Director of Expeditions and Risk Management

Company: Alzar School

Job Type: Full Time

Job Description


Alzar School is accepting applications for a dynamic, leadership position at Alzar School: the Director of Expeditions and Risk Management (DERM).  This position spans the organization, working with the semester program, gap program, and short courses.  It is foundational to helping students discover their leadership potential through outdoor experiences, including courses, clinics, and multi-day expeditions.  Alzar is fortunate to operate in some of the most spectacular environments, including (but not limited to) the Wild & Scenic Main Salmon River, Boise and Payette National Forests, Patagonia National Park, the Rio Baker, and more.  The DERM position is based out of our campus in Cascade, Idaho and involves extended periods of time in Patagonia, Chile.  We are seeking a candidate to begin June 1, 2022, which would allow for some overlap with the outgoing DERM.  

About Alzar School:

Alzar School’s mission is to develop leaders who positively impact the world. Our vision is that the Alzar School will be the leader in experiential education for high school age students, with permanent headquarters in Idaho and in Chile.  Additionally, the school has a growing gap program and auxiliary programs for other demographics.  Our school integrates the “six foundations” of our program: Academics, Leadership Training, Outdoor Adventure, Cultural Exchange, Service Learning, and Environmental Stewardship.  We are a year-round, fully accredited school, with 42-48 students enrolled each semester and appropriate full-time faculty and administrative staff. We will continue to take groups of students abroad in both the fall and spring. Our students and staff will come from a wide range of geographic, social, and economic backgrounds.  After participating in an Alzar program, we know our students will subsequently apply their acquired knowledge, confidence, and leadership skills meaningfully, to better the communities which they serve.


Please reference our many videos (https://vimeo.com/alzarschool) and media through the Alzar School blog, Facebook Page, and other social media outlets to get an idea of the culture and values of the Alzar School.


Description of the Alzar School semester program:


The semester starts with orientation outings, and orientation skill clinics.  This sets the tone for the entire semester for the community.  All the students and staff then participate in a few weeks of class prior to departing for the first expedition block  This expedition block builds on the on-campus orientation outings and clinics, and builds upon the groundwork for the other outdoor expeditions throughout the semester.


Upon return, the students will continue with a routine of daily classes, afternoon/weekend outdoor activity, and community living.   The semester then changes locations, from Idaho to Chile in the Fall semester (August – December) and from Chile to Idaho in the Spring semester (January – May).  There is then another two week expedition block, prior to finals and graduation.  


After a student finishes their semester at the Alzar School, they will return to their sending school and complete a Culminating Leadership Project, that allows them to demonstrate their learning.  Each student will have 6 months to complete this project and during that time frame, will receive support and guidance from Alzar School faculty.


The fall and spring semesters are essentially the same, though the order of courses and expeditions is different based on seasons.


Description of Alzar Gap programs:

Alzar Gap offers several programs for high school graduates, including multi-month programs in Idaho and Chile.  These programs are an evolution of the semester program noted above, without the traditional academic component and more extensive field time.  Typically, each cohort would have a maximum of 14 students, with 3 instructors.  There are currently 4 programs offered each year: 1) Fall Patagonia Exchange, 2) Spring Patagonia Exchange, 3) Spring Wild & Scenic, 4) Summer Western Whitewater.  


Description of other short programs:

Depending on demand, organizational needs, and opportunities that come up, Alzar offers short courses.  These range from programs for our alumni to come back and have additional experiential learning to courses for other youth programs.  Courses may range from weekend clinics to multi-week expeditions.  Often, these courses work in conjunction with Confluences River Expeditions, which is an outfitter on the Main Salmon River and a subsidiary of Alzar.


Cascade, Idaho and on expeditions around Idaho and Oregon
Coyhaique, Chile (“Base Patagonia” campus) and on expeditions around Patagonia


Candidate Traits and Qualifications:
The incoming Director of Expeditions and Risk Management should look forward to empowering the school’s teachers to lead engaging expeditions.  We are looking for an individual who is excited by the prospect of working in the rural, mountain community of Cascade, Idaho, but who is also excited to travel to Chile when the school is operating there.  This individual will provide support and training for passionate outdoor educators, help manage complicated logistics, and coordinate efforts to mitigate risk associated with our programming. 

Successful candidates will be innovative, adaptable, and flexible, taking challenges in stride.  We are hiring a Director of Expeditions and Risk Management who wants to be a part of something unique, challenging, and rewarding.  We promise the work will be strenuous, that it will be varied and that you will have a voice in shaping a school that combines rigorous academics, cultural exchange, and outdoor adventure to develop young leaders.


