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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Associate Director for Animal Care
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  EX-14-15

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$120,749.00 to $181,500.00 / Per Year
Monday, June 16, 2014 to Monday, July 14, 2014
Full-Time, Permanent - Federal
1 vacancy in the following location(s):
Washington DC, DC View Map
Front Royal, VA View Map
This position is open to current and former Federal employees with permanent status or reinstatement eligibility.  Individuals who are eligible for a special appointing authority may also apply; such as applicants with a disability, former Peace Corps volunteers, certain military spouses, veterans seeking a VRE/VEOA appointment, or veterans who have been separated from armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous active service. 


About the Agency

This is a Competitive Service position.  The Associate Director for Animal Care is being advertised through two announcements: 1) this Federal Merit Promotion announcement, #EX-14-15, SL-0486-00; and 2) a companion Federal Delegated Examining Unit announcement, #EX-14-16, SL-0486-00. 

The National Zoological Park (NZP) is an organization within the Smithsonian Institution’s complex of museums and research organizations.  The Associate Director for Animal Care is a member of the Director's Senior Management Team and advises and assists the Director in planning, developing, directing and managing the Zoo's animal management and care programs and activities.  As a Senior Management Team member recommends actions to better organize, manage and lead NZP programs; and develops and monitors programs and plans to carry out management decisions.


  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service


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Assists and advises the Director in formulating policies, program goals and objectives. Collaborates with heads of departments and offices to translate overall plans into specific programs and projects, and monitors progress and accomplishments.  Works with staff to implement the Zoo’s long-range animal collection plan that integrates the husbandry and scientific expertise of the National Zoo.  

Ensures the safety, security, and welfare of animal care staff and the collection. Maintains the highest safety standards and stays abreast of changes in best practices of animal management and introduces new protocols where appropriate. Reviews existing protocols and best practices and ensures that staff is properly trained and can perform duties in the safest and most effective manner for the care of the animals, and the staff, volunteers and visitors.

Follows the work of the Zoo’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee(s) as it relates to the Rock Creek collection.  Regularly inspects animal care facilities to help preclude findings by the USDA, IACUC and/or AZA. Ensures that the Rock Creek facility is AZA accreditation ready at all times. Seeks the necessary support to correct areas cited or where there is an anticipation of a citing.  Ensures that humane care and welfare of wildlife prevails in all aspects of the Zoo’s research operations. Maintains sound biological and scientific practices of population management and studies, both in the wild and in captivity. Ensures compliance with Zoo Directives, Smithsonian Directives, AZA Accreditation Standards and all applicable local, federal and other laws and regulations.

Creates a team-oriented animal care program where veterinarians, curators, scientists and other specialists in the zoological and health care communities work to ensure highest quality animal care for the collection.  Ensures that the animal care staff effectively employ positive reinforcement and enrichment in training protocols. 

Works with Zoo’s animal management staff to improve the public exhibit and education programs. Ensures that the public experience is optimized by being able to view animals consistently on exhibit while not negatively impacting animal welfare.  Works closely with the Friends of the National Zoo volunteer management and the Associate Director for Public Engagement on appropriate messaging for both interpreters and keeper demos and other public interactions.

Coordinates the relationship between the Front Royal and Rock Creek collections.  Works with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) on a consolidated collection plan and works to leverage the Front Royal collection where possible.  Provides support to SCBI’s efforts in AZA sustainability efforts through C2S2. 

Supervises the Head Veterinarian and clinical veterinary services, the senior curators and all animal care staff, Nutritional Services, and Pathology Services. Coordinates closely with the SCBI Director on scientific activities that support or use the Zoo’s living collection.   

Sets budget priorities for the Zoo’s animal management requirements and related programs to carry out the goals and objectives.  Works with the Director, animal management staff and NZP advisory boards to develop and promote programs and to obtain funding from Federal appropriations, Smithsonian grant programs, endowments, other agency funding programs, gifts, foundation grants and contracts. Works with the Clinical Nutritionist to develop a cost effective plan to produce quality hay, browse, and other animal feeds that meet the requirements of the collections.

Represents the Smithsonian and the National Zoological Park to promote its animal management, education and conservation programs and their value to society. Makes presentations to Congressional constituents, national and international conservation organizations, other U.S. and international government agencies, U.S. and foreign zoos, and potential donors.

