Originally a musician, Bernice Bell Jordan decided to switch courses and become an educator so she could provide a better life for her daughter. She wanted to lead by example and show her the value of academia. Ms. Jordan proceeded to join the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District as an elementary teacher in 1959. She quickly garnered a reputation for her passion and dedication to her work and became a beloved member of the community. She remained at the school until her retirement in 1999. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Jordan enjoyed connecting with her peers. She is affiliated with organizations like the National Education Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the California Elementary Education Association, the
In Severine Neff’s eyes, her entire career has been a dream come true. She always felt drawn to music and academia, and being able to combine the two made her feel alive. Dr. Neff particularly loved helping others find the same passion she harbored. Her first professional position was assistant professor at Bates College in Maine, followed by assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and at Barnard College in New York. She then became an associate professor at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory and was promoted to professor at the institution two years later. Although Dr. Neff enjoyed her time there, she eventually decided to leave to join the music department at the University of North Carolina. She quickly found she
Inspired by her mother, a pianist, Margaret “Peggy” Kendig Lee knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue music professionally. She particularly wanted to help others discover their own connection to the art, so she set out to become a music teacher. The first stop on her journey was the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in music and a Master of Education in 1964 and 1965, respectively. Ms. Lee then obtained a Master of Arts in musicology from the University of Georgia in 1977 and became certified by the Georgia Music Teachers Association and the Music Teachers National Association. She also studied under a number of great pianists, including Walter Houtzing. Ms. Lee’s
Inspired by her father, a music teacher and the first black man to be hired by Perth Amboy Public Schools, Joyce Suzanne Richardson-Melech has dedicated herself to building her own legacy in the field. She started as a musical teacher in the Perth Amboy Board of Education, and quickly added the positions of assistant band director, musical play director, and gifted and talented music teacher to her repertoire. Dr. Richardson-Melech then took her talents to the Anthony V. Ceres Elementary School, where she served as a musical play and chorus director, and to the Dr. Herbert N. Richardson 21st Century Elementary School, where she served as a music teacher. Although she retired in 2014, she couldn’t stay away long. Dr.
Passionate about music for as long as she can remember, Susan Marie Barzda often dreamed of becoming a band director. She worked hard to make that dream a reality, starting by earning a Bachelor of Music from Heidelberg University in 1974 and by becoming a licensed music teacher through the K-12 Ohio Department of Education. Then, to further her professional standing, she obtained a qualified intellectual disabilities professional certification from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disability and completed postgraduate coursework at Muskingum College. Ms. Barzda’s first job in the field was instrumental and vocal music instructor at Rolling Hills Local School District in Ohio, followed by positions as a music teacher at the Cambridge Developmental Center and the director of
Coming from a family of teachers, Rita R. Frady didn’t initially want to pursue education. She loved music, particularly piano, and wanted a career in that realm. Her husband suggested she combine the two, so Dr. Frady went back to school and found she loved it. She began as a K-6 music teacher for the Cherokee County Board of Education in 1991 and hasn’t looked back since. After 14 years in that role, Dr. Frady became a music teacher for the Hasty Elementary Fine Arts Academy of the Cherokee County Board of Education in 2005. She continues in that capacity to this day. During this time, she also served as an adjunct professor at Piedmont College. Dr. Frady prepared
Music started as something Mary Bronaugh-Davis shared with her parents. Both could play piano, and when Ms. Bronaugh-Davis was a child, her mother got a duet book so they could play together. Ms. Bronaugh-Davis discovered she had a natural talent for the instrument, and decided that she wanted to pursue it further. She proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Arts from William Jewell College in 1959, after which she went on tour in Canada for the summer. When she returned, she received a letter asking if she wanted to teach piano, and the rest is history. She worked as a piano teacher at the Leshosky Music Store from 1959 to 1961, as a minister, musician, and organist at the Barry
Motivated by her tremendous love of music, Marilynn J. Smiley has dedicated more than 60 years to advancing the field. She started as a public school music teacher in Indiana in 1954, and joined the staff of the Music Department at the State University of New York at Oswego in 1961. Over the years, she served the institution as a distinguished teaching professor and as a department chairperson, and was responsible for music history and literature courses for all eras and at all levels. Dr. Smiley’s area of expertise ranged from Ancient Greek to current music history and literature, which made her an invaluable resource for students. One of her favorite parts of the job was presenting subjects to students
Combining her love for music and traveling, Kathy Henkel is currently thriving as the owner and composer of Sign of the Silver Birch Music and as an educational consultant with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She mostly writes instrumental and chamber music, and decided to self-publish so that she could take her music out to the people personally. Over the years, her music has been performed at festivals in Gubbio, Italy, Montevarchi, Italy, and Fairbanks, Alaska, as well as at premieres in England, Austria, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Ms. Henkel attributes her success thus far to never giving up. Her company only consists of three people, but they all go above and beyond to keep everything running smoothly.
Involved with music for as long as she can remember, Linda F. Vaughn continues to lend her services as an organist to the St. Peters United Church of Christ and to the Zion Lutheran Church. She has performed with the former since 2017 and the latter since 2015, preceded by positions as an organist with the Community Church of Christ and the First Baptist Church, an accompanist with The Chorale, the choir director of the First Baptist Church of Urbana, and a performer with the Evening Etude Mozart Music Club. Additionally, Ms. Vaughn was a choir teacher for Urbana School District #116 for 25 years. She considers the highlight of her career to be having the ongoing opportunity to learn