2024 Officer Voting
MMEA has always been an organization that has influenced who I am as a teacher. Through three decades of attendance at the conference I have seen many amazing performances (also participated in a few of those) and attended countless thought-provoking clinics, which have influenced what I do in my classroom daily. I have seen the tides of change as we progress with what we have known as music education and what it means to us today. MMEA has been, for most of us, the bond that holds us together. The organization has provided and continues to provide opportunities for all levels and disciplines in music education. And we, as a group, continue to explore different avenues of music education that provides access to more students.
My vision for the future of MMEA is to continue the work that has been done as an advocate for all types of music education, and work to include informational resources for those that are struggling with accessibility and inclusion.
Many times, we see only what we are doing in our various disciplines and lose sight of the many opportunities that could be available to our students. Are there ways that we might appeal to students with more than a traditional music ensemble? Or be able to include students outside of our normal scope of band, choir, and orchestra. I would like to see MMEA focus on providing clinics to help those of us that need ideas and examples of what non-traditional music classes look like and how they can function in our schools.
I know that accessibility and inclusion are buzz words in the education world right now. My idea of what those two words mean has changed over the years. We need to work to make sure that all students have access to quality music education, and make sure that the vision of our programs includes all types of students seeing themselves in our programs.
MMEA is currently facing challenges with how it is able to present its annual Inservice and Clinic. I know that the executive board is working through the best possible ways to include everyone and present quality clinics as it always has. If elected, I will strive to do the same because this organization can help all of us become better educators. It would be an honor for me to serve as President-Elect of MMEA, I am always willing to listen to solutions to problems and would do my best to make everyone feel heard and seen.
Denis Swope currently serves as the Director of Bands at Hickman High School. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Denis taught in Marceline, MO for two years before pursuing his master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting. Following graduation, he accepted a position as Associate Director of Bands with Moberly Public Schools, where he served for six years before accepting the position of Associate Director of Bands at Hickman High School. He served in this capacity for twelve years and is now in his twelfth year as Director of Bands at Hickman. His duties have included sharing four concert bands, marching band, jazz ensemble, and leading the pit orchestra for two musicals each year.
During his tenure at Hickman, he has also taught Jazz, Pop and Rock, Intro to Music, and two levels of Music Theory. He has also assisted with beginning instrument classes in the District. Denis is a member of and has served on the board of the Missouri Bandmasters Association.
During his time on the Board for MBA, he has served as Membership Chair, Vice President, President Elect/All State Coordinator, and President, Past President, and Board Member. He is also a member of MMEA, NAfME, MOAJE and Phi Beta Mu. He has also served as the Northeast Missouri Music Educators Association President, and as Vice President for Jazz. In 2020 he received recognition from Inside Columbia’s Magazine as the Gold Winner in the teacher category of their annual Best of Columbia program. In the summer of 2020, he accepted the position of Music Director for the Columbia Community Band.
Denis is married to Julie Swope and has four children: Mackenzie (Son in Law Collin Lamoureux), Brett, Evan, and Mia.
“Serving the membership in their goals of teaching and learning” for over 84 years of conferences, mentorship, and other professional development experiences, MMEA has provided essential advocacy on behalf of music educators and their students to politicians, parents, administrators, and communities across Missouri. While MMEA appears to be a single entity, its efforts are derived from the work of local affiliates, a robust state board, invested business and community members, and connections with state affiliate organizations all working together to support the more than 3,000 music educators who reach and teach students every single day.
I have appreciated the myriad professional development opportunities provided to me as a member, and enjoyed giving back in my own way as an officer on the boards of both MMEA and my local district, St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association (District #5). If elected as this association’s president, I would seek to continue the thoughtful professional development and advocacy provided by MMEA, and further expand our efforts to reach as many music educators and their students as possible. A National Education Association report from October of 2022 states that job openings in our field outpaced hires as early as 2017, with a widening gap since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students across our state are missing enriching music education experiences because there just aren’t enough music educators available to teach them. This is due both to the lower number of collegiate students pursuing degrees in music education and the simple fact that teachers are leaving the field to follow other career or personal life paths.
