AMEA: Another positive step in serving the needs of our membership…

Susan Smith

I am thrilled that this year the AMEA Professional Development Conference took another positive step in serving the needs of our membership and took leaps and bounds in terms of teamwork of the leadership.  I was immensely proud of the General Session on Friday with Synergy, the special needs drumming ensemble from Homewood High School, and Scott Lang, our keynote speaker. Their performance and his talk embodied the motivation behind what we have chosen as our avocation and I was encouraged to see the audience of teachers and students react so positively.

We teach our students that there is no “i” in team but often as music educators we are a team of one.  Many of us teach on our own and don’t have a department or colleagues in our specialty in the same building.  So to see the leadership of AMEA come together in such a meaningful way to serve you – is even more special.  The AMEA Governing Board is made up of your division representatives.  They are your voice and they work to plan, implement, and troubleshoot issues that arise at the sessions and concerts at the conference.  As Executive Director Garry Taylor pointed out, this year it was evident that there was real teamwork from all the governing board. Special thanks to these servant leaders who made this conference such a memorable experience:

  • President Elect – Greg Gumina
  • Immediate Past President – Carl Hancock
  • Executive Director – Garry Taylor
  • Assistant Executive Director – Rusty Logan
  • Treasurer/Registrar – Pat Stegall
  • Recording Secretary – Carla Gallahan
  • AVA President – Ginny Coleman
  • ABA President – Mike Holmes
  • AOA President – Sam Nordlund
  • Elem/Gen President – Cliff Huckabee
  • Collegiate Advisor – Ted Hoffman
  • Collegiate President – Josh Meyer
  • High Ed President – Becky Halliday
  • Industry Representative – Becky Lightfoot

Additional thanks to these behind-the-scenes people who made the conference run smoothly:

  • Carl Davis- AVA Stage Manager
  • Marc McLendon – MPAC Stage Manager
  • Josh Stark – A/V Facilitator
  • Randall Coleman – Intercollegiate Band
  • Mary Ann Stegall – Assistant Registrar
  • Ron Bearden – Conference Volunteer
  • James Champion – Conference Volunteer
  • Eddie Williams and Huntingdon Band Students

I was reminded at conference when someone asked me what my goals for the organization were that it would be important to reflect on where we are on each outlined when I first took office. Some of the actions toward these goals are:

Build Bridges

  • Hosted an exhibit hall reception at the conference in an effort to bring AMEA members and our industry partners closer together in an informal setting. We will use the feedback we received to continue to refine and improve this event at future conferences.
  • Combined the Higher Ed and the Collegiate reception to encourage conversation and connections between these two related divisions.
  • Josh Meyer and Brenton Nash, Collegiate Division representatives, and their advisor, Ted Hoffman, presented about their recent fall summit to the Past Presidents Luncheon.
  • The President’s Board met at AMEA to make suggestions and discuss the path of AMEA. Several vacant positions on the President’s Board were filled.
  • We have started discussions to possibly exhibit in the future at the Council for Leadership in Alabama Schools. More information and communication from our organization to the Principals organization is a positive for our membership.

Encourage and Support Teachers

  • President Elect Greg Gumina has taken on the role as our State Advocacy Chair and is challenged to keep us all updated on what is happening in the legislature and ways to move music education forward in our state.
  • During the conference, President-Elect Gumina and I visited with the division boards from AVA, ABA, AOA, Collegiates and Elementary/General Music. We encouraged each group to continue to be forward-thinking in their plans for their organization and suggested some events to give each division more visibility.

Plan for the Future

  • I have asked the President’s Board to review the description of each position and make adjustments to the procedures portion of our bylaws.
  • We hired a new Assistant Executive Director in Rusty Logan and his input and assistance has been invaluable.
  • In hiring Past President Carl Hancock as the webmaster and social media representative, we have laid the path for a website that is more functional already than we could have hoped for.  It is the virtual face of AMEA and will serve us for many years.
  • Lynn Tuttle spoke at the conference to our leadership breakfast about the implementation phase of ESSA and the potential positive impact of this law on music education.

Recognize and Encourage Success

  • We made adaptations to the awards to highlight the longevity of our members and presented the first of these awards at this year’s conference.

It is my hope you found the conference fulfilling and that AMEA is meeting your needs and the needs of your division.  If you ever have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email me or any member of the governing board.  We are here to serve you and make the organization as strong, viable, and supportive for the current and future generations of Alabama music educators.

“The progress of the world depends almost entirely upon education.”  George Eastman