Charles Chip Mc Neal, M.Ed., Ph.D.c

Welcome to my website! I am a distinguished, award-winning educator, policy adviser, change-leader, diversity expert, dance educator, lecturer, moderator, administrator adjudicator, actor, director, civic leader, and arts & technology visionary. I conduct various artist/educator professional trainings in tandem with creating & evaluating arts, education and community programs throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Based in Oakland, California, I am available for hire to a wide array of non-profit and government agencies to develop personalized professional development training and strategies in many areas of arts, education and team-building, including; strategic planning, presenting, keynotes, teaching, facilitating, moderating, adjudicating, and assessment. My pioneering work in establishing cross-sector partnerships and building creative collaborations and culturally-informed spaces is detailed here.

I am currently the first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity and Community for San Francisco Opera, where I write curriculum, research, and lead a distinguished team of professionals that advise SF Opera on all diversity and equity initiatives. In this challenging role, we seek to create an opera world that is more diverse and inclusive both on the stage and behind the scenes. Because of this work, I bring a dedication and intentionality to create racial equity in the arts as I strive to create a more socially just world through the lens and the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Reporting to the Managing Director of Philanthropy and Audiences, I seek to embody a bold new vision for the arts and culture sector. Working in conjunction with General Director Matthew Shilvock, we seek to forge a strategic pathway for the San Francisco Opera to cultivate a company focused on diversity, equity and inclusive excellence – one that spotlights tangible efforts to recruit and retain artists, craftspeople, and staff who are Black and of color, as well as from other diverse backgrounds; to advance a culture and climate that celebrates access and equity for all. As the lead equity officer, I work to actively address immediate anti-racist training for all, including the Board of Directors, executive leadership, and staff; and to aggressively work with the General Director and senior leadership to develop an infrastructure and best practices across the institution.

As a social justice and equity expert, I advice organizations, universities, and governments on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. I activate as a creative, thoughtful thinker and role model for inclusive excellence, with knowledge of innovative emerging practices within the arts and education sectors and demonstrable success in leading meaningful and accountable organizational change. As diversity lead, I harness nuanced and matured emotional and social intelligence capabilities as well as cultural competence and advanced communication skills –nurturing cooperative relationships and fostering courageous conversations to unify the community around an enduring strategic vision for the dignity of all. I use authentic data and research to create measurable goals and accountability markers.

I served as a designated “Professional Expert” at the Alameda County Office of Education for over ten years, where I worked as senior faculty adviser for the Integrated Learning Specialist Program, a professional development program consisting of a network of graduate coursework. In this role I have taught hundreds of teachers, administrators, and teaching artists throughout the nine Bay Area counties and beyond. This landmark pedagogy has become a foundation for creating anti-racist curriculum, as well as culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy that benefits everyone.

I serve on the Leadership Council and Co-Chair the Equity Committee for statewide arts advocacy organization, Create California. Create CA is a coalition of dedicated and innovative leaders who understand that together we have the power to create lasting change for every California student. Our mission is to ensure ALL students are able to reach their full potential by advancing an education model that promotes creativity and the arts for the workforce of tomorrow. Creativity is not optional!

I hold two undergraduate Degrees – Psychology and Sociology. I earned my Masters Degree from Boston’s Lesley University – Graduate degree in Education: Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Arts Integration. At this time, I am pursuing my doctorate in Transformative Studies in Arts Education at The California Institute for Integral Studies.

Research Question:

What would constitute an transdisciplinary, transformative, K-12 pedagogy that teaches for healing and liberation?

Professional associations and accomplishments run the gamut from community-based organizations, to schools and school districts, to federal agencies and governments.

Key Consultations & Collaborations:

  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • The Kennedy Center
  • The California Arts Council
  • The California State Department of Education
  • Santa Fe Opera
  • The Edinburgh International Arts Festival

Awards & Distinctions:

  •’s “Movers and Shakers” (2019)
  • Outstanding Music Educator, Yale University (2014)
  • Certified Integrated Learning Specialist (2010)
  • Certified Oral Historian (2005)
  • Bernard Osher Cultural Award for Public Service (1994)
  • Levi Strauss & Co. Award for Outstanding Teachers and Administrators in the Arts (2004)
  • San Francisco Unified School District’s Dream Catcher Award (2009)
  • California State Legislature Commendation for “Significant contribution to the people of San Francisco” (2010)
  • San Francisco Mayor’s Proclamation Commending Work as the Committee Chair for Bay Area National Arts Education Week (2011)
  • Special Fellowship to the Future of Learning Institute, part of Project Zero, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (2012)
  • Yale School of Music’s Distinguished Music Educator (2015)
  • “Men working to change the world” (2019-2020)
Photo by Todd Berman
McNeal both chairs and moderates the first Bay Area Celebrates National Arts in Education Week at Herbst Theater in San Francisco – 2011 (Photo by Todd Berman)

“My dream is share my knowledge and experience with the widest possible audience, as I leverage my creative talent and expertise to create a visionary and revolutionary pedagogical framework that serves black and brown students, giving them the creative edge to dare to dream big, to have hope, and to thrive in the uncertain world of the 21st century.”

Charles Chip Mc Neal 2020

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

– Maya Angelou

Be part of the solution!

Support Doctoral Research in Educational Equity and Racial Equity in the Arts

SUPPORT Culturally Responsive Arts Integration Resource Development (CRAIRD)

Specifically CRAIRD seeks to amplify the voices and expertise of artists and educators of color in the academic domains and society by producing articles, blogs, videos, and other media. This project is fiscally sponsored by Independent arts & Media. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


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