Employment Opportunities

SPARK, a nationwide leader in physical education/activity programs, is located in San Diego, CA. Join a team of dedicated researchers, educators, and disseminators who strive to create, implement, and evaluate evidence-based programs to support public health and combat in the fight against childhood obesity.

Current open positions:

1. Physical Education Category Sales Manager: Midwest

Serve as a business partner and provide a consultative sales approach with customers. This includes demonstrating a deep understanding of channel structure, category segmentation, customer behavior and trends within the marketplace.  A critical element of this position is to be the voice of the customer by seeking to understand what the customer’s wants and needs are in order to both directly and indirectly position solutions with customers, leading to sustainable sales growth.

Location: Chicago, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, or Minneapolis

Click Here to learn more and apply online.  Search job number 963327.

Summary of essential job functions

  • Calls on key districts in assigned market collaboratively within sales team to build and strengthen relationships, leading to increased sales and profitability for SSI and greater value for the customer.
  • Grows revenue and maximizes profit in assigned customers by making direct calls to assigned customers and/or customer geography.
  • Demonstrates substantive understanding of market dynamics within category through acquiring and effectively communicating internally and to customers a great depth of channel and category insight.  Same with regard to demonstrating how value, innovation and current assortment add value to the SSI customer proposition.
  • Develops multi-level relationships with customers in order to promote, market, and sell School Specialty PE brands to existing and potential customers within assigned market.
  • Develops deep customer understanding to determine needs and leverage Inside Sales, Account Manager and/or   Manager customer relationships in order to maximize revenue opportunities
  • Collaborate and work effectively in a team selling environment to differentiate SSI in the market and provide value to the customer
  • Reviews market conditions and trends to uncover new leads.
  • Applies knowledge of the customer's business and industry to develop optimal solutions
  • Uses deep subject matter/functional expertise, influence and process skills to help internal/external customers meet their high priority needs.
  • Communicates frequently and effectively with SSER Management on market, customer and related plans and information.
  • Utilize sales tools (Customer Relationship Management Tool - CRM, Cognos reporting tools, Runzheimer) in order to provide updated information, competitive intelligence, and market trends with our customers.
  • Provides quality service to SSI internal and external customers in all assigned tasks.
  • Influences key customer decision makers in adoption of SSI proprietary curriculum and other differentiating products.
  • Develops and increases awareness of products within category and service solutions with key customer decision makers to bring about increased category revenue.
  • Performs direct sales and promotions of category products.  Sales targets will be established and heavy emphasis will be on growth of SSI specialty products in the category.
  • Provides professional product and education related presentations to targeted customers.
  • Confers with federal, state and local school officials to understand and develop programs, products and services which add value to customers.
  • Represents SSI at conventions and conferences as required.
  • Stays informed on new products, initiatives, learning trends and other value creating developments within the channel and category.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum requirements:

  • 3 years successful outside sales experience required; must have proven track record in sales
  • Outside sales experience in K-12 or related environment and industry preferred
  • Bachelor’s Degree: (Business, Marketing or Education preferred) or equivalent work experience
  • Computer Literacy

Knowledge/Skills required:

  • Ability to effectively work both independently and collaboratively
  • Consultative Selling Techniques - Highly skilled regarding  building value, positioning brands and creating competitive advantage through depth of knowledge of the channel
  • 3-5 years’ experience in, Physical Education.
  • Must possess strong organizational skills; detail oriented; strong teamwork capability
  • Effective communication skills both internal and external to the company
  • Ability to make persuasive presentations to customers
  • Ability to think both strategically and tactically
  • Ability to manage customers as a business with analysis of opportunities, customer needs and finances.
  • Continuously improves capabilities by upgrading skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Products (including but not limited to: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint,  Outlook), CRM

Abilities required: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Requires being seated for long periods of time while driving
  • Must be able to hear and speak to customers
  • Must be able to continuously use the telephone and computer
  • Must be able to stand for long period of time
  • Must be able to lift a minimum of 30lbs (carry catalogs, samples, conference materials, etc.)
  • Must be able to lead physical activities (for presentations)

Travel Requirements


Materials and Equipment Utilized

The equipment described here is representative of what the employee will expect to utilize while performing the essential functions of the position.  It may include (but is not limited to):  Working knowledge of  physical education materials, Computers, –Microsoft Office, CRM and Oracle.

Working Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.

  • Home Office Environment
  • K-12 School Buildings
  • Other agencies (Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Parks and Recreation, Departments of Health and Education)
  • Hotels and Conference Centers

Click Here to learn more and apply online. Search job number 963327.

2. Inside Sales Representative

Location: San Diego

Click Here to learn more and apply.  Search job number 954542.

SPARK a division of School Specialty, Inc. is seeking a full time Inside Sales Representative.

Job summary: Generate sales through direct and indirect customer contact.  Provide assistance to field sales representatives with business opportunities.  Work primarily on the telephone streamlining the lead process, generating sales, providing quotes and product previews necessary to close business.  In addition, coordinate direct-mail efforts and building relationships with current and future customers.

Summary of essential job functions:

  • Sell and market products in an assigned territory
  • Initiate and field sales contacts primarily through via outbound calls
  • Increase sales volumes and profitability thru associated and product group selling, promoting new & updated products, refills, professional development packages and other areas of targeted marketing
  • Responsible for responding to customer inquiries and following up on all sales leads
  • Generate call reports
  • Offer product evaluation opportunity with commitment to purchase or return on a timely basis and track results
  • Coordinate fulfillment of customer requests such as literature, samples, pilot materials and targeted mailings
  • Work directly with customer and Field sales to assess customer needs, describe solutions, define products and create proposals
  • Responsible for input to sales, profit forecasting overall sales, marketing plans, self study of products and applications
  • Attendance required at sales meetings as well as National and Regional conferences and trade shows
  • Daily pre-call planning
  • Strive to meet and exceed designated quota levels
  • Manage expenses and provide expense reports in a timely fashion
  • Exercises care within work environment to prevent injuries.  Support and follow all company safety policies and procedures
  • Review bid notices that come in through intranet
  • Assist customers through online chat discussions

Minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business related field preferred; years of relevant experience considered in lieu of degree.
  •  2 years experience in inside sales or customer service required.
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Possess a high level of professionalism, ethics, confidence and a commitment to a team approach
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to conduct presentations

Knowledge/Skills required: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily; be organized and able to prioritize their work load; possess strong interpersonal skills, the ability to problem solve, and be an independent thinker while functioning as part of a team.  Must have the ability to speak and present effectively to large groups of people on a regular basis. Strong writing skills are required. Abilities required: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to sit, stand use hands to operate computer, phone, and adding machine, talk and hear.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and the ability to adjust focus. Travel Requirements 2% as required for trade shows

Click Here to learn more and apply.  Search job number 954542.