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2009 Symposium on Music in Schools
The second biennial Symposium on Music Schools took place June 10–12, 2009 at the Yale School of Music. This Symposium focused on two main themes:
- Linking music to the general classroom
- Is El Sistema, Venezuela’s famous music education program, adaptable in the US?
In addition to facilitated conversations, participating teachers attended workshops presented by selected alumni from the 2007 Symposium on Music in Schools, among others. Featured presenters included Dan Trahey, Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids education initiative; Robert Capanna, Executive Director for Settlement Music School; and Jeb Gist and Matthew Shay, 2007 Symposium alumni.
The keynote address at the awards banquet was given by Lucia Brawley, an actress, writer, and advocate for arts education; graduate of the Yale School of Drama; and regular blogger for The Huffington Post. Teachers also enjoyed a performance by chorus students from Worthington Hooker School at the banquet, and attended a performance by the Yale Tango Ensemble on Thursday evening.
2009 Yale Distinguished Music Educators
This year’s Distinguished Music Educators were selected from a pool of nearly 450 nominations. The winners represented 35 states and Washington, DC, including 19 states not previously represented at the Symposium on Music in Schools.
Please click the “+” buttons below for more information about each teacher.
New Haven Public Schools – After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and a stint in Washington, DC working on Watergate research, Susan Arnold taught in West Hartford, CT, pursued her Master in Music Education with Kodaly emphasis, and made a Ford Foundation movie, Music in Our Schools. After a break to raise two children, she returned to teaching at Worthington Hooker School, New Haven’s most diverse school representing 35 countries. She collects songs, dances and traditions from families at Hooker and has traveled to places as diverse as Dubai, Israel, Argentina, Singapore, Japan, and Inuit villages in northern Canada. Worthington Hooker School is a HOT School (Higher Order Thinking) which includes a strong, integrated arts program.
Bristol Warren Regional School District – Robert Arsenault, a National Board Certified teacher, currently serves as Performing Arts Chair at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, RI. During his 22-year tenure, the department has grown to include beginner, advanced and select large and small ensembles in choral, band, guitar, vocal and jazz literature. His responsibilities include oversight of 4 staff members, who teach vocal and instrumental music as well as theatre. He instructs Concert Band, Music Theory 1 & 2 and Digital Audio Recording- one of several courses which he designed.
Mr. Arsenault is a respected mentor at MHHS and active in their reform efforts. A member of MENC, he recently presented his work on RI’s Arts Graduation Initiative at their Eastern Division Conference. He is the proud father of five children, one of whom is currently teaching music in Massachusetts. He is known as “Pops” to Leo, his young grandson and newest musical protégée!
District of Columbia Public Schools – Mary Jane Ayers is the Chair of Vocal Music at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where she teaches voice and runs the opera workshop. Her lengthy singing and conducting career includes performances of early music, oratorio, chamber music, opera, and jazz. Before coming to Washington in 1987, Dr. Ayers was an Assistant Professor of Music at Georgia Southern University, where she developed the Summer Institute for Choral Directors. She has also taught at Catawba College in North Carolina and at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster, and she founded the Children’s Chorus at the Washington Conservatory of Music. She is an experienced stage director for operas and musicals. Dr. Ayers writes student and teacher materials for the Choral Arts Society of Washington. Her lesson plans appear on the Kennedy Center Artsedge website, and she has written student and audience materials for the Kennedy Center Education Department, the Washington Opera, and the Lincoln Theater. She has a best-selling choral composition for children published by Alfred Music.
Hanover County Public Schools – Paul Bakeman has completed 15 years of teaching general music at Rural Point Elementary School in Hanover County, Virginia, where he is a level III certified Orff-Schulwerk teacher. In 2001, Mr. Bakeman was selected as the Rural Point Elementary Teacher of the Year, and in 2002 he was R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence winner. With funds from that award, he traveled to Ghana to study African drumming and dance, and to Hawaii to study drum circle facilitation with Arthur Hull. Mr. Bakeman has published a recorder method book entitled Recorder Connections that is used by music teachers both nationally and internationally. In 2006, Mr. Bakeman became a National Board Certified Teacher in early-middle childhood music. He lives in Mechanicsville, VA with his wife and two daughters, and in his spare time enjoys playing the guitar with his classic rock band and leading community drum circles.
