Candidates listed in alphabetical order



Armalyn De La O

Armalyn De La O believes that music education is the right of every child and should not be limited by economics, social status, geography, or endangered by educational trends. As CMEA President, Ms. De La O will build on CMEA’s successful programs and collaborations to continue the critical leadership California needs to achieve this fundamental right of every child.

Ms. De La O is the regional director of the RIMS California Arts Project located at CSU San Bernardino, a regional site of The California Arts Project, one of nine California Subject Matter Projects. She concurrently serves as the Coordinator for Visual and Performing Arts for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools office (SBCSS). In her dual positions with RIMS CAP and SBCSS she leads arts education networks, professional learning, and is a Regional Arts Lead for the CCSESA/California Department of Education. These roles provide Ms. De La O with insight into the larger educational landscape and a voice for music education.

Ms. De La O’s service to music education and leadership spans local, regional, statewide and national contexts. She currently serves as past-president for the CMEA Southeastern Section board. She was one of ten national writers for the new National Core Arts Standards in Music. Ms. De La O has represented music educators on the committee to develop the Music Standards for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the committee to develop the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for Public Schools in Music, and the committee to develop the program strands for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) Program in Music.  

Ms. De La O holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in education administration. She has taught music at the elementary, middle and community college levels and as a lecturer in the music department at CSU San Bernardino. Ms. De La O would be honored to continue her service to music education as CMEA’s President.

What are the major challenges that will face music education in California over the next five years?  How would you address those challenges? What should CMEA do to serve the music education profession in California over the next five years?

California’s fiscal outlook will present the major challenges for music education over the next five years. As of July 2017, California ranked #43, Below Average, in the George Mason University’s Mercatus Center “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” report. The report is based on each state’s comprehensive annual financial report using indicators such as debt obligations, unfunded liabilities, and cash positions. Districts are already making budget decisions based on expected educational budget cuts in the coming years. While California has demonstrated the ability to overcome fiscal downturns somewhat better than many other states, the local district decision making process requires an active music education base.

The state’s fiscal challenges have the potential to make current and future music education programs vulnerable. This exposure will need to be addressed through proactive approaches by CMEA. Supporting the current positive trend of expanding, reinstating or establishment of new music programs will be critical. To address this challenge as CMEA President, I will set as a priority the expanding and continuing of CMEA’s advocacy efforts and leadership education so that music educators are ready and able to play active roles as fiscal decisions are being made at the local level. CMEA will need to expand the work with the sections to strengthen advocacy efforts at the local level where these financial decisions are made. CMEA can support the sections by providing continued training in how to build local CMEA coalitions with parent groups and local business partners who can serve on stakeholder committees and speak to the importance of music education in their community and at their schools.

A related challenge is maintaining the gains made over the last five years in face of budget cuts. Music education should not receive unfair or disproportionate levels of cuts compared to other content areas. I am prepared to work with CMEA’s leadership as we organize our advocacy and leadership resources to support our members in facing the impending fiscal challenges. CMEA will need to continue to work closely with our partners, including the other three professional arts education organizations, parent organizations and music businesses. CMEA’s continued work with NAMM at the state level will build an even stronger, year-long presence of music education in Sacramento.

Over the next five years, critical California instructional policy and documents will be revised and adopted. CMEA will continue to take the lead in advocacy for music education and work with our arts education association partners at the state level to ensure that visual and performing arts education will continue to be included in all California students’ well-rounded education. CMEA will service as a key resource for California’s standards revision process during 2018. CMEA will serve the field through providing critical input and leadership in 2019 on the new Visual and Performing Arts Framework, leading to the adoption of music instructional materials in 2020. CMEA has an important role in expanding and supporting the continuation of current collaborative efforts for arts education with the 4 Arts Education Organization Coalition, Stand Up 4 Music Coalition, and NAfME as both state and federal educational policy undergoes shifts, and new policies are being developed and implemented. CMEA must additionally continue to support the retention of current music educators, recruitment and mentoring of new music educators. CMEA is well positioned to meet these and other challenges head on.



Santiago Sabado

Santiago Sabado is from Placerville, CA. He holds his Masters of Music in Instrumental Wind Conducting, and his Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Sacramento State University as well as his Teaching Credential in Music. While attending Sac State he studied trumpet with Gary Dilworth and conducting with Dr. Clay Redfield and Dr. Robert Halseth. He also participated in conducting workshops with Dr. Mallory Thompson and Dr. Jack Stamp.

In his career Santiago has taught all grade levels from kindergarten through college. He is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs, CA where he serves as the Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair, and instructs the marching band, concert band, jazz ensemble, and beginning instruments courses. There he also hosts the Gold Country Jazz Festival, a non-competitive festival meant to encourage the growth of jazz programs in the community and in the region. He also taught the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps from 2010 to 2015 where he operated as the Brass Caption head. He now directs the Mandarins Leadership Camp which functions to develop student leadership in band programs throughout Sacramento and the surrounding regions. During the summer, Santiago teaches at the Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp in Pollock Pines, CA. There he directs concert band during session 1 and directs the middle school jazz ensemble during session 2. Santiago has been the Guest Conductor for the Western Slopes 6th grade Honor Band in El Dorado County and the Bi-County Middle School Honor Band in Calaveras and Amador Counties.

He has served as the Vice President, President, and currently holds the position of Immediate Past President for CMEA Capitol Section. Santiago has been an active adjudicator for the Northern California Band Association since 2008 and is a member of other professional organizations such as CBDA, NAfME, and NCBCDA. Santiago is passionate about music and even more passionate about students. He believes that music is transformative and all students should have access to a high quality music education at every stage of a student's academic career and life. His philosophy is that music should be inclusive, and not exclusive, and feels the music profession is on a great trajectory to positively influence more students than ever through new innovations developed by the great music educators here in California.

What are the major challenges that will face music education in California over the next five years?  How would you address those challenges? What should CMEA do to serve the music education profession in California over the next five years?

I believe there are two major challenges that we are faced with currently in music education and will continue to challenges us over the next five years. Number one is the music teacher shortage across the state. CMEA along with NAfME have done a phenomenal job showing the importance of music education as part of a well rounded education. School districts up and down the state have brought back positions that were cut during the recession and added new positions particularly in the area of elementary music. Unfortunately, leading up to this boom in open positions, the prospect of not only becoming a teacher, but a music teacher, wasn’t positive. Now we have an abundance of positions with no one to fill them. We are faced with music positions going unfilled, positions being cut because of no applicants, or positions being filled by interns. This predicament does not help us as a profession. There is a need to increase the pool of potential music educators in the state. I believe that this can be achieved through working with music education teacher prep programs at the universities across the state to recruit the next wave of music education professionals. This would include aiding CMEA section boards with their efforts to increase the level of involvement with the collegiates and university faculty, as well as working toward developing a campaign to demonstrate the importance and viability of pursuing a career in music education.

The second challenge I see music education facing is relevancy and access. As a profession we tend to lean very heavily on the large ensembles such as band, orchestra, and choir as our focus. I believe that these are important components of music education, but these ensembles tend to be somewhat exclusionary the farther a student goes along in school and only accesses a small portion of a school's population. I believe we can take our lead from elementary music educators where they are teaching students how to experience, create, and appreciate music. Once a student gets to high school, unless that student did band, choir, or orchestra previously, they may not have the opportunity participate or engage music in a classroom setting. This is a disservice to the student and the school. CMEA and NAfME have begun great campaigns to explore innovations in music education such as multicultural music education, technology, and composition. The pursuing of these campaigns is the future. If we can build a strong network of teachers that are moving in this directions, tap into them for curriculum development and work with teacher prep programs to incorporate these innovations into their programs we will be going a long way toward moving our profession forward and expanding the reach of music education beyond its current state.

CMEA should continue to lead the charge in the areas of advocacy, collaboration, and the strengthening the profession. CMEA’s current trajectory is a positive one through their work at the Capitol, StandUp4Music campaign, and innovations work. Over the next 5 years we need to further develop and enrich these campaigns to keep them moving forward and remain relevant. I believe that CMEA is positioned to continue to have a positive impact on the music education profession in California. If we are able to address the challenges of teacher shortages, access, and relevancy, while continuing our current campaigns, we will be looking at not only a stronger CMEA, but a stronger California.




