The Rivers School Director of The Rivers School Conservatory and Performing Arts Department Chair

The Rivers School

Director of The Rivers School Conservatory and
Performing Arts Department Chair – The Rivers School


The Rivers School Conservatory (RSC) was founded in 1975 in Weston, Massachusetts, when New England Conservatory closed all the suburban branches of its preparatory school. The displaced families from Wellesley, Weston, and Wayland convinced Ethel Bernard, one of the pioneers of the music school movement, to establish a community music school committed to excellence in music education and performance. Ms. Bernard approached The Rivers School with the idea of founding a music school in the unoccupied former headmaster’s house on the campus of the then-all-boys college preparatory school. Since then, RSC has been one of the nation’s leading community music conservatories in the western suburbs of Boston.

RSC is a community of more than 100 distinguished artist-teachers that focuses on cultivating exceptional musicianship through performance. The hundreds of workshops, master classes, recitals, and concerts available each year present opportunities for more than 900 students of all ages to develop, strengthen, and refine their talents through public presentation. RSC offers private instruction on all classical and jazz instruments, piano, and voice; weekly workshops and recitals; after-school ensemble opportunities for all ages and abilities; classes in music theory, composition, and weekly piano seminars; and performance opportunities throughout the year, including more than 200 recitals, master classes, and special events. With 27 studios operating five afternoons during the week and all day on Saturdays, RSC boasts five orchestras that engage more than 250 students, dozens of jazz and chamber ensembles, a wind ensemble, and an extensive early childhood program that includes the critically acclaimed Marimba Magic© program.

The Conservatory Program at The Rivers School is a unique partnership between the school and RSC that provides Rivers School student musicians with the faculty, classes, and performance opportunities needed to cultivate their musical artistry while simultaneously pursuing a rigorous and challenging academic experience all on one campus. Open to classical and jazz instrumentalists and vocalists, the Conservatory Program runs in tandem with The Rivers School’s music curriculum.

Conservatory Program students—33 in the Upper School and 12 in the Middle School—enroll in a stimulating and powerful academic program that includes 23 honors and 15 advanced placement level courses in all academic departments. During the regular school day, they join other student musicians in chamber orchestra, chamber ensembles, big band, jazz combos, women’s chorus, and men’s chorus. At the end of the regular school day, Conservatory Program students take additional classes in music theory, ear training, performance, improvisation, solfège, and independent studies as well as assignments to Conservatory Program jazz, chamber, or vocal ensembles. An additional 35 students at The Rivers School take part in the Conservatory Program on an elective basis.

Special events under the auspices of RSC include the A. Ramon Rivera Piano Competition and multiple concerto competitions. Additionally, and jointly with The Rivers School, RSC boasts its Rivers Jazz Festival, Wassail Party, Performathon, and nationally acclaimed Contemporary Music Seminar, which has brought composers such as Phillip Glass, John Cage, Gunther Schuller, and many others to the campus.

The Performing Arts Department of The Rivers School works in parallel with the Visual Arts Department to provide an integrated approach to the study of the creative process, helping students share their vision and their voice. The department offers theater classes in both the Middle and Upper School and produces three full scale productions each year—offering something different every season. The Upper School’s co-curricular dramatic production and musical take place in the fall and winter respectively, while the spring features a Middle School production. Fall and spring performances take place in The Rivers School’s Black Box Theater and the winter musical is held at the nearby Regis College. The Performing Arts program also includes chamber orchestras in both the Middle School and Upper School, eight jazz bands, and three choruses. Regular performance visits and a major bi-annual music trip are organized by the department.

RSC fosters creativity and imagination in its students and cultivates the inspiration, self-confidence, discipline, and leadership skills that are developed through the exploration of music. The mission of The Rivers School is to prepare its students for leadership in a world that needs their talents, imagination, intellect, and compassion. Its strategic focus for the future is to ensure academic excellence, enrich the student experience, expand its facilities, and invest in the future. RSC’s FY18 operating budget is more than $2.7 million. The Rivers School is led by Head of School Ned Parsons.



A small community in the Metro West area, less than 30 minutes from downtown Boston, the Town of Weston was settled in 1642 and prides itself on its quiet and a country-like setting and excellent public and private schools. Regis College and Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary are also located in Weston. The Weston Conservation Commission, which owns and maintains approximately 2,000 acres of protected land throughout the town, is open to the public for passive recreation, offering an open space, rural aesthetic, and abundance of wildlife. The Weston Historical Commission is responsible for the preservation of the town’s historic and architectural heritage.



The Director of The Rivers School Conservatory will also serve as the Performing Arts Department Chair of The Rivers School (RSC Director and Performing Arts Chair) in a unique blend of community service and academic integration, guiding all performing arts activities on campus. Reporting to the Head of School and working closely with the RSC Executive Committee of The Rivers School board of trustees, the RSC Director and Performing Arts Chair will oversee program and curriculum development, community engagement, strategic planning and implementation, and management operations. The position will also implement best practices in faculty selection and mentorship while ensuring that students receive the highest caliber music and performing arts education available in the region.

Roles and Responsibilities

Program and Curriculum Leadership

  • Advance RSC’s strong reputation as an exemplary community conservatory balanced with a comprehensive performing arts program at The Rivers School.
  • Leverage the diversity in musical pedagogy, genres, and ensembles to increase visibility, participation levels, and performance opportunities.
  • Sustain high caliber programs and assess future opportunities for RSC’s expansion and growth.
  • Oversee Conservatory Program curriculum design and implementation with performing arts department faculty.
  • Ensure that program development meets the needs of both campus and community students.
  • Embrace innovative performance opportunities and educational programs that advance the goals of RSC and The Rivers School.
  • Create a flexible environment to enhance student learning, faculty training, and staff support.
  • Maintain current knowledge of trends in performing arts education and community music schools that benefit RSC and The Rivers School stakeholders.

Internal and External Community Engagement

  • Play a leading role in the recruitment and admission processes for RSC and The Rivers School.
  • Respond positively to questions and concerns from parents, students, faculty, staff, external partners, donors, and the public.
  • Guide marketing, branding, and public relations programs that highlight RSC’s impacts and reputation.
  • Actively participate in donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Ensure that faculty, staff, students, and parents have a memorable experience that leaves a legacy on their personal growth, professional development, and lifelong support for the performing arts.
  • Embody the highest levels of community service, student interaction, and community engagement.
  • Develop processes for engaging a broader audience for performances and educational programs.

Strategic Planning and Implementation

  • Develop, implement, and monitor an RSC and Performing Arts Department plan that integrates into The Rivers School’s broader strategic plan.
  • Regularly monitor the strategic plan and report progress toward goals.
  • Broaden RSC’s public image and increase brand awareness for the organization, clearly articulating the mission, vision, programs, and impacts of RSC and The Rivers School.
  • Ensure that programming is determined in a timely manner and can be executed within the organization’s financial and human resources.

Management and Operations

  • Direct and manage a staff and support structure that perpetuates the campus culture of trust, cooperation, and collaboration.
  • Supervise and integrate various aspects of RSC and the Performing Arts Department, including faculty, administrative staff, and facilities, into the fabric of The Rivers School.
  • Assess rehearsal, performance, administrative, and other facility needs and recommend solutions to effectively meet those needs within the overall campus master plan.
  • Develop and monitor budgets and financial performance within a structure that supports operational goals.

Traits and Characteristics

The RSC Director and Performing Arts Chair will embody warmth, vitality, and flexibility as an effective leader with the ability to embrace a diverse array of internal and external stakeholders. An instinctive consensus builder, this individual will be an experienced team player, gaining results through a collaborative effort. The RSC Director and Performing Arts Chair will be an open and honest professional who simultaneously explores educational and program ideas and sets priorities that achieve extraordinary outcomes in a harmonious environment. This individual will be passionate about music education and the positive impacts of a performing arts education while demonstrating proficiency as an effective communicator, flexible problem solver, community advocate, and motivational strategist.

Other key competencies include the following:

  • Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to organize and motivate other people to accomplish goals, create a sense of order and direction, build consensus, and gain active participation among a variety of stakeholders.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Diplomacy – The capacity to interact with others in a positive manner, treat them fairly, and listen carefully to what they say while facilitating their personal, professional, and academic growth.
  • Self-Starting and Problem Solving – The competence to be innovative in meeting the expectations of the role while mobilizing the resources needed to ensure positive impacts.
  • Stakeholder Satisfaction – The dexterity to embrace diverse stakeholder needs, including those of students, families, faculty, and staff, and set a course that balances the goals of RSC and The Rivers School with those individual needs.


Qualified applicants must have a master’s degree, or equivalent experience, as well as a minimum of five to seven years in a senior management role in a music education organization, with secondary or post-secondary experience preferred. A record of success in performing arts education and a strong commitment to the academic, social, and creative lives of students of all ages is expected.

Compensation and Benefits

Competitive salary and benefits include medical insurance (group health and health reimbursement arrangement), dental insurance, long-term disability insurance, group term life insurance, flexible spending accounts, 403(b) retirement plan, and paid time off.

Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:

Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Vice President

ACG Contact Logo
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225

The Rivers School is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to non-discrimination in employment.
The Rivers School selects the best qualified for the job based on job-related qualifications regardless of
race, age, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity,
disability, veteran’s status, or any other status protected by applicable law.


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