[ symposium ]
2011 Symposium on Music in Schools
The third biennial Symposium on Music in Schools took place June 9–12, 2011 at the Yale School of Music. This Symposium focused on two main themes:
- Integrating music into the general classroom
- The relationship between visiting teaching artists and public school music teachers
- The Public School Music Teacher as Leader in Teaching Artist Programs – presented by Mark Churchill, Director of El Sistema USA, and Scott C. Shuler, President of NAfME
- Distance Learning Technology in the Music Classroom: Leading Your School in Creating Programs with Schools in Other Locations – presented by Rachel Stevens, teacher at Co-Op Arts & Humanities High School in New Haven, and Fritz Benz, 2009 Symposium alumnus
- The Role of the Music Teacher in the General Classroom – a panel featuring current Symposium attendees Jami Lupold, Cindy Puschak, and Thomas Scavone
On Saturday, attendees enjoyed a talk by Yo-Yo Ma and a performance by The Silk Road Ensemble, events presented in conjunction with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
At the awards banquet, each teacher received the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award. The keynote address was given by John Merrow, Education Correspondent for PBS NewsHour and President of Learning Matters. The evening also featured a performance by our own All-City Honors Chorus.
2011 Yale Distinguished Music Educators
The 2011 Yale Distinguished Music Educators were selected from a pool of 330 nominees from 45 states. As in previous years, they were a diverse group: they came from 30 different states, including our first attendees from Alabama, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin; taught vocal as well as instrumental music across myriad genres; and worked at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in urban, rural, and suburban school districts.
Please click the “+” buttons below for more information about each teacher.
Montgomery County Public Schools – Mrs. Basaric-Ilic, music educator and flautist, has been teaching and performing for over 20 years. She received her education through universities in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the United States.
As a flautist of the Mostar Symphony Orchestra and soloist in her native country, former Yugoslavia, Mrs. Basaric-Ilic has performed in numerous concerts throughout Europe.
Her teaching experience includes teaching at all levels from K-12 both internationally and in the U.S. Her students have received many awards and recognitions as a result of her teaching success. Additionally, several of her students have become music educators themselves.
Mrs. Basaric-Ilic currently teaches at Potomac Elementary School, an Arts Integrated Model School.
Her goal is to motivate her students to continuously explore the beauty and power of music, creating a community of introspective and inquisitive learners.
Springfield Public Schools – Gary Bernice is the director of Springfield’s High School of Science and Technology Concert Band, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, and Stomp Percussion Ensemble. As co-founder and co-director of Springfield’s Mentoring through Music Program, he coaches chamber ensembles and teaches group and individual music lessons after school.
Gary Bernice graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and holds a Master of Music in Music Education, both from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2006, he completed an honors thesis through the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts titled Students’ Beliefs about Relevant Curriculum in the Secondary Urban Music Classroom.
In 2008, Gary Bernice received the Pioneer Valley Distinguished Teaching Award and currently serves on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Arts Education Advisory Council. He resides in Springfield with his family and remains an active musician and advocate for the Springfield community.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools – Mrs. Michelle Berra graduated with a B.M from James Madison University, Virginia with a concentration in general/vocal music and piano in 2001. While teaching music in Fairfax County, Virginia, Mrs. Berra earned her Masters of Music with a concentration in Music Education (MME) from George Mason University. In 2006, she graduated with the award of Outstanding Graduate in the MME program and attained Orff Schulwerk Certification, Level III. Mrs. Berra relocated to Miami from the greater Washington D.C. Metro area in the summer of 2006. Since moving to Miami, Mrs. Berra has enjoyed leading many professional development workshops in music education, arts integration, and the Orff Schulwerk process. She also has served as a guest conductor for local choral events. Ms. Berra was a member of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Writing Team and serves as President for the South Florida Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association.
Red Bank Borough Public Schools – Carol Boehm graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mrs. Boehm currently teaches Pre-Kindergarten through Third Grade Instrumental, Choral, and General Music at Red Bank Primary School, Red Bank, NJ. Carol created the Third Grade Band Program and an after-school Chorus comprised of 40 First through Third Graders. Mrs. Boehm collaborates with the Two River Theater Company, Red Bank, on the Young Voices 732 Project. This program provides Middle School students an opportunity to create and perform an original production. She is the Director of the Eatontown Municipal Band and performs with the Band of Two Rivers on clarinet. During the summer, Carol is the Drama Director at Rolling Hills Day Camp, Freehold, NJ. Dedicated to service, Carol is an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators and the First Vice-President of the Red Bank Borough Educational Association.
