MTNA Legacy Society

Each year MTNA honors those who have made a commitment to furthering the work of the MTNA Foundation Fund, either through a planned gift or a named endowment.

MTNA President Martha Hilley recognizes the commitment of the association’s newest Legacy Society member.

Please click on MORE to view the presentation and read about the newest member of the Legacy Society.


Jennifer Merry, NCTM, maintains a home studio in Glenview, Illinois, where she offers piano and voice lessons. Additionally, she is on the faculty of the Northwestern University Music Academy, where she teaches private and group piano lessons and Kindermusik classes. Jennifer holds master’s degrees from Northwestern University in piano per- formance and pedagogy, and music education. She has taught general and vocal music in public and private schools and has led both youth and adult choirs. She has written reviews and arti-cles for Clavier, American Music Teacher and Keyboard Companion magazines. She currently sings alto in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. Jennifer and her late husband, Bruce Berr, were involved in MTNA, ISMTA and the North Shore Music Teachers Association for more than 30 years.


Foundation Fellows

MTNA Foundation Fellows are individuals, designated by their peers, who have made outstanding contributions to the music teaching profession. Since 2000, MTNA members and their colleagues have honored 486 Fellows through this meaningful program.

This year, an additional 30 recipients will be added to this prestigious roster by MTNA President Martha Hilley.

Please click on MORE to view the presentation and read about the Fellows.


Elsie Barnes grew up outside DeKalb, Mississippi, traveling to Philadelphia, Mississippi, for piano lessons once a month. She earned a BS degree in music education from Jackson State University with additional studies at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. Elsie taught 38 years in Mississippi public schools and 43 years in her Gulfport piano studio. Her students have won top honors in festivals and competitions. Elsie completed ministerial studies at Millsaps College and served as pastor of St. James UMC in Ocean Springs, associate pastor at Haven Chapel UMC in Gulfport, and in ministry to women in the Harrison County Jail.



Carla Bell is an outstanding music educator and dedicated member of MSMTA. Since joining MTNA in 1998, she has served her state affiliate as treasurer since 2003, as website manager and technology chair since 2008 and on MSMTA’s Strategic Planning Committee. Her early music education included piano, organ, flute and choral singing. Professionally, Carla’s background is diverse. She received a BA degree in communicative disorders: education of the deaf with a minor in elementary education in 1978. Since joining MTNA, Carla has attended every state conference and believes her membership has expanded and strengthened her professional career in music.



Gloria Bethke, NCTM, has been a piano and organ teacher since 1961, first at Concordia Teachers College and as a private instructor in Minot and Grand Forks, North Dakota. Holding a BS degree in music and elementary education, she has continued study at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and attended workshops and seminars with Frances Clark, Louise Goss, Willard Palmer, Suzanne Guy and Ruth Slencyzenska. Gloria is a member of the North Dakota MTA and has held offices in the NDMTA and the local MTA. She has served as an organist for more than 50 years.



Timothy Blair serves as a strategic corporate partner at WeMusic, Inc., of WL Global Corporation with offices in Manhattan, Shanghai, Beijing and London. Previously, Tim served for 30 years in higher education, including 20 years at West Chester University of Pennsylvania as dean of the School of Music, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. He has been recognized for his leadership in the arts and education on local, state, national and international levels, including the House and Senate of Pennsylvania and the Chinese government.



Melody Bober graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She later received a master of arts degree in piano performance from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. Melody credits much of her success to her influential teachers who include Joel Shapiro and Andrew Froelich (piano), Mary Hoffman (music education) and Tony Caramia (jazz). An active church pianist and accompanist, Melody has also held the position of church music director. In addition to teaching piano in her private studio, Melody’s music-teaching experience includes 20 years of public school and two years at the university level.



Marilyn Brossard, NCTM, studied piano at Washington State University and holds a bachelor of music degree in music history with piano emphasis from Western Washington University, where she has also done graduate study. She has traveled in Europe and Scandinavia doing music research in pedagogy and attending international piano workshops. Marilyn has been an adjudicator and is a past president of MTNA’s Northwest Division, past president of Washington State MTA, former WSMTA vice president and former District I VP. She chaired the WSMTA Conference, WSMTA Syllabus Committee, WSMTA Nominations, MTNA Grant Committee, MTNA National High School Competitions and WSMTA/MTNA State Competitions.



Kerry Carlin, NCTM, is professor emeritus at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he taught for 34 years. He is dedicated to North Carolina MTA, having held nearly every position including president. During his years of teaching college piano, group piano and piano pedagogy, he developed the technical skills and enhanced the musical knowledge of more than 3,000 students. Recognized as 2018 NCMTA Teacher of the Year, a former student’s letter of nomination stated, “Dr. Carlin was effortlessly able to see my needs and meet them precisely, see my weaknesses and address them gently, and see my strengths and expand them beautifully.”



Michelle Conda, NCTM, is the head of the keyboard division, chair of secondary piano and piano pedagogy, and professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Michelle received a PhD degree from the University of Oklahoma, where she studied piano with Jane Magrath and pedagogy with Jane Magrath and E. L. Lancaster. She is a former associate editor for The Piano Magazine—Keyboard Companion and is currently a member of the MTNA e-Journal Editorial Committee. Michelle is one of the founding members of GP3—the National Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy Forum. Her specialty is adult teaching.



Christopher Goldston, NCTM, holds a master of music degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor of music degree from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He has taught at Columbia College and Sherwood Conservatory and currently maintains an independent studio in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago. Christopher has been the national coordinator for the MTNA Composition Competition since 2010. His compositions are published by Alfred Music and FJH Music Company. MTNA has commissioned Christopher for the Collaborative Music Commissioning Project for the 2021 National Conference. He served as president of Chicago Area Music Teachers Association and is currently president of Illinois State MTA.



The late Margaret Goldston, a dedicated teacher and composer, conducted teacher workshops throughout North America. She studied composition with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Robert Ward. Margaret graduated from Louisiana State University and was honored as LSU’s School of Music Alumnus of the Year in 1991. A former Composition/Theory chair for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, she was commissioned by Clavier magazine in 1990. Margaret was named the Composer of the Year in 1983 and 1994 by the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs. Her compositions are published by Alfred Music and Galaxy Music and are still widely used today.



Kathryn Hammer, NCTM, joined Foothills MTA in 1974 and MTNA in 1976. She has served in an official capacity in almost every office for Colorado State MTA as well as FMTA. Now she is studying to become a parliamentarian. Kathy started piano lessons at age 4 with her mother and now maintains a piano studio of 20 students. Kathy has attended many state and national conferences because “we learn from people who have different interests. Continuing education is important because we can never stop learning and listening. We can’t just show up at meetings.”



Tomoko Harada, NCTM, has been active with the New Jersey MTA board since 2003, serving as judging coordinator for 15 years and currently serves as president. She maintains a private studio and is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. After serving as a board member for various music organizations, in 2007, Harada co-founded a non-profit music organization, National League of Performing Arts, Inc. offering events for students and young aspiring artists. Harada received degrees from the Mannes School of Music and further studied at L’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and the Fountainbleau School of Arts and International Academy of Nice.



Connie Hungate received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University. Although neither degree was in music, her strong music background led her to start teaching in 1974. She joined Washington State MTA’s Eastside Chapter, relishing the many educational and leadership opportunities they offered. After earning Permanent State Certification, she served as Eastside Chapter president (1989–1991) and later assumed various district and state responsibilities, culminating in WSMTA presidency (1999–2001.) She has been chair of the WSMTA Student Study Grant program from its inception in 2003 to the present. She is the recipient of the WSMTA Honorary Life Membership Award.



Jennifer Jennings, NCTM, graduated with a bachelor of music degree from Oklahoma City University, studying with Robert Laughlin. She has been a member of MTNA for 21 years and has taught piano in the Oklahoma City area, where she currently resides. In addition to teaching, Jennifer is an active member of Central Oklahoma MTA and OMTA. Currently she is on the COMTA Board and the OMTA Boards, serves as the OMTA District Achievement Audition chair for north Oklahoma City, leads all the OMTA District chairs as the OMTA District coordinator and is the coordinator for the OMTA State Achievement Auditions. Jennifer was honored to receive the OMTA CFO Fellow Award in 2015 and the OMTA Honorary Lifetime Membership Award in 2019.



