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Judy Teehan. Courtesy photo.




New old blood at MCMS
Judy Teehan steps up as executive director

11/05/15
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



When Manchester Community Music School CEO Billie Tooley announced her resignation due to family matters in September, the school’s former education director, Judy Teehan, stepped up, bringing with her 11 years of MCMS experience. 

Teehan’s new position is executive director, a “more appropriate title” for the institution, Board of Directors Chair Dan Scanlon said via phone last week. The board liked that Teehan had been with the school for so long, and Teehan said she was in a good place to give the job the attention it deserved.
“I didn’t feel that way before. My kids were younger,” she said during a recent interview at an empty school recital hall a day after the news went public. “To lead the school, it’s like being on call all the time. Even though the hours aren’t a whole lot different, the commitment is very different.”
Teehan studied music therapy as an undergrad, education as a graduate, and started with the MCMS as a part-time summer educator before moving into the education director’s role seven years ago. The time, she said, has enabled her to build relationships with staff, students and community families. 
She’s an Atkinson resident, suzuki flute teacher and a musician herself. Her background is different from past CEOs’ — more education-, less fundraising-based — but she’s happy with the board’s decision because she feels she really understands the school’s mission.
“Looking at what the school needs, now is not the time to bring in a new person. I think what the school needs is to capitalize on what we have, because what we have is good,” she said.
The right people to further the school’s mission lie within the organization already, she said; she hopes to provide more professional development opportunities for staff and get feedback from them as well, in a more inclusionary model of working. She thinks it’s important to continue to grow what’s already proven successful, like the MCMS music therapy program and the youth ensemble program, which is the only one in the state, by relying on people on the inside.
“We need to cultivate leadership from within. That means in many capacities, not just administrative-wise, but within our faculty,” she said. “Our faculty is really the driving force of the school. It’s a matter of listening and collecting information from all kinds of sources.”
She said she’s learned a lot from watching former CEOs Suzanne Barr, Jeanine Tousignant and Billie Tooley in action, each of whom brought in something different.
“Suzanne … had a wonderful connection and warmth with the families here at the school,” she said. “Jeanine really brought a sense of strategy and … a very clean, organized, efficient manner of working. … And what Billie did in her short time here, she had a great energy for reaching out and connecting with other organizations.”
Teehan plans to continue to practice, play and teach, even in this new high-demand position. 
“It’s like going to the gym. You know, certain things you have to make time for,” she said. “I always make time for practicing and teaching. I love surrounding myself with a music community for work.” 





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