Meet our Program Director
Rick Palese, Director of Professional and Continuing Education
Rick Palese joined the administrative team at VanderCook in July 2010, however his relationship with the institution goes back much further. Rick is a VanderCook alumnus, having earned his B.M.Ed. in 2003, and M.M.Ed. in 2008.
Prior to being hired at VanderCook, Rick taught for seven years at Prairie Hill School in Cary, IL, where he directed both 5th and 6th grade bands. While at Prairie Hill, Rick also sponsored Jazz Club, Podcasting Club, and assisted with 6th grade musical productions and school assemblies.
Rick is an avid percussionist and maintains an active teaching studio at Absolute Music in Geneva, IL. He is a member of the Hudson Music Teacher Integration Project, and Vic Firth Education Team.
Outside of VanderCook, Rick enjoys reading, cooking, running, yoga, playing guitar, spending time with family and friends, and following his favorite sports teams, the Chicago Bears and Chicago White Sox. Rick currently resides in Geneva, IL with his wife Amy Palese, who is also a VanderCook alumna (B.M.Ed. 2004, M.M.Ed 2008) and music educator.
"Are you thinking about enrolling in a continuing education course at VanderCook? If so, I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about the MECA program and our course offerings. I'd also love to chat with you about how you can apply credits earned in the MECA program towards a master’s degree at VanderCook. Feel free to contact me directly at (312) 788-1133 for more information."