Settlement CEO Helen Eaton

Chief Executive Officer

Helen Eaton has served as Settlement Music School’s Chief Executive Officer since 2010, and during her tenure, Helen has grown programming, diversified funding sources, strengthened the balance sheet, and championed partnerships, both locally and nationally. In 2020, Eaton received one of the highest honors in the field – the Arts Leadership Award from the Americans for the Arts. The award recognizes transformational leadership through strategic planning, strong programming, and the engagement of partners to achieve community goals. Helen’s work at Settlement has been featured in Harvard Business Review and is featured as a case study in Scott Anthony’s book, Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization, published by Harvard Business Review Press — both for her work in building systems of innovation at a legacy institution. In 2016 she was named one of the Top 30 Innovators by Musical America Worldwide.

Speaking nationally about her work in building partnerships, Helen has presented at conferences including Innosight’s CEO Summit, Executive Leaders Radio, B.PHL Innovation Fest (Philadelphia), Americans for the Arts, National Guild for Community Arts Education, American Association of University Women, and SphinxConnect. Settlement’s research on the impact of an arts-integrated curriculum in pre-school programs –specifically Settlement’s Head Start program, Kaleidoscope — has been published in premier early childhood research journals and is presented nationally by its researcher Dr. Eleanor Brown, including webinars and articles for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2018, Settlement was named one of the top 10 music charities in the country working to preserve and expand music education and access to the musical arts by Charity Navigator. In 2019, Settlement completed its 10-year reaccreditation with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools.

Since 2012, when she and other music education providers launched the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) collaborative, the focus on service to music students and educators alike across Philadelphia has resulted in expanded collaborations and shared professional development for in-school and out-of-school time teachers. This collaborative also gave rise to the region wide PMAY Artists’ Initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which supports students from underrepresented communities in becoming professional classical musicians.

Prior to joining Settlement, Eaton was President of Chicago Children’s Choir and Dean of Programs at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. She served as the Vice Chair of the Board of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. She holds a degree in Viola Performance from The Juilliard School where she studied with William Lincer, a Master of Arts in Music History and Theory from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Pennsylvania.


Phone Number: 215-320-2680