Chief Program Officer

The Opportunity

Little Kids Rock is a non-profit, for impact organization that transforms lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in our schools. Their network of thousands of K-12 teachers across 48 states leads a national movement that brings innovative and inclusive music education to students.

Using genres including rock, pop, Latin, and rap, their program empowers teachers to build music programs as diverse as the kids they serve. As a result, students see themselves reflected in their classes, which strengthens their connection to their school, their peers, and their community. Little Kids Rock also donates necessary instruments and curriculum, meeting a key need of many school music programs. The world of music expands through innovation, Little Kids Rock ensures that music education does as well.

Little Kids Rock (LKR) is now seeking a Chief Program Officer (CPO) to join the team during an exciting time of growth. The Chief Program Officer (CPO) will be the primary outward facing program leader of this educational movement, helping to create demand in education for our unique pedagogy and professional development, overseeing the development of resources to support our program service offerings and the needs of the youth and instructors we serve, and optimizing processes and technology for disseminating them.

The ideal candidate is a skilled programmatic leader and innovator who has experience developing, implementing, and scaling high impact programs for youth either within or outside of K-12 educational settings. They will be passionate about access to music education and excited about the opportunity to work with the Little Kids Rock team to expand our programming and reach.

As a key member of Leadership, the CPO will report to the Chief Executive Officer and manage a department of 12.

The CPO’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Lead and build the program department, ensuring a clear and compelling vision as well as a strategic plan for implementation and measurement.
  • Serve as a core member of the organization’s executive leadership body, participating in the high-level collaboration and decision-making that impacts the organization and providing internal and external leadership.
  • Directly manage the Senior Director of Program Operations and the Director of Teaching and Learning, and provide overall supervision to a department of 12.
  • Oversee and supervise all LKR programmatic activity to ensure its successful implementation, including training and professional development, curriculum, evaluation, higher education initiatives, strategic program partnerships and all services to the growing network of LKR-trained and supported music teachers around the US.
  • Provide guidance for the department that propels LKR’s organizational strategy and corresponding operating plan, focusing on effective scaling of highly impactful unique programming with in-person and online resources.
  • Partner with the organization’s Chief Development Officer to create, evolve and implement cohesive, comprehensive, aligned and highly impactful music education investment plans in school districts and states around the US, and work together to develop and seek out partnership opportunities that support program activities.
  • Partner with the organization’s Chief Financial Officer to develop, monitor and manage the budget for all program activity.
  • Ensure the organization is using evaluation and data-driven decision-making to effectively and continuously improve programs and communicate program effectiveness to appropriate stakeholders, including communicating directly with the organization’s National Board of Directors.
  • Continuously review and expand program resources for students and their service providers (including all curricular resources) and other program partners, ensuring the effective use of technology to deliver programming and enhance all aspects of the work.
  • Monitor program compliance with all applicable guidelines, including state and district regulations and grant/funder commitments.
  • In coordination with other program leaders and the Director of Technology, research best practices in the field and oversee program-related systems and integration with other cloud-based software to strengthen the quality and consistency of program delivery and to ensure that LKR’s educator community members are fully benefiting from our services.
  • Serve as a public leader for LKR’s programs and be available to address any stakeholder concerns; may include travel and representing LKR at conferences and related industry events.

Candidate Profile

Strong candidates will offer demonstrated experience developing, leading and growing innovative, high impact programs for youth. An understanding of the public education landscape is preferred but any candidate with a demonstrated background in large-scale, youth oriented programming will be considered. The successful candidate will bring creative ideas for how to position LKR for growth. They will also be strong leaders and managers capable of overseeing high performing staff and contributing to the overall success of the organization as a member of executive leadership. They will bring a diverse set of skills, characteristics, and experiences, both professional and lived.

Little Kids Rock and Koya strive to mitigate inherent biases that influence hiring practices by focusing on a holistic view of potential candidates and understanding that no single candidate will offer every desired skill and characteristic.

The following offers an aspirational view of the ideal candidate profile; we encourage applications from candidates with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, especially those from underrepresented groups.