We are fortunate to have an exemplary MMEA mentorship program helping to support new music educators throughout Missouri. Each year, more new educators choose to take part in this program and come away from it feeling connected, valued, and supported. I would like to help expand this program to reach more new teachers, future teachers, and aspiring music educators who are still in high school, ensuring more connections and thus a higher rate of support and success.
Missouri has an increasingly diverse population of educators, students, schools, and communities. With just one conference each year, it is challenging for MMEA to engage with all the professional development needs of music educators while supporting the performance and educational opportunities for our students. This year, MMEA took an intentional and bold step forward with the addition of The Collective, an ensemble I had the opportunity to watch perform at our conference. Inspiringly, students from our traditional All-State ensembles cheered enthusiastically for their peers, giving life to the idea that, at its core, music education can be about communication, engagement, and fun!
The affiliate organizations who work closely with MMEA are crucial in supporting the diverse needs of educators and their students. Their respective conferences offer a wealth of professional development that dives deep into the work that teachers in their areas do each and every day. I encourage you to attend these conferences if you have not done so previously. In addition to excellent clinics and performances, there is a great sense of community and camaraderie built among attendees. Even so, it is likely there are groups or individuals within our association who feel underrepresented or under-supported, and if I am given the chance to serve, I will do my best to help all members gain representation and a sense of community.
Everyone should have the opportunity to learn, share, and feel connected through music!
Chelsea Silvermintz, a band director in the Lindbergh School District, teaches high school students in Freshman Band, Concert Band, Woodwind Choir, the Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band, and the musical pit orchestra. Under her direction, the Freshman Band has earned exemplary ratings for 15 consecutive years. Additionally, Chelsea teaches beginning clarinet while working closely with all woodwind students at Lindbergh’s two middle schools.
Chelsea served as MMEA Band Vice-President from 2020-2022. She also served the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association District #5 as High School Concert Band Vice-President, President, and currently serves as Past-President. She holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, Missouri Music Educators Association, Missouri Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Missouri Women Band Directors Association.
Chelsea received a Bachelor of Music from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007 and began her teaching career in Hondo, Texas. Following her relocation to St. Louis, and concurrent to her work at Lindbergh, Chelsea earned a Master of Music and the Kurt Engbretson Music Education Award from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2014. A five-year member of the Texas Longhorn Band, Chelsea studied trumpet with Ray Sasaki, marched with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2004, participated in the 2005 National Trumpet Competition, and served on the brass staff of the Racine Scouts in 2008. From 2009 to 2016, Chelsea performed with the St. Louis Brass Band.
Chelsea is a lifelong learner and deeply appreciative of the wealth of knowledge shared by her friends and colleagues, both here in Missouri and across the country. She lives in Chesterfield with her two boys and husband Ben, who is the choir director at Parkway Central High School.
If selected as MMEA President, Chelsea looks forward to serving Missouri’s music students and educators.
Jared Brockmeyer is currently serving in his 12th year as assistant director at Rockwood South Middle School.
Jared is a graduate and former teaching assistant of Truman State University where he received his B.A. in Education, M.A. in Music, and M.A. in Education. He is a National Board Certified teacher, a member of Phi Beta Mu, and an active adjudicator, visual designer, conductor, clinician, and presenter throughout the Midwest. Jared is the coordinator of the annual Rockwood Conducting Symposium and Rockwood Composer Initiative, and presently serves as the middle school band vice president of the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association.
Recently, Jared has appeared in SBO magazine, at the IMEA, ILMEA, MMEA, NMEA, OBA, and Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic conferences, as a judge for the Nebraska State Marching Championships, and as a conductor at the MMEA and Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic conferences.
Jared lives in House Springs with his wife Sara and daughters Eliza and Fiona. He is a chess enthusiast, avid reader, and plays all the video games he can get away with.