Becky Landreth, NCTM, has been a member of Texas MTA and Conroe MTA since 2003. She has served as president, event chair, ensemble director and treasurer of CMTA. As TMTA Theory Coordinator, she worked to streamline the production, grading and processing of theory tests. Becky also chaired the TMTA Theory Syllabus Committee beginning in 2009, working to update and revise the Theory Syllabus and tests based on the input from teachers. Becky has also served as TMTA Parliamentarian for both the Student Affiliate Committee and the TMTA Board meetings. She was named the 2015 TMTA Teacher of the Year.



Chan Kiat Lim, NCTM, is professor of piano at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and the recipient of the University’s Distinguished Professor Award and LMTA’s Outstanding Teacher Award. He has performed in Canada, China, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Romania and throughout the USA, including solo recitals at Steinway Hall. An enthusiastic interpreter of works by American composers, Chan Kiat can be heard on An American Kaleidoscope. He is the co-author of multimedia curriculum eNovativePiano and has served as clinician/presenter/artist at state, national and international conferences. A performer-pedagogue, Chan Kiat has guided students to top prizes in national and international competitions. He is MTNA’s webinar coordinator.



The late Norma Mastrogiacomo taught at Florida State University for 35 years. She and her husband, Leonard Mastrogiacomo, performed extensively for more than 50 years as one of Florida’s most preeminent piano duos. They were selected twice to participate in the State Touring Program, sponsored by the Florida Department of State. They received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to commission new works for duo piano. As a member of the Trio Bel Canto, Mastrogiacomo received a bronze medal at the first Osaka International Chamber Music Festival in Osaka, Japan. She was honored as a Fulbright Scholar. Norma passed away in 2015.



Kathy Nungesser has been an invaluable member of South Carolina Music Teachers Association for the past 20 years. For much of that time, she has served as SCMTA treasurer. Kathy has also been very active in two local associations: Charleston Music Teachers Association and as an original member and treasurer of Long Bay Music Teachers Association in Myrtle Beach, founded in 2007, where her organizational skills were unsurpassed. Known for innovative programming in her piano studio, Kathy currently teaches in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, where she lives with her husband of 37 years, Mark Nungesser.



Cindy Peterson-Peart, NCTM, holds a BA degree in music from Willamette University and maintains a private piano studio in Beaverton, Oregon. She is active as an adjudicator at the state and local levels. Cindy currently serves as the MTNA Northwest Division director. Previous positions include MTNA State Presidents Advisory Committee chair, Oregon MTA president and Portland District MTA president and treasurer. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys performing with Too Grand!, an eight-hand piano ensemble that donates private concerts to benefit local charitable organizations. To date they have raised over $400,000 for local causes.



The late John Robert Poe, a distinguished composer and arranger of educational keyboard music, graduated from Auburn University, where he studied with Hubert Liverman and Blanca Renard. In addition to private teaching, John taught piano and theory at Muscogee Music Conservatory and held positions as choir director and organist for several churches in Georgia. John was an active member of local, state and national music teachers associations and had served as an adjudicator for student festivals and competitions throughout the United States.



Ann Almond Pope, NCTM, a pianist and teacher, received degrees from Florida State University and Bowling Green State University. At FSU, Ann studied piano with Edward Kilenyi and attended master classes with Ernst von Dohnanyi. At BGSU, she was an adjunct pedagogy and piano instructor, joining MTNA in the 1970s. Ann is a member of the Kantorski-Pope Piano Duo and a member of ASCAP. Her arrangements for two pianos are published by Alfred Music. She has brought attention to many distinguished European musician/teachers who taught in Tennessee from the mid-19th through the 20th century. Ann, a failed retiree, teaches piano in her home studio.



Jerie Gail Ramsey began teaching piano in Ames, Iowa, in 1962, with only three students. She then moved to suburban Kansas City, where she developed a studio of about 20 students. After returning to Iowa, she began teaching organ and piano at Graceland College as well as in her private studio. At its peak enrollment she taught some 60 private students in addition to her adjunct teaching at Graceland. Jerie Gail began editing The Iowa Music Teacher in 1984. She received IMTA’s Distinguished Teacher Award in 1995 and Certified Teacher of the Year in 2000. She served as IMTA president from 2009–2011.



