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Old Town School of Folk Music names Troy Anderson as its Senior Director of Education

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Old Town School of Folk Music (Old Town School), a Chicago community arts and education non-profit and nationally recognized as the premier community music school in the country, announces Troy Anderson as its Senior Director of Education. Assuming his new role effective July 10, 2023, Anderson will serve as a key strategist for Old Town School’s education department. Anderson will be responsible for driving tuition-based revenue growth at the institution and overseeing Old Town School’s relationship with Chicago Public Schools and key community partners for Community Ventures programming.

With 22 year history of serving community music schools in the Chicagoland area, Anderson is a well-respected and experienced leader with a passion for music that is focused on providing access and engaging opportunities to people of all ages and abilities.

“I am honored to serve as the Senior Director of Education for Old Town School of Folk Music,” Troy said. “My love for American and cultural music, belief in what is possible through engagement, and passion for community align with Old Town’s mission, vision, and values in a way that resonates deeply with me. I am thrilled to serve our community through our impactful programs and look forward to working with our amazing team to advance our mission and promote lifelong engagement with music.” 

Formerly serving as the Executive Director of Chicago Center for Music Education (ChiME), Anderson led the organization to experience consistent growth over the past several years as the annual budget grew by nearly 30%, participation in K-12 programs increased by 90%, and earned income and restricted giving increased by 41%. Under his leadership, ChiME implemented a diversity, equity, and inclusion framework including a DEI position statement, and training and development activities. Anderson strived to increase the diversity of content within the curriculum while also strengthening the ability to successfully deliver anti-biased instruction. To address a gap in music education, Anderson oversaw the development of a formalized curriculum, resulting in two different models, one for typically functioning children and the other for children with disabilities.

Troy brings expertise that will help advance our mission and expand our education department,” said Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer Jim Newcomb. “His passion for arts education, his extensive professional experience, and his knowledge of Old Town’s education and community programs made Troy the best choice for this role. We look forward to our education and community programs growing and reaching far more people under Troy’s tenure. Thank you, KEES, for a successful search.”

Prior to his tenure at ChiME, Anderson served in leadership roles at two other Chicago area community music schools: Merit School of Music as Dean of Programs from 2007-2011 and David Adler Center for Music and the Arts as Program Director from 2001-2007.

A jazz trombone player, Anderson received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and Master of Music degree from DePaul University.  Anderson has also served as Chair of the Western Great Lakes Chapter and the Members Council of the National Guild of Community Arts Education. In 2012 and 2013, he served on the faculty of the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute and as co-convener of the Chicago Consortium of Community Music Schools.

Old Town School of Folk Music’s Executive Director, Jim Newcomb, retained KEES, and a comprehensive search was launched, attracting a talented pool of qualified leaders. 

“Congratulations to the entire Old Town School of Folk Music community on this candidate placement announcement,” said Laura Weinman, KEES Vice President. “Troy will undoubtedly bring new ideas and vision for the future, building on the school’s core strengths and offering Old Town School a fresh and enthusiastic perspective.”


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a non-profit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the non-profit and public sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of non-profit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit


Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music is the largest community school of the arts in the U.S. and a non-profit organization committed to celebrating American music and global cultures. Founded in 1957, the Old Town School of Folk Music provides a wide range of music, dance, and arts courses to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Whatever one’s interest, the Old Town School provides broad access to more than 700 accredited weekly class offerings, private lessons, and over 400 concerts and community events per year both in-person and online.

The Old Town School opened its Lincoln Square facility in 1998 and expanded in 2012. The Old Town School operates three campuses located in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park and South Loop neighborhoods that include world-class concert halls, classrooms, an award-winning music store, a café and resource center. Children’s classes are also held at several suburban satellite locations. More information about classes, upcoming events and history is available at


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