Long Island City Schools – Joseph James Bartolozzi, a native of Chicago, is completing his Ph.D at Stonybrook University in composition under the tutelage of Perry Goldstein and Daniel Weymouth. Mr. Bartolozzi has collaborated with such artists as Charles Strouse and Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops. He has studied with Ira Newborn, Scott Smalley, Dave Berger, Sonny Kompanek, Garry Dial, Arturo O’Farrill, and master teacher Adele Marcus. As a conductor, Mr. Bartolozzi has worked with Otto Werner Mueller, Gary Fagin, and Vincent La Selva, and has conducted at the NYU Film Scoring Institute and on Broadway. He is a member of ASCAP and is currently working on a Christmas cantata. He currently teaches composition at Stony Brook University and on the faculty at Long Island City High School, Long Island City, NY.
North Smithfield School Department – Fritz Benz is Chair of the Cultural Arts Department and has been Band Director at North Smithfield High School in Rhode Island since 1992. His teaching duties there include directing the school’s HS Band and Jazz Ensembles while teaching guitar and music technology courses.
In addition to his teaching duties at North Smithfield, he serves as part-time music education faculty at Providence College, where he teaches Instrumental Music Methods and Practicum for seniors in PC’s music department. He serves on the RI State Council on the Arts Arts Learning Network, chairing the state-wide music team in support of arts performance-based graduation requirements for all RI High School students. He also supports RI teachers state-wide as an educational technology trainer in the RI Technology Training Initiative, teacher summer sessions and periodic workshops in technology applications for all students in all disciplines.
Hillsborough County Public Schools – Steven Bossert has been teaching orchestral/string music in Hillsborough County for the past 15 years. He is in his eighth year as the orchestra director at H.B. Plant High School in Tampa. The orchestra program has grown tremendously under Mr. Bossert, and the students consistently earn Superior ratings at the District and State levels. He has taught at the elementary and high school levels and was instrumental in starting the primary string program in Hillsborough County. He is a principal violinist with the Tampa Bay Symphony. He has been a guest conductor several times for the Hillsborough County Elementary Honors orchestra and has adjudicated several FOA district performance assessments. Steven holds a B.M. degree from Ithaca College and earned his M.M. from the University of South Florida in 1999. In addition, he has had extensive training in the Suzuki method and philosophy.
St. Louis Public Schools – Saxophonist, educator, and director Stanley Coleman has made a great impact on music education in the Saint Louis Metropolitan area for 30 years. He is highly regarded in the St. Louis music community for his outstanding Jazz Big Band, ensembles and professional theatre work. Born and reared in St. Louis, Coleman began his professional music career in 1973. Coming from a vibrant and musical city Coleman showed an early interest in the performing arts with R&B/funk groups Young Blood Inc. and Constellation.
In 1979 Coleman furthered his musical education at Webster College (St. Louis), where he earned a bachelors degree in music education and masters degree in social science MAT. Awards won include School District of University’s PACEsetter Award (Positively Affecting Community Education) and Whatever It Takes – St. Louis Public Schools and Annie Malone Advocate of the Year. He presently serves on the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative Advisory Board.
Grand Rapids Public School District – Nona Marie Collver teaches music for Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan where she and her students are given free reign. Her favorite principal, Lorenzo Bradshaw of Campus School, and Superintendent Dr. Bernard Taylor encourage and support Nona’s elaborate musical ideas. After growing up mostly in California and New York, Nona received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan in 1990 and her Master of Arts in Teaching and Curriculum degree from Michigan State University in 2000. She strives to help all of her students shine through performance.
School District of Cheltenham Township – Glenn currently serves as the Director of Instrumental Music at Cheltenham High School in Wyncote, PA. He directs three concert bands, two orchestras, a marching band, a jazz band, three percussion ensembles, the pit orchestra for the school musical, and teaches AP Music Theory. Next year, he will be adding a new contemporary music ensemble aimed at engaging students who do not currently participate in music performance at the school. This course will not utilize a traditional notation approach, but rather a “lead sheet” style approach that focuses on contemporary harmony, improvisation, and forming socio-cultural connections. Glenn received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied composition with James Primosch, Jay Reise, and George Crumb and orchestral percussion with David Paroby of the Curtis Institute. Glenn remains an active composer and arranger, with several works for wind band, full orchestra, and jazz-fusion ensembles. He received his graduate degree in music education from the University of the Arts, where he studied under Patrick Jones. Glenn is married, has a seven-month-old daughter, and resides in suburban Philadelphia.
Meriden Public Schools – Brian Cyr is the Director of Instrumental Music at Francis T. Maloney High School in Meriden, Connecticut. He holds a B.S. in Music Education from Plymouth State University ad a Master’s in Music Education from Boston University, and is currently pursuing a degree in Educational Leadership at Southern Connecticut State University. Brian directs Maloney’s Jazz, Symphonic Band and Competitive Marching Programs and teaches AP Music Theory and Technology courses. He also works extensively as a curriculum writer for the district and has been awarded for his work in project-based learning initiatives and classroom arts integration.
