Board of Directors

  MTNA President Peter Mack, NCTM, is a nationally renowned performer, clinician and convention artist. Originally from Ireland, he now lives in Seattle, Washington, where he runs a successful private studio. He was professor of piano at Cornish College for 33 years.
   A choral scholar at Trinity College Dublin, Peter received his master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his doctorate from the University of Washington. His students frequently win local, national and even international competitions. Peter is the proud teacher of 20 MTNA Competition national finalists and of three MTNA national first-place winners. He has written for Keyboard Companion, the Clarion and American Music Teacher.
   For MTNA, Peter served on the national board as vice president (2017–2019) and as Northwest Division director (2010–2012). He chaired the planning committee for the 2014 Chicago National Conference, coordinated Pedagogy Saturday for the 2012 New York Conference and has led the Artistry Track multiple times. The 2015 Las Vegas conference saw him honored as a surprise MTNA Foundation Fellow. For Washington State, he has served as district vice president (organizing two district conferences), education board member (two five-year terms), and adjudicator chair (organizing two adjudicator conferences). Peter is currently Washington State’s Foundation chair and serves on its nominating committee. He is especially honored to administer the state’s needy student MAP subsidy program. Peter has adjudicated for Washington’s amazing MAP/adjudications program for 23 years.

  MTNA President-Elect 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 soloist and collaborator. An active chamber musician, Kevin frequently collaborates at the national conferences of MTNA, the National Flute Association and the National Opera Association.
   Named the 2015–2016 Teacher of the Year by the Alabama Music Teachers Association and recently inducted into the inaugural class of the Steinway & Sons Music Teacher Hall of Fame in 2020, Kevin is a dedicated teacher maintaining a prize-winning studio of collegiate and pre-collegiate students. As a clinician and adjudicator, he presents workshops for local and state music teacher associations throughout the country.
   At the national level, he serves as the vice president (2019–2021) of MTNA. In the past, he was elected Southern Division director (2016–2018) and served the MTNA Finance Committee from 2016–2018 and 2019–2021. Kevin has been a member of the Conference Planning Committee, and he is currently the national chair of the MTNA-Stecher and Horowitz Two Piano Competition. Kevin has been in involved with the Southern Division Competitions for the past 11 years as Competitions chair and Senior Competitions coordinator. Remaining active in the Alabama Music Teachers Association, he served as the president and Certification chair and currently chairs the state auditions and serves as the state clinician.

  MTNA Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion William Chapman Nyaho, NCTM, grew up in Ghana, West Africa, where he attended Achimota School. He later earned degrees from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, Switzerland. Chapman Nyaho currently runs a successful private piano studio in Seattle, Washington and serves on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University as well as the summer faculty of Interlochen Center for the Arts.
   Chapman Nyaho’s professional experience includes being a North Carolina visiting artist and associate professor of Music at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where he held the Heymann Endowed Professorship and was the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award. He has served as visiting professor of piano at Colby College, Maine; Pomona College, California; artist-in-residence at Willamette University, Oregon; and piano professor at Adamant Music School, Vermont.
   Chapman Nyaho is an active solo recitalist, duo pianist and chamber musician giving recitals and concerts in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean and in cities across the United States, where he promotes music by composers of African descent. He actively serves as guest clinician at colleges and universities around the United States and has been an adjudicator for several national and international piano competitions. He has served on national committees for the College Music Society, Music Teachers National Association and the National Endowment for the Arts. Chapman Nyaho also serves on the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy board of trustees.
   As an advocate for music of Africa and its diaspora, Chapman Nyaho’s publications include a five-volume anthology Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora published by Oxford University Press and an entry on Oswald Russell in the International Directory of Black Musicians as well as an arrangement for duet in Piano Star Duets published by ABRSM. His recordings include Aaron Copland: Music for Two Pianos, Senku: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent, Asa: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent and Kete: Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora.

