San Francisco Ballet
Director of Education and Training
Under the combined leadership of School Director Patrick Armand and Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, San Francisco Ballet School has a dual mission to train classical ballet dancers capable of joining the ranks of San Francisco Ballet and other world-class companies and to expand the joy of dance for all.
Established in 1933 as America’s first professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) has grown to become one of the world’s most cherished and beloved cultural institutions. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson who joined in 1985, SF Ballet presents a repertoire of both classical and contemporary ballet, performing at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, as well as on tour at major arts venues across the country and abroad. SF Ballet also operates the San Francisco Ballet School (SF Ballet School), a distinguished school of ballet that provides the highest standard of dance training to its students. As non-distinct entities, both SF Ballet and SF Ballet School jointly form the San Francisco Ballet Association.
SF Ballet School and education programs directly serve more than 40,000 people annually through training, learning, and performances. SF Ballet School classes and events serve 6,800 individuals. In-school dance education reaches approximately 9,000 students and youth, family, and community engagement programs impact 4,800 individuals. In addition, adult and audience programs engage approximately 22,600 people throughout the region. In 2019, SF Ballet School served approximately 500 adult students and almost 600 non-adult students, with nearly 300 students taking part in summer sessions and intensives. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, education and training programs have been offered online, both recorded and live, in order to maintain the connection to students and communities. SF Ballet and SF Ballet School recognize that new and innovative strategies are required for these programs, in a COVID and post-COVID world.
Housed at 455 Franklin Street in the same building as SF Ballet and led by SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand, students from all over the world are taught by prestigious faculty members and learn a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes classical technique and athleticism. SF Ballet School’s mission is not only to train classical ballet dancers capable of joining the ranks of SF Ballet (approximately two-thirds of company dancers trained at the school) and other world-class companies, but also to offer young children and adults in the Bay Area an introduction to ballet and the joy of moving to music.
SF Ballet School’s pre-ballet classes allow children ages four through seven years old to learn the fundamentals of classical ballet in an enjoyable, safe, and nurturing environment. Those who join the School Year Program are placed in one of eight levels depending on age, experience, and ability. The training progression starts at ages eight through 11 in Level 1 and increases in difficulty to pre-professional programs for dancers up to 18 years old in Level 8. Each year, selected students from SF Ballet School’s advanced levels and from School Year Program auditions who wish to pursue careers as professional ballet dancers join the Trainee Program, a demanding curriculum in which students have many performance opportunities and can also participate in choreography, teaching, and stagecraft. Through a long-term lease with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SF Ballet School is able to offer the trainees housing within three blocks of the SF Ballet building.
Rooted in its mission to share the joy of dance with the widest possible audience, SF Ballet provides a variety of educational programming for people of all ages and abilities. The organization offers a range of free dance engagement programs for students in grades K through 12, youth community dance programs, matinees, family workshops, adult classes, lectures, seminars, and social events. Committed to making dance accessible to everyone, SF Ballet offers Dance For Parkinson’s classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers and Sensory Friendly Dance Workshops for individuals with autism, special needs, or other disabilities.
In 1979, SF Ballet established Dance in School and Communities (DISC), a residency program that provides arts instruction in public schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. This program provides dance education opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds and has expanded in recent years to include students of all school ages. As one of the longest-standing dance-in-schools programs in the country, DISC has become a role model for arts education and community programming. During the COVID-19 pandemic, DISC has partnered with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to provide a televised program called SF Loves Learning to break down all barriers to learning remotely. The program has been renewed for a third semester and has been highly successful with educators and students alike. Historically, K through 12 students across San Francisco neighborhoods did not have equitable access to DISC. Over the past five years, SF Ballet identified areas with limited or no DISC programs, recognized barriers to participation, developed new partnerships to build pathways, and implemented DISC pilot programs to eliminate some of the barriers that have historically prevented the participation of some groups.
SF Ballet’s inclusion, diversity, equity, and access efforts aim to serve underrepresented communities by addressing structural inequalities, creating new programs, and fostering cultures that minimize bias through the implementation of culturally responsive content and anti-racist teaching. Over the past five years, SF Ballet intentionally expanded its DISC education programs, reaching an increasingly more diverse audience by geography, age, race, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, disability, and sexual orientation. Its pathway to diversity relied on deepening partnerships with SFUSD, which has an 85 percent BIPOC student body, and with Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, which has an 87 percent BIPOC constituency. SF Ballet also engages in partnerships with the Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area, College of Adaptive Arts, LYRIC Center for LGBTQ Youth, Oakland School of the Arts, and other organizations that serve underrepresented communities.
SF Ballet is governed by a 51-member board of directors, jointly led by Co-Chairs Sunnie Evers and Robert G. Shaw and President Carl F. Pascarella. Kelly Tweeddale joined as Executive Director in September 2019 and directly supervises the Director of Education and Training. In a normal year of operations, the annual overall operating budget is $52 million, with the SF Ballet School budget at $3.2 million and other education programs at $800,000. The Director of Education and Training is a member of SF Ballet’s executive leadership team.
