Recruiting and Keeping Our Best and Brightest Music Educators for the Educational “Long Haul”

Music Educators Wanted . . .

Where Are All the Music Teachers? Recruiting and Keeping Our Best and Brightest for the Educational “Long Haul”


By NAfME member Samantha Davis


How do we create and maintain a great music program . . . we create and maintain great teachers! Recruiting and retaining educators in music education is vital to the success of the arts in our schools. In today’s educational climate, this can be a difficult task for administrators, program leaders, and lead teachers.



The reasons for this challenge are two-fold. Fewer young people are going into the teaching profession. Here is a statistic from California, according to Eric Westervelt, NPR Educational Correspondent: From 2010 – 2015, the number of students enrolling in teacher education programs in the state has dropped by 53%. (Block, 2015)

Recruiting and retaining educators in music education is vital to the success of the arts in our schools.

At the same time, current educators are leaving the field in record numbers. In fact, between 1994 and 2004, 2.25 million teachers were hired to teach and 2.7 million teachers left the profession. 2.1 million left before retirement (Kim & Berg, 2010), creating a shortage. This shortage challenges districts and individual schools to think outside of the box to meet the needs of their students.

Photo provided by Jolene Edwards


How Can We Address the Shortage?


My session, “Where Are All the Music Teachers?: Recruiting and Keeping Our Best and Brightest for the Educational ‘Long Haul’,” is designed to provide recruiting and retention strategies for all educators, but in particular administrators and program leaders. I believe that collaboration is a powerful tool for success, so in addition to seeing my examples and ideas, we will spend time brainstorming with each other on the following topics:

  • Finding exceptional music candidates
  • Mentoring ideas for new music educators
  • Addressing the gaps for new teachers
  • Marketing your music department
  • Website ideas
  • Meeting the needs of staff as they grow in the profession
new teacher
Photo: Event Coverage Nashville |

Resources that will be available:

  • Session PowerPoint
  • Staff Handbook Example
  • Website Example
  • Newsletter Example
  • Flyer Examples
  • Article References
  • Youtube video

Session attendees may submit questions or ideas ahead of time by emailing me at, if desired.

I hope that I see you on November 11, 2016, from 8:30-9:30am!

About the author:

vocal music

NAfME member Samantha Davis is in her 22nd year in music education and is currently the Music Supervisor for Widefield School District 3 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She received a BSE with an emphasis in vocal music from the University of Arkansas and a MM in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma. Samantha is responsible for curriculum, assessment, and teacher recruitment and evaluation. She has taught vocal music, humanities, and general music to sixth through twelfth grade students in Missouri and Colorado. Her choirs from Widefield HS were honored to perform both at the Colorado Music Educator Association Convention and at Carnegie Hall. As a vocalist, Samantha has performed with the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Robert Shaw Chorale, Oklahoma Chorale, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Northwest Arkansas Symphony and Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Monument, CO.

Samantha Davis presented at the 2016 NAfME National In-Service Conference. Register today for the 2018 NAfME National Conference!



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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Catherina Hurlburt, Communications Manager, November 2, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (




Article References:


Eric Westervelt, “Where Have all the Teachers Gone?” NPR, 3 March 2015.


Kim, S. E., & Berg, D. (2010, October). Reducing Music Teacher Burnout and Its Consequences.