East Central Division
Yeeseon Kwon, NCTM
Yeeseon Kwon, NCTM, is pianist and associate professor teaching piano musicianship and piano pedagogy in the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She also instructs adult classes and lessons in the Music Academy of Northwestern University. She served on the National Conference Program Committees of MTNA (2020) and NCKP (2021) and is a member of the NCKP Teaching Adults Committee.
“As president of Illinois State MTA, I commend how community engagement broadens the relevancy of who and how MTNA serves as a robust organization. Its global reach and diverse educational and professional development opportunities positively influences the role of arts with creative vision,” she says.
Nicholas Phillips, NCTM
Nicholas Phillips, NCTM, is currently 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, president of the Wisconsin MTA from 2015–2018, and is Recordings editor for Piano Magazine.
“MTNA continues to be an integral part of my professional life, and the wonderful network of teachers, colleagues, and friends I have gained through the association has been truly invaluable. I would be honored to represent the East Central Division on the board,” he says.
Alison Barr, NCTM
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.
“I’ve been excited about MTNA since my early encounter!
It’s afforded me profound opportunities to grow and contribute.
I’m especially dedicated to MTNA’s work on behalf
of IMTs,” she says.
Henning Vauth, NCTM
German pianist Henning Vauth,
NCTM, lives in Huntington, West
Virginia, where he serves as professor
of piano at Marshall University
and co-directs the Center for
Wellness in the Arts. Since receiving
his DMA in piano performance from
the Eastman School of Music under
Nelita True in 2009, he has been
active in leadership positions as treasurer and president of
WVMTA, member of the MTNA 2021 Virtual Conference
planning committee, certification commissioner, collegiate
chapter advisor and others. Henning was named 2017
WVMTA Teacher of the Year.
“MTNA has been my key to a house full of wonderful
musicians, teachers, and friends,” he says.
Steven Hesla, NCTM
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.
“MTNA has played an enormous
role in shaping my life. I aspired to become a national finalist
in the high school piano competition and achieved that
status after years of diligent practice. While that goal fueled
my life’s ambitions, I remain committed to promoting the
benefits MTNA provides for all teachers and students, of
every level and aspiration. We thrive together!” he says.
Jessica Olson holds a BA degree in music from Oklahoma Christian University and currently owns a thriving private piano studio in Bozeman, Montana, where she encourages student achievement through a host of creative projects. Olson has held a number of positions in collegiate, local and state associations, most recently serving as president of the Montana State Music Teachers Association.
“I am so grateful for the role that MTNA plays in my professional development. I would be honored to serve our association as we strive to embrace the future in imaginative ways while maintaining MTNA’s long tradition of promoting excellent teaching,” she says.
South Central Division
Courtney Crappell, NCTM
Courtney Crappell, NCTM,
serves as director and holds the
Margaret M. Alkek and Margaret
Alkek Williams Endowed Chair at
the University of Houston Moores
School of Music. As professor of
piano and piano pedagogy, 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 has served as a regular columnist
for AMT since 2010.
“MTNA has played a vital role in my professional career and
I am honored to be nominated for this position,” he says.
Pamela Pike, NCTM
Pamela D. Pike, NCTM, the Spillman
Professor of Piano Pedagogy at LSU,
has authored articles, chapters, and
full-length books. Pike is committed
to providing guidance and resources
for teachers and students through
university classes, digital resources
and pedagogy workshops. She is
past president of LMTA and BRMTA
and has served on Arkansas and Louisiana state boards and
the MTNA e-Journal editorial committee.
“My pedagogical development was nourished through
MTNA and its local member teachers—our greatest
resource. MTNA is essential for advocacy and professional
advancement of our field. It is an honor to be nominated to
serve the South Central Division members,” she says.
Erin K. Bennett, NCTM
Erin K. Bennett, DMA, NCTM, is
associate professor of piano and
pedagogy at the University of North
Florida. Currently serving on the
Florida State MTA executive board
in multiple capacities, she has also
served on the AMT editorial committee,
the 2017 National Conference
planning committee and the
National Certification Commission.
“MTNA has played a vital part at every stage in my
career. I have benefitted from the inspiration, the camaraderie
and the professional support it provides, and the
opportunities afforded to my students. It’s an honor to be
nominated to serve the organization that has nurtured me
since I was a young student,” she says.
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
“Being a part of MTNA has been invaluable over the
years from professional development to making life-long
friends. It would be a pleasure to serve,” she says.
Stephen Pierce is on the piano
faculty at the University of Southern
California and teaches privately in
Pasadena, California. He is editor
of California’s state journal, CAPMT
Connect and is California Collegiate
State Chair. He has previously served
on the MTNA e-Journal editorial
committee and as CAPMT vice president
“MTNA serves an essential role in society by providing
community and continued professional development to
music teachers of every kind, and meaningful learning
opportunities to all music students. I would be honored to
serve as Southwest Division Director-elect and would prioritize
community and connection amongst our members in
this role,” he says.
Kassandra Weleck, NCTM
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.
“Communication is the key to having members feel invested
and involved. As MTNA Southwest Division Director-elect,
I will focus on this to ensure all our colleagues are aware of
opportunities for themselves and their students. I’m honored
to be nominated and would love the opportunity to serve in
this role for MTNA and you,” she says.
West Central Division
Robert Carney is professor of
piano at Southwest Baptist University
and immediate past president of the
Missouri Music Teachers Association.
He has performed in Europe and
throughout the U.S. and presented
at numerous national and international
conferences. Carney has held
administrative positions in private
music school and higher education settings.
“MTNA has been an invaluable resource for teachers and
students for generations. I am extremely grateful for the
selfless work of its members and am honored to be nominated
to serve MTNA in this role,” he says.
Cyndie Caruth, NCTM
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.
“As a performer, adjudicator and clinician, my mission is to
mentor and inspire parents, students and teachers to expand
the level of professionalism in music education through
MTNA,” she says.