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DC Youth Orchestra Program
Executive Director Position

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Click here to download a PDF of the position announcement.

The primary application period closed on February 20th, 2023.  Given the robust set of candidates who have applied, we have officially closed submissions as of March 6, 2023.

Currently:
FINALISTS HAVE COME ON SITE AND THE BOARD IS DELIBERATING A SELECTION.
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SUMMARY

Our Mission is to empower young people to transform their lives through music and community.

DCYOP has been an integral part of the Washington, DC community since 1960, and has fostered the musical development of more than 60,000 youth.  Our team includes a full-time staff of nine, seven Board members, nine conductors, and more than twenty teaching artists, all dedicated to creating and sustaining experiences that empower and change lives through music.  We are growing and thrilled to bring in our next Executive Director to collaboratively carry our vision forward for hundreds of youth in the DC region.

What We Are Looking for in Our New Executive Director  (Click for More Details)

  • They will be intentionally empathic and fearless. They will be fiercely and deeply committed to putting people first, and to work clearly and directly with the team to provide the real support that our students, teachers, staff, and Board need.  They will have a deep appreciation for the ways that young people’s lives can be transformed through programs like ours.

  • Our Executive Director will be truly exceptional on two related fronts – team leadership and building community connections.

  • At DCYOP, they will directly handle: maintaining a clear vision for the future, managing resources, financial management, facilitating clear communication, cultivating community support, and leading plans for future physical spaces.

  • They will have a working knowledge about and some experience in: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, educational pedagogy, non-profit fundraising, and orchestral music.
     

Structure and Compensation  (Click for More Details)

  • Starting annual salary between $145,000 - $155,000, medical and dental insurance, and paid time off.

  • Flexible hybrid schedule, which currently includes one day per week in a physical office with the entire staff, participation at all Saturday program days, and regular in-person presence at other events and locations throughout the week.
     

Estimated Search Timeline  (Click for More Details)

  • Application Period:                                                             January 9 to February 20, 2023
    After the end of the application period, please reach out if you are still interested and we will let
    you know if there is still an opportunity for consideration.

  • Initial Screening Interviews & Semi-Finalists Interviews:            February 20 to March 31, 2023

  • Finalist Interviews On-Site in Washington DC:                        April 1 to May 1, 2023

  • Employment Begins:                                                            Summer 2023
     

Semi-finalists will be compensated $200 and Finalists will be compensated $1,000 for their participation.
To learn more details about the position, continue reading below or click here.

Who We Are
 

“One month before starting my senior year in high school, I was on an airplane bound for Japan with the DC Youth Orchestra. I could not imagine then how deeply my musicianship, sense of community, and love of learning would be influenced by being a member of DCYOP. The ripples of formative experiences in the program continue to resonate in my life.”
- Maestro Kenneth Whitley

 

“This is a phenomenal program that brings incredible meaning to the lives of kids in the community.” 
- Board Member Jeff Levi

 

Our Mission is to empower young people to transform their lives through music and community.

 

We believe:

  • All young people should have access to the transformative power of music education.  

  • Excellence is fostered through diversity, inclusion, and community.  

  • Students are supported in their personal journeys by meeting them where they are.  

  • Youth orchestras can model change and shape the future of the orchestral music world.

 

Watch this video to learn more about us, our culture and our community!

Our History
 

Our team includes a full-time staff of nine, seven Board members, nine conductors, and more than twenty teaching artists, all dedicated to creating and sustaining experiences that empower and change lives through music. DCYOP has had only four Executive Directors since its founding in 1960. Our Board of Directors transitioned from a management to a governance role about 20 years ago. With a current annual budget of $1.75 million—and healthy cash reserves—we are committed to responsible planning and management of our resources, with the next fifty years of service to the DC community in mind. 
 

