2024-25 Associate Garden Educator, ESYNOLA
New Orleans, LA ESY


About FirstLine Schools

In 1998, FirstLine Schools started the first charter school in New Orleans. FirstLine now operates five PreK-8th grade schools.  Our mission is to create and inspire great open admissions public schools in New Orleans. 

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 and the natural world.  Our goal is to improve the long-term well being of our students, families, and school community, by integrating social and emotional learning principles with 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

FirstLine’s Vision Of Teaching Excellence:

We develop teachers at FirstLine by focusing on excellence in teaching. To do so, we coach teachers and center professional development on our Vision of Excellence in Teaching rubric the components of which include: 

  • On Task (Maintaining high expectations and maximizing instructional time)
  • Essential Content (Planning effectively)
  • Cognitive Engagement (Maintaining High Academic Expectations and Building Thinking Skills) 
  • Demonstration of Learning (Leading Instruction, Checking for Understanding, Responding to Student Misunderstanding)
  • Community of Learners (Establishing Expectations and Responding to Student Behaviors)

Position Summary:

The ESYNOLA Associate Garden Teacher’s role is to teach garden classes as a small group leader for PRE-K-8 grade students, assist in preparation and breakdown of classes, contribute to lesson planning and classroom development collaboration, help maintain the garden and care for animals, and when appropriate, design curriculum and lead garden classes for 1-2 grade levels.

Position Responsibilities:

Teaching & Learning

  • Assist lead garden teacher in conducting daily garden classes for Pre-K - 8th grade that incorporate: social and emotional learning principles, life science and horticultural concepts, sensory/experiential activities, and therapeutic goals inherent to the ESYNOLA’s mission and values
  • Lead and manage a small group (10-17 students) during each garden class, delivering content that is academic, sensory, and experiential in nature.
  • Commitment to results for students through the focus of lessons that achieve: on task behavior, a community of learners, essential content, intentional cognitive engagement, and strategies that provide consistent evidence of students’ learning
  • Guide students through propagation, planting, cultivation and maintenance of the garden, with the guidance of the lead teacher.
  • Guide students to make connections between science standards and the garden, using the garden as a “living laboratory”
  • Prepare for lessons, which includes reading and reflecting on lesson plans provided by the Lead Garden Teacher, leading on lesson planning for 1-2 grade levels when appropriate, and implementing individual creativity in the approach and delivery during small group instruction. 
  • Assist in the preparation/break down of classes
  • Support Edible Experiences for students with garden themes such as Watermelon and Citrus Week, and/or field trips
  • Collaborate with the garden teaching team in class and curriculum planning sessions and lesson plan development
  • As appropriate, participate in after-school programming and/or garden based programming across multiple school sites
  • Model respect and curiosity for learning. Encourage students’ interests and talents.
  • Maintain high expectations for all students in garden classes consistent with school culture. Maintain transparency in all behavioral expectations and consequences.  

Garden & Horticultural

  • Knowledgeable and committed to ongoing learning about gardening and animal life in our region
  • Participate in garden walk-throughs, network garden meetings, and garden planning 
  • Assist in garden maintenance, including propagation (planting and sowing), soil fertility, composting, crop rotation, pruning, irrigation, and pest and disease management 
  • Assist with garden produce distribution projects, including harvest tables 
  • Support occasional weekend/holiday animal care and garden maintenance

Communication, Professional Development, & Outreach

  • Attend regular Garden Team meetings to review, prepare for and contribute to garden class planning
  • Participate in ESYNOLA all-staff meetings
  • Maintain consistent and constructive communication/feedback with garden teaching team; check email at least once every work day; arrive to work on time, and provide sufficient notice of changes in schedule 
  • Assist in communication with classroom teachers (i.e., completing lesson/behavior feedback forms)
  • Participate in all applicable Professional Development sessions and trainings provided by ESYNOLA staff
  • Act as informal “ambassador” to the garden for visitors, volunteers, and school staff; includes answering questions, giving tours, etc
  • Ensure an engaging and rewarding experience for volunteers. Help orient volunteers to the garden and garden-related responsibilities
  • Participate in regular evaluation meetings with the Lead Garden Teacher to establish goals and review performance.
  • Helps implement community events, such as family garden programming held after school and occasionally on Saturdays, in addition to the program fundraiser event Edible Evening 




Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree OR 4 years of experience in garden education required
  • Experience working with elementary/middle school aged students strongly preferred
  • Some science instructional background preferred
  • Experience living and gardening in an urban setting preferred
  • Experience working with youth in a public/public charter school setting preferred
  • Strong enthusiasm for experiential, sensory education, with emphasis on garden-based education 
  • Ability to work with frequent interruptions and to simultaneously supervise a variety of tasks is required
  • Willingness to smell, taste, and feel garden produce, to help determine the quality of raw food is required
  • Willingness to work outdoors under all weather conditions is required
  • Willingness to work occasional weekends/special events when needed is required
  • Working knowledge of basic computer programs and Google applications is required

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 Commitments
    • We Keep Learning
    • We Work Together
    • We are Helpful
    • We are the Safekeepers of our Community
    • We Share Joy
    • We Show Results 

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to stand, reach, and bend.  Mobility of arms to reach, dexterity of hands to grasp and manipulate large and small objects
  • Ability to stand and kneel for long periods, ability to lift, push and/or pull objects, which may be approximately 50 pounds
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee may be required to sit, walk, stand, talk, and hear. 

ASSOCIATE GARDEN TEACHER reports to: Lead Garden Teacher

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

Salary is competitive and commensurate with 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.