Director of Making & Engineering at Bourn Idea Lab

Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A


Job Summary

The Director of Making and Engineering at Castilleja is a committed educator with a passion for maker education, design thinking, and engineering who is responsible for the school’s making and engineering program and associated maker spaces, including the Bourn Idea Lab and Middle School Tinkering Nook. S/he has exceptional program management skills, the capacity to imagine and implement curriculum, and a deep interest in the power of making and hands-on learning to build student agency. The ideal candidate is one who embraces ambiguity and thrives when working at the intersection of creative thinking, collaboration, and innovation.

As Director, s/he is well-versed in articulating the vision for the program and its philosophy to a wide variety of audiences and constantly works to align programming to strategic goals. S/he develops and teaches making electives and engineering courses in both the middle school and high school levels, researches and implements opportunities for students to participate in hands-on projects, as well as consults and collaborates with colleagues in other disciplines to create interdisciplinary curriculum threads across the middle and upper school. The Director also serves as the faculty advisor for our high school FIRST Robotics team, designs professional development opportunities, and advocates for the program both internally and externally.

Duties and Responsibilities

Teaching and Curriculum Development

  • Work with teachers across all curriculum areas and grade levels to design project-based learning opportunities for students that can be integrated into core classes, flexible learning periods, and other venues
  • Design, develop, and teach courses offered in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, senior mini-courses, and support upper school students in Independent Study projects.
  • Coordinate making, engineering and design curriculum development and education in both the middle and upper school.
  • Create a framework for offering middle school courses, units, or interdisciplinary projects incorporating making, design, and engineering concepts that will build an audience for the upper school course offerings.
  • Continue work on the school’s Making and Engineering Curriculum Framework in collaboration with stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with Castilleja’s Institutional Researcher to create and design tools and best practices for assessment of hands-on learning.

Robotics Advising

  • Oversee Castilleja’s middle school and upper school robotics programs
  • Serve as the faculty advisor for upper school FIRST Robotics team, which involves meeting regularly with student leads, managing and recruiting team coaches and volunteer mentors, working with the team to organize logistics such as purchasing,
    budgeting, travel, shipping, etc.
  • Travel with and support robotics team during both out-of-town and in-town competitions
  • Keep abreast of team progress via the team’s internal communication channels
    (currently Slack) and check-in regularly with both student leads and adult
  • Collaborate with team coaches and mentors to keep the team on schedule to meet
    various deadlines
  • Advocate for the team within the broader context of the school and local community
  • Support the team in their fundraising efforts including partnering with Castilleja’s
    Advancement Team to seek out new corporate sponsors
  • Serve as the liaison between the school community and the team, including ensuring
    that team is following all safety procedures, after-hours access policies, etc.

Program and Lab Management

  • Oversee the daily functioning of the Bourn Idea Lab and Tinkering Nook, including
    workflows, scheduling, inventory, purchasing, budgeting, safety policies, equipment
    maintenance/repairs, and maintaining a consistent lab presence during school hours.
  • Manage the Bourn Lab/Tinkering Nook team, including lab volunteers and student
  • Develop relationships with other partners to enhance the making, design, and
    engineering program at Castilleja
  • Educate students and faculty on the use of design thinking and problem solving.
  • Promote the lab and its use through the school’s various communication channels,
    including website, social media, etc
  • Collaborate with other Program Directors and Leadership Team to ensure alignment of
    program with Castilleja’s overall mission and strategic goals
  • Research and communicate external design and engineering opportunities, such as
    summer programs and internships, to Castilleja students.

Professional Development and Outreach

  • Design and run workshops for teachers internally at Castilleja at various times during the
    school year, such as Opening Week, faculty meetings, year end Summer Institute.
  • Coordinate and direct the Bourn Teacher Fellows program, a year-long professional
    development fellowship for Castilleja teachers
  • Host external visitors for tours to share our program and best practices
  • Research external professional development opportunities related to making, design thinking, and/or STEM education, and publicize these opportunities to Castilleja faculty
  • Organize and plan the annual Design, Do, Discover summer institute, in partnership with Marymount School of New York (hosted in Palo Alto and NYC in alternate years)
  • Represent Castilleja at relevant conferences and events, e.g. Maker Faire, FabLearn

Other Faculty Duties

  • Attend weekly faculty meetings
  • Serve as a member of Curriculum Council
  • Participate in Program Directors’ meetings to coordinate alignment between programs
  • Represent the Program at internal events, such as Admissions Open Houses, Back to School Night, etc.
  • Serve as faculty advisor for ACE Orgs hosted in the Bourn Lab
  • Opportunity to serve as a grade-level advisor
  • Other duties as assigned


Position Qualifications

  • BA/BS and/or industry experience in engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, or other related field required; advanced degree strongly preferred
  • Passion for maker education and working with youth in both formal classroom as well as informal co-curricular settings
  • Prior teaching experience, either in or outside of classrooms
  • Strong communication skills and ability to speak to a wide variety of audiences, from students to parents to fellow educators
  • Collaborative and enjoys working in a team-based environment
  • Extremely organized and detail-oriented
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development and ability to model lifelong learning for, and sometimes in front of, students
  • Experience with digital fabrication technology and/or shop tools is a bonus
  • Resilient, flexible, tech-savvy, and creative
  • Position will involve some evening/weekend hours and (infrequent) travel

Director position with attractive compensation.