DCYOP has been an integral part of the Washington, DC community, and we have fostered the musical development of more than 60,000 youth in the region. Lyn McLain, then the music teacher at Coolidge High School, founded DCYOP to serve as the District’s first city-wide youth orchestra. At the time, every DC public high school had an orchestra or band program, so our purpose was to bring together the most dedicated and talented students to play together and musically represent the city. Over the decades, as funding priorities have changed, many of DC’s public schools have lost their music programs. Two-thirds of our students are now enrolled in DC public schools that do not have an orchestra or band program. To address this, we expanded to accept students as young as four and a half years old and residents from across the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) region. We are proud to provide an entry point for young musicians exploring orchestral music for the first time, and to offer a path of musical study for students from over 200 schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

As the first youth orchestra to perform at the Kennedy Center, we have toured 24 countries, including, most recently, Spain and Portugal; played for US presidents and diplomats; and worked with esteemed musicians such as Aaron Copland, Lorin Maazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, Marvin Hamlisch, Gustavo Dudamel, Yo-Yo Ma, and Kevin Deas. We received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (formerly Coming Up Taller) and the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education. The Catalogue for Philanthropy selected us as “one of the best small non-profits in the Greater Washington region” for the last decade. 
 

We maintain and want to continue to grow our relationships with our dedicated alumni. Many graduates have gone on to successful professional careers in music, and also remain involved with DCYOP as Board members, supporters, and guest artists. Prominent musician alumni include Élise Sharp of The String Queens, Daniel Foster, Principal Viola of the National Symphony Orchestra; Toyin Spellman Diaz, Oboist in the Imani Winds; Chris Royal, Professor of Music at Howard University; John McLaughlin Williams, Grammy Award®-winning conductor; and John Wineglass, Emmy Award®-winning composer. Alumni have also found careers in the sciences, writing, and politics, among other disciplines, with standout examples including DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Honorable Cheryl Long, CEO Linda Cureton, author Tracy Chevalier, and activist, writer, and comedian Baratunde Thurston.

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Board President Dr. Robert Blaine

Our Day to Day
 

We believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and play in an orchestra. At DCYOP, the orchestra serves as a model for community. An atmosphere of competition is replaced by a shared endeavor for musical excellence. Through the ensemble, our young musicians develop the character of respectful team players. Through the study of a musical instrument and diverse genres of music, our students develop the confidence and creativity that empowers them to tackle life’s challenges.
 

We offer group lessons and ensemble training on all orchestral instruments for students ages 4½ to 18. More than 400 students participate in group classes, ensemble rehearsals, and performances each semester through our main-site programming on Saturdays at Takoma Elementary School in DC, as well as through our afterschool partnerships in several DC public schools. In addition to our semi-annual free public concerts held at the University of the District of Columbia, our ensembles occasionally perform in other public engagements throughout the metropolitan DC area.

 

We intentionally seek to mitigate existing financial and public school access barriers by making high-quality ensemble music education available to all students, regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or ability. Our students come from more than 200 public, public charter, and private schools, as well as a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.  

 

Our Partners

 

We serve as the lead partner on the Washington Musical Pathways Initiative.

Pathways is a talent development program for student musicians who identify as

Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color, and want to pursue advanced study

in music. Pathways provides musical scholarships to support talented young musicians

from communities who have been historically excluded from orchestral music due to

systemic racism. In this program, we partner with the John F. Kennedy Center for the

Performing Arts, the National Symphony Orchestra, and Levine Music, funded by a

$2 million grant award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Pathways
funding covers 2022 to 2024, including ensemble expenses for DCYOP students

that are in the program, and a funded Pathways Program Manager position on the

DCYOP staff.

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How this Search will Operate – Values, Communication, and Compensation

Overall Estimated Timeline:

  • Application Period:                                                             January 9 to February 20, 2023
    After the end of the application period, please reach out if you are still interested and we will let
    you know if there is still an opportunity for consideration.

  • Initial Screening Interviews & Semi-Finalists Interviews:            February 20 to March 31, 2023

  • Finalist Interviews On-Site in Washington DC:                        April 1 to May 1, 2023

  • Employment Begins:                                                            Summer 2023
     

After an initial submission of credentials, a candidate may be invited for a virtual Screening Interview with Calida Jones and Doug Clayton from Creative Evolutions. Following the Screening Interview, a group of candidates will be advanced to the virtual Semi-Finalist interview with an Industry Panel of experts in the non-profit and musical arts and sectors. Semi-finalist candidates will all be compensated $200 for their participation. Candidates who advance as Finalists will be invited to come on-site in April to interview at DCYOP, and will be compensated an additional $1,000 plus reimbursement of all travel, lodging, and food expenses for their trip.
 