The Director of Education and Training will provide strategic leadership and financial oversight of all parts of the education and training programs. Reporting to the Executive Director, this individual will partner with the SF Ballet School Director to implement the artistic vision and educational mission. Supervising and mentoring an experienced team of administrative staff, the Director of Education and Training will collaborate regularly with other departments, particularly Marketing & Communications and Development, to support the overall goals and objectives of the SF Ballet School and education programs. A member of the executive leadership team, the Director of Education and Training will also serve as the Education and Training Department liaison to the board finance committees in advocating strongly for the SF Ballet School and overall education programs. This individual will demonstrate a staunch commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access throughout the organization, as well as in and with the communities and constituents that SF Ballet serves.
Roles and Responsibilities
Leadership and Strategic Planning
- Assess, develop, and oversee education program goals and outcomes in alignment with broader SF Ballet strategic objectives.
- Perform ongoing curriculum assessment, development, and implementation in response to program needs, educational policies, and industry changes.
- Design effective and impactful school support programs in alignment with the artistic vision of the SF Ballet School Director that enhance professional training.
- Guide and develop education policies, systems, and initiatives that support the delivery of high-caliber programs.
- Maintain a constant view for the educational continuum that exists in providing opportunities for student growth and advancement.
- Strategically develop, plan, and implement necessary program delivery model changes during the pandemic, including those that could create broader opportunities for access thereafter.
Community Engagement and Partnerships
- Advocate passionately and regularly for the value and benefit of the SF Ballet School’s education, community, and professional training programs in all interactions with board members, senior staff, and numerous external stakeholders.
- Establish and maintain strong external partnerships that reflect the values of SF Ballet and SF Ballet School, including with San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Oakland School of the Arts, and many others throughout the region.
- Advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and access initiatives, including issues around gender, sexuality, and race, that serve the community and promote the values and mission of SF Ballet and SF Ballet School.
- Engage with the Development Department to identify funding needs for education and training programs and then mobilize team members to leverage funding opportunities.
- Cultivate, maintain, and deepen relationships with Bay Area school principals and arts educators, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other strategic program and educational partners.
- Actively network to participate in broad discussions and convenings in national and international dance communities.
- Collaborate with the Marketing Department to ensure the preparation and production of written and visual materials that support audience engagement, education and training programs, and associated performances and events.
- Create and foster an environment where all students and members of the community feel welcomed, valued, and supported in their endeavors.
Managerial Oversight and Departmental Collaboration
- Guide, support, and mentor a team of administrative staff members who run daily operations of the education and training programs, delegating where appropriate so that staff feel trusted and empowered.
- Set clear financial targets, oversee budgets, and ensure all programs operate within goals.
- Identify innovative ways to find creative alternative solutions that support the school’s artistic vision and overcome potential challenges to the expansion and growth of education programs.
- Plan and oversee logistical elements of school events in partnership with the SF Ballet School Director.
- Oversee the SF Ballet School’s performances and technical training, collaborating with the production department to ensure all technical requirements are fulfilled.
- Resolve major conflicts between students, families, and faculty members if any remain after incremental steps have been undertaken by other team members, being mindful of any potential legal issues while taking actions that achieve equitable outcomes.
Traits and Characteristics
As a flexible, highly organized, and solutions-driven leader, the Director of Education and Training will have a passion for arts education and a dedication to community engagement. An inspirational collaborator and an excellent communicator with strong time and project management skills, this individual will be able to gain the trust and respect of all artistic and administrative staff, students, families, board members, and donors. The ideal candidate will have the ability to effectively multi-task and quickly adapt to constantly changing circumstances. The Director of Education and Training will be approachable and compassionate yet firm and grounded in planning and decision making.
Other key competencies include:
- Diplomacy and Leadership – The fortitude to resolve difficult situations calmly, tactfully, and with a deep understanding of cultural, racial, or social differences while building relationships internally and externally through trust and respect to advance the organization’s values and mission.
- Appreciating and Understanding Others – The capacity to demonstrate gratitude and care towards all people, recognizing their feelings, concerns, and motivations while supporting their unique skills to create an inclusive and equitable working environment.
- Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork – The dexterity to effectively communicate and collaborate with people from all backgrounds, demonstrating respect through active listening, sharing responsibilities, and providing constructive feedback.
- Planning and Organizing – The ability to establish logical and practical systems while prioritizing tasks in a busy working environment that is centered on the artistic vision and educational impacts.
Qualified applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in arts education or administration, master’s degree preferred, or equivalent experience. A minimum of eight years of progressive senior management experience is needed. Occasional travel as part of the SF Ballet School’s audition tour may be required. International applicants are welcome and must meet work eligibility, authorization, and visa requirements in the United States if hired.
Compensation and Benefits
SF Ballet offers competitive compensation, with a salary range between $160,000 and $190,000, and a benefits package that includes medical and dental insurance, 401(k) plan, paid vacation time, sick leave, and annual holidays. Relocation assistance is negotiable.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201
The mission of San Francisco Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience in its community and around the globe and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School.
SF Ballet seeks to enhance its position as one of the world's finest dance companies through its vitality, innovations, and diversity and through its uncompromising commitment to artistic excellence based in the classical ballet tradition.
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