Encourages a productive and creative environment for staff to pursue animal management objectives.  Sets clear expectations for outcomes in line with the goals and objectives of the Zoo and the Smithsonian.  Develops, modifies and implements standards, criteria, and procedures to assure a high quality of staff performance.  Provides guidance and direction to subordinate supervisors and employees, and resolves conflicts arising from program operations.  Ensures performance plans reflect on-going implementation of recommendations for animal care set forth in AZA accreditation reviews and standards developed by the zoological profession for preventive care and husbandry.

Reviews and evaluates proposals to create new projects and programs, and monitors progress in achieving project and program goals. 

Supports living collection sustainability efforts through personal and staff involvement with AZA, WAZA, IUCN, CBSG and other conservation organizations.


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A Bachelor's degree and/or an advanced degree in a relevant field (i.e., biological sciences, animal nutrition, veterinary medicine or related discipline appropriate to the position) is required. 

To qualify you must have one year of specialized experience (Federal or other) at the GS-15 level that is close or similar to the work of this job.  The experience includes activities such as managing staff to ensure the safety of animal care staff and the well-being of a diverse collection including species with distinct and special needs, such as elephants, primates, giant pandas, marine mammals, reptiles, birds, dangerous carnivores, and hoofstock.  


The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1. Experience in leading and managing a multi-disciplinary zoological organization to include planning and allocation of staffing and financial resources and experience with an knowledge of the regulatory requirements and best practices for the care of captive exotic animals.

2. Demonstrated experience integrating the skills and contributions of a Zoo's (or similar setting) animal management staff with public exhibit and education programs; ensuring that the public experience is optimized by being able to view animals consistently on exhibit while not negatively impacting animal welfare and working closely with supporting non-profit partners (such as Friends of the National Zoo) and public engagement staff on appropriate messaging for both volunteer and staff demonstrations and other public interactions. 

3. Skill in leading and managing a multi-disciplined and culturally diverse workforce.  This should include fostering teamwork and high morale; attracting, retaining and motivating employees; and implementing EEO/Affirmative Action policies and programs.



The qualifications listed in this document will be used along with your resume and your responses to the questions posed in the electronic application process to determine the candidates who will move forward in the evaluation process.  When crafting your responses to the questions, please provide concise, detailed information on your background and experience. 

Important Note:  Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency.  If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to the major duties and qualifications criteria listed for this position.

To preview questions please click here.


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Receives general supervision from the Director, NZP, who provides broad guidance in terms of overall policy, program objectives, and delegated authority and responsibility.  Within this framework and the goals and objectives established by SI and the Director, NZP, the incumbent plans and carries out assigned responsibilities with a minimum of direction.  Major policy questions or controversial issues are brought to the attention of the Director for guidance.  The incumbent keeps the Director informed of all significant program activities and potential problems.  Work performance is appraised in terms of overall effectiveness in the attainment of program objectives.


This position has been reviewed to determine the level of POSITION SENSITIVITY.  Based on the nature of the work, the position has been determined to be HIGH RISK.  This designation will require (1) a pre-employment Security Agency Check (SAC) for the prospective incumbent; and (2) a subsequent comprehensive background investigation and clearance in order to continue in the position.  


The Smithsonian Institution does not discriminate against any employee or any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization or other non-merit factors.  


The Smithsonian provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities.  If you need an accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the contact person listed in this announcement.  The decision on granting a reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. 


Relocation expenses will not be paid.


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Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page.  Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
  • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process; 
  •  You may manually fax required documents.  Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine.  Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system-generated cover sheet by the closing date.  Documents faxed without the system-generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.  
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
  • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the contact person listed below.


Your resume

Current and former Competitive Service candidates: submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, and an additional SF-50 indicating tenure of a least one year at the GS-15 level. 

SES candidates with Reinstatement eligibility based on prior Competitive Service employment: submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, and an additional SF-50 indicating Competitive Service tenure and Reinstatement eligibility. 


Greg Bettwy
Phone: 202-633-6287
Fax: 202-312-1904
Agency Information:
Office of Human Resources
POB 37012, 600 Maryland Avenue, MRC 517
Suite 5060
Washington, DC
Fax: 202-312-1904


After you apply and the position has closed, you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful.  We usually have a large response to senior level positions and it may take some time to effectively review application packages.  We will contact you by email as decisions are made. 

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