Brian remains an active conductor and performer throughout Connecticut. He regularly performs as a saxophonist and has directed numerous musical productions. Brian is a member of MENC, IAJE, USSBA, a Site Chair and Festival Chair for CMEA, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Newington Children’s Theatre.
Pomperaug Regional School District 15 – Robert D’Angelo received his M.M. from the Yale School of Music and his B.M. from Western Connecticut State University. He has taught at the University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University, the Neighborhood Music School and is currently Director of Bands at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Connecticut. He was chosen as the 2001 Teacher of the Year for the Pomperaug Regional School District #15. In 2000, his band members’ parents started the D’Angelo Scholarship for seniors continuing their education as a music major.
A percussionist, his extensive performance experience includes the New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport, Ridgefield and Stamford Symphony Orchestras; Broadway, Oakdale (Chevrolet Theatre), Goodspeed Opera House, the Ice Capades, Barnum and Bailey Circus and recordings (classical, jazz and pop). Mr. D’Angelo has also performed at the Hartford Stage Company, Town Hall (N.Y.), the American Place Theater (N.Y.), as well as various jazz and commercial engagements throughout the Tri-State area.
Montgomery County Public Schools – Carol Davis has been an elementary general music teacher and choral director in Montgomery County, MD for nine years. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Music Education at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2000 and a Masters of Education in Mental Health Issues in the Schools in 2007. In 2003, she was awarded a Washington Post Grant in the Arts and in 2004, a Maryland State Arts Council grant. Her students have been featured on National Public Radio’s Voice of America and on local news programs. She currently lives in Rockville, MD, is married, and has a one-year-old son.
Centinela Valley Union High School District – Joy Devlin began studying piano at age six, and by eight was accompanying the church choir. Throughout her youth, teachers encouraged her to learn many instruments, study theory, participate in festivals and competitions, and personally took her to concerts. After high school, professional opportunities included teaching, concertizing, composing, arranging and musical direction culminating in working for Stevie Wonder as a transcriber/arranger during college. In 1997, as church choral director, Joy developed an after school music program at a Hollywood Catholic school serving many communities. In 2000, the youth choir was invited to work in the film and recording industry. In 2004, Joy was asked to rebuild the Hawthorne High choral program that was in ruins. By 2006, the Advanced Choir was invited to dedicate the Beach Boys monument performing Brian Wilson’s music in his presence. Joy is devoted to promoting success in her students through community service and national competitions.
Lynn Public Schools – Linda Drugan, an elementary school music educator, has established partnerships with such organizations as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Metropolitan Opera Guild, and several museums. She has worked with the Boston Symphony to set up Connections, a national program connecting music to the general curriculum.
East Montpelier School District – Pam Dunkling grew up in rural Vermont. She attended the University of Vermont, receiving a degree in music education. After 15 years of teaching, she returned home and has taught at East Montpelier Elementary since. Pan strives to inspire children to find joy and passion in music. Throughout her career she has instructed marching, pep, and jazz bands, as well as choruses. Her philosophy of inclusion results in lively teachers’ and parents’ bands. She works with teachers to integrate music, the arts, and academics creatively. Additionally, she co-founded the Green Mountain Fife and Drum Corps, directed Vermond Children’s Folkkids trip to Russia, and coordinated Windows to the World, an international educational travel program for youth. Music is important to her grown children, Megan and Ryan, who also live in Vermont. Pam’s interests include singing, reading, walking, snowmobiling, motorcycling, racing, traveling, and family.
Chicopee School District – Jean Duperre was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was exposed to music at a very early age: listening to her favorite tunes on her record player, singing with her family in the car, sitting on the piano bench and listening while her sister played her classical music on the piano and singing in church. Her mother noticed her interest in music and signed her up to take voice and piano lessons at the Springfield Conservatory of Music.
She began performing in front of her classmates in grammar school, solos in church, and at weddings, as well as in high school where she was selected to take part in Western District and All State Chorus. Jean auditioned and began singing with the Springfield Symphony Chorus in the eleventh grade and was selected to sing with America’s Youth in Concert, touring Europe and singing with 150 students from all over the country. In college Jean majored in music education which led her to the job she enjoys most, teaching music to elementary children. Jean has enjoyed being a music teacher for the past thirty years.
