Hiring Call: Programs Director


The Chicago Poetry Center’s mission is  to connect people with poetry, equitably engage poets with communities, and foster creativity and literacy in schools. We do this work through education programming across Chicago, public poetry events, and special projects and online resources.

Education Programs
The Chicago Poetry Center education programs consist of three main types: In-school Residencies, After-school residencies, and Pop Up Programs. Through these three types of programming we’re able to flexibly provide schools with the resources each particular community is seeking. CPC hires Chicago poets who are also educators, and trains them as teaching artists for our Residency and Pop Up programs. In 2019-20, the Chicago Poetry Center is working with 45 classrooms across Chicago for long term residencies, and has four after school programs across the city. We currently support 16 teaching artists. The program is growing annually in teaching artists, students, classrooms, and schools supported.

Our education programs are structured around the idea that facilitating a safe and engaging environment for creative self-expression is good for the whole self and community: this work builds social emotional development, literacy, and confidence regarding reading and writing, while providing needed support to CPS teachers and classrooms.

We are a small and actively growing organization that sets our goals into action through collaboration, clear communication and expectations, and strategic and creative thinking. Staff and Volunteer support work both independently and as part of a team. Pre-covid,  we operated with a mix of remote days, in-office days, and site visit days, we assume this will be true in the future as well. We are currently working remotely and running remote programs across Chicago from our homes. Our culture is one that supports feedback, communication, and growth. 

Commitment to Inclusion
The Chicago Poetry Center values diversity at all levels and understands that a safe and supportive environment is necessary to facilitate our work in valuing and uplifting creative expression. The Chicago Poetry Center commits to inclusion and will not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, age, religion, marital status or parental status. We strive to uphold our values in action through our decisions, programming, community building, and fostering an environment of continuous learning.

About the Position
The Chicago Poetry seeks a highly organized, self-starting Program Administrator  with experience in and a passion for poetry, education, and program administration. This person is a skilled communicator (across ages and all levels of learners) with demonstrated experience in teaching and administration/organizational roles, and willing to travel across the city to reach all of our classrooms and schools. During required remote times, the Program Administrator must be willing and able to administrate over zoom, phone, and other internet applications. CPC’s programs are growing quickly, and we’re looking for someone to grow with this role. In its first year this position will be part time, and the programs manager is encouraged to teach in the program while administrating. After a year of continued growth, CPC expects this position to become full time. 


Administration & Program Leadership

  • Administrate CPC’s core educational programs: In-school and After-school Residencies, and Pop Up Programs
  • Plan and organize student events including end of the year public readings and special events throughout the year
  • Collaborate with Development team and Executive Director to support strategic program initiatives, grant writing, site visits, and presentations to foundations and donors.
  • Provide leadership, mentorship, and training to program teaching artists
  • Directly manage teaching artists, including providing supportive instructional feedback at site visits
  • Build and maintain relationships with schools, administrators, and teachers to ensure strong communication with program partners
  • Strategize & collaborate with Executive Director on new education partnerships, collaborations, and initiatives
  • Participate in hiring new teaching artists including posting and outreach and candidate selection
  • Ensure the impact and effectiveness of CPC education programs through careful and organized planning, development, and implementation of programs
  • Receive and provide feedback from/for all stakeholders (school staff, teaching artists, CPC leadership) and utilize to ensure successful program outcomes
  • Facilitate additional trainings, support, or presentation of our model 

Program Operations

  • Coordinate and implement in-school and after-school residencies, ensuring appropriate teaching artist placement and program support to school and teaching artist
  • Directly manage all sites (school residencies and pop up programs)
  • Manage and maintain annual calendar of residency needs: set up, contact, check-ins, site visits, event planning
  • Manage and maintain the annual calendar of teaching artist support needs: trainings, placements, evaluation, publishing and paperwork reminders and check-ins
  • Facilitate Pop Up Programs by managing and coordinating booking requests, creating program proposals, and booking teaching artists
  • Regularly travel to all residency school sites: for program set up and early meetings and for site visits and evaluations throughout the residency
  • Lead or co-lead annual teaching artist trainings
  • Facilitate the collection and tabulation of student assessments across residency programs
  • Manage school invoicing, scholarship allocations, timesheet collections, hours review for poets

Skills and Experience

  • Professional experience in program administration, ideally with a nonprofit 
  • Education experience and the capacity to provide supportive instructional feedback
  • Prior experience as a teaching artist and working with Chicago Public Schools is ideal
  • Exceptional relationship management and communication skills (written and oral)
  • Exceptional organization, time, and resource management skills
  • Excellent judgement and creative problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work well independently and collaboratively in a fast-paced setting in which priorities may shift
  • Able to participate in open communication to build community and support goals
  • High level of intercultural competence & applies cultural competencies to new builds and decisions
  • Able to thrive in a culture of professional development: gives and receives continuous constructive feedback, creates a culture of mutual support, demonstrates awareness of their own impact as a leader
  • Ability to travel to schools across Chicago–including many of which that are not directly off of a train line and may be at least one hour of public transit travel from the Loop–is a necessity (remote version: ability to be on the internet for video conferencing throughout the day)
  • An enthusiastic belief in CPC’s mission and excitement to support CPC education programs across Chicago
  • Proficiency and/or fluency in Spanish is ideal but not required 

Technical Proficiencies

  • Strong proficiency in the Google Suite: GMail, Calendar, Drive (Sheets, Docs, Slides & folder organization)
  • Strong proficiency in Microsoft Word
  • Proficiency in WordPress or comfort with blogging platforms is  ideal
  • Proficiency in QuickBooks/Intuit is a bonus
  • Proficiency in creative software (Adobe, Canva, iMovie) is a bonus

The ideal candidate has experience in education, is passionate about poetry, and highly organized. They wish to celebrate and center students through poetry and creative engagement. They are able to communicate effectively with program leadership, school teams, teaching artists, and students. They are flexible and able to be responsive to needs as they arise. The ideal candidate can work from home, sites, and our shared office space in the West Loop, and is willing to put in occasional weekend and evening hours for events, like our end of the year student reading. Primary hours can be flexibly scheduled throughout the week, and the candidate should anticipate the majority of their collaborative work time to occur during regular M-F, 9-5 business hours.


  • This is a part-time employee position that reports to the Executive Director
  • The salary for this position is $24K and anticipates half-time
  • The program administrator is encouraged to teach in the program while administrating, and as such, can create a situation in which they are working half-time as administrator, and half-time as an educator within the program
  • This position is anticipated to grow with programs and become full time, the ideal candidate will grow with this position


Applications accepted through: July 8, 2020

The Chicago Poetry Center is an equal opportunity employer. The Chicago Poetry Center is committed to building a culturally diverse and pluralistic team. We strongly encourage applicants from underrepresented communities in the education and nonprofit sectors to apply. 

To apply, please submit your letter of interest, resume, and list of four  professional references to programs@poetrycenter.org with subject line: Programs Manager Application: [your name] Your letter of interest should further elaborate on your resume or offer further information on why you are interested in and a strong candidate for this position. We encourage you to share volunteerism and unpaid efforts that are relevant to this work, in your application.

Please note that we are accepting applications between June 17 and July 8. We are out of office during much of this range and will reach out to all applicants upon review. We anticipate interviews and candidate selection during July 2020. 




“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.