2019 Conference Forums

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Download the 2019 NAfME National Conference App flyer to learn how to download and use the app.


Attendees can receive 15 hours of professional development for attending the National Conference, and additional professional development for attending one of the following pre-conference Forums (scroll down to read about the Music Program Leaders Forum):


November 6-7

If you find yourself looking for opportunities to be a leader, this forum might be for you. Leadership can happen in your school, district, state associations, or national associations. Participants in this forum will learn about leadership characteristics, leading others, working with all types of personalities, influencing and leading through change, empowering others to engage with you, leading from the middle, and organizational and communication skills. Learn how to embrace and encourage diversity as you interact with other professionals in your field. We invite all ages and backgrounds to attend.

Wednesday, November 6

What Is a Leader?

3:30 – 4:30 PM

Peter Boonshaft

What is at the heart of being a leader?  What are the magical qualities that make someone a leader?  What is the essence of true leadership?  How do we balance the notion of having a vision, dreaming of more and motivating others, with the desire to accomplish goals, garner respect and empower those we serve?  Inspiration: the true meaning of leadership.  

Group Discussion: Getting to Know You

4:45 – 5:15 PM

Denese Odegaard

What drew you to this forum, what leadership experiences have you had, and what are you hoping to walk away with- needs and goals?


5:15 – 5:30 PM

Leadership Characteristics

5:30 – 6:15 PM

Martha Gabel

John C. Maxwell, author of multiple leadership books,  defines leadership, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” What characteristics  do leaders need to develop to turn ideas into reality?

Group Discussion: Who Inspires Leadership?

6:15 – 6:30 PM

Denese Odegaard

What are the characteristics of great leaders you have known or experienced  and what did they accomplish? How did they influence or inspire you? What characteristics might you want to develop? Prep for Day 2

Panel Discussion: Nuts & Bolts of Leadership Part 1

6:30 – 7:00 PM

Peter Boonshaft, Martha Gabel, Denese Odegaard, Mackie Spradley

How do leaders think outside the box when necessary? How do we empower success in others? How do you create a circle of influence? How do you build relationships and consensus? How do you empower others to engage with you and your ideas?


Thursday, November 7

Influencing Leading Through Change

8:00 – 8:30 AM

Martha Gabel

Change is inevitable in any organization, but it can be a stressful process for some – especially if the change is unexpected or unwelcome.  How can leaders help others move through the change process in a positive and productive way?

Nuts and Bolts of Leadership- Part 2

8:30 – 9:30 AM

Martha Gabel, Denese Odegaard

Planning & facilitating meetings, evaluating your work, organization, communicating, building consensus, etc.


9:30 – 9:45 AM

Empowering Others to Engage with You

9:45 – 10:30 AM

Mary Palmer

Without “followers,” you can’t be a “leader.”  In this time together, we’ll think about multiple pathways to engaging others to achieve what becomes a common goal/set of goals.   Who are the “natural partners” to achieving the desired outcomes?  Encouraging and empowering others to “become all they can be” is a hallmark of a focused leader.   Sharing the success is part of that empowerment.

Leadership Can Happen Anywhere

10:30 – 11:30 AM

Mary Palmer

It probably starts with passion.  What matters most to you?  How do you make “your goals” = “their goals?”  Building connections with people at all levels of influence is valuable, even critical.  Do you have your “elevator speech” ready?  How can YOU be an ambassador for music and arts education – at the local, regional, state, and even national level?


11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

What Is Your Leadership Style?

1:00 – 2:15 PM

Martha Gabel

Identify your leadership personality and find ways to work productively with all types of personalities.


2:15 – 2:30 PM

How to Use Data to Create Change

2:30 – 3:15 PM

Mackie Spradley

This session will examine how data can inform and influence decision-making processes and policies surrounding music education. Participants will be introduced to how to ask the right questions, select the most effective method to gather data, how to make meaning of the results, and create an Action Plan in response to the findings. This will be a hands-on session and participants will have the opportunity to engage in the discussion and activities. 

Panel Discussion: Working with Difficult People

3:15 – 4:00 PM

Martha Gabel, Denese Odegaard, Mary Palmer, Mackie Spradley, Chris Woodside

When you lead, you can be guaranteed that there will be people that may want to undermine your work, resist change, bully or intimidate you. Learn how to have difficult situations and tackle the “elephant” in the room.  


4:00 – 4:15 PM

Who Moved My Cheese?

4:15 – 4:45 PM

Mackie Spradley

There are very few things in life that are certain- except…change! Change is certain. In this session, participants will examine some of the common reactions to change and why; reflect upon their personal beliefs about and responses to change; and discuss the dynamics of change and its potential to promote personal growth.  

Wrap-Up Discussion

4:45 – 5:15 PM

Denese Odegaard

Open discussion and personal goal setting. Where do you see yourself in five years? What characteristics of a leader would you like to develop and where will you find guidance?





November 6-7

This forum will provide relevant professional development for music program leaders and district arts coordinators working in the K-12 school setting, aimed at establishing and growing networks of collegial support for those in the profession. This forum is geared for those in administrative roles, built with insights and models from your colleagues—music program leaders.

The Music Program Leaders Forum will address:

  • recruitment/retention of teachers
  • human resources
  • credentialing teachers
  • funding
  • leveraging resources
  • professional development for program leaders, Lac

Wednesday, November 6

Welcome, Meet and Greet, Overviews, Unconference Session ideas

3:30-4:00 PM

Meaningful Goal-Setting for Music Programs

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Johanna Siebert

Using an actual school district process and specific examples, this session explores and combines recognized goal-setting protocols that enjoin music department faculty members in setting and achieving increased student learning and individualized professional growth goals.

Debrief from the presentation

5:00 – 5:30 PM

Creating A Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Music Education in Boston

5:30 – 6:30 PM

Anthony Beatrice

This session will be a deep dive into Boston Public School’s Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Music Education Decolonization project. Topics include collecting folk songs of various languages from the community, honoring various cultures through non-traditional instruments (Gamelan, Samba, Taiko), utilizing the Institute for Composer Diversity, and creating opportunities for Hip-Hop culture to permeate throughout the curriculum. We will discuss our challenges and share best-practices moving forward.

Debrief from the presentation

6:30 – 7:00 PM

Wrap up/Announcements

7:00 PM


Thursday, November 7

Creativity & Critical Thinking – it’s for EVERY musician!

8:00 – 9:00 AM

Anne Fennell

Participants will identify and associate creativity and critical thinking to teaching K-12 music, as well as walk away with techniques to guide their teachers and programs. The session will provide background information and time to brainstorm, connect, and identify the why and how to intentionally teach for creativity and critical thinking; both of which are integrated into the national standards.


9:00 – 9:15 AM

NAfME Updates

9:15 – 9:45 AM

Tooshar Swain

Advocacy Tools for Music Program Leaders

9:45 – 10:30 AM

Tiffany Kerns

Presentation Debrief

10:30 – 11:00 AM

Unconference Session #1 & Share out

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM


12:00 – 1:30 PM

Survival Tips for Educators in Title One Schools

1:30 – 2:30 PM

Letricia Henson

Provide tools of relevancy for educators specifically in Title One Schools. The focus of standardized testing, leadership and school climate often drives effective teachers away from the profession. The topic is needed to prepare and encourage teachers in urban schools; so they will continue to fulfill their purpose as effective educational leaders better known as Change Agents for the Future. Provide tools of relevancy for educators specifically in Title One Schools. The focus of standardized testing, leadership and school climate often drives effective teachers away from the profession. The topic is needed to prepare and encourage teachers in urban schools; so they will continue to fulfill their purpose as effective educational leaders better known as Change Agents for the Future.

Unconference Session #2 & Share out

2:30 – 3:30 PM


3:30 – 3:45 PM

Supporting your Music Teachers’ Musical/SEL Professional Development

3:45 – 4:45 PM

Scott Edgar

Social Emotional Learning is being implemented at the school and district level with increased frequency and intensity due to the massive affect personal challenges are having on our students; however, few music teachers are learning how to contribute to this initiative in an authentic and musical way. This session is designed to help music program leaders learn how to best support their teachers SEL professional development needs, while learning about and experiencing SEL and associate music activities. For more information read the related blog post.

Presentations Debrief

4:45 – 5:15 PM

Wrap up

5:15 – 5:30 PM