New England Aquarium
  • Pinnipeds and Penguins Leadership
  • Boston, MA, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time Regular

Directs the daily operations of the African and Rockhopper Penguin area in a manner that ensures the highest standards of modern animal training, care, enrichment, and welfare. The primary role of the Assistant Curator is to focus on providing a supportive, positive team environment that fosters staff growth and development in the advancement of Avian training and welfare. As a member of the leadership team the Assistant Curator has a shared responsibility to provide planning for the care and training of staff and animals. Specifically, they will assist in the design, development, and implementation of a comprehensive behavior program which will include conditioned husbandry, enrichment strategies and guest-centered program training. Through teaching, coaching, and demonstrating the best industry practices and professional behavior, the Assistant Curator of Penguins must be a role model and a well-rounded animal care professional.

New England Aquarium has implemented comprehensive safety protocols for employees and visitors to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure. As a member of our team, you will be provided with the training and resources needed to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. In addition, the Aquarium requires all staff to be vaccinated and boosted (when eligible) against COVID-19 unless a reasonable medical or religious accommodation is requested and approved.

This is a full-time regular position offering a comprehensive benefits package. The typical schedule will be Tuesday - Saturday, and will occasionally require some coverage on weekends and holidays, as well as some early morning and night coverage.


  1. Leads by example demonstrating high level of job performance including exemplary leadership, interpersonal and communications skills.
  2. Conducts interviews, makes hiring recommendations to the Curator(s) and builds high-performing work teams through hands-on supervision, training and coaching.
  3. Sets priorities and expectations, empowers employees and leads them to overcome barriers to their success.
  4. Provides a balance of positive and constructive performance feedback in line with accomplishing animal, area, and project goals.
  5. Collaborates with the Manager to successfully coach and encourage the staff on accountability, job performance, and timely goal completion.
  6. Conducts annual performance appraisals for the staff with the Manager, provides career ladder development through strategic goals and recommends promotions.
  7. Through proactive planning, delegates appropriately and follows through to ensure completion.
  8. Creates a positive, professional and forward-thinking work culture across areas and departments.
  9. Promotes an environment where the staff is recognized for achievements and productive teamwork.
  10. Maintains a high level of job satisfaction and morale amongst employees.


  1. Sets area strategy and oversees the direction of aquarists by the Supervisor to ensure the proper appearance, operation and husbandry of exhibits and support areas. Evaluates exhibits and support systems and recommends improvements / maintenance on a regular basis.
  2. Ensures the highest standards of a safe and healthy work environment for the staff, guests, and animals.
  3. Leads and assists in developing a comprehensive proactive behavior management plan for the highest industry levels of husbandry training, enrichment and welfare for the penguin collection.
  4. Supervises veterinary rounds and coordinates top notch husbandry practices with the Curator and the Animal Health department.
  5. Strategic planning for successful breeding for both species of penguins through the SSP guidelines.
  6. Demonstrates exceptional communication on all events to the appropriate personnel in a timely manner including the Curator, Veterinarians, and other departments.
  7. Develops, directs and participates in guest-centered public programs, special events and coordinates public relations opportunities with the Communications Department.
  8. Responsible for proper and creative staff scheduling to meet the needs of the animals and the aquarium.
  9. Delegates appropriate responsibilities, projects, and assignments to provide a work environment of learning and growth.
  10. Implementation of an effective coaching system, conducts performance evaluations, reviews career ladder progression, and evaluates staff to allow for employee satisfaction and retention.
  11. Assist in the recruiting and hiring process of talented staff in collaboration with Curator of Pinnipeds and Penguins.
  12. Develops, evaluates, and supervises the volunteer/intern program, department outreach, and other potential guest programs.
  13. Takes a proactive approach to supply and inventory needs while staying within the budget.
  14. Delegates and oversees exhibit operation and maintenance while maintaining a safe environment for the animals and troubleshoots ideas for exhibit enhancements.
  15. Directs all tasks related to daily operation in addition to staff and animal training, such as cleaning, diving, purchasing, daily records, food preparation, follow up on medications, follow up on exhibit repairs, etc. and delegates implementation and follow through of these activities by assigning these responsibilities to the training team.
  16. Strategic planning and supervising transport and acclimation of animals to ensure proper socialization of the penguin colonies.
  17. Network and represent department interests and capabilities for participating in Aquarium events, activities, public relations, fundraising efforts, and update other departments as needed for the Pinnipeds and Penguins Department activities.
  18. Ensures compliance to government regulations and industry standards in all aspects of the operation including USDA/APHIS, OSHA, EPA, and AZA.
  19. Performs other position-related duties, as assigned.


Minimum Training and Experience

  • Requires a Bachelor's degree, 4+ years of experience in a leadership role and 7 years of experience in the zoological field.
  • Must have experience with TRACKS, Species 360, OERCA or comparable animal training, husbandry, and enrichment tracking software.
  • Must have exceptional skills in the care, welfare, and enrichment of penguins.
  • Must have experience in operant conditioning training with bird species and must have prior experience leading a successful and sustainable penguin breeding program.
  • Must have a diverse background in and a high level of Avian experience in modern husbandry practices, operant conditioning behavior training, enrichment, and welfare.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Exceptional public speaking and presentation skills.
  • SCUBA Certification and Medical Examiner's authorization to SCUBA dive in accordance with NEAq Diving Control Board
  • Experience with project planning and management
  • Must have a solid understanding of life support design and operation, quarantine principles and protocols, water quality and the interpretation of testing results.

For more information and to apply online please visit:

New England Aquarium is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and is an Equal Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC.

New England Aquarium
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