Executive Director

Church Street School of Music and Art - New York, New York

Job Category: Administration (other)

Job Type: Paid

Job Term: Full Time

Compensation: $100000 - $110000

Application Deadline: May 15, 2021

About Our Organization

Church Street School for Music and Art (CSSMA) is a non-profit community school founded in 1990. Over the last 30 years, more than 20,000 families and alumni have been part of this vibrant artistic community.  In March 2020, the school pivoted to online offerings in response to Covid-19, gradually adding innovative, in-person programming as protocols allowed. Agility and perseverance have allowed the school to continue serving many in its community and beyond. 

A typical annual in-house student enrollment is 500 growing to over 1,000 students participating when community partner programs are included. Students from ages 1-100 participate in individual and group music and arts offerings. CSSMA has an operating budget of $1.5 million.

Thirty-five talented musicians and artists comprise the school’s faculty. A 9-person engaged and working Board, a 23-person impressive artist advisory council, and a committed and passionate staff of 7 all ensure that this extraordinary organization realizes a mission that is more important now than ever.

Church Street School for Music and Art specializes in process-oriented approaches to arts education, striving to foster creativity and give expression to each student’s natural musical and artistic sense through direct, physical experience, while providing a strong foundation in technique and theory. Programs are offered in visual art, group and private instrumental music, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and dramatic play. CSSMA offered a thriving Preschool for many years until the organization moved in 2017. An organizational conversation around the future of the Preschool is ongoing.  

CSSMA is a member of the National Guild of Community Arts Education.

About the community and neighborhood
“We love our students, and we love what we do.”
(Co-Founder and Executive Director, Lisa Ecklund-Flores)
This simple statement says it all. As the only non-profit community music and arts school in Lower Manhattan, CCSMA is a valuable resource for the downtown community and beyond—and now from ‘virtually’ anywhere! Located in arts-rich Tribeca, the school attracts families who are looking for an intimate and closely knit community. When one person becomes a part of the CSSMA community, their whole family does as well. The feeling of legacy is strong, with former students citing the school as foundational in forming and nurturing their creative voices.

Inspired by the social justice movements of 2020, CCSMA formed an 11-person team to examine and center the organization’s commitment to dismantling racism. The team, including teachers, staff members and administrators, meets regularly in a collective effort to deeply scrutinize practices, priorities, goals and actions, engaging outside consultants and the community in a process that is ongoing.

CCSMA in 2021
CSSMA responded quickly and innovatively to the challenges of 2020. Thanks to its creative and adaptive spirit, the staff and faculty pivoted to offer programs virtually, knowing that the arts would be a vital outlet for families’ experiences during a time when the school community and the community-at-large were facing multiple challenges. The school is excited to leverage the learnings from 2020 to explore what program delivery should and could look like moving forward. The opportunity to offer in-house, outreach and remote programming dramatically increases the reach of the school, expanding the breadth and diversity of potential offerings.

We are just beginning to learn the longer term socio-economic and social-emotional impacts of living through this time, and how an organization like CSSMA can creatively and responsibly respond to the community’s new and unmet needs through innovative and community-building programs. CSSMA can play a unique and powerful role in the future of the Lower Manhattan community and in the lives of students and families engaged in its satellite programs. Though the last year has been extremely challenging on a variety of levels, the staff, faculty and stakeholders at CSSMA yearn to serve the school’s mission now more than ever. 

Job Summary

The next leader of CSSMA has an extraordinary opportunity to shape the future of CSSMA at an inflection point for the school.  The co-founder and current Executive Director Lisa Ecklund-Flores is stepping down after tending the garden she planted 30 years ago. How it has grown!

The transition from founder to new leadership is a significant step for any institution. The Board and Lisa are extremely excited and enthusiastic for the opportunity this step provides for bringing fresh energy, perspective, strategic thinking and creativity to the leadership of the school.

The Executive Director at CSSMA is responsible for leadership and oversight of all functional areas and is the primary external-facing advocate and relationship-builder for the organization. The Associate Director (AD), Director of Programs (PD) and Development Director report directly to the ED. The ED reports to the Board of Directors.  


Vision and Strategy
Collaborate with all community stakeholders to create a vision for the next chapter of CSSMA’s life and the strategy to realize that vision, focusing on:

  • Raising the visibility of the school and sharing its message and purpose
  • Understanding and responding to the unmet needs of the community
  • Innovations around program development and delivery
  • Increasing access to current programs and broadening the reach in the community through meaningful partnerships
  • Creating a business model that is sustainable, breathable, and responsive
  • Capitalizing on the school’s position within the Tribeca arts and business community
  • Forming an anti-racist organization while working on the above

Fundraising and Partnerships
Spearhead the annual fundraising plan including the annual appeal, events, and major donor campaign in partnership with the Development Director. Collaborate with the AD on recurring and new institutional grants.

Increase the visibility and reach of the school by nurturing existing and new relationships with political officials, community board members, artist council members, foundation directors and potential program partners, and other arts organizations in the field. Represent the school locally, regionally and nationally.

Financial management
Serve as the primary financial agent of the organization, creating and maintaining the annual budget, financial reports, and overseeing and monitoring cash flow. The Executive Director works with the Board and senior staff to align the school’s vision and programs with a sustainable and responsive business model.

Partner with the Board of Directors to fulfill governance best practices as well as co-create a vision and strategy for strengthening and sustaining the school moving forward, including cultivating and recruiting new board members and building responsive committees and task forces to work on special initiatives and events.

Culture and HR
Co-creating and tending to the culture of the organization through investment in staff and faculty development, external and internal relationship-building, and the execution of open and equitable human resource practices.

Oversee and provide support to the senior staff in the following two areas:

  • Management and oversight of the school’s facilities including adherence to the requirements of city agencies, working with architects and contractors on repairs and upgrades, and maximizing the potential of the space for programs and rental use through the ongoing development of a maintenance and utilization plan.
  • Create a safe, welcoming environment for families to learn and play, working collaboratively to ensure the smooth daily running of the school

Job Qualifications & Requirements


  • Significant and proven leadership and management experience in the non-profit sector preferably in education and/or arts education
  • Experienced and dynamic fundraiser
  • Strong financial literacy and experience building a sustainable business model to support programs, people, and mission
  • Commitment to life-long learning and the potential of the individual
  • An innate understanding and ability to speak to the transformative power of the arts and arts education
  • A commitment to creating and leading diverse communities


  • Can bring people together to create a vision and then translate that vision into strategy and action
  • An entrepreneurial approach to business development and program innovation
  • Able to see and realize growth potential
  • Exceptional relationship- and community-builder
  • A dynamic, relational, and strategic approach to fundraising
  • Thrives on the macro and the micro
  • High emotional intelligence


  • Flexible
  • Collaborative
  • Warm
  • Charismatic
  • Inclusive
  • Decisive
  • Listener
  • Accessible
  • Empathetic

How to Apply

Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence to Lorna Jane Norris of LJN Advisory by May 15th 2021. www.lornajanenorris.com

Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, emailing a resume and letter of interest as a word document or pdf to LJNAdvisory@gmail.com. All applicants will receive an acknowledgement of their application. The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. In the letter of interest, please include a response to the following question:
How have your past experiences prepared you to lead this organization at this moment in time?

CSSMA is committed to a transparent and open search process, hiring based on merit and with a strong commitment to employment equity, diversity and inclusion.