Neil McChesney

Founder and Executive Director of the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts, Neil McChesney has a history of success in education and the charter school movement.  

With over 12 years of classroom teaching experience prior to moving into school leadership, Neil begin his career as a remedial writing instructor at California State University, Chico and then moved to the high school level, teaching classes including English, public speaking, leadership, and communications and media. 
Neil’s dedication to education reform has materialized in the world of charter schools.  He has led several successful petitions for conversion, start-up, and renewal charters; served as a charter school administrator as well as on charter school governing boards.  He has experience with nearly every aspect of school leadership including curriculum and instruction, operations, human resources, legal, collective bargaining, communications and public relations, professional development, strategic planning, fiscal management, political advocacy, and more.

Neil McChesney is a visionary leader who is dedicated to preparing students to become first class citizens with a world-class education.  Neil believes in the fundamental, three-pillar approach to school leadership of “Rigor, Relevance and Relationships,” coined by Dr. Willard Daggett.  Engaging students in rigorous learning, making instruction relevant to students’ lives and the real world, and fostering dynamic, personal relationships between teachers, students, and the larger school community will result in a powerful education for all learners.

Neil's experience and commitment to the success of charter schools led him to become one of the first members of the California Charter School Association's Capitol Advocacy Leaders, serving elected officials as a concierge liaison to the charter school world in order to support the legislative process. For the last two years, Neil has worked as an expert consultant for charter groups; helping with petition writing, advising on the political approval process, or evaluating and improving educational programs.

Passionate about education, with his knowledge and experience in the classroom, in administration, and as one of the leaders in the charter movement, Mr. McChesney will ensure SPA becomes a great school.