Education and Engagement Lead, Zero Waste Schools

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Organization Information

GrowNYC is a 51-year-old environmental nonprofit organization – helping more than 3 million New Yorkers by providing essential services and taking action to make NYC a livable city, one where every person can enjoy a healthier, more sustainable life.  

Our Programs:  

• Our network of Greenmarkets, Farmstands, Fresh Food Box sites and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.  

• We blanket the five boroughs with resources like textile and food scrap collection, Stop ‘N’ Swaps, as well as free training to make waste reduction easy for all.  

• We build and support community and school gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, training, grants and more.  

• We provide 70,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.  

Note to applicants on COVID safety: GrowNYC is committed to stopping the spread of Covid-19. All new hires must be able to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination during the onboarding process. Employees are also required to follow COVID safety protocols as the situation evolves, which may include daily health screenings, mask wearing, and other mitigation measures as deemed necessary by local conditions, mandates, and applicable guidelines.

About Zero Waste Schools

Since 2010, GrowNYC’s Zero Waste Schools (ZWS) has developed model recycling programs and designed unique and engaging educational materials for use at public schools throughout NYC. 

Beginning in the fall of 2022, a 2-year expansion will bring curbside composting services to all public and private schools in NYC that receive New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) collections. Working in close partnership with Department of Education (DOE) Office of Sustainability and DSNY, GrowNYC will provide support to schools newly receiving these services. This exciting expansion will mean that NYC schools are able to divert as much as 86% of their waste from landfill, getting the city closer to reaching the important climate goal of zero waste to landfill. 

Education and Engagement Lead  (9 positions available)

Position Summary

Reporting to the Education and Engagement Manager, the Education and Engagement Lead works independently with 8-10 schools during each phase of the curbside compost expansion to help them transition successfully to new waste sorting practices and collection services. 

Responsibilities (Include but are not limited to):

Operations: Infrastructure & Communications 

• Ensure key school stakeholders including principals, custodian engineer and cleaning crew, OFNS staff, Sustainability Coordinators, teachers and all school-based staff are informed and equipped to meet the Curbside Composting Program requirements and NYC’s recycling laws and mandates; provide responsive resources to facilitate their active participation  

• Train school staff on DOE and DSNY curbside composting waste management procedures required for compliance with NYC’s recycling laws; provide ongoing support and additional training as necessary 

• Establish communication channels and school stakeholder networks, such as a School Sustainability Council, that foster behavior change  

• Maintain regular communication with Sustainability Coordinator (SC) or other designated contact to discuss strategy for recycling set up and education in the school  

• Share missed collection protocols, materials disposal protocols, and any other DOE or DSNY priority communications with school stakeholders.  

Education & Engagement 

• Facilitate faculty professional learning and staff trainings 

• Lead student education opportunities using existing GrowNYC ZWS materials or vetted external materials with focus on compost and mealtime waste sorting 

• Cultivate student leadership through the establishment and support of student Green Teams 

• Conduct waste audits with students to deepen their understanding and involvement in waste management and waste reduction solutions 

• Lead student advocacy projects to engage students in making change in their schools and in their communities 

• Establish method for promoting waste and sustainability communications to staff, students and parents, i.e. morning announcements, bulletin boards, newsletters or website updates 

• Promote stakeholder participation in system wide trainings and sustainability showcases held by the DOE Office of Sustainability

• Coordinate and promote school participation in DSNY Zero Waste Schools website and partner contests, grants or training opportunities 

Administrative & Reporting 

• Actively participate in team meetings to share your work in schools and provide support to GrowNYC ZWS team members 

• Collect data on school waste stream contamination through surveys and waste audits to evaluate school’s success and opportunities for improvement 

• Complete FileMaker entries for each school visit including visit type, number of students and/or adults engaged and notes for follow up 

• Prepare periodic reports for schools on progress to date, next steps, and goals for the future 

• Timely completion of monthly metrics and reports including site visits, timesheets, outreach highlights and reimbursements Requirements

• Passionate about composting, recycling, and waste reduction, with a desire to help others learn and practice sustainable behaviors 

• Team player who can also self-motivate and work independently outside of the office 

• Possesses skillset that includes solid professional knowledge and expertise in engagement and relationship building, planning and organizing, project management, and proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite

• Experience working with k-12 public schools, including lesson plan development 

• Adaptability and an overall positive attitude 

• Bachelor’s Degree in education, environmental education, sustainability or a related field of study, OR two plus years’ experience working with youth in sustainability education 

• Strong oral and written communications skills, including experience with public speaking and group facilitation 

• Comfortable communicating and working with people from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, including trans* and nonbinary, sexual orientation, ability, class and religion 

• Highly organized with the ability to meet multiple deadlines and prioritize responsibilities 

Qualifications preferred:

• Experience in curriculum development and training 

• Second language skills strongly encouraged 

• Knowledge of environmental education strategies, including teaching critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills  

Additional eligibility requirements

All offers of employment are conditional upon successful completion of the DOE Eligibility Clearance Procedures, which include, but are not limited to, DOE fingerprinting procedures and background investigations, as well as final funding approval from the City of New York.

Physical Requirements

Education and Engagement Leads should be able to transport approximately 30-50lbs of materials, project their voice to large groups, and operate a vehicle. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential duties.


Full time, 35-40hrs/week; may include some early mornings, late evenings, and occasional weekend. 


The full-time, nonexempt Education and Engagement Lead position pays $54,000 annually and includes benefits (medical, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability, pension plan, and paid time off). Anticipated funding for this position is for 2 years, from July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024, with the possibility of extension pending further funding and contract renewal


The Education and Engagement Lead is primarily a field-based role requiring travel within the 5 boroughs of New York City for approximately 80% of the work week. The remainder of the time is hybrid in office with some flexibility to work from home. 

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

Salary Description: $54,000/year