National Officer Slate



Pete Jutras, NCTM

Pete Jutras, NCTM, PhD, is a professor of piano and the piano pedagogy specialist at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where he also serves as associate director for research and graduate studies. From 2007–2017, Jutras served as editor-in-chief of Clavier Companion and Keyboard Companion magazines, successfully leading those publications through a merger with Clavier, the launch of a digital edition, multiple redesigns and the creation of a comprehensive digital archive.

Jutras recently served as Conference Planning Committee chair for the 2018 MTNA National Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and he has held many leadership positions at the state and local levels of MTNA.

Jutras has presented and taught on five continents, including presentations for MTNA, MENC, ISME, EPTA, CMS, AERA and GP3. Jutras holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas. His research and publications on adult music teaching and learning have been published in leading research journals and are frequently cited.

At the University of Georgia, Jutras was inducted into the UGA Teaching Academy, and he received the prestigious Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2015, he launched an innovative project with Moi Girls’ High School in Eldoret, Kenya, in which his pedagogy students provide online distance piano instruction to girls at the school. Prior to his appointment at UGA in 2006, Jutras ran a large and successful independent teaching studio in Dallas, Texas, for 10 years.

“While music teaching faces many challenges in the modern world, the fact remains that music making is an undeniable force for good with a proven capacity to improve and uplift the human condition. The world needs music and quality music teaching now more than ever, and MTNA stands poised to deliver that quality.

“I am honored to be nominated and considered along with an outstanding candidate. If elected, I will strive to help MTNA continue to be a leading resource and professional support structure for music teachers: a place where teachers can find the tools, ideas, and inspiration needed to navigate a rapidly changing landscape. I will strive to help MTNA continue to advocate for lifelong music making for ALL people in all walks of life. It would be an honor and a joy to work with the dedicated and passionate members of MTNA to further its mission and broaden its reach,” he says.


Karen Thickstun, NCTM
Karen Thickstun, NCTM, teaches piano pedagogy at Butler University, directs the Butler Community Arts School, and maintains an independent studio. Thickstun holds degrees in piano performance/economics from Duke University, business administration from University of Virginia and piano pedagogy from Butler University.

Three of her pedagogy students have received the MarySue Harris Studio Fellowship award. She advises the Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter, which has presented at state and national conferences. “I am devoted to mentoring young professionals. I believe they are essential to MTNA and our profession,” Thickstun says.

Thickstun served as MTNA Secretary-Treasurer from 2013–2015 and MTNA Vice President from 2015–2017. Recent national appointments include membership committee chair, grants and awards task force chair, MTNA Teacher of the Year committee chair and strategic planning committee. She served as director of East Central Division from 2008–2010, chairing the Local Associations Forum.

Thickstun authors a tri-annual business column for American Music Teacher. Her articles have also appeared in Keyboard Companion and Clavier Companion. She has presented business and pedagogy sessions at local, state and national conferences.

Thickstun has been active in Indiana MTA as state president, trustee chair, and various state and local positions. She received the Distinguished Service Award in 2002 and the Teacher of the Year award in 2008.

As founding director of the Butler Community Arts School, Thickstun provides leadership and vision. Serving more than 2,000 children through private lessons, group classes and camps, instruction is provided by more than 100 Butler University students that she mentors in professional teaching practices. Thickstun has developed a network of community partners to provide access to the arts for innercity youth. To fund outreach classes, Thickstun has written and received grants for more than $100,000 annually for the past eight years.

“I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the arts in meaningful ways. MTNA programs enlighten and challenge our members, as well as students, colleagues, and communities. MTNA has played a vital role in my own professional development. I pledge to bring my passion, integrity, and work ethic to the position of MTNA President-elect. I am honored to be nominated and will strive to maintain high quality programs while developing new ideas that engage and transform,” she says.


