Director of Education


Chicago, IL 60625




Jan 26, 2023

KEES has been exclusively retained by Old Town School of Folk Music in its search for a Director of Education.

Old Town School of Folk Music (OTS or Old Town School) seeks a collaborative Director of Education to drive tuition-based revenue growth at the institution. A champion of teaching and learning in the folk tradition, the Director of Education will be an enthusiastic and inspirational change leader who empowers a diverse staff and faculty to deliver sustainable programming in alignment with the Old Town School’s mission and values, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals. The successful candidate will serve OTS with a demonstrated passion for engaging and growing a vibrant community of students and teachers.

This position will report directly to CEO Jim Newcomb and will be a key member of the senior leadership team. Leading a talented, dedicated team of five Program Managers and more than 200 part-time faculty members (teachers), the Director of Education will be a visible and approachable key strategist collaborating closely with the team on the curriculum catalogue to ensure the cultural diversity of Chicago is represented in class offerings while maintaining the Old Town School’s folk tradition. An innovative thinker, the Director of Education will demonstrate a vision for the future of Old Town School’s classes and be able to work collaboratively to implement change to meet the demands of enrollment for a continuously revolving 8-week session program calendar. The Director will have tuition-based program experience, preferably for an arts and culture focused (music strongly preferred) entity, and will have strong business acumen. Also essential to success, the Director will be able to effectively balance fresh ideas and innovation with respect for the organization’s culture, history, and traditions as an iconic cultural touchstone for Chicagoans since 1957.

This position offers a competitive salary with strong benefits.

Old Town School is committed to providing an environment of mutual respect where equal employment opportunities are available to all applicants and employees. Old Town School strives to be an inclusive and equitable organization that is reflective of the diversity of the city of Chicago. OTS seeks to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. This is critical to its success as a community focused organization.
KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit

Old Town School of Folk Music (Old Town School or OTS) is the largest community music school with the largest number of teaching artists in the country, and an international model for community music and movement. Founded in 1957, Old Town School teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of American and global communities. Through a decades-long history, what has set OTS apart from other music teaching programs has been its philosophy that music is for everyone. Whatever one’s interest, Old Town School provides broad access to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to more than 700 accredited class offerings, private lessons, and workshops that span an array of artistic genres, such as music, dance, theater, and visual arts, and more than 400 concerts and community events each year. OTS remains committed to teaching and presenting music that reflects the cultural traditions of Chicago’s diverse communities. To learn more, please visit


Some specific requirements include:
• Minimum of 5 years of managing and growing tuition-based revenue programming, at least 3 years of managing a team of 3 or more direct reports.
• Proven success in building strong and productive work teams with a focus on mentoring and nurturing staff development.
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the educational and employment experience.
• Experience developing e-learning programs is strongly preferred.
• Experience teaching music or dance is strongly preferred.
• Bachelor’s degree in related area or equivalent work experience is required.



Experience Level

Senior Executive



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