Janice Larson Razaq, NCTM, is MTNA East Central Division director, past president of Illinois State MTA, and immediate past president of the American Matthay Association. A Fulbright scholar to the Royal Academy, London, she performed in Wigmore Hall and subsequently across the U.S. She appeared live on Minnesota Public Radio and WFMT radio. Janice regularly presents programs and adjudicates competitions for music teachers groups. Janice teaches students of all ages at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, where she is director of keyboard studies and particularly enjoys directing the 10-member piano ensemble. Besides piano, she enjoys her nine grandchildren and four parrots.



Ferrell Roberts, NCTM, is a native of Clovis, New Mexico, where he has been active in the musical life of that city since age 9, when he began piano lessons. Ferrell holds bachelor of music and master of arts degrees from Eastern New Mexico University and has done post graduate work in piano and organ at Texas Tech University. He has been an independent piano teacher and church musician since his college days. Ferrell has been active in MTNA at the local, district, and state level for many years.



Deanna Roen is the consummate picture of the selfless, loving music educator, whose significant contribution to music education can be measured by the powerful presence of music in her student’s lives. She has held non-consecutive terms as president of her local association, and she has been handling the intricacies of District Auditions Chair with grace, patience and fortitude. Deanna received her BA degree in vocal music education from Luther College in 1961. She touched the lives of students through the full spectrum of music education in the public systems of Prescott and River Falls. Deanna has taught private piano and voice for 55-plus years.



Janis Haderlie Siggard, NCTM, was an adjunct professor of piano at the College of Eastern Utah. Through the years, she taught hundreds of great piano students in Carbon and Emery counties and accompanied many singers, a concert violinist and many other instrumentalists. Janis has been active in UMTA for more than 50 years and has attended most of the conventions/conferences. She helped organize a chapter in Price in the 1960s, served almost continuously as an officer and had her students participate in AIM. She also served on the state AIM Committee and the state Certification Committee in the 1990s. Janis still teaches a few students.



Paulette Mitzlaff Smith started piano lessons at age 8 with Lucia E. Wood and remained a student for six years. Switching to voice in high school led to a lifelong love of music. Paulette earned a bachelor of music degree in fine and performing arts. She has taught voice and piano for 40-plus years and directed several church choirs in addition to singing at weddings and funerals. Paulette has been affiliated with MTNA, Nebraska Music Teachers and Omaha Music Teachers since 1987. She has held all offices in OMTA several times except treasurer. She also served Nebraska MTA secretary from 2013–2016.



Lois Svard, NCTM, a critically acclaimed performer of contemporary American piano music, is professor emerita at Bucknell University. She is at the cutting edge in using neuroscience to inform practical applications for the teaching, practice and performance of music, and her blog about neuroscience and music, The Musician’s Brain, is read in more than 130 countries. Lois has presented her work at national and international conferences including ISME, MTNA, NCKP, the London International Piano Symposium, the European Piano Teachers Association and the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. She chairs the Pennsylvania MTA Commissioned Composer program and is a member of the PMTA board.



Rick Valentine has served MTNA, Texas MTA and his local association in many ways. He is serving as treasurer and theory chair for Independent Music Teachers Association of Greater Houston. He has served two terms as a director on the Texas MTA Executive Board. Rick also has served as the TMTA Best of State chair and as a member of the TMTA Theory Committee. He is in his final year as a TMTA officer, serving as vice president for student activities, president-elect, president and immediate past president. Rick has served as chair of MTNA’s State President’s Advisory Council and is on the Nominating Committee.



Noreen Wenjen, NCTM, is the immediate past president of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT). In 2019, she served as MTNA China Certification chair, MTNA State Presidents Advisory Council chair, AMT Editorial Committee member and MTNA Southwest Division Director-elect nominee. Noreen earned a BM degree and an Artist Diploma, received top prizes from international piano competitions and studied with Joanna Hodges, Stewart Gordon, Nancy Rohr, Peter Yazbeck and Jim McCormick. She is the author of Two-Year Waitlist: An Entrepreneurial Guide for Music Teachers. Her work with Fortune 500 companies helped her to become a leader in technology/entrepreneurship.