West Des Moines Community Schools – Dr. Jeanne Caldwell was born and raised in the suburbs of St. Louis. She currently lives in Monroe, Iowa with her husband Gil. Dr. Caldwell earned a BMA from Tulsa University in 1974, a MME from VanderCook College of Music in 1995, and an Ed.D. from the University of Phoenix in 2008. During the past 31 years, she has taught band, orchestra, choir and general music in three central Iowa school districts most recently serving as a string teacher in West Des Moines, Iowa where she was recently awarded the teacher of the year award.
Madison Metropolitan School District – Barbara Chusid graduated from Yale College in 1980 and is very happy to return for this symposium. Since graduation, she has taught public elementary school music in Madison, WI. In addition to teaching, she has written music for theater, dance, video and radio and played keyboards in many bands from Afropop to alt-country. Barbara has been a part of over ten artist-in-residencies and is very committed to bringing artists into the classroom. She has a strong interest in integrating music into the general classroom particularly in the areas of history, sociology and anthropology.
Barbara’s life is greatly enriched by her partner and two children, 9 and 12, who teach her every day.
Barbara was one of three Distinguished Music Educators selected from the state of Wisconsin in 2011, the first Symposium attendees from that state.
New Haven Public Schools – New Haven music teacher Carmalyn Buleje Cook has been teaching children the joy of music for twenty-one years. She teaches Pre-K through 8th grade at the John C. Daniels School of International Communication. Carmalyn’s day is filled with song, dance, piano, recorders, music theory, and ends with her after-school theatre program. A day is never dull in the music room at John C. Daniels.
San Mateo Union High School District – Troy Davis is the Director of Bands at Aragon High School in San Mateo, California. He is also the Music Director of the Oakland Municipal Band and has served as a guest conductor with many summer music programs. He earned his Master’s Degree in music education from Notre Dame de Namur University and his Bachelor of Music in oboe performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In addition to teaching and conducting, he freelances around the San Francisco Bay Area as a woodwind player and has performed with many celebrated artists and ensembles including Robin Williams, The Drifters, Michael Tilson Thomas, and the San Francisco Symphony. He has traveled extensively and performed in some of the world’s greatest concert halls, including the Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and on the Great Wall of China. Mr. Davis is listed in the Marquis’ “Who’s Who in America”.
Saranac Lake Central School District – Helen Demong graduated from the Crane School of Music, and is the choral director for the Saranac Lake High School Concert Choir and Men’s & Women’s Vocal Ensembles. These groups have performed at our nation’s Capital, the National Gallery in Ottawa, and traveled to Siena, Italy to perform and premiere an original work by Glenn McClure. Demong has been a presenter on development of strong music programs at the NYSSMA Conferences and a guest conductor for All County Music Festivals.
She is noted for working with guest artists to deepen the roots of the musical arts in her rural district.
Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio recently stated: “Over the last three and a half decades, Demong built Saranac Lake High School’s choral program into one of the most ambitious and accomplished in Upstate New York.”
Aberdeen School District No. 5 – William Dyer holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of Puget Sound, and a Masters in Music from Northwestern University. He has recently been accepted into a DMA program through Boston University. William teaches bands and ethnic percussion in the Aberdeen School District, Aberdeen, WA, and is on the faculty at Grays Harbor College. He is one of only a handful of instrumental music teachers nationwide to earn National Certification in Music Education. He was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Exchange for the fall 2008 term, and served as an instructor of music at Duncanrig Secondary School, in East Kilbride, Scotland. William is supported at home by his beautiful wife Melinda, also an educator, and two wonderful children, Aaron, 11, and Isabelle, 8.
William was the first Distinguished Music Educator selected from the state of Washington.
Northern Valley Regional High Schools – Curt Ebersole has served as Director of Instrumental Music at Northern Valley Regional High School (Old Tappan, NJ) since 1982, and as Conductor/Music Director of the Westchester Symphonic Winds (Tarrytown, NY) since 2008. He has gained recognition for his school’s Prism Concerts, a local rite of spring, and award-winning musical theater program. His efforts promote continuing education for conductors through the MEBCI Wind Conducting Symposium he founded in 1987. His achievements have included solo/ensemble performances as clarinetist and basset hornist, guest conducting engagements throughout the northeast and Busan, South Korea, and as clinician at the 2009 Midwest International Band & Orchestra Clinic. Other distinctions include school and county Teacher of the Year, NJ Master Music Teacher, and NJ Governor Arts in Education Awards. He is proud to share this honor from Yale with his fellow alumni from Northwestern University, former teachers, colleagues, and members of his ensembles, past and present.