This search process is rooted in values shared by DCYOP and Creative Evolutions, and will include the following elements:

  • It is important to us that you are treated with respect and are appreciated for the value you create for DCYOP through your participation. 

  • Throughout the process we commit to active communication with you, so you are never wondering what is happening or where things stand with your application or the hiring process.

  • It is very important that the entire staff, Board, and faculty, as well as parents and other stakeholders and partners, participate in the selection process to set you up most effectively for success. This announcement has been informed by many perspectives, and finalists will have the opportunity to come on site and meet the entire staff, Board, and faculty before a hiring decision is made.
     

In addition, Creative Evolutions is engaging a paid Industry Panel of three peer non-profit and music education leaders who will be collaborating with Creative Evolutions to design and conduct the Semi-Finalist Interviews as part of the process. These peers will select the candidates who advance to Finalist consideration, and will also commit to be available for up to three calls each for the selected Executive Director during their first year of employment at DCYOP, to provide strong collegial or mentorship support during the transition period.

 

You can read more about this process here.
 

If you have questions or recommendations, we encourage you to contact the search team at Creative Evolutions at DCYOP@CreativeEvolutions.com.

What We Are Looking for in Our New Executive Director

DCYOP has a staff team with a wide span of skills and capabilities, including staff members with many years of experience with the organization. The current Board of Directors collectively represents a wide range of industries and knowledge from music to talent acquisition, finance and the law, as well as including an official parent representative and several other Board members who have previously had students in the program or are DCYOP alumni.

Human Expectations and Personal Values

 

We are excited to have a new Executive Director who is intentionally empathic and fearless. They will be fiercely and deeply committed to putting people first, and to work clearly and directly with the team to provide the real support that our students, teachers, staff, and Board need.

 

Our Executive Director will have a deep and personal appreciation for the ways that young people’s lives can be transformed through programs like ours. As a 62-year-old organization, intergenerational relationships are the foundation of our community, and our Executive Director will care about those lifelong dynamics and be just as comfortable talking to a five-year-old as an eighty-five year old. We have a community- and equity-driven social mission as much as we have an artistic and musical mission, and our Executive Director will both believe in that mission and be able to authentically communicate it to a wide cross-section of the community.

 

This will be a notable feature of our Executive Director that everyone will comment on – that they are fueled by being present and getting to know everyone in long-term and authentic ways. They aren’t just a good listener – listening to other people and learning about them is their favorite way to spend their time. This connects to their appreciation of the uniqueness of each child and each family, as well as the unique features of DCYOP and the DC community at every level. 

 

This appreciation combines for our Executive Director with their own investment in understanding the many barriers to access families can face, including awareness, transportation, and culture obstacles as well as financial cost and the realities of history of music education and orchestral music in America. They will be deeply committed and insightful in the area of recruiting and retaining a diverse community of young musicians, and ensuring that they thrive as part of our musical community. There have been recent changes in the participation patterns and student demographics for DCYOP, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, shifts of program location, and other factors. We plan to examine access to our programs as a priority in 2023, and establish new objectives in this area with our Executive Director.

 

They will also address practical or relational challenges with a combination of directness and discretion, appreciating each person’s perspective, while also not allowing problems to be ignored any longer than necessary. Our Executive Director will look at various situations through a variety of lenses, and model problem solving for every member of the organization. In many cases, challenges or issues may not even develop because they will have already invested so extensively in relationships inside and outside the organization that they will anticipate challenges before things begin to break down. 

 

Where Our Executive Director will be Exceptional

 

Our Executive Director will be truly exceptional on two related fronts – team leadership and building community connections.

Working with and alongside the staff, Board, conductors, and faculty, our Executive Director will have demonstrated experience understanding new groups of people, and creating foundations of trust that allow a diverse and complex team of individuals to work together. They will have clear and intentional strategies for managing staff growth and development, and for addressing conflicts and for adapting to new team members as they come and go.  