Paterson School District – Active in the field of music education for over thirty years, Michele Flagg continues to advocate for the arts and core-content integration in the urban music class. In addition to classroom experience, she has serves as a choir accompanist. She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University (1974) and holds a Supervisor’s Certificate as well as an MA in Teaching and an MEd in Educational Leadership. A chapter contributor to Teaching Music in the Urban Classroom, Volume 2 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Michele is published in paranormal fiction with The Wild Rose Press (2009) and has a second novel contracted as well. She lives in northern New Jersey in a quiet house on a quiet street with a spectacular view of a forest. There’s a love of animals in her household, which includes a rescued kitten and a very sweet Jack Russell Terrier.
Tulsa Public Schools – Clydia Forehand is a practicing music educator and researcher with the Tulsa (Okla.) Public School District. Her current teaching assignment integrates the teaching of music and world cultures and advances research into the ways children’s musical creativity/improvisational abilities facilitate the acquisition of world languages. (Her work is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Department of Education, and conducted through Valparaiso University in Indiana and Zhejiang University in China). Dr. Forehand is a twenty-year teaching veteran with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Tulsa, and a PhD in Educational Studies from Oklahoma University. She is a National Board Certified music educator, a Fellow with the Oklahoma A+ arts integration network, and a presenter with Keeping Score, a music integration project attached to the San Francisco Symphony.
Regional School Unit 1 – Louine Gagnon grew up in Terryville, CT and graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 1980 with a B.S. in music education. She earned an additional K-8 Elementary classroom certificate from Central Connecticut State University and began her teaching career as a regular classroom teacher. She found the opportunity to teach music in Gardiner, Maine where she was High School Choral Director. She was nominated by the Gardiner Area High School staff as teacher of the year. Louine now teaches upper elementary classroom music in Bath, Maine, where she also maintains a 125-member grades 3-4-5 volunteer elementary chorus. Next year she is looking forward to teaching chorus at the Bath Middle School. Louine lives in Woolwich, Maine with her husband Robert and daughter Ann Marie.
Nanuet Union Free School District – Dr. Jack L. Gremli holds degrees from Ithaca College School of Music, Columbia University Teachers College, and St. John’s University. Jack is the Director of Music (K-12) and teaches chorus/general music in the Nanuet Union Free School District in Nanuet, New York (recipient of the NYSSMA Presidential Citation in 1996 and MENC special recognition for “model music education program” in 2006). He has conducted research linking students’ learning style traits and music instructional methodology. In 2003 he received the individual research award from the International NETWORK of Visual and Performing Arts Schools for his work. Jack has performed as a mime, puppeteer, vocalist, and actor. He and his wife, Carol, have co-directed/choreographed more than seventy-five shows.
Sarasota County Schools – Angela Hartvigsen has been the orchestra director at Booker Middle School, a visual and performing arts magnet school in Sarasota, Fla., for the past seven years. A National Board-certified educator, Angela has over 18 years’ experience at all levels of public school music education in Florida and Colorado. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University and a Masters in Music (Violin Performance) from Colorado State University. Angela is a successful grant writer, an active violinist and violist, and a sought-after educational conductor/clinician and adjudicator. She serves on Sarasota County’s Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts Steering Committee and has extensive experience on district and state writing teams for curriculum and assessment. In August 2009, Angela will become the Fine Arts Curriculum Specialist for the Sarasota County Schools. She and her husband, Jake, have two boys, ages 4 and 8, that keep them very busy!
Juneau School District – Lorrie Heagy, Music Teacher and Librarian at Glacier Valley Elementary School in Juneau Alaska, Adjunct Professor of Education at University of Alaska Southeast, Lead Teacher for the Basic Art Institutes, and a musician in her own right, developed the Art is Elementary program at Glacier Valley. This program is built upon community relationships: businesses, community organizations and individuals help fund arts for classrooms through class sponsorships. Both the ballroom dancing and instrumental music programs she helped initiate at Glacier Valley have spread to the other elementary schools through grants and school district funding. Glacier Valley’s art program was selected as one of five schools in the country to receive the 2007 Kennedy Center Creative Ticket Award, which recognizes schools that have done an outstanding job of making the arts an essential part of their students’ education.
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools – Terry Hicks received a BA in music from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is now in his twenty-second year of teaching in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WSFCS). He teachers choral music in both middle and high school; the high school has been designated an arts magnet school. Mr. Hicks has developed and enabled extra-curricular music service opportunities for his students. For twelve years, he was music director of WSFCS musical theater program for middle and high schools students. Opportunities for creativity in singing have evolved into a flourishing program in contemporary a capella singing in which students create and notate their own vocal arrangements for treble, bass, and mixed ensembles. Mr. Hicks was named Teacher of the Year by his colleagues in 1992 and 2005. In 2005, he was one of the four finalists for WSFCS Teacher of the Year. He is currently studying for his master’s degree at UNC Greensboro.