Anne Fennell

Anne Fennell is the Creative Arts Chair, Instrumental and Music Composition Teacher at Mission Vista High School in Vista, CA. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education, a Masters in Leadership Studies, Orff-Schulwerk certification levels I, II, and III and has 90+ graduate hours and certifications in music education, world music studies, Character Education, Gifted and Talented Education, and Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development. Her experiences include 30 years of teaching K-12 music education, including: K-8 integrated arts and music, leading performance ensembles in: civic, professional, and national conferences, the NAMM Show, annual NAMM Board of Directors meeting (2013 & 2016), and National AOSA. Anne currently teaches three levels of both Steel Drum Ensembles and Music Composition through technology, grades 9-12. Her ensembles have been featured in InTune Monthly and NAfMEs Teaching Music magazines.

She is a recognized presenter and clinician at professional conferences and workshops at regional, national, and international levels, including ISME, AOSA, the National PTA, Tennessee Arts Academy, NAfME, and numerous music education conferences throughout the U.S.. She supported beginning teachers through the California BTSA program and was also an invited speaker for the U.S. Department of Education’s Research to Best Practice Conference in Washington D.C.. In 2015, Anne was a keynote speaker at the first China Conference for Music Education in Shanghai, addressing the Whole Musician, followed by workshops in music composition. In 2016 she was chosen as a top 10 Finalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award and received the California Music Educators Association’s for Innovation in Music Education (2017). Other awards include: California Music Educators Association’s SBS Innovation in Music Education (2016), Illuminating Culture Award (2013), Outstanding Music Educator Award, Southern Border Section (2008), and Teacher of the Year in Vista Unified School District. In March of 2017 Anne was chosen as the Region 8 Magnet School Teacher of the Year and in April of 2017, the Magnet Schools of America National Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Fennell has made advocacy presentations and served as a consultant for school districts on assessment, standards-based curriculum, creativity, composition, and integrated arts programs. Her publications include four (grade 9-12) complete courses approved as ‘F’-Visual and Performing Arts (A-G requirements), titles from Pearson Education and Silver Burdett - grades K-8, MusicVentures (grades K-2, created with a U.S. Dept. of Education research grant in conjunction with NAMM), Disney (Baby and Little Einsteins CDs), Labels for Education: Discovery Through Music with the GRAMMY Foundation, and K-12 integration connections for the Roots of Rhythm curriculum. She was a Sub-Committee Music Writing Team member for the National Core Arts Music Standards and is 2016-2018 member of the NAfME General Music Education Council and the 2016-2020 Chair for the NAfME IN-ovations Council.

What are the major challenges that will face music education in California over the next five years?  How would you address those challenges? What should CMEA do to serve the music education profession in California over the next five years?

While music education will face challenges over the next 5 years, I believe we can learn and grow from these to create stronger and unique programs for all students, K-12.  Education is changing quickly with the demand for personalized learning and competitive models.  I will strive to create connections and support professional development for teachers to sustain and grow their current programs, while also adding innovative approaches in music education and addressing these changes. This in turn, will encourage students to stay and be a part of their school music communities.

To increase music participation in education, we should also know our current K-12 music enrollment and the districts’ music needs to provide workshops and clinics that will best educate for our growth. From this we can create models of district-wide action plans that can guide and expand programs.  Once known, we can then provide state and regional conferences that will align to the needs of the programs for directed professional growth.

Funding for programs will always be a need in music education and I will continue to be on the forefront of this need to ensure appropriate funding for music as a core subject.  Fully funding programs will allow us to maintain our existing programs while providing the education and financial means to develop new programs.  As a core subject, we should teach all students and provide inclusive, diverse, and equally accessible programs for everyone.  This requires a budget that will support the constant changes and needs of our students and schools.   Knowing and teaching to our clientele, and having the ability to create district-wide surveys and understand their needs will help increase our programs.  CMEA is in a position to help educators identify student interests and guide programs to grow, while also connecting teachers to develop a web of programs and a statewide musical community. 

Music is a core academic subject and should be taught to all students, in all schools, and in all grade levels: Pre-K through 12th grade.  I will continue to drive this message and to support proper professional development and funding legislation so that music for all students can exist.  CMEA can identify and support programs in need, while providing models of educational excellence with all-inclusive programs.  These programs can be our guides for growth.  

As a leader in CMEA I will strive to work with universities to support and encourage future students in music education.  With support, these students can become prepared to teach in both traditional and innovative models that will eventually connect every student to music education.  We can also create a growth model of educational excellence with an expansion of our current mentoring program to guide new teachers, while working collectively to connect programs, ideas, and educators.  Together we can strive to provide a quality and rigorous music education that will support lifelong music making and will contribute to the multi-billion dollar creative arts industries that provides both great economic and cultural value to the state of California.



Christy Latham

In the twenty four years she has been teaching music, Christina Latham has had the opportunity to teach at all the levels—elementary, middle, high school and college.

While attending San Francisco State and earning her Bachelors in Music Education she was the President of the Collegiate Chapter of MENC. She is currently a member of CMEA - California Music Educators Association, NCBA - Northern California Band Association and CBDA - California Band Directors Association.

For the Bay Section of CMEA she was the band manager for the Junior High Honor Band and served as an area representative. Christina has also served as the Vice President of Clinics and Awards for NCBA, and as the Secretary. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival and she is the Section President for the Central Coast Section of CMEA. For CCS CMEA she has facilitated the HS Honor Band and the Large Ensemble and Jazz Festival. In addition she is a regular adjudicator for NCBA.

She started teaching in San Francisco in the elementary traveling music specialist. Her next position was at Parkway Heights Middle School. Next she taught elementary music for Stockton Unified at three elementary schools.

After that her next position has been at Santa Cruz High School since 1999. In her time there she has rejuvenated an award winning program that is the pride of the town. Currently teaching at both Mission Hill Middle School and Santa Cruz High School she has created a thriving band program. Creating students with a passion for playing music and a thirst for more music and learning opportunities is a strength. During her tenure, the groups have blossomed in their performance ability. The Concert and Jazz Bands perform a varied and rich selection of music, often placing first in their division at competitions and receiving superior ratings at the NCBA concert and Jazz festival and Unanimous Superior Ratings at the CCS CMEA Large Ensemble Festival. Last spring the Jazz band received its first Command Performance at the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival. The Parade band has received numerous awards and honors, most recently earning Showmanship Sweepstakes. Her bands perform at local events such as parades, grand openings and other community gatherings. They also provide entertainment and spirit at many school events.

Recently Christina attended the American Band College and earned her Masters of Music with an emphasis in Instrumental Conducting in 2013. This was a very rich experience where she grew as an educator and performer. She also met world-renowned composers, conductors, and performers, and made many new connections with colleagues from around the world.

Christina was recognized locally as the Outstanding High School Teacher of the Year in 2014, the Santa Cruz Jazz Society Outstanding Educator in 2009, the CCS CMEA Outstanding Music Educator of the Year in 2013, and in 2011 as the NCBA Band Director of the Year.

What are the major challenges that will face music education in California over the next five years?  How would you address those challenges? What should CMEA do to serve the music education profession in California over the next five years?

There are two major challenges. One is the teacher shortage and the second is teaching ideas and content that are modern. The first can be addressed by encouraging students to pursue music education in college and as a career. If we are passionate and motivated in what we do we will inspire our students to do the same. Then while they are in college give them opportunities to practice teaching. I believe it is important to experience the classroom before you are 100% in charge and on your own. Then once you are in the classroom it is important to be supported by colleagues that teach what you teach. As a music teacher you are often the only one in your building and you need to reach out or have someone reach out to you. I have had the pleasure of teaching a Music Technology class. I used the class to teach basics in music theory, composition and history. We used garage band to create music. Through this process I had the pleasure of meeting and teaching students who would never have thought of joining the band classes. Classes like this are really important to reaching students and giving them an entry point to music education.  More courses like these are needed to reach a broader range of students. I would encourage teachers to develop courses like these to broaden their outreach within the school community.