Dr. Matthew H. Bonsignore
Dr. Matthew H. Bonsignore is currently in his 24th year of teaching in the Platte County R-3 School District. Hired in 1999 as Assistant Director of Bands, and later serving as Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Director of Bands, his job titles have evolved over the years. In 2021, he took over for his colleague and friend Dr. Jay Jones (retired) as Director of Bands for the Platte County School District. Dr. Bonsignore’s teaching duties include directing the high school Wind Ensemble, the Pit Band, co-directing the Pirate Traditions and Pride Marching Bands, team teaching the Pirate Pep Band, and serving as the brass instructor for the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade bands at Platte City Middle School. During his time at Platte County, Dr. Bonsignore has helped establish a commitment to excellence throughout the band program. During his tenure, participation in the high school band program has grown from 60 members to over 185 members. Marching Bands at Platte County have won more than 20 Grand Championships, earned consistent 1st place finishes as well as received numerous caption and section awards.
The Platte County bands have been selected to perform at the Missouri Music Educators Convention three times, and countless students have earned District, State and National recognition. Under his guidance, the jazz ensemble has grown from a non-traditional setting, without full instrumentation, to an auditioned ensemble that is part of the curriculum and has accumulated consistent 1 ratings and 1st place awards at jazz festivals, placing 1st at the Festivals of Music National competition and winning 2 Grand National trophies in Florida. Working alongside his team of outstanding band directors at Platte County, the middle school band programs at both Platte City Middle School and Barry Middle School continue to grow and thrive, with over 450 6-8th grade band students. Like former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Harpst used to say: “It’s a great day to be a Pirate!”
Dr. Bonsignore holds both a Doctor of Education and a Specialist in Administration degree from St. Louis University, a Master of Music degree in Conducting from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumental Music Education from Northwest Missouri State University. He has been fortunate to study conducting and trumpet under these educational giants: Alfred E. Sergel III, Colonel John Bourgeois, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, Dr. Karl Sievers, Dr. John Entzi, Dr. Keith Benjamin and Mr. Charles Boyd.
Dr. Bonsignore is currently serving as President-Elect of the Northwest District of MMEA, and has previously held the Jazz and High School Band Vice President positions in District #1. He is an active clinician and adjudicator across Missouri, and his professional affiliations include MSTA, MMEA, MOAJE, JEN, Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, and NafME.
Warner Bailey is in his 11th year as the Director of Choral Activities in Boonville, where he teaches grades 6-12 for the Boonville R-1 School District. He is in his 29th year of education. Mr. Bailey started his career as an accompanist for choirs, soloists, and small ensembles in the North Kansas City area, at Park Hill and Oak Park High Schools, then moved to Kansas City, Kansas, and served as accompanist at Washington High School. After earning his certification, he taught for 8 years at Northwest Middle School and Coronado Middle School. In 2012 he returned to Missouri to his alma mater, Boonville High School.
Throughout his career, Mr. Bailey’s choirs, soloists and small ensembles have
received Exemplary and Outstanding ratings for their performances at district and state festivals as well as having students selected into the Missouri All-State Choir. His choirs at Boonville High School have given two performances at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City, the National Cathedral in Washington DC, and most recently they performed a premier work at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Mr. Bailey is actively involved in the Missouri Choral Directors Association (MCDA), previously serving for 6 years as the West Central Representative. He is also a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), the National Association for Music Education (NAFME), and Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA). Warner has been married to his wife, Kim, for 30 years and they have 3 children, Jonah (16), Jacob (23), Joshua (26) and his wife Jacie. Warner and Kim are proud grandparents of Emery Iris, and eagerly look forward to the arrival of their second granddaughter in August.
