Head of School
Jason Patera has been part of the Academy community for nearly 20 years, serving as a faculty member, Chair of the Music Department, Assistant Head of School, Principal, and now Head of School.
Director of Enrollment Management
Kitsana Salyphone brings over 15 years of independent school experience, including teaching, admission, diversity, communications, advancement and marketing.
Dean of Students and Student Services Coordinator
Elizabeth Cunningham is the Dean of Students as well as the Student Services Coordinator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and a Master of Education in Special Education at Loyola University.
Sarah Langford was a high school teacher for fifteen years and is now College Counselor at The Academy. Sarah attended the University of Missouri and holds a Master of Education from The University of Illinois (Chicago).
Chris Arnold has been involved in arts education for 14 years. His career started at The Chicago Academy for the Arts as Chair of the Theatre Department, as well as teaching English.
He just completed five years teaching Speech & Drama Teacher at Deerpath Middle School in Lake Forest, IL.
Director of Finance & Operations
Jon brings to The Academy 15 years experience in arts administration. Prior to The Academy, Jon was the Managing Director of Next Theatre, and has served with Chicago Children’s Theatre, Circle Theatre and Chicago Public Art Group.
Director of Development
Elizabeth Vivas joined The Academy in October 2018 as the Director of Development. Elizabeth brings 10 years of experience in education and fundraising. She is passionate about education equity and how art can unite a community and help people find their voice.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Tim joined the Academy in early 2016 after previously working in film and live music marketing.
Mental Health Counselor
Dinah Hudson is a recent graduate from Adler University with a MA degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She holds many titles including counselor, mentor, and activist.
Registrar & Database Manager
Kimberly began working part-time as The Academy’s Registrar in 2009, simultaneously teaching English as a Second Language at City Colleges of Chicago.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Prior to assuming the role of Director of Strategic Initiatives, Joseph (Joe) Hulbert worked as Director of Partnerships at The Academy since the fall of 2014. Joe has over a decade of experience working at the intersection of education and community arts through his work at both The Academy and the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP), at Columbia College Chicago.
Mary Caraway is originally from San Antonio, Texas but moved to Chicago in 1969. She worked for a men's clothing company for 37 years, and volunteered for the community group Forever Free. She joined The Academy in 2012.
Robert joined The Academy in 2014. Prior to taking the role of Facilities Manager, he worked as a baker at the Archdiocese of Chicago for 27 years.
Henry Feliciano has over 30 years of experience in facilities, most notably with Verizon. Henry joined The Academy in 2014.
Van Jackson is originally from Mississippi. He graduated from Chicago State University before working at Standard Oil and US Steel. He joined The Academy in 2013.