Lower Merion School District – Tom Elliott is a graduate of the Curtis Institute. He is the founder and former director of the Westminster Brass. He has performed as trombonist with many ensembles including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera and the Marlboro Music Festival.
Mr. Elliott has been orchestra director at Lower Merion High School since 1989. He developed a program that introduces young children to classical music by means of a cartoon character called Maestro the Lion. This program through children’s literature and standard orchestral repertoire has influenced thousands of young students.
Last March, Tom took a sabbatical from his post at Lower Merion High School to live in Venezuela to take part in the famed El Sistema music phenomena that is impacting countries all over the world. What he came back with was a renewed excitement of what music can do in the lives of our children.
Park City School District – Stephen Fairbanks is the orchestra director at Park City High School and Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City, UT. In addition to his school assignments, he also directs the Evanston Civic Orchestra in Evanston, WY. He received both his BM in Music Education and his MM in Conducting from Brigham Young University. He and his wife have two children.
Stephen was the first Distinguished Music Educator selected from the state of Utah.
Normandy School District – Duane Foster, a native of St. Louis, received his B.A. in music from Morehouse College where he was a soloist with the acclaimed Morehouse Glee Club. His career spans from musical theatre and opera to dance and film, having accomplished the highest level of excellence in each discipline. He received his dance training and certification from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, performed the role of Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess at Lincoln Center with NY City Opera and appeared as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. alongside Four-Time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald in the Broadway smash hit musical, Ragtime. Discovering a higher calling and need to inspire the youth, Duane moved back to his native St. Louis in 2006 where he is currently the director of Voice, Drama and Dance at Normandy High School. “I’m here to teach my students to believe in themselves,” is his credo.
Richmond County Schools – Donald Benjamin Greene, Jr. resides in Rockingham, North Carolina and is a Richmond County native. He attended East Carolina University, receiving a BME degree in 1981. He has served the North Carolina Public School System for 28 years in Pitt and Richmond Counties. His roles have included general music teacher, choral director, band director, music educators’ chairman, staff development coordinator, mentor, and mentor trainer. Named Teacher of the Year at Bethel and L. J. Bell Elementary Schools and Music Director for “Arts Alive” in Richmond County, Don has also organized many professional and culturally diverse concerts for the students of Richmond County. He serves the area as a church music director, organist, accompanist, vocal soloist, and hand bell director. He also performs regularly with the Sandhills Ringers, a local handbell choir.
“Music frees the spirit of man to express his innermost thoughts and feelings.”
Simsbury Public Schools – Angela Griffin holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Florida, a Master’s Degree from The Hartt School, and has completed the University of Connecticut program for Educational Leadership. Ms. Griffin currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Griffin has extensive experience as a performing artist and as a professional flutist. She has performed with various local performing organizations including the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the New Britain Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Griffin has previously been employed as an instructor for the Ethel Walker School, the Loomis Chaffee School, and the Hartt Community Division. Ms. Griffin was the former K-12 Music Curriculum Program Coordinator and elementary band director for the South Windsor Public school district. Ms. Griffin is committed to quality musical experiences for all children.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools – James “Aaron” Hardwick holds his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from East Carolina University with honors. He studied viola under the instruction of Ara Gregorian and Nicholas Cords. He has also studied conducting under the instruction of Hisao Watanabe and Dr. Scott Carter of East Carolina University. Mr. Hardwick moved to Virginia Beach in 2007 and is now entering his 4th year as Director of Orchestras at Frank W. Cox High School. Currently, he is on staff as resident session violinist, violist, as well as composer/arranger at Ripple Studios, Recording Studios – Virginia Beach. He is also an active guest conductor and has conducted for festival and district events throughout the eastern United States. Mr. Hardwick resides in Virginia Beach with his wife Christina. He is dedicated to the advocacy of school orchestra and music programs everywhere and has spoken publicly at various venues throughout North Carolina and Virginia.
SC Department of Juvenile Justice – Edward (Ted) Henderson is a cellist/classical guitarist with a Masters Degree in Music Theory from the University of South Carolina currently teaching General Music with an emphasis on music technology in Columbia. His academic interests include the music of Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner’s works for symphony and reception history, and Schenkerian analysis. Ted was accepted into the Doctoral Program in Musicology at Florida State University in 1997 but deferred admittance to teach music at a critical need school district at the Department of Juvenile Justice where is still currently employed as a National Board Certified Teacher. During his tenure at SCDJJ, Ted has been awarded various grants to assist in funding music technology initiatives and artist-in-residence programs with a recent focus on West African Drumming. When not teaching music to adjudicated youth, Ted likes to spend his free time traveling and transcribing the guitar solos of Jerry Garcia.