Vice President

Kevin Chance, NCTM

Kevin Chance, NCTM, serves as coordinator of the Gloria Narramore Moody Piano Area at the University of Alabama, where he has been recognized with the Walter R. Guyton Award for Excellence in Student Service. He has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia as both soloist and collaborator. An active chamber musician, Chance is a member of the Semplice Duo with flutist Cristina Ballatori, and he frequently performs as a collaborator at the national conferences of the National Flute Association and the National Opera Association.

Recently named the 2015–2016 Teacher of the Year by the Alabama Music Teachers Association, Chance is a dedicated teacher maintaining a prize-winning studio of collegiate and pre-collegiate students. In demand as a clinician and adjudicator, he presents workshops for local and state music teacher associations throughout the country.

At the national level for MTNA, he served as the Southern Division director and MTNA Finance Committee member from 2016–2018. He has previously been a member of the Conference Planning Committee, and he is currently the national chair of the MTNA–Stecher and Horowitz Two Piano Competition. At the division level, Chance chairs the MTNA Southern Division Competitions after serving for several years as the Southern Division Senior Competitions coordinator. Remaining active in the Alabama Music Teachers Association, he has served as the president and Certification chair, and he currently chairs the state auditions and serves as the state clinician.

“Each day I walk into my studio, I am struck with a profound sense of how many of the past leaders in MTNA contributed to shaping and molding me into the musician and teacher I am today. Each word of encouragement and all of the countless hours of organization that went into creating each opportunity I cherished as a student are deeply appreciated. I am humbled and honored to serve in my leadership roles with MTNA as I view each of these opportunities as an investment in the future of music and of MTNA. As we train 21st-century musicians and as we continue to seek unique opportunities for ourselves and for our students within our global society, we must firmly acknowledge the rich traditions that make us who we are while continuing to be nimble in a quickly changing society. We must strive to offer the services and opportunities that our members and their students need to ensure the success of many future generations of musicians,” he says.


Ginger Yang Hwalek, NCTM

Ginger Yang Hwalek, NCTM, teaches class piano, keyboard musicianship and piano pedagogy as well as accompanies faculty and student recitals at the University of Maine in Orono. She also maintains a private studio in her home in Bangor. A native of South Bend, Indiana, Hwalek has piano performance degrees from Indiana University, Wichita State University and a doctorate degree in piano chamber music and accompanying from Northwestern University. She also has some background in conducting and has conducted piano monster events in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Always an advocate for music education, she served as director of Maine Summer Youth Music from 2005–2009, supporting young Maine musicians and mentoring future music educators by hiring college music majors to teach and serve as dorm counselors.

Hwalek is a 36-year member of MTNA and has been involved at every level. In Maine, she has served as state certification chair, newsletter editor, vice-president and president. As Eastern Division director, she served on the Board of Directors twice, first in 2000–2002 and then most recently from 2016–2018. She has also been involved in the MTNA student performance competitions, serving first as Eastern Division Junior chair and then moving on to being the national Senior Performance Competitions coordinator from 2005–2008. Currently, she is the treasurer of her local association, Penobscot Valley Music Teachers and is also a member of Maine’s other local association, Central Maine Music Teachers.

In 2006, Hwalek had the distinct honor of being recognized as Teacher of the Year and in 2013, she became a Foundation Fellow. Both awards were a complete surprise to her and she is deeply appreciative to the many people who helped make those happen.

“MTNA is one of the most important lifelines to what I do and who I am. I have met and have made so many friends over the years. One of the most satisfying thoughts I always have is that as soon as I start teaching on any particular day, I know there are many others doing the exact same thing I’m doing all across the time zones—that makes me happy. MTNA is my community and I enjoy reaching out to people and sharing what makes us who we are. I think the acronym ‘MTNA’ could also stand for ‘Music Teachers Networking Association.’ As Vice President, I would be sure my role would always be to serve you, the members of this important organization,” she says.



Marc Hebda

Marc Hebda is honored to have been nominated and is excited at the possibility of continuing to serve the members of MTNA as their Secretary-Treasurer.

