School Board Announces Retirement
of Long-Time Executive Director
Sarah Smongeski Steps Down June 1, 2023 Following 30 Years of Service
Pakachoag Music School’s Board of Directors would like to announce that Sarah Smongeski will retire as Executive Director of Pakachoag Music School effective June 1, 2023.
A successor is anticipated to be named later in 2023.
Sarah Smongeski thanks donors and friends at the School’s 40th Anniversary Gala held at Worcester’s Tuckerman Hall in September 2022.
Sarah joined Pakachoag as its third Executive Director in 1992, 10 years following the School’s founding. Over 30 years, Sarah has grown the School’s budget more than tenfold, with faculty expanding from 12 to 32 part-time teaching artists and early childhood specialists. She has overseen six strategic planning cycles and three campaigns, the most recent of which will bring a high-quality Steinway grand piano to the music performance hall, Vinton Hall at All Saints Church, during 2023. The piano will be available to music school students, faculty and guests and is part of a strategic push to ensure excellence for teaching and learning in the years to come.
From 2016 to 2018, Sarah oversaw the School’s move from its long-time home in Auburn into downtown Worcester, at All Saints Church, a move triggered by the desire to bring predictability to the School’s future via a multi-year lease commitment. As part of the move, Sarah ensured stability of finances, donors, faculty, programs and enrollment, and managed a $200,000 campaign to build out new studios and classrooms within the expansive All Saints building at the corner of Irving and Pleasant Streets. Since the move, Sarah has successfully shifted the School from suburban to urban community arts organization, making access and expanded organizational diversity an on-going priority.
The School’s board notes that Sarah has worked with passion and commitment throughout her tenure overseeing a committed faculty and supportive community for students of every age interested in growth through music. Sarah has also served as Secretary and Treasurer for the Northeast Division of the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
Notable alumni during Sarah’s tenure include a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law School graduate, a China Policy Analyst with the Rand Corporation, a Director & Lead Analyst with S&P Global, a Henry Luce Scholar and high speed rail engineer consultant, professional musicians including a violinist with Tennessees’ Jackson and Memphis Symphonies, professional vocalists, college and university faculty, church organists and choir directors, music teachers and public school educators at all levels. Additional alumni work in the fields of biotechnology, computer science and software development, artificial intelligence research, renewable energy research, health care, finance, law enforcement, the armed forces, and data sciences. Many former students are now parents some of whom have returned to Pakachoag with their children.
Most recently, Sarah has spearheaded the School’s new Music Matters Program which provides refreshed focus and momentum for the School’s commitment to out-of-school arts access for children of every background. Music Matters, a $60,000 program budget for the current fiscal year 2023, provides financial aid for music school programs and free music classes offered off-site, in collaboration with area non-profits and public schools. Current partners include the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, Elm Park Community School of Worcester, Black Excellence Academy, and CENTRO. Other efforts focused on increasing access during her tenure include programming with the Worcester Children’s Chorus, Auburn Youth & Family Services, The Guild of St. Agnes, Seven Hills Foundation, Notre Dame Assisted Living, The Worcester Senior Center and Eisenberg Assisted Living.
Sarah leaves Pakachoag in a favorable financial position with staff and board ready for the next step forward.
The board convened an Executive Transition Search Committee in January which is comprised of board members, donors, faculty and community constituents working with a consulting non-profit to lead the search.
The School’s board, along with staff and faculty, looks forward to leading Pakachoag into the future, delivering on its commitment to excellence in out-of-school music learning and enrichment.
The School’s board and Sarah thank School friends and the larger Worcester and Greater Worcester community for their continued support of Pakachoag Music School and community arts education.
Sarah presents the 2022 Outstanding Partner Award to Liz Hamilton of The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester at the School’s 40th Anniversary Gala in September 2022.
Pakachoag Music School is dedicated to nurturing musical journeys which cultivate the imagination, inspire creativity, and develop artistry for persons of every age and cultural background.