Founded in 1981, the Cleveland School of the Arts is an extraordinary arts high school that evolved from a passionate idea to become a vigorous arts education model.  Since 1982, a dedicated Board of Trustees (formerly known as Friends of CSA) has supported the specific needs of quality arts education across eight vibrant art majors.

    The Trustees believe in the arts education model of CSA.  As an independent 501(c)(3), the nonprofit functions with a small on-site Office of Philanthropy at the center of efforts:

    • Build resources:  From philanthropic support (Annual Fund, corporate sponsorships, foundation, and government grants) to in-kind donations (pianos, art supplies, choir robes, books, and more), the aim is to fill the persistent gap between per-pupil district funding and the expenses of top-notch arts education.

    • Nurture partnerships:  More than 30 arts and education partners provide resources, from private lessons to performance stages.  Long-standing partners through changing economic and educational climates include the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Cleveland Orchestra.  New partners to deepen student experiences include the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, Glass Bubble Project, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Cleveland).

    • Advocate for arts education:  Trustees recognize CSA’s potential in the region, and they are part of local conversations and initiatives.  They support the work of the district and lead foundations to advance educational opportunities for Cleveland students.

We sincerely thank the community for their generous support.  All are welcome to call, email, visit for a tour, and join us for remarkable performances!

Board Roster

  • Officers:


    Felton Thomas

    CEO & Executive Director

    Cleveland Public Library




    David LaRue



    Chair, Governance Committee

    Immediate Past President

    Richard Ortmeyer


    Botwick Design Partnership

    Chair, Development Committee

    Jill Synder



    Jeffery Allen

    Executive Director

    CMSD Fine Arts

    Dan Carter


    Jones Day

    Joan Katz Napoli

    Vice President of Education and Community Programs

    The Cleveland Orchestra


    Joy Roller

    Producer and Fundraising Strategist


    Tony Sias

    President & CEO

    Karamu House

    Audra M. Woods

    Educator & Union Chapter Chair

    Cleveland School of the Arts


    Thomas F. Zych


    Thompson Hine LLP




    Ricardo Franklin, Sr., Head of School
    Kate Duke, Development Director

    Office of Philanthropy

    Kate Duke, Development Director, Kate@ClevelandSchooloftheArts.org, 216.838.9106
    Ruby Watkins, Operations Manager, Ruby@ClevelandSchooloftheArts.org, 216.838.9025