  • A believer in Little Kids Rock’s teaching philosophy and our approach to music education, and a passion for democratizing education for marginalized youth.
  • Demonstrated experience driving change as well as leading and implementing strategic goals and projects for an organization.
  • A skilled manager of people and projects with exceptional interpersonal and communications skills that enable effective collaboration up, down, and across the organization, experience managing remotely a plus.
  • A strategic big-picture thinker dedicated to achieving outcomes through sustainable, quality programs.
  • Experience leveraging technology to effectively reach target audiences and seamlessly deliver high-impact programming.
  • An understanding of public school systems and/or other complex, youth-serving systems is ideal, other transferrable experiences will be considered. The key is experience growing and scaling direct service program models and getting buy-in on these programs to private and public stakeholders.
  • Strong data skills as related to program operations and evaluation.
  • A proven, entrepreneurial leader who inspires action, motivates staff, and rallies stakeholders and external audiences toward making changes we wish to see in the world.
  • A true “owner” of program impact, holding themselves personally accountable for achieving the organization’s programmatic goals.
  • A deep and genuine connection to music, as an avid appreciator or music maker, with, ideally, a strong connection to modern/contemporary music.
  • Adaptable, flexible, great at problem-solving, poised under pressure and a strong. reputation as a great collaborator.
  • High energy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude.
  • Self-aware and skilled at building and maintaining professional relationships.

Compensation & Benefits

The base salary range for this role is $160,000-$180,000. Little Kids Rock is committed to its team and strives to offer employees a competitive compensation package that reflects the organization’s values, culture, and mission. Salary is in accordance with Little Kids Rock’s competitive compensation and career path plan, and the organization’s array of benefits include medical coverage (health, dental, vision) with significant employer contributions, short and long-term disability, life insurance, matching 403(b) plan and pre-tax spending accounts (FSA, commuter). Perks include generous discretionary time off policy, flexible work arrangements and professional development.

This position is based remotely until the organization returns to an office environment, likely in Northern New Jersey. While it is preferred that candidates be located within regular commuting distance, remote candidates will be considered. Once the organization determines it is safe to travel, occasional travel will be required, including travel at least once per year to organization events.


Molly Brennan and Amber Brown of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials via Koya’s online portal here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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About Little Kids Rock

Since 2002, the organization has reached more than 1,000,000 students with highly inclusive and culturally relevant music education. Today, more than 550,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs.

This school year, Little Kids Rock is launching a new strategic plan (5 year) and operational plan (2 year) to help facilitate their ambitious goals, including preparing for a service model that is transforming from a legacy brick and mortar operation to a blended model that leverages technology to efficiently and effectively reach students and teachers in-person and remotely.

Working at Little Kids Rock – Workplace Values

  1. We are committed to kids and teachers and passionate about the power of music to impact their lives.
  2. We are one team, with one mission, and one groove, and together we make good things happen.
  3. We are creative, entrepreneurial, positive and playful.
  4. We are inspirational.
  5. We are accountable.
  6. We are respectful.
  7. We support personal and professional growth.
  8. We work to lead the field – thoughtfully, strategically and with urgency.

The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2016 made music education a core subject for the first time in our nation’s history. However, music education cannot change the lives of the children it does not reach. A variety of systemic issues currently prevent millions of school age children from accessing or participating in music education. Many children from traditionally marginalized communities remain outside the reach of traditional music education and many millions more opt out due to a lack of cultural resonance or relevance of existing music education offerings.

Little Kids Rock has pioneered a revolutionary teaching philosophy that posits the following:

  • All human beings are musical by nature.
  • There are as many ways of being musical as there are of being human.
  • Skilled musical instructors draw the music out of their students, they don’t “drum it in.”
  • The musical, cultural and artistic preferences of students is the foundation upon which to build their music education. In this way, music comes TO the music class as much as it comes FROM music class.
  • Music serves people, people do not serve music. Music education serves the learner, the learner does not serve the music education.
  • Intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation.
  • Music is a core part of humanity’s ability to express and elevate itself first, and it is an academic pursuit second.
  • Music can be acquired like a language (through organic use in a cultural context) or as math, or both. Forcing the primacy of one of these will alienate and leave behind a significant number or learners.
  • Music education is a tool for social, emotional, and societal well-being.

Little Kids Rock believes that by democratizing US music education, we help support the American experiment in representative democracy. Since our humble origins as a grassroots organization in a single school, Little Kids Rock has catapulted onto the national stage as a leader of a national movement to expand what music education is and what it can do for those who partake in it.

Little Kids Rock is committed to recruiting and maintaining a diverse staff; individuals from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. We promote equity, diversity and inclusion in order to create a healthy and safe workspace as we work together to foster success for future generations. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, parenthood, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

For more information on Little Kids Rock, please visit

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