Tina M. Bennett
Eastern Division President-Elect 2023-2025 Candidate
Clarion-Limestone Jr/Sr High School/Retired 2021
Educator, PMEA State President 2018-2020,PMEA District #3 President 2014-2016, PMEA State Board, District #3 Professional Department Chair and Advocacy Chair, Site Host for the State PMEA Conference(2 years),PMEA District #3 Citation of Excellence 2021, PMEA State Tri-M Chair, Junior District #3 Chorus Conductor 2022, Eastern Division Conference Co-Chair2021, Clarion-Limestone HS Department Chair, Vocal Coach, Pageant Coach, Dance Team Advisor, Junior Class Advisor
Tina Bennett has 37 years of experience in all aspects of instrumental and vocal music education with a diverse student population (etc., elementary general music, junior high, literary classical theater, choir production, and variety of senior high school ensembles). In addition to the spectrum of teaching responsibilities, Tina Bennett established and created an award-winning show choir, which she solely developed, implemented, and produced. This vocal ensemble received top honors and superior rating in several states. In 2019, Mrs. Bennett created a Modern Band that grew in popularity leading to live performances for the student body every week known as “Performance Friday’s”. Tina also established a virtual “Happy Birthday Project” during the pandemic designed as a community outreach program for local senior citizens in nursing homes which was launched Nationally by NAfME (National Association for Music Education) October 2022.
Although Mrs. Bennett has instructed approximately 300 students each year for 37 years, her expertise is in performance coaching, in both small group and individualized instructional settings. Her passion and commitment has inspired and impacted the career choices of several of her senior high school students in which they continued their professional pursuit in the field of music (etc., radio producer/promoter, music educators, military band, and entertainment law). Tina Bennett graduated with a Music Education Degree from Clarion University with additional graduate credits at Wilkes-Barre and Duquesne.
What do you see as the major challenges music education will face during your term and in what ways can you transform these into opportunities during your presidency?
The challenges I see facing music education are re-building what covid took away. Many programs have seen a decrease in student membership, as well as a decrease, or elimination of faculty, and programs. Some music programs have been “traded” for remediation courses for core classes, or additional staff for emotional support. Retiring teachers are not being replaced, and music courses have been eliminated, or consolidated. I believe that we will need to provide support for our members through grass roots advocacy, and reminding district decision makers about the importance of a supported and fully staffed music department. If a school district’s music department managed to survive without any significant decline, we can help supply resources to strengthen programs though professional development , and give examples of varied types of instruction and class offerings to provide teachers inspiration for new and creative ideas.
What do you see as the major challenges the association will face during your term and in what ways can you transform these into opportunities during your presidency?
I believe a major challenge for Eastern Division and NAFME is inspiring members to be involved. This is an association that is supported by volunteers. The only way we continue to survive is through our members being willing to take the time to host festivals, hold offices, sit on committees, brainstorm ideas, or any number of small actions of support. The vitality of our organization depends upon these amazing volunteers. Because we are stronger together, elected leaders, volunteers themselves, should be thinking about all areas of music education, and how they can include, and encourage all music educators to be members. We as leaders need to focus on areas besides festival related programs. Providing support, and resources for educators who feel they don’t have time to volunteer, or don’t feel included because they do not teach a grade level, or courses that participate in festivals . Pre-K through junior high often feel that they don’t get enough “bang for their buck”, to be members. I would like to try and provide additional on-line offerings, sample lesson plans complete with videos, and, handouts, and create exchange programs within our divisions. For example, a musical pen-pal, an exchange between similar sized school districts from different states, could provide valuable ideas and inspiration for teachers. Students could share virtual performances, musical compositions, or even take field trips to the schools for possible in person exchanges or performances. This could not only bring value to a “non-festival” educator, but open up students from different states to see what life is like in another part of the country . This exchange program could work not only for elementary and junior high, but higher education as well. The possibilities are endless.
How do you plan to advance equity/DEIA in NAfME during your term of office?
As a division president, forming a plan to provide equal educational opportunities for all students should be a top priority. In my opinion, some of the barriers standing in the way include geography, population, funding, and staff. As a national organization, NAfME has access to information from all across the country that could be utilized to help break those barriers. If elected, I have a vision of using the vast reaching arm of NAfME to create an informational sharing chain. This exchange of ideas would spread valuable information about diversity, equity, inclusion, and access across the country. Within this model local members can use the valuable information provided and customize it to their own needs. If elected, I would also like to meet with the state presidents and create a think tank of ideas and programs that are working in each state. I believe the eastern division presidency can be used as a facilitator to bring music educators together to solve the never-ending challenges being faced today.