 

These leadership skills also apply to their ability to partner with the Board President (and future Board Presidents) to manage the effectiveness and support from the Board of Directors as they refocus in the years ahead into a more governance and resource-oriented body. Our Executive Director will also have clear strategies about how our values and culture can be best supported in the dynamics, relationships, and culture of mutual appreciation between and among the Board, staff, conductors, faculty, and parents.

Our Executive Director will be incredibly socially aware and engaged. We will be amazed at how quickly and thoroughly they will come to understand the dynamics of the families, neighborhoods, schools, school systems, and the complex DC political and funding environments, even if they did not live in the DC area before working with us. 

Collectively, the Executive Director will be able to use these exceptional skills to foster a culture at DCYOP where staff, conductors, faculty, Board members, alumni, students, and families become more connected and mutually supportive of one another, valuing their relationships with one another as much as they value the direct benefits of the program.

 

 What Our Executive Director Will Handle Directly

The DCYOP team brings many capabilities to the table, but there are specific tasks and responsibilities that our Executive Director will have to handle personally.
 

These include:
 

  • Collaboratively activating and maintaining a clear vision for the future and making actionable plans to help the team work strategically toward those goals, including identifying new resources of all kinds.
     

  • Managing the available physical and financial resources, and the time and energy of the team to focus on the most useful efforts to support the mission.
     

  • Financial management, including running processes for budgeting, audits, compliance, and responsible maintenance of our cash reserves. Our Executive Director functions (at least for now) as the primary financial officer, with some support from the Board, contracted accountants, and operations staff.
     

  • Establishing and facilitating clear, consistent communication methods to be inclusive and efficient, as well as to build trust and confidence.
     

  • Cultivating community support, including from DC public schools, alumni, institutional partners, political leaders, and community and civic champions.
     

  • Leading the planning and identification of plans for our future physical spaces, both for office activities and for program delivery with students. Currently DCYOP operates on a year-to-year agreement with Takoma Elementary School, and has a short-term donation of WeWork office space that expires in January 2023.

 

What Our Executive Director Needs to Understand

 

Working with and alongside the rest of the team, there are important areas where we do not expect our Executive Director to be more knowledgeable and capable than other people in DCYOP, but where we do need them to have enough expertise to collaborate with us effectively. 

 

These include:

  • Knowledge about and experience in addressing challenges from a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging perspective, especially those pertinent to the music industry and urban areas. Our new Executive Director appreciates the challenges BIPOC professional musicians face currently in the music industry, and how that may translate to our BIPOC student musicians and families both in and out of music programs. They will have some familiarity and comfort with having difficult conversations surrounding the specific challenges around how youth orchestras are addressing biases, accessibility to resources, and creating pipelines for other opportunities.
     

  • A clear knowledge of different types of educational pedagogy (specifically around music education), a student-first approach, and how those principles relate to effective organizational resourcing, planning, and communication.
     

  • The fundamentals of non-profit fundraising, including having a comfortability with relationship building with major donors and confidence in making significant asks for funding and other resources. They will also understand the long-term structure of developing contributed revenues and how to build realistic expectations into a budgeting process.
     

  • While our Executive Director may not be a musician or have previously run a youth orchestra, they have enough of a musical background to navigate discussions of various instruments and the functioning of an orchestra, and be in constructive dialogue about music with musicians and parents.

 

How We Will Support Our New Executive Director

We know that we need to support our Executive Director so that our success and their success are aligned. At DCYOP, we continue to create and refine policies and procedures to support the team and encourage everyone to remain engaged and committed to one another and the students and community we are here to serve.

Supports:

  • Starting annual salary between $145,000 - $155,000.
     

  • Benefits that include medical and dental insurance, up to $50/month for health and fitness expenses, eight paid public holidays, fifteen vacation days per year, six sick days per year, and paid family leave, paid jury duty leave, paid bereavement leave, and paid time off to vote.
     

  • Flexible hybrid schedule, which currently includes one day per week in a physical office with the entire staff, participation at all Saturday program days, and regular in-person presence at other events and locations through the week.
     

  • Commitment to regular meetings with the Board President.
     

  • Mentorship or Advisory support during the first year with Creative Evolutions and three industry peers (see the Search Process above).

 

DCYOP is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability status, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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