Kathleen D. Sanz Biography

president elect
2016 Copyright Mark Finkenstaedt/mfpix.com. All Rights Reserved

Kathleen D. Sanz received her B.A. and M.A. in Music Education from the University of South Florida, and her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Colorado. Presently she is the President and CEO of the Center for Fine Arts Education in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to that Ms. Sanz served as the Supervisor of Curriculum and Instructional Services and Co-Directed the District School Board of Pasco County Curriculum Department from 2007-2011. From 1985-2006 she supervised the Fine Arts at the K-12 level. Her past teaching experience includes 8 years as a music educator at the elementary level.

Ms. Sanz has been instrumental throughout her career in curriculum and assessment development and implementation at the district and state level.

Ms. Sanz served as a grant evaluator of U.S. Department of Education “Professional Development in Arts Education” (PDAE) grants for the Hillsborough County, Florida public schools. She also developed and received grants from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs for the Florida Music Educators Association awarded annually from 2011-2016.

Ms. Sanz is Past President of the Southern Division of NAfME, as well as Past President of the Florida Music Educators Association. Ms. Sanz has also served as President of the Florida School Music Association, 2010-2011. Currently, Ms. Sanz is the State Executive of the Florida Music Educators Association.

“The rapidly changing external environment, due to social, technological, economic, and political variables poses a major challenge, as well as an opportunity for music education. What will the education of our students look like in public/private schools, virtual/online education, charter schools, and in home education during 2018-2020? This is a serious question that will need multiple solutions.

  • The social variables of diversity in students and teachers that are in many of our schools pose an issue for music educators. We need to be aware of the demographics that are ever changing and ensure that our music programs reflect this diversity both in terms of students and teachers.
  • The use and non-use of technology in the schools and in homes provide challenges particularly for the “have-nots”. We must also address the fact that our digital natives catch on so quickly where many of our teachers have not had the resources to keep up.
  • Economics that include our students of poverty and the lack of adequate funding for teacher salaries and teaching resources needed to educate the nation’s children needs to be seriously reviewed as it is a tremendous problem. The national, state, and local governments need to make a priority of educating the “whole child” that includes a commitment to music education with funding.
  • The political scene with national, state, and local mandates have placed teachers in difficult situations with extensive testing, low morale, school choice/school vouchers etc.
  • Secondary music education including the lack of requirements for middle school music and the expanded student offerings of AP and honors classes causes difficulties for students to stay in an ensemble through all four years of high school.

Each of these issues causes a major challenge with teacher shortages in our schools. Teachers are leaving or not entering the field due to national, state, and local mandates. Throughout the nation, there are the lack of certified/licensed and QUALIFIED teachers to fill our classrooms. In addition, the lack of funding for education in general and music education specifically needs to be addressed.

The lack of relevant professional development and the continuity and collaboration between K-12 and higher education poses a challenge. We need for both the K-12 community and higher education to make a conscience effort to connect with K-12 teachers to ensure that the student teachers are aware and prepared to enter the music education profession.

What are the major challenges facing NAfME?

Membership.  Due to the changing school environment, demographics of our nation, economics, and politics, membership that meets the needs of today’s music educators is a significant challenge. Music educators need to know why and what they are joining as members.

Maintaining a strong focus on advocacy at the national level and assisting state MEAs with their advocacy efforts is a challenge, but vital to our association.

Professional development that addresses the varied needs of the membership, including comprehensive training for K-20 in curriculum and assessment and training in non-traditional subject areas is critically important. Ensuring that the annual conference addresses all areas from early childhood, middle school, high school, and college. 

Addressing the continuously changing national regulations (e.g., IRS, Department of Labor) to assist state MEAs to be in compliance.

NAfME needs to build structures, based on the power of music education, that will not only strengthen NAfME, but also education at large by being the leader in addressing the challenges faced in education.

We need to listen to our members through all of the MEAs and assist the states that are having the most difficulties with building their membership through strong membership campaigns, particularly our smaller states that may not have the resources that are needed to expand their membership.

NAfME needs to address the significant teacher shortage in many of our states. We need to make a concerted effort to focus on students to enter the profession through leadership training, TriM, and NAfME collegiate chapters. Assist states with accurate reporting to governmental agencies on status of the teacher shortage (e.g., U.S. Department of Education: Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide List). This is important, as state governments need to be aware of the music teacher shortage so they will add resources to improve this situation.

We need to expand opportunities to bring together K-12 and higher education to further develop a K-20 system.

Provide leadership training for the state MEAs and the six NAfME Divisions.

We need to collect data and strengthen research on the status of music education. These data are particularly important for effective advocacy. NAfME needs to continue to support strong policy research as part of its advocacy plan. Develop an Environmental Scan process that systematically surveys and interprets data to identify external opportunities and threats. In addition, assist states in conducting an environmental scan for their state, particularly in states with limited resources. NAfME needs to develop a method that enables decision makers both to understand the external environment and the interconnections of its various sectors and to translate this understanding into planning and decision making processes.

NAfME needs to conduct research to provide status reports to governmental agencies and advocate for programs based on the status reports on the importance of music education for all students.

Develop a system and ways for MEAs to share successes and ways to address problems that may exist in other MEAs. This should be conducted, in addition to the National Assembly.

The National office should work with state executives on the regulations and compliance issues that are brought about at the federal level.

NAfME can and does make a difference.”