Grinnell-Newburg Community Schools – Roger Henderson holds a BA from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and a Masters in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa. He has taught vocal music for 28 years and is in his 21st year with the Grinnell Community Schools. Mr. Henderson is currently President of the Iowa Choral Directors Association. He has served on the Iowa High School Music Association Advisory Board. Mr. Henderson has been a presenter at the Iowa Choral Director’s Association annual summer symposium and the Iowa Music Educators Association annual conference. He was part of team teachers who developed an interdisciplinary-humanities course with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He served as a regional teacher-team leader for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, developing teacher assessments for national certification in music education. Subsequently, he continues to train assessors reviewing candidate submissions for the National Board Certification in music.
Town of New Shoreham School District – Hennessy, a professionally trained vocalist, is presently the Director of the Music Department in the New Shoreham School District. As a department of one, she is responsible for General Music K-4, Beginning Band, and Middle School Band. Since she began teaching at the Block Island School in 2007, she has established a Pep Band as well as developed instrumental and vocal study opportunities for high school students.
Ridgway Area School District – Shawn Hofmann is currently the Band Director for the Ridgway Area School District in Ridgway, PA. Duties include directing all Bands Grades 4-12, Marching Band and Middle and High School Jazz Bands.
Mr. Hofmann earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from West Virginia University in 1996 and a Master of Music in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in 2006.
Mr. Hofmann has also held positions in the Kane Area School District, Kane, PA where he taught Middle School Bands and General Music and positions in Georgetown County South Carolina where he taught General Music for grades K-6.
Mr. Hofmann has adopted an “Everyday Everyway” approach to being superior as musicians and human beings from his mentor, Mr. David Willson and is committed to bringing the same high quality band program to rural school districts that are available in more affluent metropolitan areas through mentorship and collaboration.
Kirkwood School District – Patrick Jackson’s instructional leadership and commitment to music education is legendary in the Kirkwood School District. Jackson was the recent recipient of the Missouri American String Teachers Association’s “Secondary String Educator of the Year” award. In addition, Kirkwood School District honored him as the 2003-04 Teacher of the Year. He was also the 2003 Emerson “Excellence in Teaching” award winner and was recognized the following year by The St Louis American as one of its “Excellence in Education” honorees. In March, 2010 the KHS Symphonic Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Jackson’s former students have won first prize in prestigious string competitions including the Avery Fisher Prize, the Sphinx Competition, Banff International Chamber Music Competition, and the Young Concert Artist Guild. Jackson’s students have also attended top music schools nationwide, including The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
Bend-La Pine Schools – Stefanie is a graduate of the Juilliard Pre-College Division, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Yale School of Music. She received her teaching certification from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has worked in both elementary and middle school settings. Stefanie currently teaches general music at Buckingham Elementary and Bear Creek Elementary in Bend, Oregon. In addition, she has a private flute studio and enjoys playing chamber music. Stefanie is the Winds and Brass Chair of the annual Cascades Classical Young Artist Competition. She can often be found hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, camping, kayaking, geocaching, doing yoga, making travel wish lists, cooking, or spending time at the local tea house. Stefanie lives in Bend with her partner Tom and her dog Gus.
Gladstone School District – David W. Kays is the director of bands for Gladstone (OR) School District. In addition to teaching beginning through advanced bands, including jazz band and wind ensemble, David integrates visiting teaching artists and class trips to expand his students’ perspectives about music in culture and in his students’ lives.
Valley Stream Union Free District 30 – Born in Moscow, Russia, Emilia Kister began her piano studies at the Gnessin School of Music at the age of five. After immigrating to NJ with her family in 1989, she attended the Eastman School of Music for her undergraduate degree, and received her Master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University. She teaches grades K-6, and children with special needs, in Valley Stream, NY.
Ms. Kister began a music technology program in her District and currently has a piano lab in her classroom. She authored twenty lessons in “Elementary Keyboard Lab Curriculum – Teacher Guide” (SoundTree, 2009). Ms. Kister enjoys collaborative work with her colleagues, working on musicals and creating podcasts based on classroom curricula. All projects and music news are posted on her website, at www.kistermusic.com, which has had more than 12,000 hits in the past two years! Ms. Kister lives in Queens, NY with her husband and daughter.
