Head of Program, Pre-College & Career

Explo, Norwood, MA

Exploration Learning – affectionately known as EXPLO – is looking for an educational leader interested in being part of a team propelling an innovative learning organization to new heights. This is an important and exciting opportunity for someone to join a dynamic, growing, and influential not-for-profit organization. The successful applicant will lead an already strong program to an entirely new level and in so doing, impact the lives of young people, enthusiastic educators, and the field of education.


In 1976, an idea took hold in the halls of MIT: a powerful reimagining of the summer experience for high school students. That idea became EXPLO, a pioneering and world-class summer enrichment program where students pursue their interests unconstrained by grades and tests. The result? A collaborative, interdisciplinary learning environment, where students drive their own learning through exploration.

In 1984, grades 7-9 were added; in 1994 grades 4-6 were added; and five years ago the program expanded to grades 2 and 3. A year ago, the organization expanded its work and launched EXPLO Elevate, an innovative schools cooperative started with 15 founding schools. This past summer, in the midst of a pandemic, Elevate ran professional development for more than 450 teachers who needed help pivoting to online. At the same time, EXPLO successfully launched hands on and highly engaging online offerings for its own students.

More than 85,000 students have attended EXPLO and they come from 90 countries. Today, the organization continues to reimagine teaching and learning in an age of momentous change. Currently, EXPLO is developing year-round online programming, and Elevate is expanding its work into consulting, research, and expanded professional learning. EXPLO is carving out a role as a home for education thought leaders with invitations to present at the Education World Forum, the National Association of Independent Schools and the International Education & Skills Summit. Admissions, marketing, analytics, and communications are now part of a new Customer Engagement Group and the organization is poised for growth.

The organization is governed by a diverse and committed board of trustees representing finance, ed tech, media, education, law, and business.

Pre-College and Career EXPLO’s high school program for grades 10-12 has been redesigned and this summer will launch as EXPLO Pre-College and Career (PCC) at Mount Holyoke College. EXPLO believes that those who will thrive in the future are those who can reimagine it and have the skills and disposition to act. Life, college, and careers have been disrupted and the old playbooks are outdated. PCC sits at the crossroads of academia and careers. The program is focused on real world projects, site visits, and working closely with academic and industry experts who are at the frontiers of their fields. This summer will mark the first time EXPLO students will be eligible for college credit through an exciting partnership with a leading liberal arts college.

The Position

The Head of the Pre-College and Career (PCC) program is responsible for creating a dynamic and supportive learning environment for grades 10-12 with comprehensive responsibility for all curricular and non-curricular program development and operations. You will supervise a year-round team of three (Assistant Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, and Program Coordinator.) During the summer, you will move to campus and lead an administrative team and faculty in running a fast paced, experiential, and innovative boarding and day program.

Though the program has been redesigned, this summer will be its launch and no doubt changes will need to be made for the program to hit its true stride. The plan is for the current number of concentrations to increase and for the program to eventually run on more than one campus. You will help refine the current program design and clearly articulate a vision of where the program should go in the future. You will be a strategic thinker who looks around corners and discerns where a program needs to move to remain relevant, innovative, and to offer families a compelling summer investment.

You will attract, develop and keep a highly talented team. You know that a focus on growing and coaching team members is vital. You will empower team members and convey a sense of trust in them, while at the same time holding them accountable. You will set the bar high and help your team reach your standards. EXPLO is committed to diversifying its staff and student body and making each member of the community feel a true sense of belonging. You are someone already working on your own anti-racist journey and you will show your commitment to the work by ensuring the program you lead is committed to inclusion, diversity and equity. You will do this in concert with EXPLO’s IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action).

You will work closely and collegially with other Program and department heads. You are a strong communicator who can inspire, cajole, hold the line, and persuade. You will be able to clearly articulate the program’s value proposition through writing, presentation and public speaking. Through your work with the Customer Engagement Group, you will play an important role in attracting new families to the program via informational meetings and online sessions and will assist in ensuring EXPLO alums see the PCC program as an attractive destination.

At its heart, EXPLO is about exploring the world of people and ideas. This exploration is driven by a keen focus on delivering a top-notch experiential learning experience grounded in learning science, innovative curricular design, and excellent teacher professional development. In partnership with the PCC’s Director of Teaching and Learning, you will be committed to regular curricular and pedagogical review and reinvention. You will enthusiastically embrace EXPLO’s teaching philosophy:

At EXPLO, we believe learning mirrors life — full of questions, tensions, and worthwhile digressions in an ever-changing world. We know that whimsy and wonder have a place alongside pragmatic investigation. We celebrate discovery through doing, and empathy through authentic connection. We know immersing ourselves in the earnest exploration of the world of people and ideas reveals the joy of learning and with it the joy of living.

You are a leader who effectively manages people, data, and processes. You are resourceful, a self-starter, and a problem solver. You know how to manage your time well and are organized. You embrace the use of technology.

With the EXPLO’s Business Manager, you will be responsible for setting and managing a budget.

Relationship development is a key component of this position and this is one of your strengths. The PCC program relies on an excellent working relationship with the host institution(s) including the administration and members of dining services, police, facilities, faculty, and more. Experts who advise and instruct at the program must be recruited, nurtured, and stewarded, and this is something that excites you.

You will report directly to EXPLO’s President who may ask you to take on additional assignments or tasks.

You have a fire in your belly and have a need to push things forward. You are curious by nature and a pragmatic optimist. You are excited about working with smart, engaged, and talented colleagues -- people who have big ideas and are excited about making them a reality.


  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree strongly preferred
  • Significant experience in education
  • Leadership, supervisory, and teaching experience
  • Experience working in a boarding environment preferred
  • Transparent in your thinking and comfortable with change 
  • The ability to spend a large portion of each week during the academic year at EXPLO’s headquarters, The Exploration Center, in Norwood, Massachusetts
  • You will be able to spend upwards of eight weeks on campus during the summer

EXPLO is particularly interested in applicants who can contribute to the diversity of the organization.

Compensation Competitive. Excellent benefits including: paid vacation; health, vision, dental, disability, and life insurance; retirement contributions; tuition benefits for dependents; and a flexible spending program. Flexible schedule. Dog friendly work environment. Our headquarters, The Exploration Center, is a 30,000 square foot building that began its life as the Norwood Press. It’s been completely renovated and in addition to office space, includes a kitchen, dining area, maker space, woodshop, video studio, paint shop, and laundry. It’s a creative hub. We’ve got plenty of free parking, we’re within walking distance of the commuter rail station and downtown Norwood, and the bus stop is right out our front door

Start Date: Full-time: September 7, 2021

With some time spent on campus this summer.

Review of applications will begin immediately.

Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to:

Cortney Barkdoll

Human Resources Manager


  • Head of program