Chief Program Officer/Chief Academic Officer
Dubbed by Quincy Jones as “a beloved brother who is inspiring children to fulfill their dreams,” Steve Venz has been transforming public education through the arts in Los Angeles and Orange County for over 20 years. Starting in 2002 as the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) music administrator, he led the development and implementation of a district-wide plan to address the lack of student access to music education throughout the city. Within 6 years, enrollment in middle and high school music classes increased from 31,636 to 50,966 students, staffing increased 55% from 302 to 469 music teachers, and partnerships with corporate and nonprofit organizations tripled in size. Steve became the founding principal of the award-winning Quincy Jones Elementary School in 2010, a new LAUSD jazz and arts-focused Title I school in Historic South Central Los Angeles. As recognized by leaders in education, the school substantially increased student academic achievement, along with one of the highest student attendance and parent participation rates in Los Angeles. He was recognized by United Teachers of Los Angeles as one of the top twenty principals in LAUSD. In 2014, Steve was appointed Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, serving 500,000 K-12th grade students in 27 school districts in Orange County, California. Over three years, arts education increased throughout the county by 32% with the launching of new initiatives that focused on advocacy efforts to increase arts and STEAM instruction, particularly for Title I students, English Learners, and students with diverse abilities. Staying connected to his roots in music during his off-hours, Steve continues to perform and record as a bassist with artists.