and bridging the high school – post high school gap.
  • Demonstrated ability to create programs inspiring and supporting students from under-served communities to succeed in context’s where they might not have envisioned success.
  • Demonstrated ability to align systems, staff, board members, and partners to produce such programs.
  • Strong working knowledge of rigorous, innovative, culturally responsive, instructional practices and assessment with a focus on young adults.
  • Demonstrated ability to create a clear, compelling, focused and consistent instructional vision tied to academic achievement and concrete student outcomes.
  • Knowledge of project-based learning, and/or inquiry-rich, constructivist-based educational pedagogies a plus.
  • Deep understanding of how to build, support and inspire creative cultures.
  • Proven ability to initiate and manage cross-functional teams and projects, including strategy development, project planning, scheduling, tracking, and budgeting.
  • Demonstrated project management ability to employ integration, scope time management, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement components.
  • Demonstrated effective emotional intelligence; keen grasp of interpersonal and impact awareness; ability to manage, motivate, and lead people toward success.
  • Strong communicator, highly effective written and oral communication skills, ability to inspire and engage a wide variety of audiences.
  • Highly collaborative, strong team player (both internally and externally).
  • Creative problem-solver and associative thinker.
  • Willingness to travel, and work nights and weekends as required.
  • Love of space and astronomy and passion for science a big plus.


How to Apply

This is a regular, full-time exempt management position that includes benefits.

Salary Range is $110-150k annually.

To apply please email a cover letter and resume to: jobs@chabotspace.org


The responsibilities listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position. Chabot reserves the right to revise or change position duties.


Chabot is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Chabot is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Our employees are people with differing strengths, experiences, and backgrounds who share a passion for bringing science to the full range of our community – sparking excitement about a universe of possibilities beyond our planet. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity but also age, disability status, veteran status, sexual orientation, religion, and many other parts of one’s identity. All our employee’s points of view are key to our success, and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility.