Sterling Partners Backs School of Rock Again

For those about to rock, Sterling Partners salutes you. The Chicago-based private equity firm is putting another $5 million in School of Rock, the music education company, along with the company’s existing investors. School of Rock was formed in Philadelphia.


Second capital infusion since 2009 investment will further expand growth in U.S. and Mexico

Burr Ridge, Ill., April 19, 2012 – For the second time since receiving an initial investment from private equity firm Sterling Partners in 2009,School of Rock, the U.S. leader in performance-based music education, received an additional capital investment from its current investors. The $5 million investment was led by Sterling – whose nearly $5 billion of assets under management concentrates on growth-oriented companies – and will help School of Rock further expand its growth initiatives in North America while accelerating its franchise development efforts.

“We are building something special here, and I am inspired every day by the talented professional musicians who share our vision and chose to be instructors at our schools, the stories of the students who have been impacted in such a positive way from their involvement in our system, and the amazing performances our students are delivering on some of the world’s best stages,” said Chris Catalano, School of Rock’s CEO. “We are fortunate to have Sterling Partners as our partner and investor. Their continued commitment to our business allows us to accelerate our growth plans which will enable us to inspire more kids in more communities through our unique performance-based approach to music education.”

Founded as a single school in Philadelphia in 1998, School of Rock has become a growing international franchise, operating more than 80 schools in the U.S. and Mexico. The Company plans to triple the number of schools by 2015 and anticipates increasing enrollment by more than 50 percent in the next two years.

In July 2010, the board of directors appointed Catalano to serve as CEO, and since then, he has built a highly regarded management team. “We are inspired by Chris Catalano’s vision and growth strategy for School of Rock and see incredible potential for the company to continue to revolutionize the way this country’s children receive music education,” said Shoshana Vernick, principal at Sterling Partners.

School of Rock’s board of directors includes Paula Boggs, former executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) and a performing musician; David Zucker, chairman of Petty Holdings, and former executive vice president of ESPN and CEO of Midway Games; and Dr. Joe Roberts, founding partner of School of Rock, original board chairman and parent of an AllStar. The company also recently relocated its corporate headquarters to Chicago suburb Burr Ridge, Ill., from Teaneck, N.J.

“Because of the board members’ commitment to our mission, we have the ability to impact more communities, more kids and more families,” said Brandon Turner, School of Rock’s chief operating officer. “Our investors are making really meaningful contributions to the business including assembling a board from their extensive network, giving us feedback on our strategic plans, and committing capital to support our growth.”

To see School of Rock kids in action click here. To see Chris Catalano talking about his vision click here.

About School of Rock
For more than a decade, School of Rock has been inspiring kids to rock on stage and in life. Our students develop confidence, talent and skills, through our beginner, intermediate and advanced music programs. We offer music lessons on guitar, bass, piano, vocals and drums in an authentic, performance-based environment. School of Rock operates more than 80 company owned and franchised schools in 26 states and Mexico with several new schools opening in 2012. We are expanding rapidly to meet the demands of kids who want to play music, perform live in rock and roll venues and for parents who appreciate music education. With opportunities available nationwide, it’s an exciting time to open a music school franchise with School of Rock! Visit for more information.

About Sterling Partners
Sterling Partners is a private equity firm with a distinct point of view on how to build great companies. Founded in 1983, Sterling has invested billions of dollars, guided by the company’s stated purpose: INSPIRED GROWTH®, which describes Sterling’s approach to buying differentiated businesses and growing them in inspired ways. Sterling focuses on investing growth capital in small and mid-market companies in industries with positive, long-term trends – education, healthcare, and business services. Sterling provides valuable support to the management teams of the companies in which the firm invests through a deep and dedicated team of operations and functional experts based in the firm’s offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami.

The people at Sterling believe in ideas and ideals, in people and partnerships that drive long-term success. For more information please