Karl Paulnack

Retired Professor, Music Performance
Specialty: Dean, School of Music, 2013-2020

Karl Paulnack lives in Ithaca, NY with his husband Dave and their dog Mato. Karl is a clinically trained interfaith chaplain at the Cayuga Medical Center and a peer mentor with the Cancer Resource Center of Ithaca. He is also a passionate but inexperienced potter and spends several hours most days covered in mud.

Karl is a nationally recognized speaker, writer, workshop facilitator, and thought leader on the Power of Music. He has keynoted national conventions including Texas Music Educators Association, Organization of American Kodaly Educators, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Iowa Bandmasters Association, CBDNA, Michigan Music Conference, and many others.

Karl served on the faculties of the Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, University of Minnesota and University of Southern California. He directed the Boston Conservatory’s Music Division from 2002-2013, and served as dean of the School of Music at Ithaca College from 2013-2020. A former National Association of Schools of Music Commissioner, he served on visiting teams for dozens of schools holding NASM, NECHE, or Middle States accreditation. Karl holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.  He is an associate of the Aspen Leadership Group and serves on the boards of directors of the Michael Steinberg and Jorja Fleezanis Fund, The Rowe Center, and the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes.

Karl is active as an independent consultant and advisor to a variety of communities. His passions include developing and coaching individual leadership, and building high-performing teams and high-trust environments. He consults organizations on curricula, assessment, faculty engagement and accreditation. His skills and interests include productive transformation of conflict; facilitating small group engagement; leading mission, vision and values work; and facilitating workshops designed to foster authenticity, passion, purpose, and joy.