August 17, 2021

We are delighted to announce the appointment of two new members of the Project STEP Board of Directors, Ashleigh Gordon and Christopher Mackey. We asked Chris and Ashleigh to share what excites them most about Project STEP. “Two things excite me when I think about Project STEP. The first is the high level of care, attention, opportunity, and quality music education so many Black and Latinx youth receive right here in Boston, and have been receiving for nearly 40 years. As an educator myself, I know that consistent, quality care is so critical,” said Ashleigh.  “A child wanting to explore and discover the world through music should have an opportunity to, regardless of socio-economic hurdles. It excites me to join Project STEP to help the organization and its students continue its tremendous, important work,” added Chris.

The second thing that excites me about Project STEP is the life-long friendships made as a result of the program’s intimate design. Growing up as a young violinist (who then switched to the best instrument ever: the viola!) I didn’t have any close-knit relationships with students who looked like me and shared similar cultural backgrounds. Project STEP provides such an invaluable space for that kind of connection that is truly life-changing,” added Ashleigh. Chris is also excited by “the opportunity to help young people find pathways for their musical passion.” We consider STEP to be a model for creative youth development where music is used to help young people develop key skills and find success throughout their lives. 

Described as a “charismatic and captivating performer,” Ashleigh Gordon has recorded with Switzerland’s Ensemble Proton and Germany’s Ensemble Modern; performed with Grammy-award winning BMOP and Grammy-nominated A Far Cry string ensemble; and appeared at the prestigious BBC Proms Festival with the Chineke! Orchestra. Comfortableon an international stage, Ashleigh has performed in the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls (London), Konzerthaus Berlin and Oper Frankfurt (Germany), Gare du Nord and Dampfzentrale Bern (Switzerland), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Lee Hysan Concert Hall (Hong Kong), and throughout Sofia, Bulgaria as part of the multi-disciplinary 180 Degrees Festival.

Ashleigh is co-founder, Artistic/Executive Director and violist of Castle of our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series devoted to celebrating Black Artistry through music. In recognition of her work, she has presented at IDEAS UMass Boston Conference and 180 Degrees Festival in Bulgaria; has been featured in the International Musician and Improper Bostonian magazines as well as the Boston Globe; and was awarded the 2016 Charles Walton Diversity Advocate Award from the American Federation of Musicians. She is a 2015 St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award recipient, a 2019 Brother Thomas Fellow, a nominee for the 2020 “Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities,” and named one of WBUR’s “ARTery 25”, twenty-five millennials of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene.



Chris Mackey is currently the Director of Finance at Boston College High School. He has over 15 years experience leading Business Office teams through the budgets, the accounting cycle, and strategic planning. Chris has worked in higher education, public housing, and the zoological/conservation space. He is mission-driven and enjoys problem solving for institutions that make a positive impact in people’s lives. Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Framingham State University. He lives in Medford with his wife, Sara, and two boys, Ben and Ethan. Chris is passionate about music, family and friends, and the Boston Celtics.