With the completion of the presidential position profile, Isaacson, Miller has embarked on the active recruitment of candidates.
As the search process continues, we will prioritize sharing updates with the broader NEC community when we are able through the Presidential Search page. Given the confidential nature of this process, there likely will not be a lot of detailed news to share until the conclusion of the search. However, know that we are committed to updating you on progress as regularly as possible. Please expect the next update to the community to occur in early May. Until then, I invite you to access the Presidential Search page of the NEC website for full information about the search.
Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be submitted to the search firm in confidence at www.imsearch.com/6530.
Thank you for your continued support and dedication to New England Conservatory.
Kennett F. Burnes
Chair, NEC Board of Trustees
Dear NEC community,
We want to share important news about NEC’s Presidential Search—its status today as well as renewed plans for activity over the coming months. Responding both to our experience during the Search thus far, and to recent, new, exciting, institutional achievements at NEC, I have decided to reshape and refocus the search process.
As you know, the Search was launched in the fall of 2015, informed by several months of focus groups and discussions among members of the NEC community about NEC’s direction and the characteristics of our next president. Under the capable and generous leadership of trustee Mike Thonis, the Search Committee, and our search consultants, NEC attracted a number of highly qualified candidates. NEC’s 150-year legacy, its international reputation, and its vitality today spark excitement and interest among accomplished, well-known, musician educators and institutional leaders. Searches are complex endeavors, however, and require perfect balance of factors such as timing, the willingness to relocate, the careers of partners, the status of families, and other competitive opportunities. Despite identifying several exceptional candidates the committee was enthusiastic about hiring, we had a series of unfortunate breaks that has left us with a continuing task of finding a president.
NEC has not, however, been standing still. Recent institutional progress has repositioned NEC for new leadership. This past year, we launched the celebration of NEC’s 150th anniversary. With events that drew leaders in music and in the life of the city, we opened the Student Life and Performance Center, an extraordinary cultural resource in the city of Boston, for students and for the public. We developed authentic and compelling mission and identity resources and set an action plan in place for revitalizing and building robust relationships with alumni, parents and the city at large.
As we entered the fall, Mike Thonis let me know that if the search had not concluded by year-end, he would need to step away as chair and concentrate on priorities he had put aside during his tenure. When it became clear that the Search would have to continue into the new year, we moved quickly to restructure an internal team at NEC to support the Search effort, retained an external research firm to survey the landscape and identify individuals and organizations doing innovative work in music, and began to reconsider our search process.
In order to move more quickly and decisively, I have named a new, smaller Search Committee comprised of six members who represent an excellent cross section of experience and expertise; and I will serve as chair. I am grateful that Mike has agreed to be part of this group, which also includes Tom Blumenthal, Barbara Glauber, Tom McGrath, Sally Rubin, and Chad Smith ’95, ’98. Their charge is to manage the recruitment process for the next NEC president, and to bring their recommendation to the board of trustees.
We are extremely grateful for the work and dedication of the original Presidential Search Committee members. This group did an exceptional job of articulating the leadership characteristics and vision NEC seeks while persistently and collaboratively pursuing every lead. So as not to lose the valuable knowledge and insights of this group, we will form a Presidential Search Advisory Group, which will include members of the previous search committee along with other constituencies in the NEC community.
We will be partnering with Isaacson, Miller Boston, for this search, and Sheryl Ash will serve as our liaison and consultant. Isaacson, Miller is nationally recognized for its successful searches in the higher education sector and the firm is passionate about its commitment to advance the particular aspirations of the institutions they serve. Sheryl is a managing partner and member of Isaacson Miller’s executive committee. She has built the firm’s arts in higher education practice, and she has particular depth of practice in board-led CEO-level searches.
In the coming weeks, we will invite you to access the Presidential Search page of the NEC website for full information about the search over time. Among other details, you will find NEC’s position prospectus; Search Committee and Advisory Group members’ names and a link for contacting the Committee; latest actions; update communications; and links to Isaacson Miller. As news develops, we will share it with the broader community through this web page. In the meantime, I welcome anyone to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To lead this exceptional living institution into the future, NEC will identify a visionary educator. The next president of NEC will energetically support and guide this learning and performing environment that gathers incredible musicians, inquisitive minds, world-class performers, composers, conductors and educators. He or she will be as committed, as we at NEC are, to the powerful expression of the highest caliber art and craft, and to making the history of music, here. Please join us with your interest and enthusiastic support.
Kennett F. Burnes
Chair, NEC Board of Trustees
The New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) seeks in its seventeenth President a collaborative, strategic, and visionary leader who will build upon NEC’s rich 150-year history of distinction and innovation, embrace the opportunities and realities of today’s complex musical and artistic landscape, support and expand standards of excellence, and guide the Conservatory’s evolution into the future.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring the President of New England Conservatory. To manage the search process, the Board of Trustees has convened a Presidential Search Committee that will work with the search consultants and meet regularly throughout the process.
Isaacson, Miller will begin to market the position immediately. The Presidential Search Committee will review the candidate pool throughout the spring and aim to narrow the pool to a smaller group of candidates by late spring. Semifinalist and finalist interviews will occur in the early part of the summer.
In the first week of each month, an email will be sent to all of NEC’s constituents with an update that respects the confidentiality of the process but provides an overall sense of the progress made. A copy of each communication will be posted on this Presidential Search homepage.
