“We are thrilled with the search outcome!” stated Apfelstadt. “Robyn’s background as an award-winning music educator and a successful nonprofit leader, as well as her experience with donor development and fundraising are the ideal combination ACDA needs to thrive in the future. She will represent us with excellence as we move forward in this challenging time for arts organizations. I look forward to assisting her with the transition into her new role until September 30. ACDA is in excellent hands.”
Throughout her career, Robyn Hilger has served to elevate people through performing arts and educational programming. A seasoned nonprofit executive, Robyn brings a wealth of experience in education, administration, fundraising, grant writing, and strategic innovation. A native Oklahoman, Robyn is a classically trained clarinetist. She graduated with high honors in 1999 from Oklahoma City University with a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. In 2010, Robyn completed her master’s degree in school administration from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is currently pursuing her doctorate of education in administration and leadership at Southern Nazarene University. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher in early adolescence/young adult music with specialization in band.
Robyn’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit has been evident in all of her roles. The overarching theme of her work is meeting the identified needs of historically marginalized and under-resourced communities. Robyn began her career as the band and strings teacher at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School, in Oklahoma’s largest urban school district, where she created the fine arts department. In 2006, she was recognized as Oklahoma’s State Teacher of the Year. She served as Oklahoma’s Ambassador of Teaching, traveling more than 20,000 miles delivering some 200 workshops and speeches focused on teaching, advocacy, and education policy. In 2007, she joined the staff of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools as the chief programs officer. Robyn created two programs that received national attention and recognition for addressing unmet needs for teachers and students. The Teachers Warehouse distributed more than $1.5 million in free school supplies to area teachers during its first three years of operation. The Competitive Edge grant program provided funding for fees and travel costs for students to attend artistic and academic competitions, supporting more than 6,000 students annually. In 2013, she supported the launch of El Sistema Oklahoma as a volunteer. In 2014, she was asked to join the organization as the executive director. El Sistema Oklahoma facilitates the development of empowered youth who use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. El Sistema Oklahoma operates every day after-school and is completely free for participating families. El Sistema Oklahoma was awarded a coveted PlayUSA partnership with Carnegie Hall in 2016.
Robyn’s service in key positions has helped her excel in fundraising, and volunteer and donor relations. In 2017, she was named New Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Oklahoma City Chapter. Most recently, Robyn served as the director of community engagement for ReMerge of Oklahoma County. ReMerge is a leader in developing solutions in criminal justice reform. They are dedicated to restoring mothers to their children and the community by helping women avoid prison and reclaim their lives.
Robyn also serves on the advisory board for the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras and is a board member for Oklahoma Youth Sing! (formerly known as the Norman Children’s Chorus).
Robyn believes listening is one of the most important skills to have if you want to be of real service to others. She is a connector of people, organizations, and opportunities. Robyn said, “Leading the American Choral Directors Association represents the convergence of all of my career experiences. My life was transformed by the power of music. This is exactly what ACDA members do for people every day in their own communities. I am excited to join this great ensemble of dedicated choral professionals.”
Robyn lives in Oklahoma City with her husband Stephen and their three cats. In her downtime, she enjoys a great meal, reading for pleasure, and watching Formula 1 racing.