CMEA has made significant changes and progress over the last several years. The two areas I feel are most important to continue to develop are in the areas of advocacy and education. Giving educators the tools and information to advocate for their programs and teaching teachers how to be better at their craft are key to the success of music education.

The Stand Up for Music Coalition is a powerful group. It brings educators, politicians and business leaders to the table to advocate for music in the schools. Increasing awareness of this powerful coalition will allow more educators can take advantage of their vital information.

CASMEC is something I have attended since college. It is the chance to learn new ideas in a variety of sessions, meet up with teacher friends you only see once a year and meet industry representatives who care about serving your program. Growing this event to include every content area and further develop new teaching areas is critical to its continued growth.




Dr. Lisa Crawford

Dr. Lisa A. Crawford is currently a Supervisor and Lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona in the music education department. She also woAs a music teacher, she is most focused on foundational music teaching and learning, and general music and choral practice at the K-8 level. A presenter at state, national, and international conferences including CMEA, NAfME, and ISME, Dr. Crawford writes for CMEA Magazine and is affiliated with the Canadian research team, Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing (AIRS). Co-author of an article about singing and cultural understanding in IJME, her research interests also include composing with K-12 students, leadership, K-5 singing experiences, autism and composing, musical groupwork and K-8 students, composing and songwriting with technology, and memory and cognition of elders and how these relate to early musical and life-experience learning.

Dr. Crawford’s ideas about creating music and composition have evolved through her understanding as a child musician who composed and taught music at a very young age and became an active composer as a young adult. During the summer of 2017, Dr. Crawford presented her first Music Tech Café-Young Composers EnsembleTM for music teachers and middle school students at Azusa Pacific University. Her overarching question, “…how does one approach educating our very young music students about composing?” is answered perhaps by simply raising the awareness of educators about compositional work itself through activities that invite thinking about what teachers know the topic coupled with experiential learning, inviting teachers to practice composing as they work with K-12 students in the same way they would their main instrument, and through providing opportunities to compose with all K-12 and university students. Dr. Crawford is also interested in the operations, economics, and politics shaping K-12 music education in the 21st century, within integrated arts education, and higher education. She continues to study the conflicts she observes, increases her competence in speaking about them, but also lends herself to building solutions.

Dr. Crawford holds a doctorate in Music Education from University of Southern California, M.M., Music Education, and M.Ed., Curriculum & Instruction from University of the Pacific, and a Bachelor of Music, Composition from University of Oregon.

What are the major challenges that will face music education in California over the next five years?  How would you address those challenges? What should CMEA do to serve the music education profession in California over the next five years?

It is with great passion and enthusiasm that I respectfully submit my application to serve California Music Educators Association for the 2018-2020 term as Secretary. My service with nonprofits began as far back as fourth grade when I served as Secretary on the board of our local 4-H Club. I later became President and enjoyed the work of development and support for our new organization, separated from the original group due to the increasing size of my hometown of Modesto. These experiences “stick” and shine a light on who we may become. As well, the organizations I have worked with in technology and music industries, K-12 public schools, and universities have well transferred to the problems and challenges I find in our California music education network.

My interest in serving on the CMEA Executive Board is a continuation of my leadership of the introduction of CMEA Southwestern Section (2013-2016) of which I am now the Immediate-Past President. In addition, and now in my second year, I serve as the Creating and Composition Representative on the State Council. I began composing at age 7, began teaching piano at age 12, and worked in California writing commercial music, serious music, and songwriting very early in my career and continue to compose choral music.

As an organization that consistently increases its ability to represent California’s music educators, CMEA and its partners hold great importance as we face economic, political, and policy changes over the next five years. Our goal as members of California Music Educators Association is to ensure that all students in K-12 schools have access to sustained, sequential, standards-based music education. Developing greater understanding of our communities with focus on issues of ESSA, unions, school choice, and new core arts standards will be needed and change-agent dialogue is required from within our membership. Creating a more direct focus on the meaning of “professional” by our organization of music educators will require greater attention to the matters of musical relevance for K-12 students.