Inquiries, nominations, candidate suggestions or applications may be directed to the search firm in confidence:
Please forward any suggestions, questions or concerns to email@example.com.
The Presidential Search Committee is charged with managing the search and recruitment process for the next NEC president. The committee will evaluate candidates, as well as interview semi-finalists and finalists, ultimately forwarding a recommended finalist to the Board of Trustees.
Members of the Search Committee include:
Kennett F. Burnes
Chair, NEC Board of Trustees; Lead Director, State Street Corporation
Thomas W. Blumenthal
Vice Chair and Treasurer, NEC Board of Trustees; Partner, Co-Head Private Investment Group, The Baupost Group
Barbara W. Glauber
NEC Trustee; Trustee, Opera America
Thomas B. McGrath
NEC Trustee; Chief Operating Officer, STX Entertainment
NEC Interim President
Sally L. Rubin
NEC Trustee; former NEC Preparatory School and current NEC College parent; Director of Investments, Planned Giving, BNY Mellon
Chad T. Smith ’95 ‘98
NEC alumnus; NEC Trustee; COO, LA Phil
NEC Trustee; former NEC Preparatory School parent; Senior Advisor, Charlesbank Capital Partners
The Presidential Search Advisory Committee ensures that key NEC stakeholder groups are represented in the search process. Many members of the Advisory Committee met with the search consultants from Isaacson, Miller to share their perspective on the search, and the Advisory Committee will aid the Search Committee and be part of the finalist interviews.
Members of the Search Advisory Committee:
Clint Bajakian '87 B.M.
NEC alumnus; NEC Trustee; Creative Director/Senior Composer, Pyramind Studios
Associate Dean and Director, Preparatory School
NEC's Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras
Vice President of Institutional Advancement, NEC
Chair of Opera Studies, NEC
Efstratios Minakakis '04 M.M.
NEC alumnus; NEC faculty, Music Theory
Co-Chair, Contemporary Improvisation
Vice President of Administration, NEC
NEC faculty; NEC Preparatory School and College parent; Principal Bassoon, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Director of Choral Activities
Isaacson, Miller was founded in 1982 to recruit exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations. Isaacson, Miller conducts over 300 senior-level executive searches each year and has completed over 6,000 searches over the past 36 years.
The firm works across the spectrum of organizations with public and civic missions, and their practice in higher education is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive; today it accounts for more than half of Isaacson, Miller’s work. They also do work in advocacy, arts and culture, conservation and environment, economic and community development, foundation leadership, healthcare, human services, and K-12 education. Consistently each year, more than 70 percent of their clients are organizations that returned to Isaacson, Miller for additional searches after being pleased with their past results.
Sheryl Ash, Vice President, is a managing partner and a member of Isaacson, Miller’s executive committee. Since joining the firm in 1996, Sheryl has built IM’s arts in higher education practice and is one of the leaders of the firm's K-12 practice. In addition to her work across the areas of education, philanthropy, arts and culture, and the environment, she has a particular depth of practice in board-led CEO-level searches. Sheryl's clients appreciate the deftness, sound judgment, and deep experience she brings to her leadership searches, as well as her unyielding commitment to client satisfaction.
Early in her career, Sheryl was an instructor for the North Carolina Outward Bound School and also developed programs in Connecticut public schools for gifted students in the arts. In addition, she was a teacher in both public and independent schools. These foundational experiences contribute to her passion for successfully placing leaders who can make a significant impact on their organizations—and the lives of others.
Katie Rockman, Managing Associate, joined Isaacson, Miller in 2012 and has served a variety of clients in the education sector, both K-12 organizations and colleges and universities, as well as several philanthropic organizations. She has conducted numerous higher education presidential searches, including placements at New York University, Central European University, The Julliard School, and EARTH University. Her deep experience across the firm’s K-12 work includes searches for heads of independent schools, foundation program directors and officers, and executive directors of state education departments and a charter association.
Katie's prior work in education gives her first-hand knowledge of successful academic leadership. Before joining Isaacson, Miller, she was a member of the Office of External Relations at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she helped create content and develop stewardship programs for the school's donor community. Earlier in her career, she worked for an educational recruiting company that specializes in placing K-12 teachers and administrators at independent schools across the country.
In all of her work, Katie brings a strong and consistent commitment to diversifying the leadership of the civic sector. Repeat clients, such as the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Hewlett Foundation, speak to her strength in building real and lasting partnerships.
Chloë Kanas, Associate, joined Isaacson, Miller in 2014 in a search coordinator capacity and transitioned to associate in 2017. As a managing search coordinator she advanced the firm's internal recruiting, practice improvement, and professional development initiatives while supporting multiple search teams. Prior to joining the firm, Chloë worked in nonprofit marketing and communications at Public Conversations Project, where she helped align the organization's marketing operations with larger strategic goals. Chloë has special interest in issues of women and gender; she has served in multiple intern positions with global and local LGBTQ organizations, and spent time teaching and advising queer youth. She began her career working in independent secondary education at Darrow School and has also served as a Harriet Newhall Fellow in the Office of Admission at Mount Holyoke College.
Isaacson, Miller has deep experience in higher education, performing and visual arts education, and arts and culture searches. They have developed deep and expansive networks over the years that enable them to identify and attract candidates with the highest level of intellectual depth, creativity, and scholarly, artistic, and/or professional accomplishment.
Relevant searches include: