Assistant Director for the Athenian Wilderness Experience (A.W.E.)

Job Description

The Athenian School
Danville, CA


The full-time Assistant Director for A.W.E. is responsible for supporting The Athenian Wilderness Experience (A.W.E.) program. A.W.E. is a graduation requirement for all students and a distinctive feature of the Athenian School curriculum. This 26-day, remote wilderness backpacking program is designed to promote personal growth, to instill a sense of community and develop a connection to the natural world. The field courses represent a dynamic and concentrated reflection of the Athenian School’s values and mission, with experiential education at their core. Normally completed in the junior year, A.W.E. courses are offered during the spring in Death Valley National Park and during the late summer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The Assistant Director will model Outdoor Education field leadership, promote student development, advance the objectives of the program, and hold a high standard of personal responsibility. This is a physically demanding job and requires flexibility in schedule.


Campus Based

  • Manage the A.W.E. Logistics Barn:

    • Oversee the planning, inventory, purchase and packing of course foods. Routinely assess and update foods program, including accommodations for specialized needs such as severe food allergies

    • Oversee the upkeep, repair, inventory, inspection and purchasing of all program equipment

    • Schedule and track maintenance of A.W.E. vehicles and trailers

  • Support students in preparation or follow up related to field courses:

    • Share in the teaching of PE/Conditioning classes for some course attendees

    • Arrange loans of program gear

    • Meet with students, including before or after school, to check equipment

    • Communicate professionally with students and families to answer questions about the program

    • Assist with student post-course reflection interviews

  • Mentor and assist with supervision of volunteer student leaders to support A.W.E. work on campus and during field courses

  • Assist Program Directors with regular reviews and updates of A.W.E. policies, risk management protocols and course curriculum

  • Support Program Directors in ongoing recruitment and supervision of temporary staff to ensure consistency of program practices

  • Assist Program Directors with portion of budget oversight related to field expeditions

  • Actively pursue personal and professional growth as an educator and program administrator within the scope of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice (DEIS). Especially, aid in DEIS development and training efforts with contract staff

  • Maintain a personal connection to, as well as an understanding of, evolving practices in outdoor technical skills and Outdoor Adventure Education

    • Pursue personal trips to hone technical skills and decision-making related to Outdoor Adventure

    • Research and engage in the field of Outdoor Adventure Education to enhance depth of knowledge

  • Pursue training and possible certification to support climbing site management

Field Based

  • Serve as a Course Director for two field expedition periods per year (typically March and August). 5 concurrent courses occur during each period. For each period:

    • Work extended hours to implement necessary support for duration of temporary program staff’s contract period (39 consecutive days)

    • Work in a remote field environment with full engagement on the program during the 26 day field portion of A.W.E. (this is part of the period listed above)

    • Coordinate with Program Directors to supervise, mentor and evaluate instructors, logistical staff, and other Course Directors in their roles.

    • Assist Program Directors to provide oversight of the program’s Risk Management Protocols and other course expectations

    • Manage in-field program logistical support

    • Assist Program Directors and other staff with student support and possible evacuations

    • Lead or assist with climbing site management and other technical elements

    • Support communications with the school and student families during the expedition using satellite and cellular devices

    • Substitute for instructional staff in case of emergency as needed

  • Operate Athenian School vehicles:

    • Possess a valid driver’s license and safe driving record

    • Observe all California State driving laws, Athenian School, and A.W.E. vehicle policies at all times

    • Have or obtain training in safely packing, hitching, and driving a vehicle/trailer combination

    • Engage in off-road driving for resupplies and other needed field transportation

    • Engage in understanding basic vehicle maintenance needed in the field

    • Provide oversight of AWE staff related to these procedures

  • Perform physical tasks generally associated with an outdoor program (e.g. lift equipment, stoop, hike with 50lbs+ backpack, rock climb, etc.)


  • Actively and positively support the school through participation in the variety of activities that make The Athenian School a vibrant community

  • Complete other work in support of the program or the school community as assigned by the A.W.E. Directors, Assistant Head of School, or other school administrators. This includes occasional support for residential boarding students.


