National Association for Music Education Announces New Executive Director and CEO


After a thorough review process, the National Executive Board of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and Michael Butera have agreed that he will not be returning to the association. We wish him well and thank him for his service to our purpose and mission. 

Additionally, we are announcing that Michael Blakeslee will serve as the new Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for NAfME, effective immediately. Mr. Blakeslee’s vast experience and knowledge of our organization, fostered over nearly 30 years of dedicated service to NAfME and the music education profession, best position us to move forward and advocate for and provide opportunities to students and teachers.

These last few days highlight the need for real, substantive conversation about what must be done to provide access and opportunity to all students no matter where they live. This is an ongoing journey and we are ready to play an increasingly important role in convening and facilitating a dialogue and prompting action around how all of us can increase diversity, inclusion, and equity in music and the arts.

executive director

Michael Blakeslee is Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He received B.A.s in music and psychology and an M.A. in music composition from the University of Virginia, where he managed the electronic music lab. He has taught at institutions in the United States and abroad, notably at Northern Virginia Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Universidad de Los Andes, and the Universidad Nacional Pedagógica de Colombia. He has composed musical works for a variety of media, and is the author of articles on music and music education.

At NAfME, Blakeslee has served as editor of the award-winning Music Educators Journal and of Teaching Music magazine, and many NAfME publications. He has directed the development of music education initiatives and innovative online tools for music education. In 1994, he was editor of the National Standards for Arts Education: What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able to Do in the Arts. In 2010, he managed the process that resulted in the 21st Century Arts Skills Map, published by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. And he served on the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards leadership team in the development of the 2014 Core Arts Standards.

Blakeslee’s work over nearly 30 years at NAfME has also involved overseeing a number of significant cooperative ventures resulting in the development of teachers’ materials and other support for teachers and the public, and the institution of initiatives encouraging all decision-makers to engage more effectively in supporting music education.

In 2006, Blakeslee was designated a Lowell Mason Fellow, a distinction awarded to outstanding individuals in music education. He serves on the board of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, a youth orchestra in the Washington, DC, area.