As the school year begins, it seems the life of a Music Program Leader gets a bit more complicated. Music Program Leaders haven’t had much of a break. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that many of them haven’t even had a vacation. Summer is quite busy and Music Program Leaders are typically gearing up for the opening of school, back to school meetings and workshops, new teacher orientation, professional development, etc. The list goes on.
To rejuvenate ourselves and prepare for the opening of school, this past June over 40 Music Program Leaders from across the nation attended a two-day, NAfME Academy in Baltimore focused on Professional Development. We covered a lot of ground and tackled some timely issues, including teacher evaluation, assessment, core arts standards, professional development partnerships, online learning communities, etc. Many of the attendees remarked how valuable the opportunity was for them. Once participant said, “Being new to this, I think the biggest help will be the recommendation of reading materials, contacts, etc. to help me understand my job better.” Another person stated, “The ideas and presentation topics covered were directly relevant to my work as a music supervisor.” I’m not sure participants came away with clear answers to many of the topics, but you can see that the conversation and presentations were rich and valuable.
With the change of name from MENC to NAfME, the National Council of Music Supervisors also changed to the National Council of Music Program Leaders. As Music Program Leaders, we recognize that in many parts of the country if a Music Supervisor exists, that role varies widely. In my own district, my title is Performing Arts Specialist and I work directly with over 350 music and theatre arts educators. If that isn’t supervision, I don’t know what it is. A change in name reflects a broader base of NAfME members who perform various roles in their district, including music supervision. Music Program Leaders come in many forms, e.g. Supervisor, Specialist, Director, Lead Teacher. The many job titles reflect the growing diversity of the varied roles we play. As the profession has changed, we too have evolved to serve a wider audience requiring specific professional development. I encourage anyone who plays a part in the administration of music programs to get involved and join us. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I imagine over the next few years, the concerns and issues Music Program Leaders face daily will continue. It seems to be a crucial time for education reform and our work will be critical to the field. Through this online venue, you will hear monthly updates from several of our Music Program Leaders. With the reorganization, each geographic division of NAfME now has representation:
• Johanna Siebert, Eastern Division
• Jim Harmon, Southern Division
• Raymond Lowther, North Central Division
• David Weatherred, Northwestern Division
• Shawn Chastain, Southwestern Division
• Ruth Argabright, Western Division
I am thrilled to work with such professionals and I invite Music Program Leaders from across the country to join us for future events. Stay tuned for the latest information. I look forward to our work together.
Mark Propst, Chair
National Council of Music Program Leaders