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Chief Program Officer (CPO)

The MD affiliate Young Audiences/Arts for Learning (YA) has grown steadily over the past decade, resulting in a $6M budget, with 30 staff and more than 400 independent contractors providing more than 12,000 programs to 170,000 students each year.

The Chief Program Officer will provide skilled leadership for several YA programs, ten staff members, and a roster of more than 100 teaching artists, with a priority on strategic program development and innovation, business/partnership development, data-driven decision-making, team-building, talent development, and budgeting. The incoming leader will continue to strengthen and refine team results and functioning, with particular attention to applying a racial justice approach to inform ongoing program development and evaluation, organizational health and development, and diversifying YA’s income to build upon its financial sustainability.

The Chief Program Officer reports to the President and CEO, serves as a key member of the leadership team, and collaborates closely with other organizational leaders, including those of the finance, education, development, and communication departments. This role provides an extraordinary opportunity for a talented, inclusive, and results-based leader to help share how the organization will continue to operationalize its value of advancing race equity. This candidate will lead a passionate and committed team in an organization with strong programming, a committed board of directors, a history of successful fundraising, and an excellent reputation.

The ideal candidate has experience managing multiple programs and teams, in a school-based setting or other complex or multi-site organizational structure in which they have needed to engage a wide range of stakeholders and to support program staff doing very difficult work. They will have demonstrated success in leading program strategy, with the ability to identify and respond to opportunities with innovative, high-quality programs. Preference will be given to candidates that have strong skills in systems thinking drawn on knowledge of the impact of racism in our city and state. This is a role that will provide leadership, inspiration, and support to hardworking staff, and that will ensure that YA is positioned to respond to new and evolving opportunities to serve children, schools, and communities throughout Maryland.

Key responsibilities:

Strategic Program and Business Development

  • Develop a vision and strategy for program growth and evolution, which will involve planning and developing additional program models/components that would be “fee for service” and developing or pursuing new public funding and/or grant opportunities in collaboration with the finance and development teams.
  • Build relationships across the state with school districts to understand their needs and identify ways our fee for service programs can support them.
  • Oversee the response to requests for YA services and assessment of the financial feasibility and strategic value of new partnerships.
  • Continue to build research-informed and evidence-based practices and resources for the different tiers of school-based programming for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Oversee development/revision of standards of practice, and tools to manage to those standards, including ongoing codification of program materials and processes.
  • Work with education directors to ensure artist recruitment and training programs are aligned with program development.
  • In partnership with others, use an anti-racism approach to organizational development and external programming.

Program Management

  • Partner with the Data and Systems Manager to provide program data to evaluate programmatic impact and monitor progress toward results.
  • Partner with COO to determine the best team management structure, and support the management of a large, diverse team, ensuring programmatic excellence, strong school-based partnerships, and professional growth and continuous learning.
  • Support the continued development of YA’s racial equity competencies and foster an inclusive environment.
  • Oversee fiscal management of programs in collaboration with the finance team, including creating programmatic budgets and amending procedures to respond to changes in external fiscal policies and to ensure programs meet its financial targets. Hold program staff accountable for budget management.
  • Manage the PQS and quote submission process for City Schools to ensure our programs remain accessible to City School children.

Financial Management

  • Manage annual program department budget, complete regular reprojections, cash flow reports, and reconciliation reports with other departments.
  • Build the financial management muscle of their team, ensuring that project budgets are managed and monitored, accounts receivable remains low, and the team is equipped to generate earned revenue opportunities.

External Relationship Management

  • Represent YA’s work to external audiences; establish and maintain strong working relationships with external stakeholders.
  • Serve as a partner to the Development Team in donor/foundation stewardship processes; contribute to building supporters’ understanding of our work and impact. Champion program staff contributions to development and fundraising efforts.


While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, the successful candidate will fit many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Experience leading in nonprofit or social service settings.
  • Experience in business development and generating earned revenue through fee for service programs.
  • Experience hiring and retaining program staff and leading through transitions and growth.
  • Proven track record of developing and managing through a results-based framework, by delivering high-quality programs and leveraging data to drive continuous learning and program improvement.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets at $1M or higher.
  • Strategic thinking and demonstrated success in program innovation.
  • Experience in program evaluation.
  • Exceptional managerial experience, with an inclusive leadership style, skill in giving and receiving feedback, the ability to hold staff accountable, and drive continuous improvement.
  • Commitment to race equity; preferred experience applying a racial justice and race equity lens to their work.
  • Strong communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills, especially when working across differences, with demonstrated ability to form and maintain strong collaborative partnerships and to build consensus with colleagues, principals, and other strategic stakeholders.
  • Experience with public school-based programs is considered a plus.
  • Ability to thrive in a high autonomy/high accountability environment, and to adapt to changing circumstances, working flexibly in order to handle multiple priorities.


We offer an attractive benefits package which includes medical, dental and vision health care coverage, retirement contributions, paid sick leave, and vacation time.

To Apply:

For consideration, please apply on our website: 

This position has a rolling deadline. Applications not submitted through the website above will NOT be considered. Please do not send applications that include headshots or photos of yourself. No phone calls or recruiters please.

Salary Range
$90,000 - $100,000 $100,000 +
Employer Name:
Young Audiences of Maryland
Job Title:
Chief Program Officer
Employer Website:
Employer Contact Information:
[email protected]
Job Submission Requirements:
For consideration, please apply on our website:  This position has a rolling deadline. Please do not send applications that include headshots or photos of yourself. No phone calls or recruiters please.
Benefit Package
We offer an attractive benefits package which includes medical, dental and vision health care coverage, retirement contributions, paid sick leave, and vacation time.

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