Arts Partnership Specialist

Job Type

Full Time



Start Date


Application Deadline



815 West Van Buren Street
Suite 300
United States


Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and community organizations to help students stay in school and be successful. During the 2017-2018 school year, CIS of Chicago partnered with 147 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and expects to have connected 1,850 services and programs to more than 71,000 CPS students and their families by leveraging community partner programs and services. In addition, CIS of Chicago places full-time Student Supports Managers in ten Chicago public schools – our Intensive School partners. Our staff in these schools provide intervention services to a caseload of 50 students per school who are at risk of dropping out, as well as connect support services to the whole school.

CIS of Chicago is an affiliate of Communities In Schools, Inc., a national nonprofit organization with offices in more than 150 different cities.

The mission of Communities In Schools of Chicago is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The vision of CIS of Chicago is to ensure that every public school student in Chicago graduates from high school prepared to succeed. The organization’s core values are Impact, Integrity, Relationships, and Social Justice.

CIS of Chicago is seeking a full-time Arts Partnership Specialist. This position is an integral part of the organization’s Partnership Team, a group of eight professionals, four of whom, Community Partnership Specialists, manage the partnerships of more than 200 agencies, institutions, and individuals that provide services in the areas of the arts, college and career readiness, health, and behavioral and mental health; and four of whom (School Partnership Specialists) manage the partnerships of our growing network of schools. Together, members of the Partnership Team execute a partner training series, monitor the quality of community partner programming, and play supporting roles in a variety of other organizational projects as needed in addition to working to make meaningful school and community partner connections.

By focusing on connecting schools to arts programs, the Arts Partnership Specialist ensures that CIS of Chicago partner schools have the resources they need to provide their students with meaningful, relevant, and high-quality arts opportunities. They are responsible for maintaining a portfolio of community partners that provide school-based programs, such as arts residencies, and discipline-specific engagement opportunities such as workshops and field trips. 

CIS of Chicago seeks a highly motivated and skilled professional for this role. The preferred candidate will have strong written and oral communication skills, experience working with or in urban school districts, and an understanding of quality teaching and program delivery practices. 

Key Responsibilities:

  • Connect approximately 28,000 students with a variety of arts programs;
  • Manage a portfolio of approximately 60 community partners, including cultivating relationships with established CIS of Chicago partners and developing new partnerships to address key needs of the CIS of Chicago school network;
  • Develop and implement strategies for creating partnerships between arts partners and schools;
  • Create professional development opportunities for community partners on key development needs, such as student behavior management, curriculum development, and program assessment;
  • Collaborate with other members of CIS’ Partnership Team and Intensive School Team to promote arts programs and opportunities;
  • Stay engaged in the Chicago arts community by attending and representing CIS of Chicago at applicable coalition meetings and events;
  • Collect and monitor data for program connections to schools as well as monitor the quality of connected programs; and
  • Lead or assist with other organizational projects, as needed.


Desired Skills and Attributes:

  • Ability to work collaboratively as well as independently
  • Skilled at multi-tasking and meeting multiple deadlines
  • Adept at cultivating meaningful partnerships while setting clear expectations and achieving organizational outcomes
  • Strong problem-solving ability and strategic thinking
  • Motivated to create and implement innovative solutions to challenges
  • Excellence in communicating with diverse audiences
  • Detail-oriented, with a commitment to follow-up and follow-through
  • Skilled at thorough and organized record-keeping and data entry
  • Enthusiasm for mission-driven work
  • Sound written and oral communication



  • Bachelor’s degree with at least three years of relevant work experience
  • Advanced degree candidates, particularly in the field of arts, education, or youth development preferred
  • Experience working with urban public schools and community organizations
  • Preferred experience developing and/or facilitating professional development trainings
  • May be required to complete at CPS Background Check


Reports to: Director of Partnerships


Work environment: This full-time position will be based out of the CIS of Chicago office in the West Loop with occasional travel downtown and throughout the city to schools and partner sites.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply


To apply for this position, please submit: (a) a current resume; (b) a cover letter, indicating why you are interested in being the Arts Partnership Specialist at CIS of Chicago and what makes you a uniquely strong candidate for the position; and (c) in a document separate from the cover letter, brief responses to the pre-interview questions below (up to 300 words total). Applicants that do not submit all three elements of the requested materials will not receive consideration. Please attach all three documents in a single e-mail and type “2018 Arts Partnership Specialist” in the subject line. All postings should be directed to No phone calls or faxes, please. 

Pre-Interview Questions:

  • What attracted you to the position?
  • How familiar are you with Chicago's public schools and its diverse communities?
  • Please list five adjectives that describe your work style. 

Start date: August 2018