The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts welcomes nominations and applications for the position of Senior Vice President, Education, available in early 2020.
The Kennedy Center is the nation’s cultural center and living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, DC, the Center presents more than 2,000 performances each year across all genres, and it also home to artistic affiliates Washington National Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra. The Center reaches millions of students, teachers, and families each year through its local and national school and community partnerships, as well as performances and experiences for young audiences. Diversity is a critical component of the Center’s mission, vision, and values. The Center’s staff exhibit a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, which enable the Center to foster and strengthen an environment of diversity and inclusion.
The Senior Vice President for Education (SVP) will join the executive leadership team of an institution that fully embraces its unique federal mandate to promote and provide arts education in the Nation’s Capital and across the country. The SVP will bring leadership and vision to the rich offering of programs and activities that engage Washington and neighboring communities, while further developing the Kennedy Center’s ability to have an impact on the availability of high-quality arts education and experiences in communities across the country.
The SVP for Education will have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive vision for education programs and activities in The REACH, which opened in September 2019 and is the first expansion in the Kennedy Center’s nearly 50-year history. The REACH creates a 21st century arts campus that provides new flexible spaces for audience engagement and ensures all visitors to the Center can have meaningful artistic interactions, whether on stage or behind the scenes.
As a member of the senior leadership of the Kennedy Center and reporting to Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter, the Senior Vice President for Education provides visionary and strategic leadership in the areas of education, accessibility, and community engagement for the institution, including its affiliates – the National Symphony Orchestra, VSA (the international arts and disability organization), and Washington National Opera.
Supervising a team of seven direct reports and a total of 65 staff members, the SVP for Education is responsible for the overall planning, management, and supervision of the programs and operations of the Kennedy Center’s Education Division and is a key contributor to Center-wide initiatives.
The Kennedy Center is federally mandated to provide inclusive educational and outreach programs, services, and resources locally and nationally. The SVP leads and directs the Center’s programs in the DC area, which include a partnership with DC Public Schools, Changing Education Through the Arts, Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers, wraparound programming tied to performances, and the Moonshot Studio at the REACH. The Center also produces and/or presents more than 100 events and performances of dance, music, opera, and theatre throughout the season for more than 100,000 local school-aged students. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the DC Public Schools, the Center manages the Duke Ellington School of the Arts together with George Washington University and the Ellington Fund.
The SVP provides leadership and direction to the Kennedy Center’s national education programs, which include: Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child; Turnaround Arts; VSA Network; Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability; Intersections: Arts and Special Education; Partners in Education; Kennedy Center Alliance for the Arts; the biennial New Visions/New Voices forum; the Kennedy Center Arts Summit; and Citizen Artist Fellowship.
Additionally, the SVP oversees the Center’s numerous career development programs for young artists and professionals locally and nationally, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Fellowship Program, Summer Music Institute; Washington National Opera’s Opera Institute; Dance Lab; VSA’s Playwright’s Discovery Program, Young Soloists, and Visual Arts Programs; and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
The SVP for Education maintains and further develops the Kennedy Center as a national leader in arts education through public appearances and presentations, collaborations, publications, and social media communications. The SVP works closely with the US Department of Education (US DOE), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arts Education Partnership, and other leading arts and education entities. The SVP writes, develops, implements, and manages the US DOE annual grant to the Kennedy Center. The SVP ensures that effective internal systems are in place to identify, track, analyze, evaluate, and report on program impacts, both qualitative and quantitative.
Working with senior education staff, the SVP develops and monitors overall expenses and budget for the Education Division. The SVP works with senior staff in Development, Public Relations, and Marketing to ensure appropriate support for all education programs at the Center. The SVP is staff liaison to the Education Committee of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees and is a frequent presenter at meetings of the Center’s various advisory groups.
The ideal candidate will be a passionate advocate for arts education, a creative and strategic thinker, and a superb manager of people and programs. The successful candidate will have a minimum of ten years’ leadership experience in the arts education field, preferably with a performing arts organization. The candidate will have the demonstrated ability to develop, articulate, and implement a vision for education, accessibility, and community engagement for the Kennedy Center as a leader, collaborator, convener, and resource at the national level. The successful candidate will be equally effective at the local level, working with the DC Public Schools and throughout the National Capital area, including the Kennedy Center itself.
The successful candidate will have the proven ability to provide leadership and effective management for multiple projects, programs, budgets, and staff. The successful candidate will have excellent oral and written communication skills and will be able speak and write persuasively about the value and importance of arts education.
The successful candidate will be creative, curious, persistent, and imaginative. The candidate will be a problem solver with a management style that is detail-oriented, organized, and collaborative with a focus on accomplishment and success. The successful candidate will be an excellent facilitator with the ability to align differing points of view. The candidate will be a person of integrity and high ethical standards with a strong personal commitment to transparency.
The successful candidate will have the gravitas and ability to work effectively in the complex social and political environment of Washington, D.C. and its local neighborhoods as well as in the diverse communities that engage with the Kennedy Center nationwide.
Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or national origin.
Please submit a cover letter that describes your specific interest in and qualifications for the position with a resume and salary expectations. Please also include the names of several references. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the applicant’s agreement. Electronic submissions are requested.
Please send materials to:
Kennedy Center – SVP Education
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street, NW, Suite 623
Washington, DC 20007
MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only, please.
Additional Salary Information: Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
About The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Formed in 1998, the Catherine French Group works with symphony orchestras, opera companies, performing arts presenters, music festivals, schools of music, and other music and arts organizations as they recruit chief executives, senior management, and artistic personnel. The Catherine French Group is based in Washington, DC. Catherine French is founder and principal. Musician, administrator, and educator Christopher Wingert joined CFG in 2005 and is Managing Director. Henry Fogel, former CEO of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and former Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, collaborates on projects that have a special focus on music directors and artistic directors.