Position Announcement

JOB TITLE: Pacific Northwest Assistant Director

REPORTS TO: Pacific Northwest Director

JOB OBJECTIVE:  Provide leadership for Pacific Northwest (PNW) field program, in support of NOLS’ mission and values. Supervise the PNW program team to create positive, life-changing opportunities for every student at the PNW campus and at least one additional domestic location. Along with the director and operations manager, the assistant director is part of the NOLS PNW leadership team.


  • Knowledge of NOLS’ schoolwide philosophy, curriculum, and PNW operations. 
  • Able to work successfully with a variety of audiences, including students, staff, parents, land management agencies, and the general public. 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, demonstrated good judgment, facilitation and problem-solving skills.
  • Able to work in a fast-paced team environment as well as independently. 
  • Organized and creative, with strong supervisory talent and commitment to a thriving team. 
  • Previous supervisory experience in outdoor education. 
  • Able to maintain a flexible schedule, sometimes working long and irregular hours, including some weekends and holidays.

LEADERSHIP OR SUPERVISORY DUTIES: Recruit, hire, train, and supervise a team of three to four people, including program supervisors and evacuation coordinator(s). Primary person responsible for the support, development and supervision of 70-100 field faculty annually. Assume an acting director role at various times of the year.

FUNDS AND/OR PROPERTY: The position will have signature authority on all PNW accounts. Responsible for disbursement of funds pertaining to operational expenses, and permitting. Access to petty cash and authorized to sign requisitions and travel authorities.


50% - Program Leadership:

  • Supervise the NOLS PNW program team, with the goal of supporting exceptional student experiences. Facilitate the hiring and training of program supervisor(s) and evacuation coordinator(s). 
  • Oversee management of evacuations.
  • Plan and manage course routes, and collaborate with operations manager to build seasonal operating plans.
  • Review all faculty performance evaluations written at NOLS PNW.
  • Manage budgets and expenses directly related to courses. 
  • Schedule and coordinate private services, such as ferries, horse packers and resupplies.  
  • Implement new initiatives and curriculum for NOLS PNW courses. 
  • Prepare seasonal reports related to NOLS PNW performance including season summaries, risk management data, and faculty merit recognition. 
  • Collaborate with the Field Staffing Office to build seasonal faculty staffing plans.
  • Review all PNW student paperwork, such as course descriptions and logistics documents.
  • In conjunction with the expedition and leadership education director, contribute to annual program supervisor meetings and schoolwide curriculum/program development at NOLS.

25% - Course Supervision:

  • Brief and debrief PNW field courses. Evaluate instructor performance; enter faculty performance evaluations and incident data into the NOLS database. Review, organize and submit course-related paperwork. 
  • Share evacuation coordinator duties and manage evacuations as needed. 
  • Work with student behavior issues and separations, including intervention and family contact.

10% - Land Management and Public Policy:

  • Oversee maintenance of existing U.S. and Canadian land use permits and apply for necessary new permits.
  • Attend land use planning and permit holder meetings as necessary. Maintain excellent working relationships with relevant land managers and other user groups.
  • Compile land use data and prepare use reports to land management agencies and NOLS headquarters.
  • Promote regional initiatives and relationships. 

10% - Operations and Community

  • Routinely dispense checks and petty cash in support of operations.
  • Occasionally assist with course support, including transportation, rationing, meal preparation, and outfitting as necessary to maintain excellent student service.

5% - Other duties as assigned by NOLS PNW director

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: NOLS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, genetics information, disability unrelated to job or admission requirements, or status as a protected veteran. The school’s nondiscrimination policy applies to all phases of its employment process, its admission and financial aid programs, and to all other aspects of its educational programs and activities. Retaliation directed to any person who pursues a discrimination complaint or grievance, participates in a discrimination investigation, or otherwise opposes unlawful discrimination is prohibited.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK: A criminal background check is required from all NOLS employees. 

E-VERIFY: NOLS Participates in E-Verify.

MOTOR VEHICLE RECORD: Applicants must be at least 21 years of age by the position start date and possess a valid driver’s license. Must have a clean driving history and be able to meet the criteria for NOLS vehicle insurance coverage.

WORK LOCATION: NOLS PNW campus in Conway, WA. A moderate campus fee applies for staff living on site. Private housing is available on-site. Meals are provided when students are on campus and staff are expected to participate in student meals. Kitchen and living areas are shared with other NOLS PNW staff.

EMPLOYMENT DATES: This is an 85% salaried position, with full-time hours roughly March through mid-January.


Send Cover Letter and Resume to: Debbie Derbish


Phone: (307) 335-2229

Contact:  Katie Baum Mettenbrink, associate director of operations (kbm@nols.edu, 307.335.2219) with questions.


STARTING DATE: Mid-March 2021.

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