Anne Fennell is the current Vice President of CMEA and the K-12 Music Program Manager for San Diego Unified School District in San Diego, CA. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education, a Masters in Leadership Studies, Orff-Schulwerk certification Levels: I-II-III and over 90 graduate hours in music and education coursework. Her experiences include 32 years of teaching music composition and steel drum ensembles in grades 9-12, K-8 integrated arts and music through Orff Schulwerk, and leading both vocal and instrumental ensembles in civic and professional performances as well as national conferences. She is a published author through Pearson Education, the GRAMMY Foundation, and Disney, and also chairs the NAfME Innovations Council. She presents nationally and internationally, including the national AOSA and NAfME conferences, China music education conferences, ISME, and with the OECD in Paris, France. She has received numerous local and national awards, including the 2017 National Teacher of the Year for Magnet Schools of America, top 10 GRAMMY Music Educator Finalist for 2016, and top 3 Music Educator award from Music and Arts 2015.
What do you see as the major challenges music education will face during your term as a CMEA Executive Board member?
During my term as a CMEA Executive Board member, I believe music education will see several challenges and opportunities for growth. These opportunities include an expansion of music education and programs for all K-12 students and a shift towards student-centered learning, as well as our continued need for music advocacy. We must continue to grow and advocate for music education as we know that it is a human right for all students as it defines culture, connects people, expresses ideas, and fosters both creativity and critical thinking. Within this growth as an art form, we also need to identify the many different ways that students will choose to access and create music, which might expand how music is created. As music education shifts to be all inclusive, professional development programs should provide support to teach music in the many ways that music is made. Student centered and personalized learning is creating a dramatic change nationally and in the state of California. To become aligned with these changes, professional development opportunities should be provided to support a shift in teaching as students co-create their knowledge, collaborate, reflect, develop, and expand their thinking and creating skills within social constructs. While these areas are challenging, they are also exciting in that we are on the cusp of expanding music into realms that have yet to be created!
What do you see as the major challenges facing CMEA?
CMEA faces several challenges within the state of California. These changes include the vast geographic area, addressing the state-wide music teacher shortage, and expanding and including music education to all students in all possible ways. Other challenges that exist include how to maintain and grow an understanding and support within our numerous state-wide music education organizations, and the need for CMEA membership growth.
How should CMEA respond to these challenges?
Challenges are opportunities to grow and learn from situations that provide different perspectives, and with each we will model excellence in music education. As part of a well-rounded education, music should be taught to all students, T(Pre)K through 12th grade and CMEA should continue to advocate this all-inclusive message through intentional marketing and professional development. while guiding funding legislation. We can also identify and support needs as we connect every area of the state with models of educational excellence and professional development for all-inclusive programs. It is vital to the health and sustainability of the organization for every music educator to find themselves within CMEA. Though great differences in distance, funding, and resources exist, we can find ways to assist and shorten the distances as we continue to build our statewide musical community.
California is in need of qualified music educators and as a leader I will strive to work with universities to identify and encourage future students in music education. CMEA can guide and support alignment of programs from school to work and industry, through intentional connections with music education classes, as well as providing resources to teach many models of music education. We can also grow our current mentoring program to guide new teachers while working collectively to expand programs, ideas, and increase membership. Together we can strive to provide a quality and rigorous music education that will support lifelong music making and contribute to the multi-billion dollar creative arts industries that provide great economic and cultural value to the state of California. Additionally, in the state of California, there are many different music and/or arts education organizations that can support each other with positive benefits. These relationships should continue to grow and work together to further develop music throughout the state. It is our collective work that will strengthen our culture and the future of music education.