This February, Mary Deissler began a new appointment as president of Chicago Academy for the Arts, an independent conservatory prep school serving the Chicagoland area. Deissler brings 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 institution, Deissler will focus her attention on fostering relationships with the Chicago arts community, achieving enrollment growth and raising funds to support the school’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. 

Founded in 1981, Chicago Academy for the Arts 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; and serving the region as a major arts and educational resource and partner to colleges, arts organizations, local communities, businesses and individuals.

​To learn more about the Chicago Academy for the Arts programming, visit
This February, veteran arts administrator Mary Deissler began her appointment as president of Chicago Academy for the Arts, an independent conservatory prep school serving Chicago area students (photo courtesy of Chicago Academy for the Arts).

Mary Deissler Begins Tenure as President of Chicago Academy for The Arts