School District of River Falls – Peggy is in her 38th year of teaching music at Westside Elementary School in River Falls, Wisconsin. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and her Master of Music Education Degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where she studied with Eunice Boardman. Peggy earned her Orff Certification from the University of St Thomas. She taught at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Peggy has been involved with the WMEA Listening Project. She served as chair for 4 years and has been an active member of the committee since it was formed. For 20 years Peggy has directed a school musical involving students, staff and parents. World music, active listening, and integrating music into other subjects are important parts of her curriculum. Peggy has presented sessions at many WMEA and MENC conventions. Recently Peggy was awarded the WMEA Michael George Distinguished Service Award.
Peggy was one of three Distinguished Music Educators selected from the state of Wisconsin in 2011, the first Symposium attendees from that state.
Montgomery County Schools – mathSMASH creator Troy Kryzalka was born and raised in Canada. At the age of 5, Troy lost the vision of his right eye, which consequently affected his ability to read music, thus relying on mathematics to become his musical language. In 1998, Troy graduated with honors from the music program at Grande Prairie Regional College, with a specialization in Interactive Digital Design. He then followed up with his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta, and then a few years later with his Academically and Intellectually Gifted Certification. Combining his musical ability, mathematical perspective, technological creativity, and love for teaching, Troy delivers his “sound” approach to learning and understanding mathematics. Troy is currently an Instructional Facilitator for Montgomery County Schools in North Carolina, and is the owner of mathSMASH LLC, which provides instructional tools and mathSMASH Interactive Sessions for students and educators in the southeast.
School District of Philadelphia – Virginia T. Lam is the Content Specialist in Music Education and the Project Manager of the Regional Talent Centers for the School District of Philadelphia. She is the recipient of grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the William Penn Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Disney Corporation, and Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership. Ms. Lam is the School District’s 1987 Rose Lindenbaum “Teacher of the Year” and 2007 finalist for the Marcus A. Foster Award for “Outstanding School Administrator”.
Ms. Lam has taught General and Vocal Music for 25 years with the School District of Philadelphia in elementary and middle schools where her musical theatre productions were recognized citywide. As the District’s Content Specialist, Ms. Lam has been responsible for preparing curriculum, facilitating Professional Development for 300 music teachers, coordinating citywide music festivals, and serving as the liaison between schools, cultural agencies, and academic institutions.
Gwinnett County Public Schools – Dr. Peter Lemonds is currently Director of Orchestras at Duluth High School in metro Atlanta, Georgia and lead teacher for high school orchestra programs in the Gwinnett County Public Schools. He has taught at the University of Southern Mississippi, Emory University, Agnes Scott College, Bates College and the Sewanee Summer Music Center. Dr. Lemonds holds degrees from The University of Missouri-Kansas City, Louisiana State University, and The University of the South, Sewanee. His orchestras have been selected four times to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Convention in Savannah, Georgia and twice for the National Orchestra Festival placing first in 2005 at Reno and third in 2007 in Detroit. Duluth High School Chamber Orchestra performed at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic in December 2007 in Chicago, Illinois.
Kodiak Island Borough School District – Dale Lhotka is a district-wide music coordinator and band director in Kodiak, Alaska. An accomplished trumpeter and percussionist, he established a robust K-12 music program for the Kodiak Island school district. He has also served as a University of Alaska instructor of music appreciation and music education courses.
His innovative use of video teleconferencing has brought K-12 band instruction to Kodiak Island’s under-served Alaska Native villages. As a presenter at the Alaska Arts Education Consortium in the state capitol he shared this initiative with educators from around Alaska.
Originally from Minnesota, Mr. Lhotka earned a Bachelor of Science degree in music education (K-12) at Bemidji State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Alaska Southeast. He has earned recognition with Who’s Who Among Teachers and been named the Region One Music Teacher of the Year and the Alaska Diving Coach of the Year.
Pasadena Independent School District – Jami Lupold is dedicated to providing opportunities for students blending music education with science, culture and community collaboration providing a model program for teaching across the curriculum.
The Building Cultural Bridges program has brought 58 musicians, astronauts and scientists from 23 countries to her school imparting inspired learning and inspired teaching. International music is infused into the curriculum by having people from around the world share their careers, cultures, folk music and favorite children’s literature interacting directly with students.