Jodi Kratzer teaches vocal music at Fort Zumwalt North Middle School and previously served as the Middle School Choir Vice President for St. Louis Metro District 8. She holds a degree in Vocal Music Education from Concordia University Chicago, has earned her Level II Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education, and received Outstanding District Director awards from the Missouri Choral Directors Association in 2018 and 2022. She also worked as the Vocal Music Director for the City of O’Fallon’s teen summer musical in 2017 and as Choir Manager for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs from 2009-2014. She is an active member of ACDA and NAfME.
Elementary/Early Childhood Vice-President
Megan Carmody teaches music to students in kindergarten through sixth grade at Highland Elementary School in Lewistown, Missouri. She has 17 years of teaching experience and has served all of those years in the Lewis County C-1 School District. She is a passionate believer that providing children with a strong love of music early in life puts them on a path for success throughout their entire academic career. In addition to music, Carmody also directs both the high school and elementary school drama clubs and leads these groups in multiple performances throughout the year. Ever in pursuit of collaborating to create the best learning environment for the students of Lewis County, Carmody is her school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) implementer, serves on the district leadership cadre, and volunteers as a beginning teacher mentor and student teaching cooperating teacher when called to do so. She was selected as Northeast Regional Teacher of the Year in June 2022 and as a Missouri State Teacher of the Year semifinalist in August 2022. In her free time, Carmody enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching and listening to as much musical theatre as possible, and cheering on her students as they perform in music and theatrical events throughout the area. Carmody earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Culver-Stockton College in 2006, her Master of Music Education from Boston University in 2011, and will begin work on her Ed.S in principalship from Arkansas State University in the fall of 2023.
Along with her duties as an Adjunct Professor of Music Education at the University of Central Missouri and faculty sponsor for UCM’s chapter of C-NAfME, Tammy Spratley is an elementary music teacher at Maple Grove Elementary in Warrensburg. Previously, she taught elementary music at Horace Mann (Sedalia), Eureka Elementary, and K-8 vocal and instrumental music at Glenwood R-8 in West Plains. She was also the founder and director of the West Plains Youth Symphony. Mrs. Spratley taught Music Theory at the UCM Summer Music Camp in 2023, presented at the MCDA conference in 2022, served as Director of the West Central Missouri 5th Grade Honor Choir in 2020, and was the woodwind clinician for the Tiger Pride Marching Band at Smith-Cotton HIgh School in the 2016, 2018, and 2019 seasons.
Tammy earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree in K-12 Vocal and Instrumental Music at UCM in 1993, then went on to earn a Master of Music degree in Oboe from Michigan State University in 1995. In 2019, she completed her certification in Orff Schulwerk at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where she studied with Roger Sams, Brian Burnett, Donna Massello-Chiacos, Kate Webster, and Julie Blakeslee. Most recently, Mrs. Spratley completed levels one and two of her Kodaly training at UCM. She is a member of OAKE, AOSA, and NAfME.
Currently, Tammy lives in Sedalia with her husband Doug and has two grown sons, Jared and Morgan. She is very passionate about music education and loves to teach students of all ages, mentor young teachers, and attend workshops. Her favorite pastimes are talking shop with current and future music educators and playing the oboe.
General Music Vice-President
Katie Schisler received a BME Vocal/Instrumental from University of Central Missouri and Masters of Music Education from Central Methodist University. She has her Kodály certification and is currently training to become a Kodály levels instructor. She also completed an Arts Integration Specialist certification through Education Closet. Katie has taught for over 20 years in public and private schools around central and northeast Missouri primarily teaching general and choral music and currently teaches K-5 general music at A. D. Stowell STEAM Elementary in the Hannibal School District. She established a string program at Stowell known as the Southside Strings that includes students ranging from third grade through high school. In addition, she directs the Hannibal Area String Orchestra, a community orchestra made up of all ages and abilities. At Stowell Katie has had the opportunity to be a part of an integration initiative where teachers from every subject collaborate to create arts integrated lessons. Katie works with her husband, Steve, who is the art teacher at Stowell. They have three amazing boys and a loveable beagle. When not teaching music you will find Katie baking, watching movies, or taking a walk with her favorite podcasts. Katie is a member of NAfME, NEA, NFMC and OAKE.
