director of education / lead teacher!

School mission: Bluestem Hall Nature School fosters rich learning, place-based literacy, and a deep and lifelong sense of belonging to the natural world through slowness and freedom. In modeling healthy relationships that establish trust of self, trust of others, kindness, empowerment, and body autonomy, our students will have the support to be their authentic selves. Please refer to our philosophy + guiding principles pages on our website to learn more about what drives our school!


Position: The Director of Education will be a highly qualified and driven educator ready to fill a position of leadership, guide the education of children 3 - 5 as a lead teacher, and develop curriculum and teaching practices for the school. This position is 35 hours a week with roughly 25 hours a week teaching and 10 hours a week for administrative tasks to maintain position as a Director. A typical day for this position will include teaching at outdoor field stations on a 120-acre state protected prairie preserve as well as indoor classrooms in a restored 1963 machine shed. All staff must be prepared to spend the majority of the teaching day outside in a variety of seasons and weather conditions. The Executive Director will serve as the supervisor and close collaborator of the Director of Education.



  • Showcase an authentic drive to create a physically and emotionally safe learning environment for children.

  • As Lead Teacher: lead the early education of preschool and kindergarten mixed age students with both emergent and planned curricula, recognize and follow child-led interests, and lesson plan with play-based philosophies in mind.

  • As Director of Education: pioneer our school’s curriculum with progressive philosophies in mind, oversee all education practices, and lead/mentor the growth of supporting teachers, parent volunteers, and student teachers.

  • Maintain a thorough understanding of the native species (plant, mammal, bird, insect) present in the Barnhart Prairie Preserve, as well as a basic understanding of regional forest, river, and lake flora and fauna.

  • Demonstrate the ability to establish healthy relationships with enrolled families including easy and clear communication in person, via email, and phone appointments. Understand the goal is to celebrate the small community and closeness our school has with all families but from a place of professional boundaries and good decision making.

  • Schedule and lead any additional family conferences required to meet the social/emotional/physical/cognitive needs of all students.

  • Establish individual relationships with all students to ensure you can recognize their unique form of learning and can foster custom opportunities for growth.

  • Take initiative to research, read books/articles, take seminars/training in the Nature-Based Education industry

  • Take pride in your position as an advocate of community outreach and play a role in school events such as fundraisers, donor meetings, festivals, and celebrations both public or private.

  • Work with Executive Director to complete the admissions process which may include but not limited to: open house for interested families, private tours, admissions meetings to meet potential families and students, one on one meeting with students, admitted student play dates, and admitted student home visits.

  • Acknowledge and respect diversity and promote inclusion of all people regardless of ethnic, cultural, linguistic backgrounds, gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical and mental disabilities.



Bluestem Hall Nature School will be under the permit/licensure of DCFS as a Daycare Center and all staff must fulfill licensed position requirements. Because this is a dual position for Director of Education and Lead Teacher, the terms of both requirements with DCFS will have to be met.

  • An Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or Elementary Education (0-6) is required, a Bachelor’s Degree is preferred.

  • A prior business course in administration, leadership, or management, or willingness to obtain by late summer 2021.

  • At least two years’ experience working in an early childhood education setting such as a school, preschool, or daycare is required.

  • A familiarity with Illinois Early Childhood Standards

  • Must have the knowledge of principles and techniques in early childhood education and the ability to implement this knowledge through developmentally appropriate curriculum.

  • Experience working in Environmental Education is preferred.

  • An understanding of the ecology, geology, botany, and zoology of our native midwestern prairie landscape or a willingness to learn is required.

  • An understanding of our regional history is preferred.

  • Prior CPR and first aid certifications, or willingness to obtain.

  • Ability to sit, stand, crawl, lift children, hold children, and walk on uneven terrain will be essential. Reasonable accommodations for these physical requirements can be made to enable the right candidate.


The Director of Education / Lead Teacher exemplifies a genuine interest in the wellbeing of children. The ability to listen, engage, teach, and communicate with children of all ages and developmental levels and with the adults in their lives is necessary. Working with a small, tight-knit team of both supervisors and supporting staff will be crucial. Cultivating parent relationships and representing our program well through written and verbally communication will be required as this is the first/pilot year of our program! The best candidate must show leadership to work independently and effectively guide your own students while always maintaining the flexibility to work as a cohesive team in our small nonprofit organization.


Job Type: 7 hours a day, 35 hours a week, 36 weeks a year

*with potential to add on summer programming

Salary Range: $35,280 ($28/hour) - $40,320 ($32/hour)

Start Date: September / October 2021, very part time consulting work to begin summer 2021

Contact Person: Abbie Frank, Executive Director

Email: school@bluestemhall.com

Address: 1401 E Old Church Road Urbana, Illinois 61802

How to Apply:

Please email us your resume and a paragraph introducing yourself, highlighting your unique interest in nature-based education, and sharing your personal philosophies on teaching. We want to get a sense of who you are!


Non-Discrimination Statement:

Bluestem Hall Nature School will not base assignment and promotion decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person's race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Bluestem Hall Nature School is committed to being a site of equal opportunity for employment and education.