2023-2025 Northwest Division President-Elect Candidate
Dusty Molyneaux is the Music and Art Supervisor for the Great Falls Public Schools. In this position, he oversees 40 teachers that reach out and deliver art and music instruction to more than 10,000 students in 20 buildings in the Great Falls school system. Before taking on this position, he was the band director at Great Falls High School and the Shepherd Public Schools. The GFHS Symphonic Band was invited to perform at the NW-NAfME festival twice during his time there. He is a past-president of the Montana Music Educators Association and Montana Bandmasters Association, and is an active trumpet player in the region. In January of 2014 he was awarded the National Federation of High Schools Outstanding Montana Music Educator of the Year by the Montana High School Association. He is also a member of the MHSA Music Committee.
Dusty earned degrees from the University of Montana (BME) and VanderCook College of Music (MME), and holds a K–12 principal endorsement from the University of Montana.
Dusty serves the community as a member of the Great Falls Symphony Board of Directors, the Paris Gibson Square Board of Directors, the Mansfield Performing Arts Foundation Board, the Great Falls Optimist Club, and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. He is married to Holly, a fellow music educator in the Great Falls system, who gets to be the boss after 5 pm. They have one daughter, Sofia, who is pretty much the boss all the time.
What do you see as the major challenges facing music education during your term as president?
I see two major challenges. Number one is that we do not have nearly enough qualified music teachers to fill the music education jobs that are available. We need to recruit new teachers with urgency and do everything we can to nourish and retain the teachers who are already in the field. Running right behind this problem is that we will need to rebuild and restore programs that were either reduced, devastated, or completely lost due to the pandemic. I sense that many of our veteran teachers will be retiring after this year due to intense amount of stress and anxiety that pandemic teaching has put on them, which will make both problems even worse.
What do you see as the major challenges facing NAfME?
Growth of the membership of the organization, as well as making sure the organization provides needed essential services and enriching professional development for the current members.
How should our Association respond to these challenges?
You belong to an organization because you believe in its mission and vision, or you believe in the “bang for your buck” that membership provides. I would love all NAfME members to belong for both of those reasons. I think most music educators believe in the importance of teaching music to every child in all our schools, but they need to feel like their dues are also providing them tools that make their job easier, more enjoyable, and more satisfying for a long term career.
NAfME has done a good job of partnering with other arts organizations in providing essential services to membership during the pandemic. The aerosol studies, the copyright guidance and agreements with print publishers, and virtual professional development have been stellar. I think we need to continue to lead in these matters and find even more ways to make NAfME membership essential for all music educators, no matter what field you teach in. I would love to see NAfME work with other arts organizations and publishers to come up with synchronization agreements that schools and school districts could purchase to make the complicated process of doing uploads and virtual concerts legal and less stressful for school groups. I would also like to see NAfME sponsor more robust mentor programs for new teachers and use some of our veteran and retired members to help out new recruits. Virtual conferencing is now a viable system that could be engaged with this, which takes away travel and other logistical problems that mentors sometimes run into in helping out fellow teachers.