Board of Directors

MTNA directors and officers are elected by the membership for two-year terms; directors are elected in even-numbered years, officers are elected in the odd-numbered years. There is one director for each of MTNA's seven divisions. To learn more about your MTNA officers, click their photo.


Peter Mack


Peter Mack, NCTM
Seattle, Washington

Kevin Chance


Kevin Chance, NCTM
Tuscaloosa, Alabama


Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

William Chapman Nyaho, NCTM
Normandy Park, Washington


Barbara Fast

Vice President for Membership

Barbara Fast, NCTM
Norman, Oklahoma

Heather Smith


Heather Smith, NCTM
Centerville, Utah

Karen Thickstun

Immediate Past President

Karen Thickstun, NCTM
Nashville, IN

Brian Shepard


Brian Shepard
Cincinnati, OH


Nick Phillips
Nicholas Phillips, NCTM
East Central Division, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Nicholas Phillips, NCTM, is professor of piano at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has maintained a studio of pre-college students for more than 20 years. He is an active performer and frequent presenter at conferences. Phillips was program chair for the 2019 MTNA National Conference in Spokane and president of the Wisconsin MTA from 2015–2018.

Alison Barr
Alison Barr, NCTM
Eastern Division,Hanover, Massachusetts

Alison Barr, NCTM, teaches piano in her independent studio in Massachusetts. In 1976, she helped found Maine Music Teachers Association. She’s served as president of Maine and Massachusetts MTAs, Eastern Division Certification Commissioner and National IMTF Chair. Alison created Massachusetts MTA’s Music Connect Program, which awards grants to deserving students. At the 2018 MTNA Conference, Alison was introduced to American Voices and now serves as cultural ambassador, volunteering with Middle Eastern piano students.

Steven Hesla
Steven Hesla, NCTM
Northwest Division, Missoula, Montana

Steven Hesla, NCTM, recently retired from teaching at the University of Montana for more than four decades. During his tenure, he served as MSMTA president, served on the MTNA Foundation Board of Trustees and was honored as an MTNA Foundation Fellow in 2016.

Courtney Crappell
Courtney Crappell, NCTM
South Central Division, Leawood, Kansas

Courtney Crappell, NCTM, serves at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as the dean of the Conservatory, which includes divisions of dance, theatre and music. He has published more than 40 articles on music teaching and presented for teacher workshops and conferences around the world. His book Teaching Piano Pedagogy (Oxford, 2019) was described as “essential to the professional pedagogue’s bookshelf.” He was served as a regular columnist for AMT from 2010–2023.

Joy Poole
Joy Poole
Southern Division, LaGrange, Georgia

Joy Poole earned a BA degree in piano performance and music education and has been in the music education field for 32 years enjoying teaching private lessons and teaching in schools. She is active in MTNA both on the local and state level serving in past years as president of Cobb County MTA and vice president of membership, vice president of Programs and president of Georgia MTA. During her administration many strides were made with online opportunities to keep members involved.

Kassandra Weleck
Kassandra Weleck, NCTM
Southwest Division, Tucson, Arizona

Kassandra Weleck, NCTM, has served as Arizona’s president, competitions chair and secretary as well as MTNA’s Southwest Division Composition Competitions coordinator. She holds degrees from Bowling Green State University and Arizona State University. Kassandra teaches at Pima Community College and in her Tucson private studio.

Cyndie Caruth
Cyndie Caruth, NCTM
West Central Division, Ankeny, Iowa

Cyndie Caruth, NCTM, a BM graduate of Iowa State University and independent instructor since 1973, was among the first to achieve national certification through MTNA’s examination program. Cyndie was a 2017 MTNA Foundation Fellow, elected IMTA president 2007–2009 and 2017–2019, chaired Local Associations, Auditions, Foundation, Theory, Certification and is IMT editor, advertising and web consultant. She received the 2019 “Steinway Top Teacher Award,” IMTA’s “Certified Teacher of the Year” and “Distinguished Service Award” in 2004.