The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) was created by people with deep appreciation for the arts, a steadfast commitment to Chicago youth, and the ability to imagine and build a school that would realize their vision. Walking through ChiArts’ corridors, visitors sense immediately that they have entered a rare school environment. Student art adorns every wall; jazz, classical, and show music echo from behind multiple doors; ordinary classrooms are transformed into dance rehearsal rooms and theater sets. The camaraderie among students and between students and teachers is palpable. This is a place of intensity, excitement, purpose, and joy.
ChiArts offers a high-quality, rigorous, and culturally responsive arts and academic curriculum aligned with Chicago Public School (CPS) standards. The arts curriculum nurtures student creativity and develops individual artistic voice and perspective through reflective and growth-oriented coursework, performances, exhibitions, and cultural experiences. Currently, ChiArts’ student body numbers 600-625 ninth through twelfth graders who travel to the school from all over the City of Chicago; and there are approximately 140 faculty members from various backgrounds who serve as academic and arts teachers at ChiArts.
The Executive Director position is a new one aimed at increasing the strength and capacity of ChiArts’ leadership team. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to partner with a faculty, staff, and board deeply committed to the school’s diverse, talented students in building on the innovative work that ChiArts has done over the past 13 years and mapping the school’s future.
The city’s only high school offering tuition-free pre-professional training in the arts, ChiArts fills a distinctive and important niche. By recruiting students from each of Chicago’s 50 wards, prioritizing acceptance of novice students, and combining both academic and intensive arts instruction, ChiArts offers a more equitable model of arts education that directly removes financial and geographic barriers to entry. Beyond the important day-to-day operations the successful candidate will oversee, the Executive Director will help ensure that ChiArts continues to be a joyful, positive, disciplined, productive place to learn and work.
ChiArts seeks an inspirational and energetic leader who has a passion for the arts and student-centered education and experience leading complex organizations. This entrepreneurial individual will bring leadership characterized by: a visionary outlook; the ability to garner broad internal and external support; extraordinary success creating strong, effective, collaborative teams; sound business, financial and management acumen; the ability to increase organizational visibility and philanthropic resources; and the capacity to carry forward major new projects and initiatives in the interest of spurring further growth.
Above all, the candidate will know how to shape a culture that embodies ChiArts’ core values and mission. The new executive director will inspire students, faculty, staff, and board members to achieve their full potential and will approach the role with flexibility, creativity, integrity, empathy, and compassion for all engaged. The successful candidate will lead through influence and collaboration and always adhere to an appropriate and effective set of core values and beliefs in decision-making.