We invite applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply, and firmly believe that a diverse faculty and staff enriches our community and builds more and deeper connections with students.  Some applicants may possess skills in certain areas and less experience in others.  We look forward to the opportunity to review your application!

Candidates applying for this administrative position should possess as many as possible of the following qualifications:

  • Relevant degree (undergraduate or graduate level)

  • Professional outdoor education experience

  • Experience instructing, coaching, and mentoring outdoor instructors 

  • Classroom experience and/or experience working in traditional school settings

  • Experience managing budgets

  • Comfort with international travel and living

  • Experience leading risk management programs and training

  • Technical ability to repair and maintain equipment

Additionally, candidates should possess advanced technical skills and be able to lead in at least ONE of the following activity areas:

  • Whitewater rafting (up to class IV)

  • Whitewater kayaking (up to class IV)

  • Backpacking (5-6 days in remote locations)

Spanish proficiency is strongly preferred.  

Position Responsibilities:
The Director of Expeditions and Risk Management will report to the Head of School and collaborate with the larger leadership team to empower the transformative experiences the Alzar School offers to its students and extended community.

As this is an administrative role, the selected candidate should anticipate a large portion of his/her responsibilities to include:

  • Briefing and debriefing expeditions for both the semester program and other courses

  • Maintaining special use permits and permissions to operate in course sites, including pre- and post-season reporting

  • Training, coaching and mentoring teachers, Community and Experiential Advisors, gap instructors and short course instructors

  • Overseeing the records of employees’ trainings and certifications

  • Purchasing, organizing, maintaining, distributing, collecting and repairing outdoor equipment

  • Developing and refining curriculum, specifically related to that delivered on courses, outings, and expeditions

  • Collaborating with other directors at the school, in the gap program, and with affiliated organizations

  • Directing summer courses (and future programs outside the semester program)

  • Overseeing risk management reporting of incidents and near-hits

  • Assisting with medical program of the school (ensuring first aid kits remain supplied, helping organize student medication distribution on expeditions, scheduling appointments to clinics, hospitals, etc as necessary following field evacuations)

  • Direct instruction to students (most likely in the outdoor and/or leadership realm)

  • Completing shifts as “Administrator on Call” for the various programs in operation, on a rotating duty schedule shared with other school administrators

Like all members of the Alzar School faculty and staff team, the Director of Expeditions and Risk Management will have some residential duties.  The candidate selected for this position should anticipate spending multiple weeks per semester with the school in Chile supporting school efforts there (at least 4 weeks per semester and as many as 14 weeks per year, typically late-October through November and early February through March).

Approximate % breakdown of responsibilities

  • Teaching and preparation – 10%

  • Expeditionary program leadership – 40%

  • Rsk management program leadership – 20%

  • Administrative work – 20%

  • Residential life duties – 10%

Dates of Employment:
This is a paid, annual position with the opportunity for contract extensions each year.  This is a year-round position, working all 12 calendar months.  Our semester programs run from early August through the end of May, with staff training/wrap-up in July and June.  Our Roam Summer Course runs in June, July and August.  

The selected candidate will start as soon as possible.  We are looking for a candidate who intends to remain in the position for multiple years, to develop as a significant leader in the Alzar School community.

Important Dates to Consider


First day of employment in first year – June 1, 2022 (to allow for 1 month overlap with predecessor) 

Fiscal year – July 1 to June 30


Salary, Benefits:
This is a paid, annual position with the opportunity for contract extensions each year.  We offer contracts to new hires with the expectation of a two-year minimum commitment. 

Salary ranges from $45,000 to $55,000 depending on experience and qualifications.  There is paid time off associated with the position, along with health and retirement benefits, and professional development and gear bonuses for contract completion.  On campus housing is not provided with this position, though if the school has an open residence, this will be considered.

Curious about Alzar School?  Check out our website.

Planning on applying?  Apply for the position here.  Application will remain open until filled. 

More questions?  Please contact Head of School Sean Bierle ([email protected]

Recent college graduates or outdoor professionals without substantial experience should consider applying for our teacher or Community & Experiential Advisors positions.  

Availability:  We are seeking a candidate to start June 1, 2022, in order to overalp with the outgoing person in this position.
Posted on: February 15, 2022
Job Type: Full Time
Job Starting Date:
June 1, 2022
Application Closing Date:
March 8, 2022
Job Salary Range:
45000.00 to 55000.00
Years of Experience: 5 – 10 years
Preferred/Required Degree Level: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree