Cincinnati Public Schools School of Creative and Performing Arts Director
Cincinnati Public Schools School of Creative and Performing Arts Director

Cincinnati Public Schools:
School for Creative and Performing Arts



“SCPA is a true melting pot. Students from across the region come together to create art, music, and movement. The lessons learned in such a diverse setting create strong communities outside of the school's walls. The freedom to be creative as a child leads to brave, critical thinkers beyond their school years. Creative, strong, brave—those are the words that define an SCPA graduate.”

- Rachel Catherine Roberts, SCPA Class of ’90

Founded in 1973, the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) is part of the Cincinnati Public School district and the only arts magnet school in the United States that serves grades K through 12. Located in the center of Cincinnati’s cultural hub, SCPA is dedicated to providing its 1,500 students with a world-class education in the arts that fuels lifelong artistic and scholastic pursuits. SCPA's mission is to foster independent thinking in a creative and challenging environment by providing a diversified curriculum and environment for bright and talented individuals and to offer preparation for higher education and professions in the arts.

In 2010 SCPA opened its new $72 million facility, the Erich Kunzel Center for Arts and Education, in downtown Cincinnati. SCPA’s new home was funded through a unique public-private partnership that raised more than $31 million in private contributions to match public funding. The building, which was a key component to redevelopment plans for the neighborhood, features specialized facilities for the arts, including three separate theaters.

SCPA is accessible to all children who exhibit the talent and determination to succeed, regardless of their financial or family circumstances. Fifty-three percent of SCPA students live below poverty level. The student body is the most diverse in Cincinnati, with 70 percent of the student body from African American, Hispanic, Asian, Central and Eastern European, Native American, and multiracial backgrounds. Approximately three percent of the students live outside the public school district, including Kentucky and Indiana, and pay tuition to attend.

In the last four years, SCPA has graduated one hundred percent of its high school seniors and 90 percent of students have been accepted into college or other post-secondary programs. SCPA has produced notable graduates in virtually every artistic field, including award-winning actors, directors, singers, dancers, musicians, stage technicians, designers, and arts educators. In addition to excelling in the arts, SCPA graduates have gone on to prominent positions in law, medicine, and business. SCPA students and faculty continue to present on great stages around the country such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and at prestigious adjudications like the World Piano Competition. They have also been invited to appear internationally at gatherings, including the American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

SCPA currently partners with many professional arts and social service organizations that collaborate with different student majors and different grade levels throughout the school year. Partner organizations include Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, American Legacy Theatre, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, Cincinnati Black Theatre Company, The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Arts Association, Freestore Food Bank, Arts Schools Network, Aronoff Center for the Arts, Mayerson Artistic Excellence Program, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, ArtsWave, Jazz Alive, Artworks, Art Academy of Cincinnati, YMCA and YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, the Taft Museum of Art Duncanson series, Cincinnati Museum Center, University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Q102 Cincinnati’s Hit Music, WCET, and Cincinnati Boychoir.

SCPA is supported by multiple entities, including:

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) district: Led by Superintendent Laura Mitchell, CPS is a progressive and diverse public school district that values teaching and learning to prepare students to become community and world influencers. As the largest school district in the state of Ohio, CPS serves 36,000 students and operates 62 schools, including 14 high schools, 44 elementary schools, and four combined K through12 schools. CPS’ diverse population of students is 62.1 percent African American, 24.2 percent Caucasian, 6.2 percent multiracial, 5.7 percent Hispanic, 1.5 percent Asian, 0.1 percent Native American, and 0.1 percent Pacific Islander

Local School Decision Making Committee (LSDMC): As part of CPS’ organizational structure, LSDMC is SCPA’s dedicated leadership body. Members discuss current issues and make recommendations to SCPA’s structural leadership. Each LSDMC is comprised of equal representation of faculty, non-teaching staff, community members, and parents. Topics addressed by LSDMC include local school mission and bylaws, discretionary budget, quality improvement goals and projects, and coordinated outreach of the school as a community learning center.

SCPA Fund: This nonprofit organization was created to support the mission of academic and artistic excellence at SCPA and to serve the unique talents and needs of SCPA’s diverse student body. The SCPA Fund provides between $500,000 and $1,000,000 annually to enable and enhance SCPA activities.

WEareSCPA: As the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), WEareSCPA serves as a volunteer support group creating a deeper connection between school and home for SCPA families. It encourages parental involvement with a variety of committees and ongoing fundraising events to support positive school culture while improving the educational environment of SCPA for students, teachers, and families. The President of WEareSCPA serves as an ex-officio member of the SCPA Fund board. 

National Alumni Association of the Cincinnati SCPA (NAAcSCPA): This organized body of more than 4,000 SCPA alumni are committed to providing ongoing financial and mentoring resources, maintaining the legacy of SCPA, and developing lasting relationships with alumni and SCPA community partners.


Founded in 1788, Cincinnati is an energized and thriving city with a host of business and cultural organizations that have provided extensive contributions to the region and country. Located on the Ohio River’s north bank at the Ohio-Kentucky border, Cincinnati is spread across hills with beautiful vistas of downtown, establishing the city’s picturesque landscape. With a metropolitan population of 2.1 million, Cincinnati was ranked in the top 10 best affordable places to live by U.S. News & World Report. According to the 2010 United States Census, the Cincinnati’s demographics included a population that is 49.3 percent Caucasian and 44.8 percent African American. Cincinnati was recently ranked as one of the most immigration friendly cities in the country by the New American Economy.

Major cultural institutions and attractions include the Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Stellar museums such as Cincinnati Art Museum, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati Museum Center, and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center are complemented by award-winning theaters like Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. Additionally, Cincinnati arts organizations receive substantial financial support from ArtsWave, the nation’s first and largest community campaign for the arts.

Cincinnati has deep history with many longstanding families and businesses. It is home to the headquarters of major companies, including Procter & Gamble, The Kroger Co., Macy’s, Fifth Third Bank, Western & Southern Financial Group, GE Aviation, Cintas, and American Financial Group. In addition to the many cultural and recreational opportunities offered, Cincinnati residents can also enjoy the city’s many national sports teams, including the NFL Cincinnati Bengals, MLB Cincinnati Reds, and MLS FC Cincinnati.

Notable nearby educational institutions include the internationally renowned University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and many others that contribute to a vibrant economy and connected community.


Position Summary

Providing inspirational and strategic leadership, the Director of SCPA will serve as a central collaborator and consensus-builder inside and outside SCPA. This includes acting as the primary coordinating link between CPS, SCPA Fund, LSDMC, WEareSCPA, and NAAcSCPA. The Director will engage and support this unique integration of stakeholders to define, develop, and implement strategies and priorities for SCPA and all affiliated organizations. The Director will work within a complex series of structures and shared responsibilities to make practical advances in the day-to-day educational experiences of SCPA students and in demonstrable progress towards SCPA’s long-term goals.

Reporting to the CPS Assistant Superintendent, the Director will collaborate with the SCPA Principal, SCPA Artistic Director, and SCPA External Affairs Officer to support, balance, and improve artistic and academic outcomes. This individual will collaborate with and provide oversight for the SCPA Fund Finance Consultant. The Director will work year-round with evening and weekend responsibilities on a regular basis.

Roles and Responsibilities

Vision, Leadership, and Motivation

  • Provide dynamic, visionary, and strategic leadership and a clear organizational direction.
  • Guide all constituent groups in developing and implementing short- and long-term strategic plans
  • Bring entrepreneurial sensibility and skills in unifying the vision and goals of the staff, teaching faculty, and multiple entities, including CPS, SCPA Fund, LSDMC, WEareSCPA, and NAAcSCPA
  • Balance an exciting vision for SCPA’s future with a realistic understanding of the capacity of its human, financial, and technological resources as well as obligations to multiple stakeholders.
  • Guide effective advocacy efforts for arts, arts education, and SCPA to build vital relationships with community organizations, funders, and related alliances and networks.

