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About the Event

Join members of NAfME’s Small Schools Initiative Task Force, invited speakers, and fellow small school music educators from throughout the United States for an interactive town hall focused on lived experiences by small school music teachers. In an effort to build strong and sustainable small school music education programs, each panelist will briefly share the context where they teach (or taught), their own journey to become a small school music educator, challenges they faced along the way, and key strategies they used for developing a successful music program. Breakout room discussion will allow all participants the opportunity to share about the context where they teach and what inspired and guided them to become a music educator in a small school.

Presenters: Guest Panelists Karen Williams-Lanning, Natasha Verhulst, Matthew Brown, Shane Colquhoun, and Kathi Hernandez with Richard Tengowski, Chair of the Small Schools Task Force.

Matt-BrownMathew Brown has taught choir, band, jazz band, drumline, and a guitar/piano course for 19 years at Manson Secondary School in Manson, Washington. He earned his bachelor’s degrees at the University of Washington and earned a master’s in music through the American Band College in Ashland, Oregon. He has presented numerous times at state and regional conferences on many topics. In 2019, he was chosen as a Washington State Regional Teacher of the Year.


Shane Calhoun headshotShane Colquhoun is a Grammy-nominated music educator with a diverse musical background in music education and production. Shane is the Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Contemporary Musical Styles at Alabama State University. He has published in Journal of General Music Education (formerly General Music Today), the Media Journal in Music Education, and is the author of The Producers of Pop: A Comprehensive Plan for Studying Popular Music Producers.

Kathi HernandezKathi Hernandez teaches classroom music at Earlimart Elementary and Alila Elementary schools in Earlimont, California, and is the marching and percussion instructor for the Earlimart Middle School band. She taught for 10 years at St Aloysius Catholic School where she taught classroom music, band, and choir. A clarinetist, she received an undergraduate degree in music education from California State University in Fresno.


Richard Tengowski headshotRichard Tengowski has been teaching bands and general music for more than 30 years for the School District of Kohler in Kohler, Wisconsin. He received his B.M. in Music Education from St. Norbert College and his M.M. from Northwestern University. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in Music at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan teaching applied clarinet and saxophone. In addition to chair of the Small Schools Initiative Task Force, he serves as NAfME’s North Central Division President and has held several leadership positions for related music educator associations in Wisconsin.

Natasha Verhulst headshotNatasha VerhulstNekānekapowiahkiw Natasha Verhulst is a member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) and a descendant of the Menominee Nation. She currently teaches 4K through 5th grade general music at Keshena Primary School in the Menominee Indian School District on the Menominee reservation in Wisconsin. Natasha received her bachelor’s degree in music education from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, her master’s degree in music education from Lakeland University in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay First Nations Education Doctoral Program.

Karen Williams LanningKaren Williams Lanning is the band and guitar teacher at Swain High School in Bryson City, North Carolina. At the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, she was recognized by the Women Band Directors International with the Summa Cum Laude Award for outstanding musical achievement within small high schools. She is also a two-time Swain County Schools Teacher of the Year, North Carolina Western Region finalist, and Western District Award of Excellence recipient.

NAfME presents this live virtual event at no charge to all as a service to the music education profession. To register, you must enter your NAfME member information or create a nonmember account. After registering, check your email for instructions. A recording of this program will be available to all registrants for one week following the live event. Members can also view archived NAfME webinars in the NAfME Academy. The views expressed are those of the presenter; they do not necessarily reflect the views of NAfME.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Start Date

April 10, 2024

End Date

April 10, 2024

Start and End Time

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm (ET)

Event Category

  • Live Virtual
  • Town Hall
  • Virtual

School Type

  • Small


  • Band
  • Choral
  • General Music
  • Non-Traditional Ensembles
  • Orchestra
  • Show Choir

Teaching Levels

  • PreK-12

Venue Name


Music Inclusion Hub from elementary to college. Your digital hub for culturally responsive, intersectional, mixed media music resources.
Messiah University. Learn more. Earn your master's in music conducting or music education. Online. Flexible. Affordable.
University of the Arts