A New Adventure for Executive Director Una McAlinden

Una_headshotSEATTLE –ArtsEd Washington Executive Director Una McAlinden announced her resignation today in order to pursue new opportunities and develop a consulting practice. She will remain at ArtsEd Washington until the end of October to support the organization through this transition. “My ten years at ArtsEd Washington have been extremely fulfilling and always challenging. Building this organization from the ground up tested me in ways I never expected,” McAlinden shared. “I have learned and grown enormously in this field that was fairly new to me a decade ago, and I am excited about continuing this journey in a new role where I can continue to make an impact in Washington and beyond.” During McAlinden’s tenure, ArtsEd Washington has become a nationally recognized leader in arts education developing innovative programs and approaches, focusing strategically on school and district leadership to catalyze sustainable change in the provision of arts learning to students in Washington State. Since 2004, the operating budget has grown from $12,000 to almost $500,000 and has also steadily built a robust fund balance. McAlinden leaves the organization in a strong financial position with exciting programs and an effective staff in place. “From the time Una joined ArtsEd Washington, she realized that effective advocacy must address leadership at all levels and offer a flexible menu of real solutions,” said Charlie Rathbun of 4Culture, a long-time partner and funder of ArtsEd Washington, “She leaves behind a remarkable legacy of accomplishment and a strong organization and team committed to continuing advocacy and action for positive education reform.” Having developed a strategic framework dubbed “the three Ps,” which centers on work in the arenas of Policy, Practice (programs in schools), and Public Participation, McAlinden has positioned ArtsEd Washington to continue its role as a powerful force for the enduring system-wide change that will ensure that all Washington students receive the arts education that they deserve. On the timing of her departure, McAlinden offered, “It’s always difficult to make a decision like this, however reaching my ten-year mark caused me to reflect on what’s ahead, both for me and for ArtsEd Washington. I feel extremely proud of all I’ve accomplished, and confident that the organization is well prepared for this transition, with the staff, infrastructure, programs, and resources necessary to take it successfully into the future.” Under McAlinden’s leadership, ArtsEd Washington created a completely new approach to restoring arts education in schools, the Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program, which is now in use as part of the Creative Advantage, directly benefiting all 50,000-plus Seattle Public School students over the next few years. During its ten years of direct provision of PAL, ArtsEd Washington impacted over 50 schools, serving over 24,000 students. During the past year, the PAL program was retooled into a district-level model that ArtsEd Washington will be able to replicate statewide (and even nationally) in the future. McAlinden has developed other systemwide programs including the Art Lessons in the Classroom curriculum, initiated during her time as a City of Redmond Arts Commissioner and further developed and expanded within the infrastructure of ArtsEd Washington. With Common Core alignment recently completed, this program is also poised to serve as a statewide and national resource. ArtsEd Washington has undertaken equally important work in policy and public participation during McAlinden’s tenure. Through programs like smARTS, an information and advocacy guide and outreach program, and the School Board Candidate Survey on Arts Education (which reached more than half the counties in Washington in its first year), the organization has helped bring other advocates together so that arts education has the most powerful voice possible to bring about lasting improvements in the education system. Earlier this year, McAlinden was instrumental in creating CounterpARTS in Education: The Andrea Allen Memorial Lecture Series to honor Allen’s legacy as longtime ArtsEd Washington board president and arts education advocate. The annual forum is designed to explore issues, research, and trends impacting the worlds of arts and education. In addition to her role at ArtsEd Washington, McAlinden has served ex officio on the Board of Washington State Arts Alliance and as an ex officio member of the Executive Committee for Cultural Access Washington. In 2009, McAlinden was honored with two state leadership awards in recognition of her efforts to advance K-12 arts education in Washington State: the Washington Art Educator Association (WAEA) Tribute Award and the North Kitsap School District award for The Advancement of Arts Education in Washington State. During her time at ArtsEd Washington, she served a three year term on the Network Leadership Committee for the KCAAEN (Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network), and co-chaired their Advocacy Committee. “I can’t thank Una enough for her time and commitment to this organization and the students of our state,” commented Todd Langton, ArtsEd Washington Board President. “I cannot adequately express my gratitude for her leadership. We wish her much continued success in her next endeavors.” The Board of Directors will now undertake a search for ArtsEd Washington’s next Executive Director.   About ArtsEd Washington ArtsEd Washington is the only statewide nonprofit working to create enduring system-wide change to ensure that the arts – which include dance, music, theatre, and visual art – play an integral role in the education of every child in every school. Through policy, public participation, and programs for schools, we build essential public support for arts learning and empower schools to provide high-quality arts education. ArtsEd Washington is a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network. Click here for the PDF version

This was posted in the category ArtsEd WA News, News, Press Releases.