Senior Director of Education

Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School - East Providence, Rhode Island

Job Category: Administration (other)

Job Type: Paid

Job Term: Full Time

Compensation: $110000 - $130000

Application Deadline: July 22, 2022

About Our Organization


The RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School's mission is to enrich and transform Rhode Island and our region through great live symphonic performances and music education.

Founded in 1944, RIPO&MS is the oldest performing arts organization in Rhode Island. The merger of the Orchestra and Music School in 2001 resulted in the most comprehensive education programs of any professional orchestra. RIPO&MS is the only professional orchestra in the country to officially designate music education and performance as equal priorities. 

RIPO&MS’s Link Up education program, youth ensembles, 1,500 Music School students and vast community engagement programs reach nearly 25,000 youth throughout the region. In total, RIPO&MS has served as many as 175,000 audience members and students in a single year. In addition to the RI Philharmonic Orchestra’s Classical, Pops, Education concerts and in-school performances, the RI Philharmonic Music School offers music education programs and performance opportunities to people of all ages, incomes, and ability levels. By prioritizing artistry and education equally, and furthering values of quality, access, diversity and collaboration through initiatives like Victoria’s Dream Project, RIPO&MS is redefining what it means to be an arts organization in the 21st Century.

RIPO&MS’ annual operations budget is $6.7 million and growing, and is funded in part through the General Operating Support Program of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Foundation. The organization is a member of both the National Guild for Community Arts Education and the League of American Orchestras. 

RIPO&MS in 2022

2022 could not be a more exciting time to join the RIPO&MS senior leadership and education team. As is the case for most presenting and educational institutions, 2020 and 2021 presented extraordinary difficulties, and provided extraordinary opportunities for listening, learning, evaluating, and adapting. The result is a renewed and urgent commitment to the role music and music education can and should play in inspiring students and audiences, and in helping to meet the multiple challenges that people in our communities face.

We know so much more than we knew two years ago about the challenges that confront those we serve, and we better understand the ways our organization has been helpful, and the ways in which we might have got in the way. How we are responding to this knowledge will be looked back upon as an inflection point for RIPO&MS. The incoming Senior Director of Education will be joining a rejuvenated senior leadership team charged with helping to create and implement a new five year strategic plan; prefaced by branding research, and grounded in an ongoing DEI task force initiative.

There is no doubt that the most exciting reason to join the team at this time as Senior Director of Education is the recent news that the Papitto Opportunity Connection has committed to a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant to support the organization’s efforts to address BIPOC opportunity and achievement gaps in public schools, and continued insularity and homogeneity in classical music. With the Papitto Foundation as partner, RIPO&MS intends to scale up and disseminate tools over a four year period for K-12 reform that will help eliminate opportunity gaps in K-12 music education, change lives, create a more diverse pipeline for classical music, and further equity and diversity in the field and in society. The Senior Director of Education will play a leading role in shaping the organization’s direction over the next five years, and therefore has the opportunity to have a lasting impact on an organization, a city, a state, the field, and on future generations. The current Senior Director of Education said of this opportunity:

“Working and collaborating with an incredible board of directors, education staff and faculty, all passionately devoted to furthering our mission, provides an exciting opportunity to lead our education programs to the next level. The possibilities for creating a deeper impact in Rhode Island and the surrounding region are vast.”

Job Summary

About The Role

The Senior Director of Education reports to the Executive Director, is peer to Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the RI Philharmonic Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, and works with department heads in marketing, development, finance, and operations to propel the mission. Responsible for education initiatives across the entire organization, this role manages a dynamic team of seven administrators, and oversees programs that employ over 80 teaching artists. 

The person who moves into this position will arrive at a time when focus is needed around two major initiatives. Firstly, there is an opportunity following two years of Pandemic-related disruption to work with the education team and faculty to reflect the evolving needs of teaching artists and students by likewise evolving the infrastructure and culture that supports them with leadership, clear commitments and expectations, unified values and goals, and a sense of belonging; Secondly, the new Senior Director of Education’s voice will be inextricably linked in partnership with the Executive Director around messaging, planning, and executing Papitto Opportunity Connection-related DEI initiatives, to bring about meaningful, sustainable, and systemic changes to the way historically marginalized individuals and communities experience symphonic music, access music education, and benefit from that experience and access, in Rhode Island and beyond.


