Susan B. Barre
2019-2021 Eastern Division President-Elect
Candidate Biography and Statement
Susan B. Barre is the Immediate Past President of the Maine Music Educators Association. Her term in office was marked by a National Association for Music Education (NAfME) state membership award. Mrs. Barre spearheaded structural changes for the Maine Music Educators Association to include moving MMEA from a 501C6 to a 501C3 organization, hiring an accountant, and adding a position for a part-time paid executive director. The institution of these changes ensures that MMEA promotes transparency and maintains integrity at the highest level for the membership.
Now in her twenty-fifth year of teaching, Mrs. Barre has experience teaching instrumental and choral music and has owned a preschool music program, taught French Horn at Bowdoin College and is currently in her eleventh year as band director for grades 5-12 in Waterville, Maine. Mrs. Barre is Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department in Waterville and holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Horn Performance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Science in Instructional Leadership from the University of Southern Maine.
Highly respected as a skilled conductor and clinician, Mrs. Barre has presented band and modern band workshops for regional, state, and NAfME Eastern Division Conferences. She is an active member of the Kennebec Valley Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the Maine Music Educators Association. During her tenure as Chair of the Music Department, the Waterville High School Music Program was recognized by the State Legislature last May for outstanding performances at the WorldStrides Music Festival. All five high school ensembles, including band, chorus, strings, jazz band, and select choir were rated outstanding leading to Festival Sweep award.
Mrs. Barre’s professional awards include the 2017 School Band and Orchestra Magazine “50 directors who make a difference”; 2015 Grammy Community Award; 2016 Waterville Board of Education Community Award; 2014 and 2012 Waterville Board of Education Faculty Award; Teaching Music magazine 2000 “Outstanding Educator”; and 1996 Maine Music Educator of the Year.
What do you see as the major challenges music education will face during your term as president?
The challenges of inclusion and equity are at the forefront of issues that face music education.
- Equity for students from large schools and small schools, urban and rural, affluent and those challenged by poverty.
- Equity for all no matter race or sexual orientation.
There is no disputing that all students need and deserve equal access to a high-quality music education.
As an educator my goal is to have students graduate from my program as lifelong advocates and supporters of music and music education. If we, as educators, can accomplish this, we will help develop a society that will take on the task of educating others about the value of music and music education.
What do you see as the major challenges facing NAfME?
Currently, one of the major challenges facing NAfME is one of infrastructure that is not fully meeting communication and collaboration needs. The idealistic approach regarding what can be accomplished through the NAfME platforms for the state associations is not realistically what is happening. As an example, the membership platform, CRM, must be upgraded. Communication regarding technology challenges needs to be addressed.
It is time to speak openly and honestly about what NAfME wants to accomplish. A vision must be set, with these goals in mind, a five-year plan, a ten-year plan, and even a twenty-five-year plan. A long-term plan will help to guide the day-to-day happenings at NAfME and support the accomplishment of our organizational goals by using a framework to guide our efforts.
How should NAfME respond to these challenges?
These challenges must be addressed in a timely manner to ensure that NAfME promotes transparency and maintains integrity at the highest level for the membership. The lines of communication need to continue to be open. The work to reconnect the National Conference and the National Ensembles is a good example of where I feel the membership concerns have been heard and addressed.
In order to keep the attention of busy music educators, a monthly update from NAfME would be helpful. Constantly seeking feedback from membership will keep the voice of the membership in the forefront. As an educator, I seek evaluation from my students informally on a biweekly basis and formally on a semester basis. The same could be accomplished for NAfME.