  • Deep understanding of standards and risk management protocols for leading youth in remote wilderness environments

  • Genuine interest in the welfare of students and ability to work with adolescents in remote wilderness environments while prioritizing their physical and emotional safety

  • Teaching and facilitation experience in outdoor and leadership skills for students with varying physical abilities

  • Strong cultural responsivity skills, a learner’s mindset, and the ability to be level-headed, especially in the face of significant objective and subjective challenges

  • Judgement and decision-making skills developed through outdoor adventure experiences

  • Excellent organizational and time management skills with the ability to work autonomously, manage multiple projects with a high degree of accuracy, and to meet deadlines in a timely manner

  • Ability to manage complex logistics

  • Ability to work and communicate collaboratively and professionally with multiple constituencies within the school as well as external personnel (such as federal permit agencies and park or forest service employees)

  • Interpersonal skills, including flexibility when working with others, and comfort with receiving and providing feedback on a regular basis

  • Well-developed communication skills, both oral and written

  • Proficient in use of technology such as MS Office suite (including Excel) and Google suite


  • Significant experience (4-5+ years) leading adolescents in outdoor education programming for extended periods in remote wilderness settings

  • Previous experience providing programmatic oversight for wilderness-based outdoor adventure education courses (eg: Course Director/Program Coordinator/Logistics/etc.)

  • Experience and training in technical skills related to a significant portion of the program activities, such as: rock climbing, expedition backpacking, leadership education

  • Professional background working in a collaborative setting and managing projects

  • Experience with Outdoor Education curriculum development

  • Experience working in and in support of a diverse multicultural setting, preferably with colleagues and students

  • Demonstrated engagement or training in equity and inclusion topics

  • Demonstrated attention to detail and professionalism in written communications and project management

  • Current or previous Wilderness First Responder or a higher level training, Epinephrine Injection and CPR/AED certification. Willing to maintain certification.

  • Has valid driver’s license

Schedule requires flexibility to work some evenings and multi-week trips throughout the year.

Priority consideration will be given to applications received by October 8, 2021. Anticipated start date is January 2022.


School Description:

The Athenian School is a distinctive independent school that prepares its students for college and for lives of meaning and purpose. Athenian encourages students to become life-long learners and infuses them with confidence, independence, personal responsibility and a sense of community. Enrollment in grades 6-12 is 536 students, including 60 boarding students, the majority of whom are international students. We ask that applicants take time to read about Athenian’s history and philosophy (visit our website:

Every employee is an Athenian community member, and as such, embraces the cornerstones of Athenian’s philosophy: respect; open, direct communication; honesty; fairness; responsibility; and dedication to the students in their intellectual and personal growth. Additionally, active support for environmental conservation, international understanding, equity, inclusion, justice, participatory government, outdoor education, and service is essential. Cultural competence is an expectation of employment for all professional staff at Athenian. As a school that from its founding has valued the worth and integrity of each individual, we are particularly interested in candidates with a proven commitment to teaching and working in a diverse, multicultural setting.

Athenian School strives to attract and retain a faculty and staff of the highest caliber. We have a unique community here, filled with many differing opinions, backgrounds, ideologies and experiences. We have students from all over the globe, our families include a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads, single parents, guardians and stepparents. We have many faiths and those who are non-observant. We represent all income levels. What we share is a belief in Athenian’s mission. By embracing diversity in all forms — gender and gender identity, sexuality, faith, ethnicity, socio-economic status — we encourage students to take intellectual risks, to challenge their own assumptions and to learn to work collaboratively as global citizens and advocates for positive change.

The Athenian School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, faith, sex, gender or gender expression, age, ability, sexual orientation, familial or marital status. The Athenian School is actively seeking to create a more culturally diverse school community and as such, we encourage people of color and members of the LGBTIQ community to apply.

Please visit the Athenian Career page ( to submit your cover letter and resume.

Athenian’s salary and benefits are competitive.

Job Availability: 

Priority consideration will be given to applications received by October 8, 2021. Anticipated start date is January 2022.

To Apply

Please visit the Athenian Career page ( to submit your cover letter and resume.

Application Closing Date: 
When filled
Application Contact Email: 
Employment Type: 
Job Region: 
Job Location: 
Danville, CA
Job Experience: 
3 - 5 years
Job Degree Level: 
Job Starting Date: 
January 2022

Job Details

Job Details: 
Adventure Course
Expedition Support
Experiential Education
Private School
Job Population: 

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