Students perform live at school and in symphony halls; via video conference from Texas to The Aquarius underwater habitat on the Atlantic Ocean floor to Mount Everest. They sing from Earth to the International Space Station and on concerts with astronauts immersing students in all academics through the arts.
Jami has been a music education specialist for 25 years teaching band, choir, orchestra and elementary music and currently teaches in Houston.
Plymouth Public Schools – Kathy McMinn has taught elementary music for over 29 years. She earned her B.M. in Education from Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford, and her M.Ed. from the University of New England. Ms. McMinn teaches general music at Federal Furnace Elementary School in Plymouth. She also directs the South Shore Conservatory’s children’s chorus “Pure Treble”. As Music Education Coordinator for the Plymouth Philharmonic, she is responsible for developing the Music Immersion Program, the Federal Furnace Treble Choir and the Plymouth Children’s Chorus, three collaborative programs between the Plymouth Public Schools and the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra.
During the summer, Ms. McMinn travels to South Africa to work for the Music For Life Institute, the parent organization for the Africa Children’s Choir. While there, she teaches in village schools, runs training workshops for music teachers and works with the African Children’s Choir.
Omaha Public Schools – Deborah Mosier is an elementary music specialist in the Omaha Public School District in Omaha, Nebraska. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Music Education and a Master’s of Science Degree in Instructional Technology from Peru State College.
She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the arts curriculum at the award winning Catlin Arts Magnet School. She frequently serves as a guest clinician at district in-services, and at state and national conferences. Her honors and awards include the Nebraska State Education Association 2008 Music Educator of the Year and the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award (2009).
Since 2006, she has served as the lead teacher for the Omaha Symphony Communities LinkUP! program and is a contributing editor of the Carnegie Hall, Weill Music Institute “The Orchestra Sings” Link Up Curriculum 2010.
She and her husband Deveron spend their leisure time enjoying their five grandchildren.
Tuscaloosa City Schools – Regina Noland, Arts in Education Supervisor for Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has taught music in Tuscaloosa’s elementary schools for 38 years. The last nine years, she has assumed administrative leadership for the arts, in addition to maintaining a teaching schedule. Noland is active in Tuscaloosa’s arts community, serving as a board member for Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre, President of Tuscaloosa Ballroom Dance Club, and representative for her school district on the Tuscaloosa Arts Council. Mrs. Noland is the Music Director for Taylorville United Methodist Church where she directs the Sanctuary Choir.
Noland will retire in July, allowing her more time to devote to community arts, church music, and her family.
Regina was the first Distinguished Music Educator selected from the state of Alabama.
Katy Independent School District – Ms. Overree has taught in various Houston-area districts. Under her baton, she led the Memorial Philharmonia placing First Runner-Up in the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition. She has conducted at the Midwest Convention and Carnegie Hall. In 2003-2005, the GRAMMY Foundation honored Langham Creek HS designating it a GRAMMY Signature School. In 2004, Miss Overree co-conducted with Dr. Deborah Perkins the Texas “Lone Star” Ambassadors, who toured throughout Europe. Soon after, Dr. Perkins and Ms. Overree formed the Texas Youth Orchestra, completing European tours in 2006 and 2009.
In 2005, Ms. Overree opened Seven Lakes HS. In 2007, the SLHS Sinfonia was ranked the #6 string orchestra in Texas. Seven Lakes most recently achieved the status of 2010 GRAMMY Signature School Semi-Finalist. She has been recognized in “Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers,” and has been recognized as an Educator of Distinction, by the National Society of High School Scholars.
Cave Creek Unified School District – Cindy Puschak has been teaching general music for 23 years in Illinois, Indiana and Arizona. She is currently teaching K-6 music at Desert Sun Academy in the Cave Creek School District in Arizona.
She earned her degree in Music Education at Illinois State University. Cindy has been involved in Music Ministry at several churches, serving as cantor and the Adult and Children’s choir director for the past 20 years.
This year she was a recipient of the Office Max Award, “A Day Made Better.” Besides Cindy’s passion for music and teaching, she loves running marathons and is an avid hiker, enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.
She is married to her husband Garry of 27 years and has three daughters, Shawna, Danielle and Jaclyn.
Maryville City Schools – Bill Robinson has taught strings in the city schools of Maryville, TN for 33 years. Starting on a part-time basis as the system’s only string teacher with a handful of high school string players and a dozen middle school strings, the Maryville Orchestra program has grown to 3 full-time string specialists training over 450 students daily. Having taught at all levels from 4th grade through high school, and exclusively at Maryville High for the past 10 years, this year Mr. Robinson moved to the 5th and 6th grade Intermediate School where he teaches 220 string students each day. His influence and passion for teaching strings to young people has resulted in a community that proudly supports the arts.
Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation – Peter Sampson is the Director of Bands at Whiteland Community High School in Whiteland, Indiana. There he directs the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Bands, Jazz Combos, Pep Band, and the Marching Warriors. Mr. Sampson has led the WCHS Band Program to consistent Gold ratings in Concert and Jazz band festivals, Semi-State Marching Band Finals performances, and consecutive Indiana State School Music Association All-Music Awards. Mr. Sampson is a cum laude graduate of Ball State University and Indiana University with degrees in music education and music technology. In 2009, Mr. Sampson was named a “Graduate of the Last Decade” by Ball State University. Mr. Sampson has been nominated to the Who’s Who in America’s Teachers 4 times and served as the President of the Indiana State School Music Association 2008-2009. Mr. Sampson resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife Julie and their young twin sons Conner and Luke.
Schaumburg School District 54 – Diane Sanfillippo is an elementary music teacher from School District #54 in Schaumburg, IL. She also serves as Music Field Leader for 21 schools in her district. Sharing her love of music with children has been her passion for over 30 years. During her career, she has been inspired to seek out many different ways to provide opportunities for her students to experience music. Diane has a 5th/6th grade chorus and handchime club at her elementary school. She also enjoys using ukuleles, keyboards, puppets and many classroom percussion instruments in her teaching. As Music Field Leader, Diane provides high quality staff development opportunities for her teaching staff. She, and her husband, John, have four children and reside in Hoffman Estates, IL.
Canton Public Schools – Thomas A. Scavone is the K-12 District Music Coordinator and Director of Instrumental Music for the Canton, CT Public Schools. The Music Department has been nationally-recognized both curricularly and through its performance organizations. At the high school level, over fifty percent of the student body participates in the vocal and instrumental music program. The high school jazz ensemble and combo were the featured performers at the 2010 New England Music Festival and the Greater Hartford Jazz Festival. Tom’s previous ensembles have performed at the Tournament of Roses, the Macy’s Thanksgiving and the 53rd Presidential Inaugural Parades.
Belgrade Public Schools – As a music professional for thirty-two years, Roxanne Schwandt/Fauque teaches 4th, 5th, and 6th grade general music and 7th and 8th grade beginning guitars at Belgrade Intermediate and Middle Schools in Belgrade, Montana. In addition to her regular teaching duties, she conducts two children’s choirs and directs the Belgrade High School Flute Choir. In 2004, Roxanne prepared a 120 voice 6th grade choir for a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Roxanne also presented this year at the All-Northwest MENC Music Conference in Bellevue, Washington. She received her undergraduate degree from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska and her Masters from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She and her husband, Alan, enjoy performing together professionally and are currently contemporary worship musicians at First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman, Montana.
Brevard Public Schools – Joani Slawson is a proud product of Brevard County Public Schools. She was active in chorus throughout her formative years and was a 1995 graduate of Eau Gallie High School, Melbourne. In 1999 she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Music Education degree.
Her primary instrument is voice and her specialty is choral directing. She has taught music in Florida public schools for eleven years and is currently the music educator at Saturn Elementary School in Cocoa. In 2007 she was the Saturn Elementary Teacher of the Year. She is the director of the Brevard Children’s Chorus and also has a thriving private studio of voice, piano and percussion students. Ms. Slawson has served as a member of the Brevard County curriculum writing team and is currently on the Music Advisory Board and the State of Florida Course Description Writing Team.
Clark-Shawnee Local Schools – Lydia Smith-Lockwood is the Director of Vocal and Orchestral music at Shawnee High School in Springfield, Ohio. Her ensembles have been honored to perform for the United States Congress and in Carnegie Hall. The choirs consistently receive the highest ratings at adjudicated events and they most recently participated in a master-class with Chanticleer and shared the stage with contemporary Christian singer, Sandi Patty. As an accompanist and performer, Lydia has toured Japan and Europe. Besides teaching, she also accompanies for the Springfield Symphony Chorale and is the Music Director at Northminster Presbyterian Church. Lydia holds degrees from Willamette University and Wright State University.
Lexington Public Schools – Holly Stumpf graduated from the University of Rochester and received an M.Ed. in Creative Arts from Lesley University. She attended the yearlong course at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, where she studied Orff-Schulwerk, which she believes to be an authentic vision of integrated arts education. Ms. Stumpf has taught elementary music in Lexington, Massachusetts, since 1975, and has taught courses at the New England Conservatory and Lowell University.
