The People’s Music School appoints Miriam Goldberg Owens as President & Chief Executive Officer

CHICAGO, IL The People’s Music School today announced that Miriam Goldberg Owens has been appointed President & Chief Executive Officer beginning December 5, 2022. 

Owens has served on the organization’s leadership team since August 2021, joining as Chief Operating Officer. She became Chief of Development and Operations in April 2022, expanding the organization’s fundraising footprint while driving operational improvements.

Owens enters the role with a wealth of senior leadership experience in the social and private sectors. Her career roots are in driving equitable outcomes in public education: she was a 5th grade science teacher in Brooklyn with Teach for America and a Program Manager at Raise Your Hand Texas, an education advocacy organization. Prior to joining The People’s Music School, Owens was a consultant at McKinsey and Company for eight years, where she was an Associate Partner. A leader in the firm’s Organization practice, Owens served clients in areas including strategic planning, large-scale reorganization, talent management transformations, and inclusion and diversity.

A native Texan and proud Latina, Owens is also a lifelong musician. She studied piano from grades K-12, and at Harvard spent four years in the women’s a cappella group The Radcliffe Pitches, serving as Music Director and Stage Manager. She is currently the lead singer in the rock cover band Model-J. She holds an AB from Harvard University, an MS in Education from Teacher U at Hunter College (now Relay Graduate School of Education), and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

“Miriam is a strong, centered leader who has rich cross-sector leadership expertise with vision and passion for how music education can transform the lives of students,” said Michael Buck, President of the Board of Directors. “In her time with The People’s Music School, she has already made a profound difference and we are confident in the impact she will make as she leads the organization on a new level.”

“The People’s Music School is magic. No mission speaks to my personal sense of purpose more deeply,” said Owens. “Music has the capacity to expand a person’s capacity for joy, human connection, and artistic expression. As we all continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our organization’s healing work is more critical than ever. I have had the great privilege of working with an incredible team of colleagues in delivering our essential mission over the past year, and I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to now lead as President & CEO.”

Owens succeeds Francis Graffeo, who is stepping down as President to return to leading the Joy of Music School in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The People’s Music School delivers access to the benefits of high-quality, tuition-free music education with four locations across the Chicago area. Through intensive instruction and performance, its students achieve excellence in music that transfers to other areas in life. They grow musically, socially, emotionally and intellectually, and develop a foundation of responsibility, self-esteem, resilience and purpose. Owens will continue the work of the School to reach Chicago’s children and young people across its four program sites in Uptown, Albany Park, Back of the Yards, and the Greater South Side. Visit www.peoplesmusicschool.org to learn more or follow on social media at @peoplesmusicschool.


Media Contact: 

Ellie DePastino 


(773) 649-9134


1 thought on “The People’s Music School appoints Miriam Goldberg Owens as President & Chief Executive Officer”

  1. Fernando Jones

    Congrats and welcome to all of the rich music that Chicagoland has to offer. And thanks to the legacy of Dr. Simo — for that “rich music” to have a place to bloom.

    – Fernando Jones

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