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January 14, 2014

Modesto’s Great Valley Museum seeks a leader to oversee day-to-day operations

Like critters? Intrigued by habitats? Modesto Junior College may have just the job for you: director of the Great Valley Museum, soon-to-open in grand new digs.

Like critters? Intrigued by habitats? Modesto Junior College may have just the job for you: director of the Great Valley Museum, soon to open in new, grand digs.

To be sure, the position includes more fundraising and paperwork than communing with nature, the job description shows. The Great Valley Museum of Natural History director will oversee day-to-day and fundraising operations, an MJC release explains. Applications must be in by Feb. 10.

Brian Sanders currently runs the museum, another hat for the head of the college’s science, math and engineering division.

Those day-to-day duties consist of supervising the museum’s two full-time employees, a dozen traveling teachers and a cadre of volunteer docents and helpers. The director also serves on the Great Valley Museum Foundation board and oversees of all fundraising activities.

In April, the Great Valley Museum will open on the ground floor of the Science Community Center on the MJC West Campus. Its current complex of hand-me-down quarters at Stoddard and College avenues will close. Lack of disabled access and needed repairs made the facility more expensive to fix than to fold.

The new setting will allow MJC science classes better access to exhibits of the flora, fauna and ecosystems of the area, from the Sierra to the Valley floor. The Science-on-a-Sphere display, used for the study of Earth and space sciences, and state-of-the-art planetarium, with 107 seats, also fall within the museum director’s circle.

Still under construction, an outdoor education area will feature native plants, an aquatic ecosystem, geology specimens, a greenhouse and a shaded gathering area.

The MJC statement says the college wants for the museum “a leader with the skills and vision to fully realize the next phase of growth in its new home.” The ideal candidate would have a background in science, education, and/or museum studies, as well as a proven track record in fundraising and a collaborative leadership style.

An ad for the position lists the salary range for the job as $66,624 to $84,636 a year, plus benefits.

The museum serves as the community education arm of the the college’s science, math and engineering division. It provides educational programs through class field trips to the museum and through teachers who take presentations to schools and parks.

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