Montgomery County Public Schools – Director at Sligo Creek Elementary School is Mrs. Mary J. Hochkeppel. She earned her Masters of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. She received her Orff Certification from George Mason University of Fairfax, Virginia. Mrs. Hochkeppel has been teaching music and directing choirs for 28 years. At her school, she directs two dance teams, an Orff Ensemble, a 200-student chorus of fourth- and fifth-grade students, and directs seven new 100+ student grade-level musical performances each year.
In 2007, Mrs. Hochkeppel was selected to participate in the Creating Original Opera Teacher Training Program presented by the Washington (DC) National Opera. Each year, over one hundred third-grade students write, compose, create, produce and perform an original opera. Mrs. Hochkeppel believes all children are artists who color our lives with energy, create dreams to shape reality, and give purpose to our presence.
Kimberly School District – Misty Kalbfleisch graduated from Northwest Nazarene University with a BA in music education and English education. Her first teaching position was at Magic Valley Christian High School, where she taught English and choir for ten years. She is currently at Kimberly Elementary School, where she teaches K-5 music. She says she is just getting her “elementary” feet under her, figuring out how to best reach the students’ active minds. Misty has learned much about parenting through her teaching experiences, realizing that her children are actually normal. Sharing time with her four children is her favorite thing to do. Unfortunately, she feels that family time slips through her fingers with life’s demands. Down the road when Misty looks back on her path, she hopes to see that she encouraged others and made their journey better.
Freeport Public Schools – Walter Lastowski was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and later relocated to the Metropolitan area. He received his undergraduate degree in music education from the Catholic University of America, his masters in special education at the College at New Paltz, and recently an advanced certificate in school and district-level administration from Stony Brook University. A music educator for 22 years, Mr. Lastowski has 20 years experience teaching general music to grades N-8 and over 10 years teaching music theory at the high school level. He has directed over fifty musical productions at the high school, middle school and community theatre levels. He has worked with the Really Useful Production Company created and overseen by Andrew Lloyd Webber on the first national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has directed such shows as A Chorus Line, Into the Woods, Victor/Victoria, and Les Miserables, has conducted workshops in vocal production and musical theatre, and has chaired many music and theatre performance festivals. Some of Mr. Lastowski’s past students currently perform on Broadway, with national touring companies, and with professional opera companies throughout the country.
West Hartford Public Schools – Melissa Lotstein is a music educator at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, Conn. where she teaches sixth-grade general music and directs the sixth-grade auditioned choir. Melissa also co-advises a Unified Theater group with a mission to create a theatrical production equally featuring the talents of individuals with and without special needs. This year Melissa was the assistant choreographer for CATS at Conard High School and joined their Solo Choir and Jazz Band on Eurotour. She works with prospective music educators in their field experience. Previously, Melissa taught general music grades K-6 at Kinsella School in Hartford, CT. Melissa’s passion for teaching and studying world music has sent her to visit countries such as Ghana and the Dominican Republic to learn more about the music and dances of these countries. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and a MS in Music Education from Central Connecticut State University.
Portland Public Schools – Greg McKelvey, saxophonist, composer, conductor, and educator lives in Oregon with his wife Connie, an attorney. He also has six children and seven grandchildren. Greg has taught music in public schools for over 30 years and holds multiple degrees in music. He has earned numerous awards and commendations, including the Distinguished Alumni Service Award at Warner Pacific College. His notable accomplishments with students include second place in the Essentially Ellington 2006 contest; first, second, and third place awards in the Annual Portland Rose Festival Parade; and first place in the Nation at Musicfest USA Championships. Additionally, he and his students have had the honor to perform for Presidents Reagan and Bush.
Mr. McKelvey helped create the Portland Cultural Recreation Band for inner-city student musicians. He spends hours directing students with the Jazz Orchestra for Portland Metropolitan Youth Symphony and is also a Royal Rosarian for the city of Portland.
Northside Independent School District – ReNée Nadeau is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio. She began her career as a band director with a background in clarinet performance. Although band was her inspiration, it is teaching elementary music that has become her passion. ReNée teaches kindergarten through fifth grade music at Wm. J. Thornton Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas using an eclectic approach incorporating Orff-Schulwerk, Kodály, Weikart Movement and Folk Dance, World Music Drumming, and technology. ReNée has been the recipient of numerous grants and established a business partnership to provide funds for musical instruments, technology equipment, and various educational materials for integrating academic subjects with her music lessons. Her 23-year teaching career has been acknowledged with a Northside ISD Teacher of the Year award as well as the UTSA Cooperating Teacher Award for outstanding contributions to future music educators.
