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DCYOP Executive Director

This job is no longer available

Washington D.C., DC, USA

Please note that the semifinalist and finalist candidates for this search process will be compensated for their time/ ($200/$1000)

What We Are Looking for in Our New Executive Director
• 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.

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 41⁄2 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.

Estimated Search 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
Semi-finalists will be compensated $200 and Finalists will be compensated $1,000 for their participation. To learn more details about the position, please email [email protected].

Areas of Responsibility: 

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.


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.


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.

• 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

How to Apply: 

How to Express Your Interest
Email [email protected]. This email comes to Calida Jones and Doug Clayton, who will respond to you to confirm receipt and who will stay in communication with you consistently throughout the process. You will not at any time go more than two weeks without an update on where you are in the search process. 

With your email, please include:

  • Your resume. The resume can be of any length and style, though we encourage you to adjust it as appropriate to help us see how your history and experience connect to the current circumstances, intentions, and hopes for DCYOP.
  • A written response of one to two pages that includes answers to the following questions: 
  1. Who are you and what is most exciting for us to know about you?
  2. Why are you applying for this role, and how do you envision your impacts within DCYOP?
  3. What are your experiences and understanding of the value of music education?
  4. What would help us be confident that you are eager to be very present in the DCYOP/DC community and get to know the people who DCYOP cares about?
  5. What makes you truly exceptional as a team leader and in your abilities to build foundations of trust and mutual support in diverse teams?
  • Please also share how you self-identify on any and all lenses so we can honor your preferences and perspectives specifically in our communications with you! If possible, please have any attachments be included in pdf format. If you have any questions about the position or your submission, please feel free to e-mail and we will be happy to discuss with you at any time!

Organization Info

DC Youth Orchestra Program

Washington, DC
About Us

To empower young people to transform their lives through music and community.


DCYOP offers group lessons and ensemble training on all orchestral instruments for students ages 4 ½ to 18. More than 600 students participate in group classes, ensemble rehearsals, and performances each semester through DCYOP’s main-site programming at Takoma Education Campus as well as DCYOP’s school partnerships. All concerts are free and open to the public.

Connect With Us

Listing Stats

Post Date: 
Jan 17 2023
Active Until: 
Feb 17 2023
Hiring Organization: 
DC Youth Orchestra Program