Nicole Upton (she/her)
As Executive Director of Ingenuity, Nicole is responsible for driving the strategic and operational progress toward Ingenuity’s mission of ensuring every CPS student has access to a high quality arts education. Nicole has been with Ingenuity since 2015, first as Director of Partnerships and Professional Learning, and then as Managing Director, prior to becoming Executive Director in February 2022.
Nicole joined Ingenuity from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Department of Arts Education where she oversaw projects, programs, and initiatives for CPS students, teachers, principals, and school community stakeholders. Her focus areas included curriculum, instruction and assessment, professional development, partnership, strategic planning for the arts, and the CPS Arts Education Plan. She works with both CPS and Chicago’s arts and cultural community to build capacity, strengthen leadership and create collaboration and knowledge sharing within and among organizations with the goals of bolstering existing arts programs and reducing arts deserts across CPS.
Prior to working at CPS, Nicole served as the Senior Director of Education at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University where she launched ArtsXChange, a collaborative professional development program for classroom teachers and directed Hands Together, Heart to Art, an arts-based summer camp for children who have experienced the death of a parent. She has also worked as a director and stage manager, and as a high school theatre teacher.
Nicole holds a BA in Comprehensive Theatre Studies from Northern Illinois University and a MA in Educational Theatre from New York University.
Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way.""—Twyla Tharp