Hebda has maintained a private piano studio in Tallahassee, Florida, since 1986. For more than a decade, he also has been the chief financial administrator at Main Street Music, Inc., where he is responsible for ensuring all accounting procedures are completed and books are accurate, and he prepares corporate, state and federal tax filings. A member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Florida State Music Teachers Association (FSMTA) and Tallahassee Music Teachers Association (TMTA) since 1987, Hebda is currently on the FSMTA board of directors and is the Florida State Music Teachers Foundation (FSMTF) Treasurer, which includes administration of the FSMTF budget, accounting and transactions for all FSMTF scholarships and programs. Prior to his current role as treasurer, he served as FSMTF president, extending the Foundation’s outreach and conducting fund-raising activities.

Hebda has served in many leadership roles at the local, state and national levels. For TMTA, he has served as president, vice president and membership chair. For FSMTA, he has served as president, vice president for Membership, vice president for District and Local Associations, parliamentarian, and state conference chair in both 2009 and 2014. In 2014, he was honored with a MTNA Foundation Fellow from his esteemed peers in Florida. He was MTNA’s Southern Division director-elect from 2012–2014 and served on the MTNA Membership Committee. From 2014–2016 he served as the Southern Division Director and Collaborative Performance Forum chair and was appointed to a special ad-hoc committee. Most recently, he served on the MTNA Teacher of the Year selection committee.

After pre-college studies at the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Hebda earned a BM degree in piano performance from Butler University, an MM degree in piano performance from Bowling Green State University and an ARCM from the Royal College of Music, London, England. Notable teachers include John Browning, Jerome Rose, Benjamin Kaplan and Carola Grindea. Additional postgraduate studies were completed at Florida State University, while also teaching piano and music theory at the university. He is a frequent adjudicator for piano festivals and competitions, including the FSMTA District Student Day, concerto competitions at the district and state levels, the National Guild of Piano Teachers and the Florida Federation of Music Clubs. Hebda is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Pi Kappa Lambda.


Beth Gigante Klingenstein, NCTM

Beth Gigante Klingenstein, NCTM, dedicated herself to her much-loved independent piano studio for the first 25 years of her career, during which time she published her first book, A Business Guide for the Music Teacher. Moving from Virginia to North Dakota, she accepted a teaching position at Valley City State University (VCSU), where she also founded and directed a community school of the arts. In honor of her energy and determination in bringing the arts to underserved rural communities, she received the ND Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2007. While at VCSU, Klingenstein created internationally successful online piano pedagogy courses and published her second book, The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook, a widely used resource among current independent and pedagogy teachers.

After teaching at VCSU for 20 years, eventually becoming department chair, Klingenstein took the position of executive director of the North Dakota Council on the Arts, a position she held until her recent retirement. As executive director, she was fiscally responsible for the agency, successfully overseeing a large budget and representing it to the state legislature.

Klingenstein served MTNA as West Central Division director-elect/director, on the 2009 national conference planning committee, and for five years on the American Music Teacher (AMT) editorial committee. She was the original author of AMT’s column, “It’s All of Your Business” and became a Foundation Fellow in 2006. Klingenstein’s many state/local positions include two terms as NDMTA president. Her more than 160 presentations on business, pedagogical and advocacy issues have been enthusiastically received nationwide.

Klingenstein earned degrees in piano performance from Syracuse University (BM) and the University of Michigan (MM), and a PhD in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota. She holds MTNA Permanent Professional Certification.

“I started as a piano major with no clue about my future. I am forever grateful that MTNA became a vital part of my professional growth, contributing to my career as a music educator, arts advocate, author, presenter and arts administrator. MTNA’s focus on quality music education and lifelong learning serves its members well, as does its dedication to arts advocacy, student competitions and programs, national and international partnerships, and the pedagogical and professional concerns of its members. As a former board member, I appreciate the fiscal responsibility that the MTNA staff and board embrace on behalf of the organization and am honored to be nominated for the position of Secretary-Treasurer,” she says.