About the Education Department and Programs 

  • During the influential 17 year tenure of the outgoing Senior Director of Education, the department has grown exponentially in regards to both programming and capacity. With an established, strong, and dedicated education team of seven, the department oversees the organization's anchor Music School and Community Partnership programs including: 
  • Private lessons, ensembles, and classes for all ages and abilities at Music School facilities in East Providence and Westerly, Rhode Island
  • Youth ensembles - youth orchestras (including side-by-side performances with the RI Philharmonic Orchestra), large wind ensembles, chamber music, big band, jazz and rock combos
  • Link Up, represented in 103 schools with more than 12,000 students and teachers participating, Link Up is a music literacy curriculum developed by The Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall for grades 3-5, and adapted significantly by RIPO&MS for Rhode Island’s students and teachers
  • Victoria Dream Project (VDP) is a comprehensive after school program created by RIPO&MS in partnership with Pawtucket’s Agnes Little Elementary School that provides string-instrument instruction to elementary school students. Thanks to the Papitto Opportunity Connection partnership, this program is expanding to a second site in the fall
  • Music Therapy and Wellness programs
  • Other partnership programs include: The Autism Project, Parks and Rec, Boys and Girls Club, Arts Talk, In-School Ensemble Performances 

Job Qualifications & Requirements


  • Significant and proven leadership experience in the music education field
  • Senior level administrative experience in the nonprofit sector
  • Exceptional management and team development skills; the ability to think flexibly and creatively about how teams can adapt to changing needs
  • An innate understanding and ability to speak to the transformative power of music and music education
  • A demonstrated commitment to dismantling systemic access barriers to music participation and education that create experience and achievement gaps
  • A strong voice in the movement towards equity in our communities, organizations, schools, the arts, and in music education
  • Commitment to life-long learning and the potential of the individual
  • A deep understanding of classical/symphonic music and its changing role in, and contribution to, our times, as well as all other musical genres taught at the school
  • Training and lived experience as a professional musician and/or music educator
  • Comfortable partnering with the Executive Director and Senior Director of Development in fundraising efforts
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills


  • A natural relationship builder: curious, compassionate, patient, trustful and trustworthy
  • The ability to listen and incorporate a variety of viewpoints
  • Can bring people together, inspire them around a vision, and translate that into strategy and action
  • Able to see and develop growth potential in others
  • Ability to manage competing priorities and complex moving parts in a fast-paced working environment
  • A persuasive advocate for the organization and mission, as well as the staff and faculty; empowering people, and ensuring their voices are included Effective delegator while taking the time to understand all facets of the team’s responsibilities. Willing and able to jump in when needed
  • An innovator, interested in thinking about how to do things differently, and in exploring different things
  • Problem solver, comfortable and skilled in managing difficult conversations and situations

Additional Details

Working conditions/Salary/Benefits 

The Senior Director of Education works from the organization's Carter Center in East Providence. Working from home once settled in is permitted and encouraged so long as it is managed in a way that does not impede performance. Meetings, events, concerts during weekend, and evening hours are required in support of programs and performance. Compensation includes a salary range of $110,000 to $130,000 commensurate with experience, plus a generous vacation and benefits package.

How to Apply

Application and Inquiries

Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence to Lorna Jane Norris of LJN Advisory by July 22 2022.

Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, emailing a resume and letter of interest as a word document or pdf to

In the letter of interest, please include a response to the following question: How have your past experiences prepared you to move into this position at this moment in time? All applicants will receive an acknowledgment of their application. The review of applications will begin immediately upon receipt and will continue until the position is filled. 

The RI Philharmonic is a fully vaccinated workplace and our company requires employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School is a $6 million per year, rapidly growing non-profit. RIPO&MS is redefining the musical arts organization of the 21st Century. Established in 1944, it is one of the finest regional orchestras in the nation and boasts the most comprehensive education programs of any professional orchestra. Artistry and education are equal priorities. Access, diversity and collaboration are valued alongside a commitment to quality. RIPO&MS is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to cultural diversity and equity. We strongly encourage applications from people of color and women. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference or orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, ethnicity, disability, protected veteran status, or marital status.