Exceptional Minds, a not-for-profit professional training academy and studio designed to prepare individuals on the autism spectrum for careers in digital art and visual effects, has promoted Tim Dailey to director of academic programs and academic dean.

Dailey, who has been with the company for over five years, will manage all curricular planning, faculty development and educational programs leading both the full-time and part-time workshop programs, which in the aggregate have served over 2,000 participants in less than a decade.

Dailey’s efforts in the academy will also benefit from The Walt Disney Company’s recent announcement that they have made a $1 million multi-year commitment to Exceptional Minds to support the nonprofit’s work with neurodivergent individuals to prepare them for careers in entertainment.

Exceptional Minds CEO David Siegel said, “Tim has consistently demonstrated the leadership, innovative thinking, and vision that has not only kept our students and faculty thriving, but our academy evolving and advancing. To meet the increased demand for Exceptional Minds programs, a strategic leader like Tim will help pave a much-needed path to employability that is good for our talented students and the entertainment industry.”

Dailey graduated with a MFA in digital arts from New York’s Pratt Institute. He went on to serve as both an artist and instructor at companies including CBS, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Digital Frontier FX and at institutions including FIDM and Columbia College Hollywood.

Said Dailey, “It is a pleasure and an honor to be assuming the role of academic dean at Exceptional Minds. Working with this team and the students has been the most rewarding experience of my life. When I began teaching visual effects here in 2018, my goal was to be able to help the students create work that showed not only technical proficiency, but artistic style in their craft. Seeing this population grow and learn is so gratifying, and I am thankful to be able to do it in a way now where we can determine as a team the best practices and delivery methods to use as we go into the future. I’m excited to help drive our academic program into the next stages.”

With a 98% graduation rate, the academy’s full-time program is on target to increase enrollment year over year to serve more autistic artists on their path to industry employability.

More than 25 graduates in the past 12 months have been placed in companies including Mattel, Pixelogic, DreamWorks Animation, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon and many others. Previous graduates are currently employed full-time at companies including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Mr. Wolf and Paramount. The academy’s focus areas include animation, visual effects, 3D and gaming. Its most recent credits can be seen on “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”