North Central Division President-Elect 2022-2024 Candidate
Jeff Mount has been the director of bands at Blair High School, Blair, Nebraska since 2000. His duties include directing the marching band, two concert bands, two pep bands and jazz band. Prior to teaching in Blair, Mount served eight years as 5-12 band director in Manning, IA; one year as 5-12 band director in Albert City, IA; and three years as 5-12 band director in Delcambre, Louisiana. Mount earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education at Louisiana Tech University and also has a Master’s of Science degree from Drake University in School Administration.
What do you see as the major challenges music education will face during your term and in what ways can you transform these into opportunities during your presidency?
With increased graduation requirements affecting the number of students in our classes and adequate district funding a yearly challenge for many of us, I believe an even bigger area to focus on is the music teacher shortage. According to the US Department of Education, seventeen states reported music teacher shortages for the 2020-21 school year. Research shows that we have fewer students completing degree programs in music education and the number of minority students enrolling in degree programs needs to be higher. Many of us can identify students that we believe would make excellent teachers. Providing leadership opportunities for these students as well as having them work with elementary and middle school students will help them with their decision to pursue music further. With NAfME and SMTE kicking off the Building a Legacy series in October, I believe we are off to a great start in this area.
What do you see as the major challenges the association will face during your term and in what ways can you transform these into opportunities during your presidency?
Many associations struggle with staying relevant. Some questions we might want to ask ourselves: Are we losing steam or forging ahead with our mission and goals?
Do we have a diverse board with fresh ideas? What are we doing to attract new members?
How are we using technology and communicating with all of our members (especially our youngest members)? NAfME provides great resources to its members and we need to continue to provide the highest quality, best practices research to remain relevant to our current membership as well as attract new members.
How do you plan to advance equity/DEIA in NAfME during your term of office?
I believe that to advance DEIA in an organization you need to look at the current policies and practices already in place through the lens of DEIA and make adjustments if necessary. It would also be good idea to look at our print publications and online resources through the lens of DEIA. It is also possible there may be a need to develop new policies. For example, in Nebraska, the first policies our DEAI committee crafted concerned the selection of literature and conductors for our All-State performing ensembles. I believe it is important to educate the membership on the subject of DEIA. One of the first exercises we did as a committee was to define race and ethnicity distinguishing the differences between the two terms. It would be helpful to have a resources page of website links for the membership to access including the Cultural Competence Self-Assessment Checklist.