Skip Navigation

Shalisa Kline Ugaz to Lead RCM America

Shalisa Kline Ugaz to Lead RCM America

Published on December 8, 2022

The Royal Conservatory of Music has appointed Shalisa Kline Ugaz to the new position of President and Chief Operating Officer of RCM America. 

Shalisa Kline Ugaz

Ms. Kline Ugaz assumes responsibility for the development and expansion of all RCM Learning Systems programs in the United States and will build the organization required to support the essential work of music teachers and their students.  Ms. Kline Ugaz's areas of focus will be to continue to broaden the base of users of the RCM Certificate Program as well as to launch the Smart Start™ early childhood music program across North America.

For 136 years, The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has offered an internationally acclaimed program of music study and assessment which is recognized globally as the gold standard in music education.  The RCM Certificate Program inculcates a love of music in more than 400,000 students every year through a network of 30,000 dedicated independent music teachers who use the structured and respected system. More than 5 million people have studied the program, inspiring them to become lifelong learners of music and the arts as a fundamental part of the human experience. Other alumni included internationally acclaimed musicians such as Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, Paul Shaffer, David Foster and Sarah McLachlan.

“Shalisa is an inspiring leader with expertise in directing transformational change for arts organizations. With her collaborative and innovative approach, I am confident that she and her team will support and inspire music teachers and their students,” said Dr. Peter Simon, President & CEO, The Royal Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Kline Ugaz is an accomplished musician and executive with more than 20 years of experience leading arts education organizations and managing creative teams. Her track record is one of broadening access and expanding levels of participation in music study. She has served most recently as the Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (WCM) in Milwaukee where she led a remarkable turnaround. Her achievements over her seven-year career at WCM include increasing people served from 1,500 to 16,000; leading a $10-million capital campaign; and initiating a pilot project with the RCM’s Smart Start program that has grown, during a pandemic, from start-up to serving over 1,000 students this fall.  

“I am thrilled to be joining The Royal Conservatory and look forward to bringing more visibility to the RCM’s comprehensive curriculum of musical development for students of all ages,” Ms. Kline Ugaz said. “The unique cognitive focus of the Smart Start™ program, backed by the RCM’s neuroscience research, has been so well received in the pilot project at WCM, that I am confident this next growth phase will yield positive results.” 

Prior to WCM, Ms. Kline Ugaz held leadership roles at Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City, as well as Alegre Strings which she founded in the Latinx communities in Chicago. Alegre Strings later merged with the Merit School of Music, for which she was Artistic Director, where thousands of young musicians have thrived in the program. She holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin and recently was recognized as Drake Scholar while earning an Executive MBA at Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School of Management. Ms. Kline Ugaz also performed as a violinist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra for four years.