California Arts Council

State of California

Arts Jobs - Detail

Executive Director
California Poets in the Schools


CalPoets Executive Director Job Description

About CalPoets

California Poets in the Schools ("CalPoets"), one of the nation's largest writers-in-residence programs, with over 125 poet teachers, partners with public and private schools, juvenile halls, hospitals, libraries, and other community settings to reach more than 26,000 K-12 students each year. Established in 1964, CalPoets is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with support from the California Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other foundations, corporations, and individuals. Reaching students statewide, CalPoets holds an annual conference, publishes an anthology of the year's best poetry, sponsors local readings and performances, and co-sponsors the national poetry recitation program, Poetry Out Loud.

About the Opportunity

These are exciting times for CalPoets, which is looking to take its organization to the next level. Finding the right Executive Directive is integral to that organizational mission. While the CalPoets organization historically had an Executive Director, CalPoets has been operating—leanly and effectively— since last decade's recession without one. The CalPoets' Board, and greater CalPoets' community (it really is a marvelous interconnected community of poets, teachers, and supporters of the program), are prepared to put this position back in place. CalPoets seeks an energetic, entrepreneurial, management-savvy, goal-oriented, and communicative leader to help it usher in the next generation of great California poets and give a voice to literally hundreds of thousands of students who will benefit from CalPoets during its new Executive Director's tenure. The passive or cautious leader need not apply; CalPoets is seeking candidates eager to take ownership of the organization, and its direction, and to drive CalPoets to a higher level in its 54th year.



  • stewardship of existing donors
  • cultivate new donors
  • manage efforts to obtain more grant funding
  • make avenues for donors to contribute to CalPoets easier

Interface with public

  • set tone/brand of CalPoets when representing CalPoets in/to public
  • support the board to engage traditional media
  • set social media direction

Board engagement/management

  • meaningfully engage, and inspire, "working" board
  • retain board members
  • identify and recruit new board members

Operational and program management 

  • manage and/or delegate HR issues, bookkeeping, payroll et al.
  • manage integral programs such as annual symposium and Poetry Out Loud

Volunteer management

  • initial contact person for volunteer agencies
  • manage/direct recruitment/vetting/maintenance of volunteers
  • prepare FAQs and other centralized, top-down mechanisms for increasing efficiencies for volunteer management
  • Area coordinator management
  • serve as leader and figurehead for area coordinators
  • oversee poet teacher management by area coordinators 


  • commitment to CalPoets' mission
  • experience with transformative change, and motivation and desire to drive CalPoets to the next level
  • proven fundraising track record, and motivation to increase CalPoets fundraising in first year in role
  • exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, and ability to represent CalPoets publicly and passionately to area coordinators, poet teachers, students, their parents, donors, board members, and foundations
  • training, e.g. MBA or Masters in Organizational Management, in the management of an organization
  • facility with de-centralized organizational structure, yet with leadership ability to unite organization across the State
  • background with non-profit management a plus, but not essential

CalPoets is committed to equal employment opportunity, including decisions regarding employment, for all qualified individuals without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, special disabled veteran or Vietnam Era Veteran status or other protected status. CalPoets is also committed to creating a diverse, open workplace, and we encourage applicants who are members of one or more protected categories.


This will be a full time salaried position with both a reasonable base compensation component and highly variable bonus component. The bonus component will be tied to performance, and in particular meeting fundraising objectives.

Professional Level


Minimum Education required

Bachelor's degree required; graduate degree preferred

How to apply

Submit resume and cover letter to Tina Areja-Pasquinzo, Director of Operations at CalPoets at Cover letter should include why you are interested in this opportunity and salary requirements. Applications accepted through Jan. 7, 2018

Contact:Tina Areja-Passquinzo

Deadline: 01-07-2018

Return to Arts Jobs