Welcome Our New President, Francis Graffeo!

To The People’s Music School community,

This new year, we are grateful.

Grateful to have managed the past challenging year.

Grateful that our students will be safely learning in-person again as soon as possible.

And now, we are grateful to welcome our next President.

Early in the fall, the People’s Board of Directors launched a national search to find an exceptional leader, with exceptional shoes to fill from Jennifer Kim-Matsuzawa and Rita Simó, both. There was a tremendous response from across the country—impressive individuals with talent, experience, and a passion for our mission. One candidate stood out far beyond the others, in the unanimous view of our search committee, our non-profit executive search consultants, and the full TPMS Board of Directors.

Please meet Francis Graffeo.

When we met Francis, he told us the opportunity to lead People’s would be the capstone of his already impressive career. His passion for leading a similar, successful youth music school filled the room. His ability to raise critical funds and expand high-quality programming to meet community needs impressed and excited us. Most of all, his deep belief in the power of music education to transform children’s lives exactly mirrors ours.

Francis will be relocating from his longtime home of Knoxville, Tennessee and the thriving, tuition-free Joy of Music School he has built there. As a lifelong musician and esteemed conductor, he already knows some artists in Chicago and is eager to build more relationships. He’s thrilled to embrace the People’s community and all that Chicago has to offer, as is his wife Christy and teenage son Enzo. Our interim President K. Sujata and the People’s leadership team will be working closely with Francis in advance of his February 7th arrival.

He’s looking forward to meeting you, learning about you, our students’ lives, the People’s community, and working together with our best-in-class faculty and staff for the success of our students. We’ll be offering multiple options for these meetings, safely in-person or conveniently online. Stay tuned!

As the new year gets underway, we wish you a safe and healthy 2022 filled with beautiful music. We invite you to share in the joy of People’s Music School, our new leadership, and all that is to come. 

With gratitude,

Tracy Sefl
Search Committee Chair, Board of Directors
The People’s Music School

Michael Buck
President, Board of Directors
The People’s Music School

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