Sandra Lewis

Sandra Lewis resides in San Jose, California with her husband Jason and their two sons.  Mrs. Lewis began her musical training at the University of Hawaii where she studied both clarinet and violin and received a Bachelor of Music Degree.  She completed a Master's degree in violin performance at San Francisco State University. Currently she works at Henry M. Gunn High School as the orchestra director and assistant band director.

Passionate about chamber music, she was the recipient of the Morrison Chamber Music Fellowship.  Participants in in this program were provided opportunities to train with the Alexander String Quartet, known for mentoring aspiring musicians for careers in music.  After receiving her Master's Degree, she served as one of three directors at The Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, New Hampshire from 1989-2000.  In 1999 she went with Apple Hill Chamber Players to Amman, Jordan where they shared their "Playing for Peace" project.  She continues to encourage young musicians to play chamber music and provides numerous opportunities for each member of the Gunn Orchestra to participate in chamber ensembles throughout the school year.

Mrs. Lewis started her tenure with Henry M. Gunn High School in August of 2002.  Since that time the orchestra has doubled in size.  Her groups consistently receive Superior ratings at CMEA festival and contests.  She has performed with her orchestra at the CMEA Bay Section Conference and twice for the CMEA State Conference.  Under her leadership, the Gunn Orchestra has collaborated with area high schools to sponsor joint concerts between schools, worked with world-class conductor and composers, and performed in Stanford Lively Arts student matinee performances on the Stanford Campus. In 2013 her orchestra was selected to go to the Midwest clinic and this coming March the Gunn Chamber Orchestra will be competing in the ASTA orchestra festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

She has been both an area representative and secretary for CMEA Bay Section. She has also served on Bay Section’s board as Orchestra Rep. As orchestra rep. she helped choose the Bay Section’s string clinics for their yearly conference and also worked on the new adjudication rubric.   She has held the position of vice president and librarian for the Santa Clara County Band Directors Association and every year participates in auditions and sectionals with the band.

Sandra Lewis is the current CMEA State secretary and is honored to run again for the 2018 Secretary position. In our current climate, she feels that music education and the work that CMEA state leadership provides is vital to the health and well-being of the music educators all over California. Working with the other members of the CMEA board has helped her gain new insight into the structure of music education and she looks forward to serving in this position.

What are the major challenges that will face music education in California over the next five years?  How would you address those challenges? What should CMEA do to serve the music education profession in California over the next five years?

I think one of the ongoing issues that we continue to face in California is access to a school music education program for all students k-12. The challenges are many and though we have seen some improvement there continues to be a piecemeal effect that varies not only district to district but in some instances from school to school. The CMEA State board continues to lobby on behalf of all music educators and students to make sure that arts education can be universally accessed for all California public schools.  As a teacher, parent, and current board member, keeping up with state and national music advocacy is one way to get involved and also get other concerned community members motivated to come to the table as stake holders.  Sharing information about arts education, for example the recent data about arts education in our schools that was collected from the organization create/CA is a great resource to share with school board and local PTA organizations.    

CMEA already has a strategic plan in place to address the leadership, advocacy, communication and membership of our California music educators. As an organization CMEA is committed to reaching out to new music educators and providing them with written resources as well as one to one mentorship. This is a huge help to our music educators who might be isolated both geographically and from a curriculum standpoint in their classroom setting.  Also having a strategic plan that addresses these issues with our membership is one of the huge benefits of belonging to our organization.  Our board and section presidents are also very invested in the music advocacy part of our strategic plan and some of the new legislation that is being written and discussed in Sacramento.  Making sure that we have state board members to serve on various state arts committees helps to ensure that our voice and vision is heard at the table with our legislators. Along with continued support and input from music professionals in k-12 education, collegiate, music industry, and other related organizations our current CMEA board is at the forefront of leading us towards our vision where all students in the state of California have equal access to a quality arts education.


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