School of Rock Names Rob Price CEO Amid Dzana Homan Controversy
School of Rock has named Rob Price as CEO. The appointment comes after numerous complaints about bullying and intimidation tactics by CEO Dzana Homan were posted to the UnhappyFranchisee.Com website by School of Rock franchise owners. The controversy grew when School of Rock attorney Craig Tractenberg threatened a smear campaign against the web publisher if the complaints were not removed. Private equity owner of School of Rock has disavowed knowledge or approval of Tractenberg’s threats.
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Rob Price has been named the new CEO of School of Rock.
After today, June 30, 2017, CEO Dzana Homan will be “pursuing other interests.”
The growing controversy over School of Rock CEO Dzana Homan began with complaints posted to UnhappyFranchisee.Com by School of Rock franchise owners. A group of anonymous franchisees claimed that Dzana Homan, who was named CEO in 2014, transformed the School of Rock culture from an open, collaborative labor of love to a dictatorial and oppressively toxic environment in which the Franchisee Advisory Council was disbanded, franchisees feared sharing complaints and suggestions lest they be targeted for retaliation, and corporate employees were subjected to racist, homophobic and discriminatory statements from the Chief Executive.
Despite numerous invitations to address or rebut these allegations, Ms. Homan has never responded to UnhappyFranchisee.Com. Instead, long-time School of Rock attorney Craig Tractenberg called Unhappy Franchisee publisher Sean Kelly and threatened him with a lawsuit and a personal smear campaign if the comments weren’t removed. Kelly filed a complaint against Tractenberg with The Disciplinary Committee of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
For an overview of the controversy, read: SCHOOL OF ROCK Franchise, Sterling Partners Controversy Overview
Today, School of Rock Chairman of the Board David Zucker sent an email message to SoR employees and franchisees announcing the appointment of Rob Price as CEO.
From: School of Rock Chairman <email@example.com>
Date: June 30, 2017 at 9:01:28 AM EDT
Subject: School of Rock Organizational Update
School of Rock Employees and Franchisees:
I want to inform you of important changes to our leadership.
Dzana Homan will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. On behalf of the Board of Directors of School of Rock, we thank Dzana for her spirited and committed service these last three years and wish her the best in her future endeavors. Her last day at School of Rock is today.
I am pleased to welcome Rob Price to School of Rock as our new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective July 6th. Rob is a highly successful team leader and motivator with a track record of success building brands in the consumer, franchise, and retail sectors. A long-time fan of all music genres, Rob is passionate about School of Rock’s mission, committed to building on our company’s culture, and excited to help lead the company in its next stage of growth.
We hope you will welcome him into the School of Rock fold and work with him to help grow the company and its franchisees in the years ahead.
Fun fact about Rob – he plays the keyboard and guitar, and once recorded an album with his wife and three kids, rented an RV, and toured the country playing festivals, clubs, and corporate gigs.
We are certain you will enjoy getting to know Rob. He’s excited to meet those of you who will be at Summerfest in Milwaukee and looks forward to getting to know the rest of you in the coming weeks. More information on his appointment is included in the press release below.
Chairman of the Board
The press release contains no mention of former CEO Dzana Homan.
School of Rock Names Rob Price as CEO
Brand Builder and Music Enthusiast Joins Performance-Based Music Education Company to Accelerate Growth
El Segundo, CA, and Chicago, IL, June 30, 2017 – School of Rock, a leader in performance-based music education, announced today the appointment of Rob Price as President and Chief Executive Officer. Price will work closely with School of Rock’s senior leadership team to enhance the student experience at each school, expand the global footprint, and establish creative partnerships to maximize the brand’s reach.
David Zucker, Chairman of the Board at School of Rock, said, “Rob has extensive experience helping strong brands fully reach their potential. He has an impressive track record of engaging team members, operators, and partners in support of rapid business growth.”
Prior to School of Rock, Price served as President of Edible Arrangements, which integrates an online business and 1,300 franchised stores worldwide. Before that, he was SVP, Chief Marketing Officer at CVS Health. Price has also held executive roles at Wawa Food Markets and H-E-B Grocery. In addition to serving as a director of Walker & Company, Price is a member of the Alumni Board at Harvard Business School, where he earned his MBA. He graduated with a BS in Applied Economics from Cornell University, was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and was a Henry Crown Fellow and Richard Braddock Scholar at the Aspen Institute.
“As a parent, I’ve seen firsthand how music can shape lives,” said Price. “I look forward to working closely with School of Rock’s talented franchisees, parents, students, corporate team members, and industry partners to reach many thousands more aspiring rock and rollers. School of Rock is unique, and I’m thrilled to be a part of its important mission.”
Since partnering with Sterling Partners in 2009, School of Rock has grown system-wide sales from $13M to over $65M, student count from 4,000 to over 25,000, and school count from 52 to over 190 in nine countries.
Rick Elfman, Managing Director at Sterling Partners, said, “As we got to know Rob, it became clear his business skills, leadership style, and raw passion for music – he was in a rock and roll band with his wife and three kids – would be a great addition to School of Rock.”
About School of Rock
The music school your mom and dad wish they had when they were kids, School of Rock is an ingenious concept that gets kids and adults rocking out to the classics and up and performing with their peers. With more than 190 locations in nine countries, the franchise proves that rock and roll is here to stay. Follow School of Rock on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SchoolofRockUSA and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SchoolofRockUSA. For more information on School of Rock visit www.SchoolofRock.com or call 866-695-5515. To learn more about School of Rock franchise opportunities head to http://franchising.schoolofrock.com/.
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, with over $2.5 billion of assets under management, Sterling is guided by its stated purpose, INSPIRED GROWTH®, which describes Sterling’s approach to investing in differentiated businesses and growing them in inspired ways. Sterling provides valuable support to the management teams of the companies in which the firm invests through a deep and dedicated team of professionals, including a strong network of outside directors and advisors. The people at Sterling believe in ideas and ideals, in people and in partnerships that drive long-term success. For more information, visit: www.sterlingpartners.com.
Further reading on the School of Rock / Sterling Partners Controversy:
SCHOOL OF ROCK Franchise, Sterling Partners Controversy Overview
SCHOOL OF ROCK Franchise Complaints
Is Dzana Homan an Abusive CEO? School of Rock, Sterling Partners Controversy Grows
SCHOOL OF ROCK Dzana Homan Responds to Franchise Complaints
SCHOOL OF ROCK Franchise CEO Dzana Homan Faces Tough Questions
School of Rock Attorney Craig Tractenberg Threatens Unhappy Franchisee Publisher
Craig Tractenberg Complaint Submitted to Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of PA
WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT IS CAUSING THE HIGH CORPORATE TURNOVER AT SCHOOL OF ROCK? HOW IS THAT AFFECTING FRANCHISEES AND THEIR BUSINESSES? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.
TAGS: Rob Price, Rob Price CEO, School of Rock, School of Rock franchise, School of Rock franchise opportunity, Dzana Homan, CEO Dzana Homan, Sterling Partners, Avi Epstein, Rick Elfman, Fox Rothschild, Craig Tractenberg, Craig R. Tractenberg, education franchise complaints
21 thoughts on “School of Rock Names Rob Price CEO Amid Dzana Homan Controversy”
Power of the press Sean!!! Thanks!
Sean, thank you. Truly, you have been our voice. The work is not done, and there is a lot of cultural rebuilding to do – but we got the attention of Sterling – now we need to keep it.
I truly hope whoever engages with Dzana Homan as a future employer – reviews this thread. We would not wish her style of management on any business, particularly in those focusing on children.
Keep up the good fight!
All’s well that ends well. Hopefully he will steer the ship in the right direction
Thanks Sean! Hopeful for positive change and a positive and COLLABORATIVE relationship with Corporate in the future!
I just hope that all small furry animals keep clear of Dzana Homan’s vicinity for at least the near future.
I hear she likes to crumple them when angry.
It appears that School of Rock has gone from rudderless to leaderless. The old CEO has been expunged, and the new CEO – Rob Price – is dead silent.
What does it take to get respect from a franchisor? We pay up to 11% in combined fees and brand fund and the new leader can’t send a welcome email or arrange a conference call with owners in nearly 2 weeks of tenure in the leadership seat.
After having been in the corporate world for many years, this is not the sign of a strong, decisive and inspiring leader. We do not need another Sterling Board Puppet. Let’s get the ship righted, before we lose faith in the new guy. We’re on a leased business model. There is no time for dragging heels.
Hoping this isn’t a sign of what’s in store for the future.
I want to give the guy some time to get up and running but, Rob Price has been in “office” for 11 days and has not bothered to even send the standard “Hi! I’m your new CEO and looking forward to working with you” friendly email to the system. Crickets from him. Doesn’t bode well for a good relationship going forward. He has to know that we have been through hell with the former CEO and it’s pretty tone deaf to start the relationship by not communicating. There is a lot of koolaid that he is no doubt getting a high dose of but what he needs to immediately do is TALK TO A LOT OF OWNERS. So far, pretty unimpressive start I am sad to say.
Sterling ALWAYS makes the wrong choice in terms of management decisions. Rob is just the flavor of the month with a horrible track record. I work seven days a week and still find it necessary put my own money in the bank to make payroll and bills.
Not what any of us signed up for!
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
– The Who ‘ Won’t Get Fooled Again’
Well after a bit of a pregnant pause…yep is been about 9 months.
After a lot of vitriol and some time to recover from our PTSD…nothing much has changed in terms of how owners are treated and supported. There has been a little bit of deck chair shuffling, but the captain of the boat is still Sterling. Most all of the corporate staff is changing, the corporate support structure has been realigned/misaligned, and some key staff has been elevated to new positions they have no business being in.
New promises have been deferred, deadlines missed, excuses made and new business requirements made on the owners that cost more money without any improvements in the support that corporate provides…mindblowing considering the 11% royalty that is paid.
Corporate is buying back some locations…folks that either had enough or were really not smart in how they operated. And as with any franchisor, the push is towards selling more. But the fact remains, this is a FINO (franchise in name only). Many owners have decided to not expand and have walked away from additional locations.We have been here before…
There has been significant changes recently at the corporate staff level, with a new controller, new franchise sales people and a reconfiguration of the franchise consultant support structure (which was good because most are pretty inexperienced). A lot of money being spent on the support of selling new franchises, and a lot of money being spent on buying up existing schools. All this being done while a significant number of franchises struggle to make a living at this. Interestingly enough, there seems to be little money being spent supporting new franchises, and little money bolstering up the education side of the business.
The trumpets were blowing, the songbirds singing when he was shown the door at his last president job. The most arrogant man on Earth will never help build bridges with franchisees. His lasting words at his previous gig were always “You signed a piece of paper that says we can do whatever we want.” Good luck SoR with this creep.
It’s been one more year of no forward movement.
Sure, there’s a new CEO. He’s nice, he is well spoken, he wants to work with owners. The problem is, it’s a business model that doesn’t work for most of the franchise owners.
This business requires superhero strength to run many events, deal with parents and kids with complicated issues, juggle operations and failing or substandard technology platforms. Then there’s the bar owners, venues, musicians and other people who are part of the entertainment industry and think we are rolling in money.
The reality is most owners don’t make money. Some scrape by on wages you would pay your junior support staff. A very lucky few in the right demographic do alright. The problem is the royalties and brand fund fees are way to high vs what we are delivered and the promises that were made when we bought our business are now considered “past sins, not to be dredged up”.
The majority of owners would sell if they could, but there are few willing buyers. Corp tells us if we can’t make money on the new fees they are mandating for various solutions to do our business, then we shouldn’t be in business. None of these extra costs were divulged during the sales process, or in the FDD, or in the FA – they are miscellaneous expenses that eat and eat and eat at revenues.
Simply put, if you want to make money, don’t buy this business. If you’re rich and looking to add a few additional headaches to your life – feel free to make an offer on any school you’re interested in. This model really is just a way to get owners to buy themselves a job they can’t make money in and as a gift, get a lot of long hours and liability in return.
In case there’s any confusion about corporate’s focus on selling more franchises vs supporting the existing owners and business – check out the website and reflect on how the franchise sales page looks so much better than the school of rock business pages. The priority is on selling schools, not growing and supporting the franchisees.
I worked for both the corporate and franchisee. I was there for 7 years and it was horrible to be treated and paid like a high school summer intern!
I had more experience and credentials than most on the corporate team and i will always feel sorry for those owners who invested so much money and so much time to be treated so poorly. Its a SCAM you pay $50k for the logo and crappy software. It cost another $150k to get up and running and then You get charged 11% FOR NOTHING … no support , no manuals , no training, no CURRICULUM and when i was there NO LEGAL RIGHTS TO THE MUSIC THEY TEACH? WHAT?
Yes and now i have completed my degree moved out west and took a job at UMG maybe I can finally help those franchisees out? Maybe someone like a big label or artist will SUE SOR and the franchisees could be free from this joke of a corporation- school of rock is an awesome program but its not a good business model and definitely not a Franchise !
Corporate greed and Rock n Roll do not mix well.
Good luck to everyone, sounds like the new guy is better than Dzana but that doesnt say too much because she was despicable.
The new boss is CLEARLY not focused on things that will put more money in the franchisee’s pockets, just the pockets of Sterling Partners. The latest iteration is a ‘reseller’ deal with Hal Leonard music publishing that puts money in corporate’s pocket before the school owners’ see it. I had really high hopes of the situation getting better, but everything seems to be about selling more schools.
Anybody out there with a good heart and some money so we can take these clowns on? We have been misled and lied to and need to fight back against this.
Owning a School of Rock franchise is a roller coaster ride from hell.
I found this through my kid who loved the program and thought this would be a great way to not only make some money, but literally give back to the universe. After being sold on the franchise and signing on the dotted line, I quickly realized that there is no support, the training is very off base for what you need as a franchisee and the numbers they flash for start up costs are a lot higher than they represent.
I enjoy the kids and the interactions but, really, if that is what you are looking for, save the pain and just volunteer to help out and pay the tuition for your kid to participate. There is nothing about this that is turnkey or a franchise. If you are not a musician, be especially careful as there is no development training that gets you the kind of staff and teachers you need.
And there is no curriculum.
And you, as a little franchisee, are supposed to figure out on your own if your school has all the right licenses to teach and perform as you figure out what the heck you are going to teach. They will tell you not to worry, that they have it covered but a quick call to an attorney and you realize your liability is huge. Surprise those licenses are expensive.
Speaking of liability, this is a kid business. Lots of liability. Then there’s the shows. After you sign you realize you need to find a venue and it would have been great if they had told you to maybe build one out since there is nothing in your area. No worries, they are getting their royalties, you read the contract right, and “if you didn’t want to follow their rules you shouldn’t have signed a franchise agreement.” The big F U.
You pour yourself in 150% and realize that you are not going to make nearly what you thought but you have years ahead of you. You then realize that when the owners you talked to warned you about the ROI, you dismissed them thinking you were smarter. You are not. Then without even seeing if you are interested in the territory, they jam another school right on the line next to yours, because, corporate greed.
I regret my franchise and now I am stuck and the only one buying anything is SOR Corp at pennies on the dollar. Do yourself a favor and give this one a hard pass. Or, if you really want this, call an existing owner – I bet they would sell to you.