Autumn Shurley received her BS in Music Education in 2010 and her MS in Curriculum and Instruction in 2019, both from Missouri Southern State University. She has been involved in church music ministry and is currently serving as co-vice president of Elementary Music for the Southwest Missouri Music Educators Association. In this position, she has planned successful honor choir events for fourth and fifth grade students in Southwest Missouri for the past eight years.
During her time as a music educator, she served on multiple leadership committees within the Joplin School District, including the planning of professional development for new teachers. Over the past year, Autumn has obtained training in Adaptive Schools, Behavior Intervention Support Team, and Cognitive Coaching. Each training has equipped Autumn with valuable tools that can be used not only in the classroom, but also in various leadership positions and in everyday conversations with adults and students.
Autumn is currently the department lead for elementary music teachers in the Joplin School District. In this position, she has been responsible for planning and leading the professional development of elementary music teachers within her district, as well as collaborating with middle and high school music educators.
In the classroom, Autumn encourages her students to develop a vast appreciation for musical experiences while exploring their own creativity and developing self confidence. Whether it be through hands-on participation with various instruments or active composition activities, Autumn seeks for all students to find success in the music classroom.
Tom Broussard is in his 30th year of teaching music and directing bands in Missouri. He currently serves as the Director of Bands for Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis. At CBC, Tom directs the Band of Brothers, Cadet Band, Jazz Band, Modern Band, and teaches courses in guitar, piano, and audio engineering. Prior to CBC, Tom taught 25 years at Jackson High School and four years at Arcadia Valley High School. Ensembles which he has conducted have been selected and featured three times at the Missouri Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop Conference, Jazz Ensemble 2010 and 2022 and Wind Symphony 2013. His groups consistently earn the highest rating given at the Missouri State Large Ensemble Contest and his groups have also won many Concert and Jazz Festivals in both Missouri and Illinois. Tom has been a clinician and adjudicator of Concert, Jazz, and Marching Festivals in Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, and Canada.
Tom has served twice both as the President of the Southeast Missouri Music Educators Association and as a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Music Advisory Committee. He has served as a MSHSAA Music Festival Manager since 2008 and a Music Rules Interpreter since 2014. As a past member of the Mineral Area Kicks Band, Tom had the fortune to perform with Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, and Pete Christlieb and is currently performing with the Southeast Missouri Regional Jazz Orchestra. Both of his degrees are from Southeast Missouri State University, Bachelors of Music Education 1994 and Masters of Music Education 2004. Tom holds active memberships in the National Association for Music Education, Missouri Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu, Missouri Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha. Tom and his wife Karen have three wonderful children, Alaina, Reed, and Addison.
Jennifer Sager is a dedicated Director of Bands with a passion for music education. With 24 years of teaching experience, she has spent 21 years with Carthage R9 where she currently teaches. Jennifer is responsible for overseeing various ensembles, including the High School Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Brass Band, as well as assisting with the Junior High 7th and 8th Grade Bands and the beginning 6th grade band. Jennifer serves as the Festival Director for the Maple Leaf Marching Festival, the longest running Marching Festival in the state of Missouri. She is a member of professional organizations including Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), Missouri Association for Jazz Education (MOAJE), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Missouri Bandmasters Association (MBA), and Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA). Jennifer currently serves as co-treasurer for the SWMMEA District. She’s also a staff member of the Missouri Ambassadors of Music, which tours Europe, fostering a lifelong love for music and travel for students across the state of Missouri. Jennifer’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s of Music Education Degree and a Master’s of Music Degree, with an emphasis in wind conducting, from Pittsburg State University. As a trumpet player, she is an active member of the Four State Symphonic Winds, and occasionally performs with the Southwest District Director’s Big Band. Jennifer has shared 29 years of marriage with her husband Rob. They are proud parents of two children, Kimberly, who attends the UMKC Dance Conservatory, and Robbie, who is currently pursuing a communication studies major with an emphasis in social influence and media at the University of Central Missouri, where he is also a member of the Mules Men’s Golf team. Both graduate from college in May of 2024.
