News from our Board Chair and President + Artistic Director

A message from President + Artistic Director, Jennifer Kim-Matsuzawa

Dear Friends, 

With a full and grateful heart, I want to share with you that I will be transitioning from my role as President + Artistic Director of the People’s Music School.  It has been an immense honor and personal joy to serve this community.  The school has never been stronger in purpose, potential, outcomes and financial stability, and I am thrilled to see what the next chapter will bring.

Together with each one of you, we have built bright futures, deeper connections, musical excellence, and shining potential through periods of deficit, change, turmoil and a global pandemic. I am so proud to celebrate an organization that has grown from 250 community students in Chicago to 3500 in-school and after-school students in our emergent national strategy.  We also raised awareness, quality and our investments in our mission to the tune of over $20MM in the last 7 years.  And there is so much more to come!

People’s is fortunate to have a Board of Directors that mirrors the heart and culture of our organization.  In particular, our Board Chair, Michael Buck, is deeply connected to our mission and has been integrally involved with the organization since before my return in 2014.  He will be leading our Board through this leadership transition, which will include an executive search firm national in its scope to seek the greatest talent and shared passion to our mission. 

I am thrilled to continue to teach and mentor students and alums, and stay close to this truly exceptional community from my new home base in Northern California.  While this is the end of one movement, the piece of music that Rita began is far from over.  Let’s continue to #sparkjoy together. 

In service,

Jennifer Kim-Matsuzawa
President and Artistic Director 

A message from People’s Board Chair, Michael Buck

Dear Friends, 

In the coming weeks, The People’s Music School will be welcoming our students back for fall music instruction. While the pandemic has disrupted the programming of many educational organizations, People’s has been and will continue to be a source of stability and joy for our students and their families throughout this trying time. Access to high-quality, tuition-free music education has never been more important, and our Board of Directors could not be more appreciative of our staff and faculty who have ensured that our presence never wavered. The determination and spirit with which People’s has persevered is a reflection of the visionary and tireless leadership of President + Artistic Director, Jennifer Kim-Matsuzawa. 

Jennifer has lead People’s for the last 7 successful years. Under her tenure, we have grown exponentially from 250 students at two sites to 3,500 students at four locations in Chicago plus a pilot site in East Palo Alto, California. She has assembled a talented leadership team and steered the school to the strongest financial position in our history, growing our supporter base even as we navigate challenges in the world. It is a tribute to her selfless leadership and commitment to our mission that Jennifer has determined that now is the time for People’s to rise to the next level, and for her to transition from her current position as President + Artistic Director.

We will soon be naming an Interim President who will lead People’s as we conduct a nationwide search for our next President. Our Board of Directors is approaching our responsibility with great care, and we look forward to engaging all parts of the People’s community in our rigorous search process, including students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, community partners, and donors. Together, I am confident we will identify our next talented and dedicated leader–someone who will champion our mission, who will nurture all that makes People’s special, and who will build upon our successes to take us to even greater heights.

We are honored by your ongoing support and confident about our path to transforming even more children’s lives through music.

Michael Buck

Chair, Board of Directors
The People’s Music School

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