FREEBIRD – There are many of us who would like to talk with you about working with UMG — creating our own agreement outside of what School of Rock corporate has set up with Hal Leonard so that we truly can be copyright compliant. Yes, we can legally negotiate our own deals because we signed the new FA that specifically states it is our responsibility to comply with copyright. Can you please identify yourself to Unhappy Franchisee Moderator, Sean. He knows who I am and he has agreed to broker communication since all of us are so afraid of being “caught” and reprimanded for trying to do what is right.
I am low person on the pole at UMG , and sadly i am petrified of Sterling Partners !
I am glad Sean here has given a little voice to your situation. I will tell the story wherever i can too , just not ready to out myself. stay strong SOR , hopefully truth matters
Dear Rob ,
You have inherited a dysfunctional family in a broken home. This is a wonderful loving household and family but with such communication issues that there is a great divide which has fractured the completeness and dynamic of a loving operation that works, which is basically what any good family or community is.
You have also inherited the biggest thing in business and industry since bottled water. But who really sees this last part? I know I do. Though I feel I have the support of most franchise owners here, I’m not sure they even see it. Try and imagine how big this thing can get. And then go larger. You’d almost be there. It’s that grand.
Music is a natural resource fundamental to the human experience. We all are formed inside our mothers to the beat of her heart. Once ours gets formed a poly-rhythm begins inside. I believe music is a central component to our evolutionary process as we ascend toward our highest potential as beings. I believe we are being oppressed as a human race because music education and experience is being kept from us and in it’s place we are sold tunes, confections that we settle for. The ‘music industry’ might possibly be THE largest industry out there and yet the first thing you hear is ‘there’s no money for music education schools’. Enter School of Rock! We are the ultimate game changer on all of these fronts and for all these reasons and more. This is no accident. This was the intention of SoR’s original dreamers. A new age in music experience and awareness through education to people young and old. And yes, it’s Rock and Roll. People light up and expend in our care every week, every month, every year around the world and this has been going on since 1998.
SoR has achieved this not from going corporate, but because the initial dream was that pure and sincere. Corporations can sometimes be like ticks and attach themselves to the host. The lousy corporations think that it is the tick that steers when it’s actually the host (the dream). SoR has one of the best situations around. It has a unified front of school owners that just want to grow their business and their dream. They will do whatever it takes so long as it doesn’t insult their intelligence, integrity or disrespect their collective experience.
This is not a franchise business. It never was. It was never meant to be. It will never succeed as such. What I mean is that this is a music business. Our strength is not selling franchises. Our strength is selling music in the form of educational experiences through music information (music is a code), interaction, and application. We are an intellectual commodity which means we as a company have been playing in the wrong field for quite some time.
thanks for even reading this. I guess it’s more for me than you. SoR is much bigger than the current music industry or even the current entertainment industry on a whole. Paul Green didn’t have a dream. He was encountered by a dreamlike vision, which made it easy for us to proceed as custodians more than anything else. We are lucky to be present in a time where matters of the heart will be the biggest industry in history.
May all the noble forces come to your aid Before the Industry EATS YOU ALIVE !
Glad i got out when i did and sad i had to leave the most passionate afair with music in my career. Stay strong owners the truth will set us all free someday, and dont be afraid of sterling, the press or the music Business you are all ON the right sIde of this. They Should be afraid of you.
OLD HEAD OPINIONS
SofR dead money.
Our school has absentee owners, a manager who is teaching half the time and me the front desk person making 12.50 an hour trying to help plug the leaks.
Not sure how I or anyone can stay working here. Really love the school and everyone here but the model doesn’t seem to work for anyone actually working here. Students make out…everyone else just gets by.
How can any owner afford to ‘hire’ a teacher when they offer is ‘Hey… I’ll give you a part time schedule with lots of breaks that won’t allow you to bills…so you’ll have to have a few jobs’
There is no curriculum. No true CRM where leads are then auto contacted and followed up with.
Lots of very nice people trying to do their best without any direction.
It’s a shame.
Coming back in 2 years later. I feel the same way.
School of Rock is great for students.
Pretty awesome for parents
Pretty poor for teachers
And terrible for owners-managers