Executive Director

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: Executive Director, Kidznotes

Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina


The Board of Directors seeks a collaborative and inspiring Executive Director to lead the organization. Kidznotes is a music-for-social-change program based on the El Sistema model of youth orchestras, which started in Venezuela and has now spread worldwide. Since its inception in 2010, Kidznotes has provided intensive music training to more than 900 children in East Durham, Southeast Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, developing participants’ artistic talent and building their self-discipline, persistence, and confidence.

During the 2019-20 school year, Kidznotes enrolled nearly 500 public school students in grades Pre-K – 12, partnering with Title 1 elementary schools in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Due to COVID19, Kidznotes transitioned to fully virtual programing (“Kidznotes Online” - KOL) and anticipates continuing this virtual model in the fall. Kidznotes provides full scholarships for each student, and up to 8 hours of orchestral training each week, an instrument of their own, lessons in music theory and literacy, and opportunities throughout the year to excel and perform.

Kidznotes currently employs seven full-time and one part-time staff members, over 40 contract teaching artists, and four contract program support staff. The organization is overseen by a 12-member Board of Directors. The 2020-2021 projected operating budget of $850,000 is made up of 100% contributed revenue, including foundation/government (41%), individual support (30%), corporate (7%), events (12%), and in-kind support (10%).

Kidznotes is located in Durham, a vibrant, complex, diverse, and fast-growing county of approximately 275,000 residents. Durham is part of the larger Research Triangle region of North Carolina, with a metro population of over 2,100,000. Durham and the Triangle are consistently cited as one of the country’s best places to live and do business.

To learn more about Kidznotes, visit: www.kidznotes.org


Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director of Kidznotes leads the organization in executing all aspects of its mission. Chief among these responsibilities is realigning and championing the mission of Kidznotes, building capacity, and leading positive relationships among staff, teaching artists, and families. The new leader must create a culture of community internally and externally that represents the organizational values of collaboration, joy, empowerment, rigor, and community.

The Executive Director will be called upon to fulfill the following key responsibilities:

● Leadership and Strategy: Serve as the primary advocate, visionary, and spokesperson for the organization. Ensure that long- and short-term, COVID-19 plans are in place that are actionable and include attainable goals. Develop relationships and a strong understanding of the organization’s impact with families, school partners, government officials, partner organizations, donors, and prospective donors.

● Program Development and Management: Lead the program team in creation and implementation of a sustainable program model to include both short term COVID-19 related plans and long term, in-person instruction. Ensure a teaching artist structure that meets the needs of the students. Lead as a champion for social emotional learning, music in education for underserved populations. Actively engaged in local, statewide, and national arts and education initiatives.

● Staff Management: Build a positive work culture that supports a productive, professional environment. Oversee the hiring, training, supervision, and evaluation of the staff. Ensure staff members work effectively toward shared goals and a unified vision for the organization. Ensure a positive teaching artist experience which leads to the retention of teachers and makes Kidznotes a teaching artists’ employer of choice.

● Operational and Financial Oversight: In collaboration with the Director of Operations & Finance, oversee the financial integrity of Kidznotes, ensuring the strategic creation of and adherence to the budget, diligently following approved financial policies and accounting ethics and best practice. Oversee all aspects of human resources and operations.

● Resource Development & Communication: In collaboration with the Director of Development & Communications, support all resource development efforts, and strategically engage the Board in the fundraising process. Ensure short- and long-term fundraising plans are developed and executed. Actively grow funding from individuals, foundations, government, and corporations. Oversee communications including newsletters, impact reports, the website, social media, and other general communications to ensure the highest level of professionalism and alignment of the brand with the Kidznotes vision.

● Board Governance: In collaboration with the Board, identify, recruit, train, and retain highly effective board members. Maintain regular communications with the Board of Directors and provide them with the necessary support, counsel, and information required for effective governance. Ensure a quality process for supporting the board and their involvement in fundraising, strategic planning, program delivery, and increasing overall visibility of the organization.


The new leader must demonstrate a firm commitment to and passion for the Kidznotes mission and the diverse student base that we serve. In addition, he or she should possess a variety of attributes, including:
● Collaborative, innovative, and effective leadership that motivates the volunteers, board, staff, families, donors, and partners.
● A dedication to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and the ability to demonstrate that commitment in culture, pedagogy, and communications.
● Strong business acumen with a solid understanding of operations, finance, and budgeting.
● High social emotional intelligence, integrity, and sound judgment.
● The ability to inspire others through written and verbal communications.


● Five or more years in a leadership position or commensurate experience with demonstrated success in organizational management including strategic planning, program development, finance, fundraising, and operations.
● Experience with a music or El Sistema program is preferred.
● A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college/university in education, music or nonprofit management is preferred.
● Spanish speaking is preferred.

Organization Name: 
Career Level: 
Salary range: 
$80,000 - $85,000
Job Type: 
Full Time
Triangle Area NC
Durham County
Organization Type: 
How to Apply: 

Armstrong McGuire & Associates, based in North Carolina, is conducting this search in partnership with the Kidznotes Board of Directors. To apply, click on the link to the Kidznotes position profile at www.ArmstrongMcGuire.com/apply. You will see instructions for uploading your cover letter, resume, and professional references. In case of any technical problems, contact katie@armstrongmcguire.com. No phone calls please, and no applications will be accepted by email or through third-party sites.

The preferred application deadline is July 17, 2020. Hiring to be finalized in August and a start date in September. A short presentation will be required from finalists. Reference and criminal checks will be conducted before a final offer is made.

Kidznotes is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applicants that come from a variety of backgrounds that reflect the vibrant diversity of our community.

Salary and Benefits: 

Salary offered for this position is $80,000 - $85,000. Benefits include employee health insurance, and personal time off.