2017-2018 Network Garden Manager, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans

Location: FirstLine Network



Creating and inspiring great open admissions public schools in New Orleans


About FirstLine Schools

In 1998, FirstLine Schools started the first charter school in New Orleans.  FirstLine now operates four K-8th grade schools and a high school.   Our mission is to create and inspire great open admissions public schools in New Orleans. We do this by:

  • Ensuring college and career readiness for all students, as demonstrated by achievement, aspiration, love of learning, and confidence

  • Providing a rich variety of education experiences to nurture our students’ character, health, and active citizenship

  • Developing the skillfulness of our team members

  • Building a sustainable organization that facilitates our long-term success

Our faculty is a diverse and talented group dedicated to our students’ success and to their own growth as teachers.  Our schools are led by leaders who hold themselves accountable for student achievement and teacher development.


Founded in 2006, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) envisions generations of New Orleans children who have healthy relationships with food, the natural world, themselves, and their community. ESYNOLA's mission is to teach children to make healthy connections through food. Our goal is to improve the long-term well being of our students, families, and school community, by integrating hands-on organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school curriculum, culture, and cafeteria programs.

We believe that:

  • Food education should be taught in conjunction with core academics

  • Children learn by doing

  • Health and wellness contribute to the success of the whole child

  • Beauty is the language of caring

  • Local farms and sustainable farming practices are vital

  • School food reform is an integral part of the education we offer our students

  • Families and communities are integral to our success

Position Summary:

The ESYNOLA Network Garden Manager oversees all four K-8 gardens at FirstLine Schools.  The Network Garden Manager is responsible for managing and implementing the long-term vision for ESYNOLA gardens in collaboration with the ESYNOLA garden team and network staff. This position requires a dynamic approach of supporting and growing with people, plants, and schools. This is done through the development of FirstLine Schools’ gardens, managing garden operations (includes purchasing and budgets), supervising the garden team, collaborating with site-based garden education teams, serving as the horticultural and fruit tree expert for ESYNOLA, and managing community partnerships and volunteers.

Position Responsibilities:

Vision, Communication, & Community Partnerships

  • Understands and connects with the ESYNOLA vision of student-centered garden design that stimulates curiosity, a desire to learn about the natural world, and cultivates a safe space for social emotional development

  • Develops relationships and collaborates with ESYNOLA teaching and network staff, school operations teams, and school leaders regarding garden maintenance, health, and development

  • Develops and maintains garden-related community partnerships to share ESYNOLA programming from a gardener’s perspective, provide outreach opportunities for community members, and connect ESYNOLA to new suppliers

  • Establishes and maintains effective communication with partner organizations, garden supply vendors, donors, and community and school gardens in New Orleans

  • Coordinates, preps, and leads volunteer groups, keeping records of communication and activities performed

  • Supports Open Garden Days, Family Garden Days, tours, and other community events at all sites

  • Works with executive director and program director to determine funding needs, priorities, and opportunities for garden development projects across all sites

  • Participates in bi-weekly meetings with the executive director and program director to set goals, track progress, and performance reviews

  • Participates in ESYNOLA leadership team meetings, staff meetings, site-based program staff meetings, staff development days, and program and garden development meetings as appropriate

Garden Systems & Operations Management

  • Supports the management, maintenance, and documentation of all garden operations across all FirstLine/ESYNOLA schools including year-round propagation, soil fertility, composting, crop rotation, greenhouse management, pruning, irrigation, and pest and disease management, and when needed develops systems to ensure the health and prosperity of our gardens

  • Keeps updated archive of garden documents including planting and seeding records, pest management, harvest records, and master calendar of volunteer groups and garden work

  • Manages budgets, tracks purchasing for all garden sites in collaboration with garden teams

  • Manages garden assets, including tools, supplies and vehicles

  • Purchases and delivers general garden supplies on a weekly basis such as sawdust, soil amendments, pest control, and irrigation materials.

  • Supports weekend/holiday garden maintenance, and manages calendars

Garden Team Management & Educator Collaboration

  • Maintains consistent communication with, trains, and supports ESYNOLA garden team (gardeners, garden teachers, interns, and volunteers) in all aspects of garden design, planning, development, and maintenance, as appropriate

  • Develops and supervises network garden team including setting up team meetings, individual check-ins, providing feedback, setting goals, and conducting professional performance maps

  • Collaborates with entire ESYNOLA staff on projects and events as appropriate

  • Develops garden management knowledge, skills, and capacity in gardeners and garden teachers across the FirstLine network

Horticultural Mentorship & Professional Development

  • Trains and develops site gardeners and garden teaching team in the planning, management, and maintenance of educational gardens, including ornamentals, row crops, fruit trees, rain gardens, livestock, and outdoor classrooms

  • Leads and documents school garden trainings for ESYNOLA staff, as appropriate

  • Leads weekly walk-throughs with the site-based gardener and teaching team to assess and maintain garden health, development, and aesthetics, with the objective of creating a short and long-term to do list.

  • Maintains consistent and constructive communication and feedback with each site-based garden team regarding garden maintenance, health, and development

  • Advises all site gardeners and teach teams regarding recommended plantings and seasonal routines of garden care.

Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in education, horticulture, environmental science or related field, or strong experience in one or more of these areas  

  • 3-5 years of experience designing and developing gardens, including garden-build phasing and timeline development

  • Strong horticultural skills and background specific to this region required

  • Experience living and gardening in an urban setting required

  • Willingness to work frequent weekend and evening special events and varied schedule with additional hours during extended growing seasons

  • Strong communication, leadership, and relationship-building skills

  • Experience in a management position - supervising and supporting staff, running a program, setting priorities and coordinating efforts between different staff and program areas

  • Experience facilitating large groups of volunteers

  • Experience driving truck and 10’ trailer

  • Able to communicate well with diverse members including students, our school communities, funders, vendors, and project /program partners

  • Deep ties to members of the regional gardener community

Desired Qualities & Characteristics:

  • Believe in every student’s ability to achieve in a rigorous college or career prep curriculum

  • Achieve results based on agreed-upon expectations

  • Take personal responsibility

  • Highly detail-oriented

  • Collaborate effectively with a range of stakeholders

  • Share a commitment to creating great schools in New Orleans

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Model the FirstLine values of Service, Learning, Collaboration and Results

Physical Requirements:

  • Able to work in a physically demanding environment (working outside in all kinds of weather, lifting heavy things)

  • Ability to stand, reach, and bend.  Mobility of arms to reach, dexterity of hands to grasp and manipulate large and small objects

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee may be required to sit, walk, stand, talk, and listen

  • Light lifting of equipment may be required (up to 50 lbs.)

NETWORK GARDEN MANAGER reports to: Executive Director, ESYNOLA


How to Apply : Please apply online via: http://www.firstlineschools.org/careers


Salary will be 40,000 to 45,000 depending on experience. FirstLine Schools offers a comprehensive benefits package with a generous 403b plan.


FirstLine Schools provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

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