Throughout her career she has worked with classroom teachers to create integrated curriculum units. Since 1995 she has worked closely with Karen Petersen, a fourth grade teacher, developing units integrating arts with science. With Ms. Petersen, she has presented workshops at national American Orff-Schulwerk Association conferences. Ms Stumpf received the Lexington Public Schools Diversity Award in 2008 for her multicultural music and movement curriculum. Ms. Stumpf plays the flute and cello and enjoys English country dancing and African drumming.
City School District of New Rochelle – Ms. Talbot has been teaching vocal and general music at both the elementary and secondary level for 16 years. She has spent four years working overseas at the American Schools of Las Palmas, Spain, and Asuncion, Paraguay. Currently, Ms. Talbot is part of the music staff at New Rochelle City School District, located a short distance north of New York City. She teaches general music and chorus at Davis Elementary School, a magnet overlay school for the performing arts, where students at every grade level participate in a performance each year either as part of the music curriculum or with an artist-in-residence.
Fox Chapel Area School District – As Fox Chapel Area High School orchestra director and music department chairperson, Thompson is passionate about integrating music with other disciplines and connecting high school musicians with local professional groups. Recently, she helped to create a high school component for the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Tchaikovsky Festival. She brought together local students for an orchestral master class with Gianandrea Noseda and a lecture-recital with Joseph Horowitz and duo pianists, Vakhtang Kodanashvili and Edisher Savitski. Every few years, she helps to coordinate a “Grand Salon”, using a concert performance as a focal point for study of a broader topic. This fall, students from multiple disciplines will study the Gilded Age in America as reflected in the music of Anton Dvorak. The Salon will culminate in a performance of selections from his New World Symphony and a recreation of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, showcasing projects developed in other classrooms.
Barrington Public Schools – Mark has been with the Barrington, Rhode Island school district for 17 years and has taught music in Grades K-8, currently teaching at the K-3 level. A graduate of Berklee College of Music (1992) Mark brings his performance background and a unique, fun and caring approach to all his classes. Aside from his daily teaching schedule, Mark still performs as a drummer professionally with The Drifters, The Coasters, The Platters, as well as freelance work in and around New England.
Mark and Tracey Vadnais have two beautiful daughters and they love to eat sushi and ski in New Hampshire!
Northbridge Public Schools – James Verdone has been the Music Director of Northbridge High School since the fall of 2009. In February 2010, Mr. Verdone and his band were featured in “High School Today”, a publication of the National Federation of State High School Associations, for starting and continuing with school traditions. In December 2010, the Northbridge School Committee recognized Mr. Verdone for outstanding contribution to students, staff, and the community. This year, he co-created the “Bridging of the Bridges” Exchange Concert Series with Nicholas LaPete and the Uxbridge High School Music Department.
Mr. Verdone received his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in February 2009. Along with other ensembles, Mr. Verdone performed with the Minuteman Marching Band under the tutelage of George Parks, Thomas Hannum, and Michael Klesch.
A native of Brockton, Massachusetts, Mr. Verdone has studied trumpet with Vincent Macrina, Walter Chesnut, and Eric Berlin.
Caddo Parish Public Schools – Jessica Wright is a fourth year Elementary Music teacher in Caddo Parish in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she met her husband who is also an Elementary Music teacher. She graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana in 2007 with a Bachelor’s in Vocal Music Education. She enjoys teaching cross-curriculum workshops for her fellow teachers in Caddo Parish as well as mentoring student teachers.
Wausau School District – Karen Zuidema is a native of Viroqua, Wisconsin. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 1983 and received a Master of Arts Degree from Silver Lake College in 2002. At John Muir Middle School in Wausau, Wisconsin Karen teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade music, directs the 160 mixed voice 7th grade choir, the 60 voice 8th grade boys choir and the 45 voice John Muir Pop/Jazz Choir. She has been very active in Wisconsin School Music Association and Wisconsin Choral Directors’ Association; functioning as the state convention registration chair, as the North Central Wisconsin representative on the executive board for six years and as the Singing in Wisconsin state chairperson for eight years. Karen received the WCDA Wisconsin Outstanding Middle Level Choral Director Award in 2009 and has three times been awarded Recommendations of Commendations from the Wausau School Board.
Karen was one of three Distinguished Music Educators selected from the state of Wisconsin in 2011, the first Symposium attendees from that state.