Richmond County School System – David Neches has taught music in Georgia schools for over twenty years. He is currently in his tenth year teaching music at Glenn Hills Elementary School in Augusta, Ga. He is also the music director at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in North Augusta, SC. Active as a performer, composer and clinician, he has guest conducted choirs in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida and performs regularly as a piano soloist in recitals. A native of Brooklyn, NY, he holds a BA in Music from Augusta State University and an MAT from Binghamton University.
Neches has presented numerous workshops at conferences throughout the southeast and California in topics ranging from choral techniques to classroom management. His most recent presentation was at the 2009 Georgia Music Educator’s Conference where he talked about making creativity the main focus of a music curriculum.
Conway School District – Patricia Oeste graduated from Northwestern University with a Masters degree in voice and opera after ten years of professional operatic performing in Europe. Before her European career, she received degrees in piano and in voice from the University of Illinois. She has sung under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein (New York Philharmonic) and Paul Angerer (Stuttgart Philharmonic). As one of the first group of educators to pursue national certification in music, Patricia received her National Board Certification in 2002 and currently leads the support group for teachers seeking certification. She is president-elect of the Arkansas Music Educators’ Association (MENC affiliate) and has been a presenter at local, regional, district, state, and national conventions. Patricia has recently been awarded the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Teacher Fellowship 2009. She teaches fifth and sixth grade general music as well as sixth grade choir at Ruth Doyle Intermediate School in Conway, AR.
Saint Paul Public Schools – Brad Ollmann is currently in his tenth year teaching general and vocal music at Saint Anthony Park Elementary (Saint Paul Public Schools, Saint Paul, MN). He completed a Bachelor of Music Education degree at the University of Minnesota in 1999 and a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Saint Thomas in 2006. As part of his masters program, he completed a thesis that examined young children’s ability to sing in tune. Mr. Ollmann has a passion for authentic multicultural music: He spends his summers in Guatemala learning Spanish and collecting folk songs and lullabies. Mr. Ollmann is currently a candidate for National Board Certification.
Allendale School District – Thomas Paster is the director of choral music and musical theatre at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ. He has also been an adjunct professor of music at Kean University and William Paterson University. Mr. Paster has conducted numerous honors choirs and has been the coordinator of the New Jersey All-State music ensembles. Choirs under his direction have performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Lincoln Center, Disney World, Universal Studios, and various festivals throughout the US and Canada. As a musical theatre director, he was named “Outstanding Director” from the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey in 2008.
Mr. Paster is also an active composer. He has composed numerous choral works and children’s musicals. His choral pieces have been performed in schools and church’s, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. His musicals have been performed to rave reviews and he is currently working on a new musical titled Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.
East Baton Rouge Parish School System – Andrew J. Pizzo has just finished his tenth year of teaching and is currently the band director at Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School in Baton Rouge, LA. He teaches all levels of band: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and jazz. His bands have consistently scored superior ratings at both concert and jazz band festivals. He also works with the physically and mentally challenged students at his school.
Andrew has been recognized several times throughout his career, being named a grand prize winner in the 2001 Toyota Co./VH1 “Making Tracks with Camry” music teacher contest as well as being recognized in 2007 by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra as Music Teacher of the Year for his area. He has been the guest conductor for several honors jazz bands around Louisiana. Andrew Pizzo is a professional trombonist specializing in jazz, salsa, rock, and funk.
Appomattox County Public Schools – Camille Rabon is presently the band director for Appomattox County Middle and High Schools in Appomattox, Virginia. Before taking this position in 2004, she served as elementary music teacher for the county for two years. Her teaching career began in 1998 in Chesnee, South Carolina, where she taught band, beginning orchestra, and general music for Chesnee Middle and High Schools.
Rabon earned her Bachelors of Music in music education from Furman University in 1998 and completed a Masters of Business Administration at Gardner-Webb University in 2001. She has recently completed her Licensure in Educational Leadership at Longwood University. In addition, she taught economics for Southside Virginia Community College from 2001 to 2005. Professionally, her greatest love is her band students. She takes great delight in seeing her students achieve musically both as a band and as individuals. She and her husband, Sam, have a two-year-old son, Seth.
Sweetwater City Schools – Stephan Riddle is a public school music specialist in a rural school system with an extremely high poverty rate. He teaches general music education classes for students grades three through six. By obtaining a grant for funds from local patrons, Stephan was able to purchase a piano lab for his schools. He has developed a school-wide keyboard program, which provides the opportunity for group piano lessons for all students, regardless of their economic or social backgrounds. Stephan is the co-author of Mixcraft for the Classrom, a multi-curricular textbook designed to utilize computer generated loops and virtual instruments in teaching the elements of music and promoting student literacy and creativity. Stephan teaches piano lessons and piano lab classes in his home studio. He is also the worship leader/music education director for his church. He lives in Sweetwater, Tennessee with his wife, Terri, and his children, Courtney and Trevor.