Melissa Koonce has taught 6-12 grade orchestra in the Independence School District for the past sixteen years. She earned a B.S. in Music Education from William Jewell College and a Master’s Degree in Education from Baker University. Melissa is currently completing a Doctorate in Music Education from Boston University, and has presented her research in growth mindset and music learning at the Missouri Music Educator’s Conference (2023) and theAmerican String Teacher’s Association National Conference (2023).
Melissa has served as the MMEA District #3 Kansas City Metro Vice President for Orchestra from 2014-2016. Currently, she active on the board of the American String Teacher’s Association Missouri chapter and serves as the All-State Orchestra audition coordinator and registration chair. Melissa is an active string clinician and adjudicator. She resides in Kansas City with her husband, Brian, and they are looking forward to adopting their first child in the near future.
Alysse Trusty is the Director of Orchestras at Liberty North High School and has been a professional music educator for a decade. A native to Kansas City, Ms. Trusty began piano at 4 and violin at 10. Ms. Trusty is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, earning both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education.
Additionally, she received her Specialist in K-12 Leadership from Northwest Missouri State. Prior to Liberty North, Ms. Trusty led successful orchestra programs in Kansas and Tennessee and remains an active clinician and adjudicator throughout the region. She has served as the KC Metro #3 High School Orchestra Vice President and was nominated for the Grammy Music Educator Award for her contributions to LNHS and her community.
Ms. Trusty continues to perform with area community orchestras and string ensembles. She is an active member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA).
Dr. Mark Bonner
Mark Bonner, Jr. is a music educator, composer, and clinician from Memphis, TN, and a professor at the University of Central Missouri, where he teaches courses in graduate conducting, graduate music literature, and music education. Dr. Bonner also supervises the UCM Symphonic Band, Marching Mules, and Pep Band. Mark earned a Doctorate in wind conducting at UMKC Conservatory, a Master’s in Wind Conducting at LSU, and a Bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Memphis, where he was a drum major, section leader, and student arranger for the Mighty Sound of the South. Dr. Bonner is in high demand as a composer, transcriber for wind instruments, and arranger for some of the most recognizable marching ensembles in the country. Mark’s work for marching band has been featured internationally on ESPN, nominated for a Grammy award, and showcased by the prominent cast members of “The Office.”
Dr. Cynthia Phelps
Cynthia Williams Phelps is a Graduate Music Education instructor for the University of Missouri. Dr. Phelps teaches Practicum courses and has co-instructed Foundations of Music Education, Psychology of Music, and Current Topics in Music Education. Additionally, she has taught undergraduate music education courses and Music in the Classroom for general education majors. She supervises pre-service teachers for the University of Missouri and Missouri State University. She holds a PhD in Music Education, with an emphasis in learning, teaching, and curriculum, from the University of Missouri, an MME in Music Education from Georgia State University, and a BA in Music Education from College of the Ozarks.
Dr. Phelps cultivated a unique perspective for the importance of reflective music teaching through her journey as music teacher educator, public school music educator, virtual learning music educator, choral and instrumental performer, and independent music studio instructor. Reflective practice and student-centered learning guide her philosophy of teaching.
Dr. Phelps is an Arts Across the Curriculum Specialist for the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education. She serves on the Advancing Music Education committee for MMEA, the Social Justice SRIG for the Society of Research in Music Education, and the Critical Examination of the Curriculum ASPA for the Society for Music Teacher Educators. Dr. Phelps has presented research and workshops at state and national conferences including the Missouri Music Educators Association, National Council of Teachers of English Whole Language Umbrella, Midwest Educational Technology Conference, and National Association for Music Education Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference. She has published in the Missouri School Music Magazine and Journal of Research in Music Education. Her research interests include reflective music teaching, teacher leadership in music education, and arts integration.