Argine Safari is a passionate music educator who currently serves as the Supervisor of Music, World Languages, Multilingual Learners, and FACS in the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in New Jersey. For the past 18 years, Mrs. Safari served as the Director of Choirs at Pascack Valley High School, as well as the Director of Music/Organist at the Christ Lutheran Church in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Under Mrs. Safari’s direction, Pascack Valley choirs earned numerous awards and accolades, traveling nationally from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, CA, and internationally to Canada, Italy, and Ireland, where their renditions of Irish songs were played on the national radio.
Mrs. Safari has been active as a vocal coach, clinician, conductor, collaborative pianist, and Director of Music (having conducted more than 30 musicals), and has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Zankel Hall, and NJPAC, among others. She has conducted the NJ All-State Treble Choir, Bergen County Choir, the Rockland County Choir, and the All-State Opera Chorus. In 2013, Mrs. Safari co-founded a non-profit New Jersey youth theater arts company, Stage Scene and Song Performing Arts (3SPA), with the mission to transform and empower its participants through the arts, and was instrumental in the success of the program which received generous grants and was nominated for several youth theater awards. Prior to Pascack Valley, Mrs. Safari was a conductor and pianist at the Grammy award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the chorus of choice for top orchestras and recording artists from Beyonce & Elton John to The NY Philharmonic & John Adams.
In 2017, Mrs. Safari was named the NJ State Teacher of the Year and was recognized by the U.S. President at a ceremony in the Oval Office, along with the other STOYs. She spent the year traveling across the nation, representing the 200,000 educators from her state, and also served as an educational consultant at the NJ State Department of Education. In this capacity, she helped develop the Title I Arts Integration grants program and initiated the ECET2 conference (sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) in Princeton, which for the first time, focused on arts education and featured performances by student ensembles.
Argine is currently completing her Ph.D., researching best teaching practices and approaches to developing virtual communities in performing ensembles. Argine is the 2010 Princeton University’s Distinguished Scholar Award, the 2015-2016 Bergen County Teacher of the Year, the 2017 Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award, the 2018 Lowell Milken Fellow, the 2018 NJEA Art Teacher of the Year, and the 2019 NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2020, Mrs. Safari was featured in Dr. Bilha Fish’s book Invincible Women: Conversations with 21 Inspiring and Successful American Immigrants. A winner of the US Fulbright Distinguished Teacher Award in 2019, Mrs. Safari was granted a half-year sabbatical to teach and conduct music education research at the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland. She presented masterclasses, clinics, and seminars, conducted choirs, and facilitated round-table discussions in Finland, Russia, France, and Germany. Mrs. Safari is thankful to her family – her husband Tigran, her parents, and her two children, Beata and Areg, for their never-ending support and love.