2018-2020 Western Division President-Elect
Current professional music education position: Band Director, Catalina Foothills High School, Tucson, AZ
Renee Shane-Boyd has a long history of service in leadership positions at the school, community, regional, and state level in Arizona. From 2013 – 2015 she served as AMEA President overseeing the 75th Anniversary celebration of AMEA. As Fine Arts Chair for the Catalina Foothills School District, she has served on numerous curriculum and architectural committees and is currently President of the Board for the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus.
As a teacher in CFSD for 35 years, she has taught elementary, middle, and high school. She is currently Director of Bands at Catalina Foothills High School, a program known for its diversity and excellence in concert, jazz, and marching band, which has consistently been the largest marching band in the state of Arizona for over 18 years. Her ensembles have performed numerous times at the Arizona Music Educators In-Service Conference, as well as performing nationally and internationally at venues including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Hawaii, Australia, England, and the 2008 Pre-Olympic ceremonies in Beijing China.
Honors include the OM Hartsell Excellence in Music Education Award, University of Arizona Honored Educator, 2009 CFSD Teacher of the Year Award, AMEA Longevity in Teaching Award, and in 2015, the Rotary International named her a Paul Harris Fellow for outstanding contributions to the community. She is regularly a guest conductor with the Arizona Symphonic Winds.
What do you see as the major challenges facing music education during your term as president?
Attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers is a significant challenge. The pressure to enter professions that will earn a higher rate of pay is a very real-life decision for many young adults. Retention is often difficult due to the long work hours and lifestyle choices that many music teaching positions require.
Closely associated with attracting and retaining music teachers is the challenge of training new teachers to be both highly qualified in their area of musical focus, and also be competent in any area of music that they might be employed to teach. School scheduling, standardized testing, graduation requirements, and funding are elements that affect a music teacher’s course load. Music teachers are often asked to be a specialist in many areas of music. Music course offerings designed to speak to a broad or particular cultural range often require specialty knowledge in order to provide authentic instruction that will truly engage students.
Another significant challenge facing music education is cultivating enough individuals who can clearly communicate the importance of music education for all children to a variety of audiences on a regular basis. Seamlessly building advocacy into our work as music teachers is an important role that needs consistent attention.
What do you see as the major challenges facing NAfME?
One of the major challenges facing NAfME is to maintain a constant level of relevance to music teachers K-12. Teachers at these levels may clearly see the benefit of belonging to their state organization if professional development is regularly offered in some form, such as an annual state conference, or if festivals and student activities are sponsored by the state organization. Often, teachers at the elementary and secondary levels, however, do not understand the relevance of the national organization because it is far removed from their mind as they carry out their day to day work.
How should our Association respond to these challenges?
NAfME can respond to the challenge of relevancy to teachers in the field by continuing to be a leader in organizing coalitions of varied music and arts organizations. The NCCAS is an example of work accomplished through these means that provides tools for both administrators and teachers. Division leadership should develop a proactive plan to regularly message about this type of work at the national level.
Division and national officers attending state conferences provides a vital connection with local music teachers. These leaders playing a meaningful role in the conference whether through presenting sessions or speaking about key issues helps create an awareness of the work of the national organization.
Attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers requires a complex approach. A primary determinant of a student choosing to pursue music education is having a meaningful experience in music themselves. Providing resources that will allow teachers to offer music instruction that reaches a broad range of students, sponsoring professional development opportunities, and creating an understanding for the need for highly qualified music teachers and its importance to our students are important responses to this challenge.