  MTNA Vice President for Membership Barbara Fast, NCTM, serves on the piano faculty at the University of Oklahoma as director of piano pedagogy and piano area chair, where she coordinates the group piano program as well as teaches graduate and undergraduate piano pedagogy. Numerous teaching awards at OU include: David Ross Boyd Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching, Regents Award for Superior Teaching and the Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts Award. Former faculty appointments include the University of Northern Iowa, Hesston College and Woodstock International School in India.
   As an active member of MTNA, Barbara served as the 2020–2022 South Central Division director. Additionally, she served on the MTNA e-Journal Editorial committee. At the state level, she served on the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association (OMTA) Board as president and Collegiate Chapter representative. Collaborating with the leadership team of OMTA while organizing two state conferences and encouraging new and younger members for the OMTA Board were highlights.
Mentoring students and young professionals remains a priority for Barbara, and the OU Collegiate Chapter won the MTNA Chapter of the Year award three different years. In recognition of her guidance of students, Barbara was the recipient of the Oklahoma Music Teacher of the Year award.
   Barbara also co-founded the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum (GP3) in 2000, a biannual conference. Active on the GP3 Executive committee, she appreciates MTNA’s commitment to fostering teaching in higher education as well as independent studios.
   A culmination of her interest in effective teaching, learning and practicing, resulted in the book iPractice: Technology in the 21st Century Music Practice Room (Oxford). Fast has presented at numerous conferences and webinars focused on practicing, the brain and learning and performance anxiety.

  MTNA Secretary-Treasurer Heather Smith, NCTM, maintains a multi-faceted career as a music educator, administrator and community arts advocate. She serves on the MTNA Development Committee (2016–current) and the MTNA Business Network (2021–current). Heather also served on the 2020 MTNA Conference Planning Committee. She is the director of development and advancement for The Frances Clark Center and is the co-creator of The Frances Clark Center’s online course, A Pianist’s Guide to Studio Management. Heather is a member of the College of Examiners for The Royal Conservatory of Music and examines students throughout North America. She has written several articles that were published in American Music Teacher, the MTNA Business Digest and Piano Magazine.
   As a Certified Change Leader with the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, she regularly organizes local and national fundraising events to support music teachers, students and communities through the musical arts. Heather oversaw the creation of the Lenora Ford Brown Recital Venue in a local art center in her hometown. In 2021, she was awarded the Advocacy in Action Award by the Utah Music Teachers Association for her dedication to the betterment of Utah’s music and arts culture.
   Heather received a bachelor of music degree and a master of music degree in piano performance from the University of Utah. In addition to her music degrees, she has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Maryville University and an MBA from Westminster College. Heather worked as a tax manager for several years before switching careers to become a music teacher. Formerly the assistant director and associate instructor at the University of Utah’s School of Music Preparatory Division, Heather now teaches private lessons and group classes in her home studio in Centerville, Utah.

MTNA Immediate Past President 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 MTNA’s MarySue Harris Studio Fellowship award. She advises the Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter, which has presented at state and national conferences.
   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 column, “It’s All Your Business,” for American Music Teacher. Her articles have also appeared in Keyboard Companion and Clavier Companion. She has presented business and pedagogy sessions at MTNA National Conferences, National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy and state/local 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.Working with afterschool programs, community centers and United Way agencies, Thickstun has developed a network of community partners to provide access to the arts for inner-city youth. To fund outreach classes and need-based scholarships, Thickstun has written and received grants for more than $100,000 annually for the past eight years.

  Brian Shepard is Chief Executive Officer of Music Teachers National Association. Shepard first began his career at MTNA in 2003 as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. In 2008, as a result of his successes in marketing the programs and services of MTNA, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure as COO, Shepard has increased the association’s operational efficiencies, overseen the expansion of MTNA’s in-person national events, grown current revenue streams and introduced new ones to further the organization’s mission.
  In addition to his work at MTNA, Shepard serves on several other nonprofit boards and committees. From 2009 to the present, Brian has served in multiple leadership roles with the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, including Board Chair and Professional Organizations Advisory Council Chair. He currently serves the Hall of Fame as Board President. Since 2013, he has been a member of the CCMpower Board, having held the positions of Treasurer, Harmony Fund Co-Chair, Awards Committee Co-Chair, Board Development Committee Co-Chair and Membership Committee Co-Chair. Shepard has also served on the Cincinnati Opera Sales and Marketing Committee and was President of the Middletown Music Club for three years.
  Shepard is also an accomplished musician who performs frequently for church and community programs as a pianist, vocal soloist and choral conductor.
  A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Shepard holds degrees in marketing and music education. He was named an MTNA Foundation Fellow in 2010.