The Contra Costa School of Performing Arts’ mission is to provide a distinguished, pre-professional performing arts experience within a college and career preparatory setting. With the core principles of rigor, importance, durability and partnerships, we believe in cultivating a community of excellence.

In order to promote student learning, achievement, and college and career preparation, SPA will provide quality instruction based on real-world connections and an engaging, coherent and comprehensive arts-integrated curriculum in each classroom.

A personalized approach to teaching and learning will be implemented and practiced by SPA, using the most creative and transformative educational technology resources to individualize learning for all students.

The SPA will be a beacon of artistic excellence, attracting diverse and inspired student talent and enriching the region’s cultural and civic life.

Through a rigorous character education curriculum based on the guiding principles of first-class citizenship, SPA will promote an improved sense of civic responsibility;

A positive, professional and effective educational team will be employed by SPA that will embrace a philosophy of teamwork, creativity, evolution and the first decision-making of students.

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

Before moving into school leadership, Neil started his career as a remedial writing teacher at California State University, Chico, with over 12 years of classroom teaching experience, and then transferred to high school, teaching classes including English, public speaking, leadership, and communications and media.

In the world of charter schools, Neil’s commitment to education reform has materialized. He has led many successful conversion, start-up, and renewal charter petitions; serving as a charter school administrator as well as on boards of directors of charter schools. He has expertise in almost every area of school administration, including curriculum and training, programs, human resources, legal, collective bargaining, marketing and public relations, professional development, strategic planning, budget management, political activism, and more.

Neil McChesney is a visionary leader committed to preparing students with a world-class education to become first-class citizens. Neil believes in the foundational, three-pillar “Rigor, Relevance and Relationships” approach to school leadership, invented by Dr. Willard Daggett. A good education for all learners would be the product of engaging students in intensive learning, making teaching important to the lives of students and the real world, and cultivating complex, intimate relationships between teachers, students, and the wider school community.

The experience and commitment of Neil to the success of charter schools led him to become one of the first members of the Capitol Advocacy Leaders of the California Charter School Association, acting as a concierge liaison to the world of charter schools in order to facilitate the legislative process. Neil has served as an expert consultant with charter organizations for the past two years, assisting with petition writing, consulting on the process of political acceptance, or reviewing and developing educational initiatives.

Passionate about education, Mr. McChesney will ensure that SPA becomes a better school with his expertise and experience in the classroom, in administration, and as one of the pioneers in the charter movement.

This amazing school is located near the following schools in Walnut Creek, California:

  • Las Lomas High School
  • Northgate High School
  • Acalanes Center For Independent Study
  • Tice Creek
  • Foothill Middle School
  • Walnut Creek Intermediate School
  • Eagle Peak Montessori School
  • Valle Verde Elementary School

All of these wonderful schools are located just a short distance from our location on Boulevard Circle in historic Walnut Creek, California.