Biography

Charles Chip Mc Neal is an award-winning, international educator, researcher, civic leader & activist – engaging in transdisciplinary practice across art-forms and genres, with a focus on arts, educational equity, social justice, community engagement, and cultural competency. He guides government agencies, non-profits, and schools on change-management, creative collaboration, program creation, equitable arts policies, diversity, and organizational cultural competency. 

Mc Neal has over 30 years of senior leadership experience and flexibly negotiates the intersection between creativity, new technologies, and professional learning. He has trained in multiple culturally responsive practices including; restorative justice techniques, social-emotional learning, and Teaching Tolerance curriculum (from the Southern Poverty Law Center). He is an accredited Integrated Learning Specialist and a certified Oral Historian. A frequent and sought-after conference presenter, Mc Neal has lectured on arts, education, social justice, multiculturalism, and equity for The Edinburgh International Festival, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Mr. McNeal is the first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity and Community for the San Francisco Opera. A pioneering leader in the field of arts, McNeal is ostensibly the first director of diversity for an opera company in the United States. Mr. McNeal has operationalized a new department in a major arts organization for the second time. In his role, he leads internal and external initiatives aimed at developing diverse audiences, creating a safe, and diverse working environment and facilitating the further advancements of the organizational mission. He is tasked with creating a culture of belonging and acceptance,  we’re diverse peoples on value and inspiration in the arc of Opera. He is guided by the goals and objectives outlined in the 2019 Strategic Plan – to place develop diversity, and equity inclusion at the core of arts and business practice. Mr. McNeal works organization-wide to advise, consult, and mentor on diversity and equity initiatives.

He also continues training teaching artists, conducts arts research, develops novel initiatives, and advises on artistic content, culturally responsive pedagogy, creative collaboration and more. He designs and curates accredited professional development training for credentialed educators who partner with the San Francisco Opera. 

A celebrated dance educator, Mr. Mc Neal is the former Director of Education for San Francisco Ballet where he established the distinguished, San Francisco Ballet Center for Dance Education, engaging over 30,000 people annually through 1,500 culturally diverse events. 

Mc Neal serves as a Transformative Learning Coach, Leadership Advisor and Arts Integration Specialist for Alameda County Office of Education where he develops culturally responsive, inquiry-based, social justice curriculum. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Unified School District’s Arts Education Master Plan Advisory Committee. McNeal is on the Leadership Council of Create California, a statewide-advocacy consortium, where he co-chairs the Equity Committee – working to creating a sustainable, equitable, arts learning eco-system for the state of California. 

Mr. Mc Neal holds two bachelor’s degrees – in psychology, and sociology from Excelsior College, and a master’s degree in education from Lesley University. Mr. Mc Neal is currently a Ph.D. scholar in Transformative Theory, and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive studies and educational equity at California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. Mc Neal’s research focuses on the intersection of arts, cultural responsiveness, and educational equity, as he devises solutions to the pressing issues of education reform and racial equity in the arts.