“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.