Fort Wayne Community Schools – Amy Ross has been teaching at Miami Middle School for 19 years. During this time she has expanded the curriculum to include vocal music, guitar, piano, exploratory music, music history and show choir. She is in the process of developing a music production class with two in-school recording studios. Mrs. Ross has developed a course in the History of American Popular Music which focuses on the development of blues and jazz. Her show choir group, The Miami Sound Machine, has traveled to music festivals and competitions throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Mrs. Ross received her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and her master’s degree from Michigan State University under Dr. Charles Smith. Amy is active in the community in both theater and with the Fort Wayne Ballet, where she still dances in the Nutcracker every year! Amy lives with her husband and three children in Roanoke, Indiana.
Shaker Heights Schools – Robert Schneider is the Chairman of the Music Department and Director of Choirs at Shaker Heights High School, Shaker Heights, Ohio where more than 600 students (over 40% of the student population) are enrolled in a performing ensemble, which includes four bands, three orchestras, two jazz ensembles, and six choirs. These Shaker ensembles have made numerous concert tours to Germany, Austria, England, France, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and China. Also the director of music and organist of the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland (American Baptist), he is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Actively involved in the musical life of Cleveland, he is president of both the Musart Society of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Arts Renaissance Tremont, a community organization bringing free concerts to this inner-city neighborhood of Cleveland.
Astoria School District – Maria Schwab, whose musical training began in the New York City public schools, currently teaches at P.S./M.S. 84 in Astoria. She has also taught at P.S. 150, P.S. 183, public and private schools in New York City and Long Island, and the American Community School in Cobham, England. Her teaching and directing experience includes chorus, show choirs, band, music history and theory, voice, guitar, piano, general music, drama, and musical theatre. Mrs. Schwab sings with the New York Choral Society and previously directed the New York Festival Chorus. She has conducted workshops on the Kodaly methodology in the elementary chorus rehearsal, on literacy and music, and on rehearsal management/technique. She facilitates DOE professional development sessions and contributed to the revised edition of the music Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Mrs. Schwab has written reviews and curriculum for MENC and has edited curriculum for the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. In July 2007, Mrs. Schwab became the president of the Music Educators’ Association of NYC.
Chester School District – Kurt Schweiss graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 2006 and is an alumnus member of the music service fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi. He is currently the Music Director at Chester Academy in Chester, New Hampshire where he works with students from grades one through eight. He also conducts three community-oriented concert bands and one jazz band, and he runs a musical theater program.
Mercer County Schools – Deborah (Debi) Shirley, a graduate of Murray State and the University of Kentucky, has just completed her twenty-eighth year of teaching music at Mercer County Elementary School in central Kentucky. She initiated a 2009 Kentucky Arts TIP Grant to attain an artist-in-residence for a collaborative Native American music unit for the fall of 2009. She has published collaborative, literacy-based lesson strategies in science/music, multicultural music lessons, and classroom music integration ideas that appeared in the 2009-09 Kentucky Tool-Kit for Teachers. Other collaborative science-based performances include original scripts and music for “The Four Seasons,” based on Vivaldi’s violin concerto, and “The Great Kapok Tree” by Lynn Cherry. She has presented a science-integrated music project for the Kentucky Orff Association. Debi was chosen to participate in the Hitachi Teacher Leadership Program which included visiting nine schools in Japan that integrate music with classroom subject areas. She also works to procure funding to provide keyboards for every classroom and for every student in the music room. Debi currently serves as secretary and scholarship chairperson for the Kentucky Orff-Schulwerk Association Board.
Academy School District 20 – Chuck Silloway is a Band Director at Mountain Ridge Middle School in the Academy School District in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he has been since the school opened in 1997. Prior to that, he taught at Challenger Middle School in the Academy District, and in the public schools in Widefield, Fowler and Pueblo County, all in Colorado. Mr. Silloway earned his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1982 and his Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in 2004.
Whitefish School District – Jenanne Solberg is a violist and music educator in Whitefish, MT, teaching general music and directing multiple orchestras and choirs in both the schools and the local community. The founder of the Whitefish Community Orchestra, she received a grant to purchase violins for her fifth-grade students and founded a booster club for the school orchestra.
