Jason Patera Head of School - April 22, 2016


CHICAGO – The Board of Trustees of The Chicago Academy for the Arts has named Academy Principal Jason Patera Head of School, effective May 31, 2016. Mary Deissler, President from January 2015 to present has accepted the position of President and CEO of the Charlotte (NC) Symphony Orchestra.

“With Jason’s appointment, we view the future of The Academy with high optimism. We feel blessed to have had the privilege of Mary’s leadership, and look forward to Jason’s tenure as Head of School, as committed as ever to academic and artistic excellence,” said Chairman of the Board of Trustees Sandy Williams.

Mary Deissler brought ambitious ideas and creative solutions to The Academy in her 18-month tenure as President. Quickly immersing herself within the Academy culture of artistic expression and distinction, Ms. Deissler prioritized the communication of these values as a cohesive school brand and collective identity. Furthermore, she simultaneously excelled at strengthening the school’s internal foundation and its presence within the external community and with strategic partners. Her contributions to the long-term growth and exposure of the Chicago Academy for the Arts are diverse and abundant.

Current Principal Jason Patera will assume the position of Head of School. Mr. Patera has been a singular presence within The Academy for his entire professional career, and is one of its most visible and ardent leaders and advocates. His dedicated relationship with students, faculty, and trustees gives him unique and valuable insight as Head of School.

“It is an incredible honor and a privilege to be appointed as The Academy’s Head of School. I have been a part of this extraordinary community for more than two decades, and every single day I am inspired by the work of our faculty, staff, and—most importantly—our students. It’s truly a luxury to be surrounded by people so deeply invested in a common mission,” said Mr. Patera.

A jazz pianist and drummer, Mr. Patera is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for excellence in teaching. He began teaching at The Academy in 1998 and was named head of the school’s Music Department in 2002 prior to joining the administration in 2009.

About the Chicago Academy for the Arts

Established in 1981, the Chicago Academy for the Arts is a nationally recognized, internationally influential independent high school acclaimed for its successful academic model and pre-professional arts training. Designated a National School of Distinction by the John F. Kennedy Center, The Academy offers a rich, interwoven, and stimulating curriculum comprised of rigorous courses, workshops, and practicums that encourage complex creation and problem solving through both collaboration and self-motivated learning. Students undertake a rigorous academic high school schedule as well as first-class artistic training in one of six courses of study: Dance, Media Arts, Music, Musical Theatre, Theatre, and Visual Arts. The Chicago Academy for the Arts transforms emerging artists through a curriculum and culture which connect intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and creativity to impart skills to lead and collaborate across diverse communities. For more information about The Academy, visit www.chicagoacademyforthearts.org.