Fundraising and Fiscal Responsibility

  • Ensure SCPA’s financial viability and sustainability through direct fundraising efforts, including engagement with major donors, corporate sponsorship, special events, grant writing, and planned giving, in conjunction with the External Relations Officer.
  • Strategize and collaborate with the External Relations Officer, SCPA staff, and SCPA Fund board members to build a culture of philanthropy, developing strategies and defining key messages to increase revenues and meet financial goals.
  • Oversee budgets, financial requests, and reporting for CPS and the SCPA Fund in collaboration with the management teams.
  • Refine and maintain an organizational culture that effectively utilizes financial resources and wisely invests resources.
  • Provide expertise in financial best practices and clear internal and external financial reporting.

Governance and Communication

  • Foster collaboration and teamwork in all areas of SCPA, empowering each team member to fulfill their roles and maintain high professional standards.
  • Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style and professionally communicate with SCPA’s stakeholders
  • Act as a conduit for clear communication between the SCPA Fund, LSDMC, and CPS administration to facilitate open discussion on matters related to SCPA operations and opportunities for growth.
  • Collaborate with SCPA Fund and LSDMC leadership to ensure regular, effective, and productive meetings for each organization to ensure the timely sharing of information and execution of appropriate action steps
  • Develop strong working relationships with the faculty, staff, and artists involved in daily SCPA activities, as well as with parents, donors, partner organizations, and local community leaders.
  • Expand financial and social support for SCPA through the recruitment of new SCPA Fund board members whose interests, talents, commitments, and values are congruent with SCPA’s vision, mission, and needs.

Organizational Effectiveness and Conflict Management

  • Strengthen cross-program collaboration through intentional and proactive internal communication and coordination.
  • Ensure that there is a well-defined organizational structure, clear management objectives, measurable levels of responsibility and accountability, and opportunities and support for professional growth for faculty and staff.
  • Advise and support staff in managing budgets, establishing priorities, and organizing operations to ensure the timely and smooth delivery of external programs and internal activities
  • Construct and support organizational and fiscal policies, systems, controls, and procedures that are in alignment with SCPA’s mission and values and are regularly reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Advocate for employees and students to enable a dynamic and diverse environment that fosters individual success through an engaged understanding of the needs and responsibilities of everyone at SCPA.
  • Employ professional techniques to identify, address, and resolve conflicts between individuals or teams to advance overall cohesion.

Traits and Characteristics

The Director will be a personable and collaborative leader with the ability to listen to a variety of important constituents, build consensus within complicated organizational structures, and generate practical and measurable progress in a situation without top-down authority. The Director will have demonstrable history and passion for the development and success of K-12 students, love of the arts, and the ability to lead a complex educational organization that includes all grade levels and extensive enhanced and extracurricular activities

Other key competencies include:

  • Diplomacy and Teamwork – The capacity to deeply respect others, treat them fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and foster positive and productive relationships between multiple parties.
  • People-Oriented and Driven by Interaction – The proactive drive to engage in frequent communication and relationship building with others, including a curiosity and empathy for individuals with a diversity of backgrounds, positions, and points of view.
  • Persistence and Resiliency – The fortitude to reach solutions and positive outcomes despite resistance or challenges and the willingness to develop and embrace new strategies without becoming discouraged.
  • Flexibility and Versatility – The ability to move quickly from one task or interaction to another and the openness and emotional agility to shift positions or strategies based on new information or changing circumstances.


A master’s degree in education, business, or arts administration or equivalent senior leadership experience is required. Ability to engage in clear communications through many channels and technological platforms is necessary. A strong understanding of and experience in managing financial budgets and reports are required. Experience operating within a public school district management environment is strongly preferred.

Compensation and Benefits

CPS offers a competitive compensation and benefits package in line with district employment policies that includes paid time off; medical, dental, and vision insurance; and retirement benefits from the State Employee Retirement System (SERS).

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Douglas R. Clayton, Senior Vice President

Arts Consulting Group

201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 202


Cincinnati Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer.


Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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