1The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Chicagoland’s independent conservatory prep school, is proud to announce that Mary Deissler will begin as its new president on February 17, 2015. Deissler joins The Academy with more than 30 years of experience in the arts and culture sector, most recently serving as Chief Advancement Officer at Artis—Naples, a visual and performing arts organization in Naples, Fla. that hosts more than 300 concerts, performances, exhibitions and educational events each year.

In her new role at The Academy, Deissler will focus her attention on fostering relationships with the Chicago arts community, achieving enrollment growth and raising funds to support The Academy’s groundbreaking programs, international partnerships and scholarships.

“From the moment I set foot into the Academy I felt incredible energy, enthusiasm and passion from the faculty, staff and most of all, the students,” says Deissler. “It’s a joyous, vibrant environment for young people to learn, and I am honored to join this wonderful community. I look forward to partnering with principal Jason Patera and the Board as we build on Pamela Jordan’s dedicated leadership. My goal is to make the Academy a national showcase for exceptional arts and academics under one roof.”

Deissler received her BA in German from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and an MBA from the Frank W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Her community activities include board membership of London’s Handel House Museum, as well as The Sixteen and San Francisco’s Chanticleer. She has chaired several national organizations including Chorus America, Early Music America and the American Composer’s Forum.

“Mary’s personality and insight created a ripple effect of excitement in the community from the first time she walked in the door,” says Chicago Academy for the Arts Principal Jason Patera. “That, coupled with her extraordinary leadership in her previous positions, gives us much confidence that she is the right “fit” for our community. Our program and culture are unique, and Mary is uniquely qualified to preserve the integrity of both while leading us into the future.”

Led by The Academy’s board of trustees, a search committee composed of trustees, alumni, current and alumni parents, faculty, staff and supporters along with executive recruiting firm H.C. Smith retained Deissler after an intensive national search. Deissler’s extensive history of fundraising and strategic thinking skills were some of the many traits that separated her from the other candidates.

“The Academy is indeed fortunate to have identified Mary Deissler as its new President,” says board of trustees chairman Richard Sanders. “We have worked hard in recent years to achieve recognition as a leader in arts education at the secondary level. Mary’s previous positions with other well-known arts organizations in this country and abroad will allow her to communicate our achievements with incite and passion and advance the Academy’s mission into the future. In her new role, she is well qualified to create and expand Academy relationships with leading arts, education and civic organizations in Chicago, nationally and around the world.”

“The Chicago Academy for the Arts is an important member of the Harris Theater’s resident partners and one of the top pre-professional programs in the country,” says Michael Tiknis, president and managing director of the Harris Theater. “We are always delighted to have their extraordinary young artists perform on the Harris stage. I look forward to welcoming new Academy President, Mary Deissler to Chicago and its vibrant arts community. She has the fortune to continue in a line of strong leadership at The Academy which has already set new standards for excellence in arts education and in nurturing Chicago’s next generation of artists.”

About The Chicago Academy for the Arts

Founded in 1981, The Academy is Chicagoland’s independent conservatory prep school. As a community, the school encourages its scholar-artists as they pursue their dreams, while gaining the confidence, discipline, insight and agility to someday pursue any dream for life. As artists, they independently set goals and take risks, but are also encouraged by their peers, knowing that collective success challenges each student to elevate his or her level of achievement.

The Academy has identified three goals in its Vision 2020 statement:

  • Setting new standards in arts education and promoting the arts as integral to life;
  • Developing individuals – through its core values, traditions, students, faculty and facilities – who are sought-after artists, thinkers and leaders;
  • Serving the region as a major arts and educational resource and partner to colleges, arts organizations, local communities, businesses and individuals

This educational environment provides the foundation for The Academy’s students to make passionate contributions to the world as artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, community leaders – whatever they can imagine, and whatever their dreams become.

For more information about The Academy, visit .