InsideOut Literary Arts

Program Director

Position: Program Director

Direct Manager: Executive Director

Status & Location: Full-time, 40 hours/week, exempt


About InsideOut

Since 1995, InsideOut Literary Arts has helped over 60,000 of Detroit’s youth build their literary and academic skills through creative writing.

Widely recognized as one of the nation’s premiere writers-in-the-schools programs, InsideOut has earned many accolades, from a feature on PBS NewsHour to a performance on the stage of the Kennedy Center. In recognition of our ability to foster and empower authentic youth voice, the White House awarded InsideOut the highest honor in after-school youth arts programming, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, presented by Michelle Obama in 2009.

InsideOut’s primary goal – to transform lives through the written and spoken word – began with our founder, Dr. Terry Blackhawk, a Detroit Public Schools teacher. As Detroit’s largest and oldest literary non-profit, InsideOut now serves more than 100 classrooms and community sites annually. Our professional writers continue to help students experiment with words and learn that each unique voice matters –  that there is power in “bringing the inside out.”


Why We Need You

We are seeking an inspiring Program Director to lead the strategic direction of our in school, afterschool, and community programming. The Program Director will have demonstrated success in team management, program oversight, and relationship building.

In the last two years, InsideOut has expanded into new schools, districts, and community sites. The Program Director position will significantly increase organizational capacity to maintain and grow high-quality programming. The Program Director will join the Executive Director and Director of School & Community Partnerships to form a senior leadership team that will work collaboratively to build relationships with key partners and funders.

The Program Director will provide visionary leadership to ensure that all InsideOut programs, while each distinct, form a unified, well-integrated and coherent whole. The Program Director will supervise program staff, providing strong leadership, management, and coaching to support the program team’s overall effectiveness and professional growth. The Program Director will oversee evaluation efforts and utilize data to inform program design, ensuring all programming aligns with mission and meets quality standards. Candidates should have at least 3 years experience in youth programming, as well as demonstrated success managing a team, that would allow them to hit the ground running.


Job Responsibilities Include

1. Oversee all InsideOut Programming, maintaining high quality of current program delivery and developing new programs as needed. (40%)

  1. With Executive Director, create strategic vision/direction for all InsideOut programming.
  2. Ensure programs align with organizational mission, are appropriately staffed, and meet standards for quality.
  3. Collaborate with Director of School & Community Partnerships to ensure the satisfaction of new and existing partners and oversee the successful delivery of programs.
  4. Supervise and support the In School Program Team to execute and enhance school programming, ensuring strong working relationships with principals, teachers, district personnel and charter administration.
  5. Supervise and support the Out of School Program Team to execute and enhance Citywide Poets and community programming (such as Louder Than A Bomb Festival), ensuring strong working relationships with school and community sites and partner organizations.
  6. Supervise implementation and coordination of special projects, such as funder-supported programs and/or partnership projects. 

  7. Evaluate programs on a regular basis to determine opportunities for growth, as well as program areas to revise or remove. 


2. Lead program team, including program staff and teaching artists, to ensure a high level of professionalism, accountability and capacity. (20%)

  1. Ensure all program staff, including teaching artists, receive proper orientation/onboarding, clear expectations, and ongoing guidance, coaching and feedback.
  2. Establish and implement a performance management process for all program staff, including regular weekly meetings. Supervise and evaluate program staff, performing quarterly reviews and check-ins when appropriate. 

  3. Oversee professional development and training opportunities for staff and teaching artists, maintaining commitment to quality and supporting professional growth.
  4. With Operations Coordinator and program staff, oversee recruitment, interviewing, and hiring of teaching artists.
  5. Apply Human Resources policies, procedures and practices of the organization consistently for all direct reports.


3. Lead evaluation efforts, ensuring data informs program design, standard of quality and continuous improvement. (15%)

  1. In collaboration with Grants & Evaluation Coordinator and program staff, develop evaluation framework to assess program impact and identify aspects to be improved.
  2. Supervise Grants & Evaluation Coordinator in the creation and implementation of student pre- and post-assessments, parent and 
teacher surveys, and other tools for evaluation.
  3. Supervise systems for program data collection management, including obtaining data from school partners when possible.
  4. Establish systems to track progress, monitoring program activities against performance benchmarks on a regular basis.
  5. Oversee the reporting of evaluation results to board, funders, donors, partners and other constituents.


4. Oversee program grant applications, implementation, and reports, and manage grant budget tracking. (15%)

  1. With Grants & Evaluation Coordinator, identify grant opportunities that align with program goals, and define outcomes that can be successfully measured.
  2. Co-Lead the preparation of program grant narratives and reports with program staff.
  3. Ensure program staff execute tasks outlined in grant proposals and implementation meetings. 
  4. In collaboration with the Executive Director, lead the creation of program grant budgets. 
  5. Support staff in developing and tracking program budgets based on allocated resources.
  6. Ensure grant reports accurately represent the work accomplished. 

5. As member of senior leadership team, represent InsideOut externally with key stakeholders (funders, partners, donors, etc.) as necessary. (10%)

  1. In collaboration with Director of School & Community Partnerships, develop and support strong working partnerships with teachers, principals, key administrators and district contacts, across multiple districts and charters.
  2. Develop strong relationships with local (and national) youth-serving communities.
  3. Research best practices in creative youth development and implement/enhance practices to ensure high-quality across all programs. 
  4. In collaboration with Executive Director, build and maintain relationships with donors and funders for ongoing cultivation and stewardship purposes.


What We’re Looking For In A Candidate


  • 3+ years of experience in a youth programming or related setting
  • Demonstrated success as a team manager
  • Knowledge of program design, implementation and evaluation
  • Demonstrated success in building and maintaining relationships
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Persistence and strong follow through skills when working with all stakeholders
  • Ability to manage various timelines and multitask effectively
  • Flexibility and positivity when working in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office and Google Suites



  • Familiarity with best practices in the field of creative youth development
  • Experience with the literary arts
  • Familiarity with the Metro Detroit youth program landscape 

Salary: $55,000 - $65,000 commensurate with experience. Benefits include generous paid time off, health insurance, and a 401(k).

To apply for this position, email resume and letter of interest that conveys your youth program and management experience to: hiring[at]insideoutdetroit[dot]org with the subject line “Program Director - [LAST NAME]” by March 15, 2020. The position will remain open until filled. Finalist candidates will be contacted for an interview. No calls, please.

InsideOut Literary Arts is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

 We value diversity in our team and welcome applications from nontraditional candidates.


Contact Information

Lia Greenwell, Operations Coordinator
5201 Cass Ave.
Prentis Hall, 3rd Floor
Contact Phone: 
(313) 577-4601
Contact e-mail: