Mackie Spradley Biography

Spradley headshot

With over 25 years of service in music education in urban public schools, Mackie is thrilled about the nomination for President Elect of the Southwest Division of NAfME. Currently, Mackie is the Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator of Secondary Choral/General Music Studies of Dallas Independent School District.
Mackie has been a board member of the Texas Music Educators Conference for 6 years, serving as a Member At Large, Multicultural Chair, President Elect and now President.

She received the Bachelor of Music in Voice from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from Texas Woman’s University. She received her Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of North Texas in the College of Education with a major in Curriculum and Instruction and a minor in Anthropology.

As a presenter, Mackie has shared her expertise throughout the United States and aboard. She has presented at various state, national and international conferences including, Texas Music Educators Association, Colorado Music Educators Association, the Society for Music Teachers Education, National Association for Music Educators (formerly MENC), Texas Choral Directors Association, the National Association Multicultural Education Texas Conference and the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. She is the facilitator of the Teacher Retention ASAP of the Society for Music Teacher Education.

Mackie is a published author with research interests in music teacher effectiveness, critical discourse, culturally responsive teaching, social justice in music education, and critical theory. Mackie continues to focus her work and efforts on issues related to equity in music education programs and improving music teacher effectiveness.

Music education continues to be influenced by educational, social and political discourses surrounding school failure. The driving questions framing the discourse are why is public education failing and what can we do to improve our failing educational system. Within the discourses, educational reform is considered a viable response to school failure, particularly school choice and the privatization of schools, accountability of learning and testing, teacher effectiveness and teacher evaluation and strategies related to closing the achievement gap between diverse student groups.

For that reason, Music education faces several primary questions related to the discourses surrounding school failure.
• How do we define music teacher effectiveness?
• How do we measure teacher effectiveness or evaluate teachers in various learning contexts?
• How do we address measuring individual student assessment and growth in music classrooms?

Music education is also faced with challenges related to the demographic shift, which for many educational researchers, is also a factor of school failure.
• How can we adequately prepare music educators for the increasing change in demographic and curricular interest?
• How do we engage a larger percentage of the student population in our schools in our music?
• Who has access to quality music instruction?

It is my belief that NAfME faces both internal and external challenges. Some of those internal challenges seem to be:
• How do we become more visible and relevant to the thousands of music educators who are not members of any state music organization?
• How do we develop the capacity of each MEA to its fullest potential, particularly the smaller MEAs?
• How do we capitalize upon diverse, intellectual capital and use multiple lenses to create a deeper, richer understanding of potential work as a national music organization?

Some of the external challenges include:
• How do we continue to make connections with policy makers and influence legislation that impacts us?
• How do we increase our circle of friends and influence with organizations that have similar goals and interests? How do we cross barriers and boundaries to create new partnerships?
• Which questions have we not yet asked that might profit our organizational interests and goals?

How should NAfME respond to these challenges:

• Create opportunities for more collaborative work between music teachers, music researchers and persons influencing policy makers.
• Clearly define a research agenda. Create and award research grants for the most urgent topics concerning NAfME.
• Create a comprehensive P-16 agenda that supports collaborative work and establishes a connection between the work of P-12 music educators, music education in higher education and music professions.
• Strategically advance our effort to publish our stories and our work! Cross barriers and boundaries with a new marketing strategy. Discourse can be influenced if we package our message and purposefully share it all stakeholders.
• Proactively seek to answer two questions: Who attends our events and why? Who does not attend our events and why?
• Create Think Tanks that represent diverse interests, backgrounds and experiences.