Lake Forest School District – Mark attended West Chester University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1983. His first formal teaching position was at his former elementary school as their first music teacher. He then accepted a position in the Pemberton Township School District, where he taught various levels of music from pre-school through sixth grade. In the summer of 2001, Mark moved to Delaware to continue his teaching career at Lake Forest Central Elementary School, where he has been for the past 8 years. In 2006, he earned his Master’s Degree in Applied Technology in Education from Wilmington University. He currently teaches 4th and 5th grade general music and has a chorus of over 200 students. This past October, Mark was chosen to represent Delaware as the 2009 State Teacher of the Year.
Cherokee County School District – A native of North Carolina, Sharon earned music degrees from Limestone College and the University of South Carolina. During her career as a music educator, she has taught at every level from elementary school to college. She currently teaches at Draytonville and Corinth Elementary Schools in Gaffney, South Carolina. She taught music for several years at the public school in Husavik, Iceland and was choirmaster for the local Lutheran church. She worked for five years as a music therapist with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. As a soprano soloist, she has appeared with a number of choirs, orchestras and opera companies throughout the U.S, England, Iceland and Korea. She has been a regional winner in the San Francisco and Metropolitan Opera Auditions. Her devotion to music education can be seen through conducting and serving as music director for numerous churches during the past thirty years.
Washington Elementary School District No. 6 – Jackie Thrasher is the band and orchestra director at Lookout Mountain Elementary School in Phoenix, teaching in the Washington School District for 29 years. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Arizona State University and is a former Arizona State Representative. Jackie’s awards include the 2008 Arts Heroes Award, Arizona Action for the Arts; 2008 Friend of Education Award, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International; 2007 Legislative Partner Award, Arizona Business and Education Coalition; and 2001 Lamp of Learning Award, Washington Elementary School District. John Siceloff and Jason Maloney also featured her in Your America, Democracy’s Local Heroes. These inspiring stories include Mrs. Thrasher’s journey from teacher to legislator. Jackie serves on the board of Ear Candy Charity, Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts and the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names. Jackie and her husband John are the proud parents of two grown children, Jessica and Jason.
Des Moines Public Schools – Joanne Tubbs has been a music educator and adjudicator for 16 years. She graduated from Iowa State University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, followed by a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Drake University in 2000. She earned an additional Master’s Degree in PK-12 School Administration from Drake University in 2003. Although Joanne has taught both vocal music and orchestra, her main area of expertise continues to be band with an emphasis on percussion methods. She is the current Government Liaison and past State Manager for the Iowa Music Educators Association and the Past-President of the South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association. She is currently working to improve the lives of children in poverty through music in Des Moines. She and her husband Peter have three children – Julia (7), Carl (4), and Miles (1).
Henderson County Public Schools – Kristen Walter resides in Hendersonville, NC with her husband Steve and their two young sons. Since her arrival in Western North Carolina, Ms. Walter has been actively involved in making community music through conducting, singing and teaching. Ms. Walter is often a featured vocal soloist in both the Carolinas and Florida, has taught music at all levels and has directed several church choirs. She is currently the conductor of The Hendersonville Chorale, the founding director and conductor of The Hendersonville Children’s Chorus, the music teacher at Sugarloaf and Dana Elementary schools, and a teacher for the SC Suzuki Institute at Furman University. She is a certified Orff teacher, and a member of MENC, NCMEA and NCAE. Ms. Walter earned both her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Choral Music Education from Florida State University.
St. Bernard Parish Public School System – Peggy Wegener of Chalmette, Louisiana holds a Bachelor of Music from Southeastern Louisiana University and a K-12 teaching certificate in both instrumental and vocal music. She has taught middle and high school vocal music in the St. Bernard Parish Public School System for thirteen years, during which time she has established a strings program and directed numerous musical theater productions at N. P. Trist Middle School. Ms. Wegener received a grant to purchase violins, launching an after-school music program for at-risk students called String Smart. In 2003, she was named Teacher of the Year at the school and district levels. Ms. Wegener has had nearly 50 students perform with the National Children’s and Youth Choirs at Carnegie Hall since 2004. She is currently working on a Master of Education in educational leadership.
Loudoun County Public Schools – Hector Manuel Zavala Martinez was born in Monterrey N. L. Mexico. He began studying violin at the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey in 1983 and earned his BA in violin performance there in 1999. He also studied at the University of Toronto and at Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Zavala has attended Heifetz International Music Institute, Annapolis and San Miguel de Allende Festival, Mexico. He has received several honors and awards in the U.S. and Mexico. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Hidalgo in Mexico and with the International Gathering of Youth Orchestras in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He has also appeared as guest conductor for all county orchestras in Virginia and Maryland. Mr. Zavala earned two master’s degrees in Music Education and in Instrumental Conducting in May 2004 from Shenandoah University. He is currently teaching strings and conducting two orchestras in Loudoun County, Virginia.