Online voting is open February 19 – 23, 2018.
All Active and Retired members of WMEA will receive an e-invite.
Get to know the candidates …
Positions Statement: I would like to be considered for the WMEA Presidency as it will be a fun challenge and a great way to put the experience of 22 years teaching to use! I have enjoyed being a part of WMEA over the years, and finally serving on the board as technology chair for the last 2 years. My mantra of late is “service” and it is time for me to serve this fine organization and the people that are a part of it. Just vote “New Year’s STEVE”!
Bio: Steve is currently the Director of Bands at the newly opened Thunder Basin High School in Gillette Wyoming. His 22 years of teaching experience include six years at Twin Spruce Junior High as director of bands and Campbell County High School for nine years, where he lead the Marching Band, Concert Band, two Jazz Bands and Percussion Ensemble to many regional and state awards. Steve also spent five years “away” from music as the Technology Facilitator. Steve is a 1989 graduate of Cheyenne Central High School, and a 1995 graduate of the University of Wyoming.
Steve was recognized in School Band and Orchestra (SBO) magazine as the 2003 “50 Directors Who Make A Difference”, the Campbell County School District 2003 Activities Sponsor of the Year, as well as being the Jazz Band Director for the Wyoming Ambassadors Europe 2005 trip. Other awards include the Campbell County School District Employee of the Month in 2000 and the Fox Radio/Photo Finish School Employee of the month in 2001.
Steve is the director and plays the trumpet in the Big Horn Big Band and the Coaltrane Jazztet, directs the Gillette Community Band, and plays the trumpet in the Powder River Brass Quintet. Steve has a wife who is also a Band Teacher, and three wonderful children whom he likes to spend his free time with.
Band Vice President
Position Statement: I am very proud to be an educator in Wyoming. We have some of the best students to make music with and some of the best directors to collaborate with. I believe part of being Band VP is continuing that tradition of excellence. I am excited to be a part of the All State process. As a Wyoming high school graduate, my All State experience was one of the highlights of my high school career. Some of my closest friends today were fellow musicians I met in those All State ensembles. The person and director I am today is because of music in Wyoming. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve and give back to the organization that gave so much to me as a young musician. I look forward to being able to have an impact on our All State students through selecting guest conductors that are passionate about music and will share that passion with students, while also pushing them to achieve musical excellence. What a great profession we have! Be excited as we are a key element in ushering beauty into the world through music.
Bio: Zach Tolman is a 2003 graduate of Riverton High School. After high school, he attended the University of Wyoming where he earned a bachelors in music education. While at the University of Wyoming, he studied saxophone under Dr. Scott Turpen. He was a member of both Wind Symphony and Jazz l, the University’s premier concert and jazz ensembles. He performed around the country in saxophone quartets and jazz combos. Upon graduating from UW in 2010, Zach began his teaching career in Newcastle, WY. While there, he helped grow the band program as well as team taught band and choir with Jan Ellis. After Newcastle, he taught middle school choir and music appreciation classes in Casper, WY. During his time at CY Middle school, Zach started an after-school jazz choir. He coached soccer with the Kelly Walsh Trojans, which ended with a 4A Wyoming High School State Soccer championship in 2012.
Zach currently teaches band in Riverton. He is Director of Bands at Riverton Middle School and Assistant Director of Bands at Riverton High School. He is on staff with the RHS Wolverine Men’s soccer team, which challenged for the 4A state title in 2016. He has directed honor ensembles and adjudicated around the state, as well as served on the music staff for the Yellowstone Summer Music Camp, directing a concert band comprised of high school campers, fellow camp staff, and professional musicians. He was selected as the Outstanding Young Music Educator in 2017. He maintains an active performance schedule with both local groups and state ensembles. Zach is married to Brieann Tolman. They have 2 kids: Adelaide (5) and Brecken (2).
Secondary Vice President
Position Statement: I enjoyed working with the clinicians and conference sessions in the band, vocal, and strings strands over the past two years, and I am interested in serving another term as the Secondary VP for WMEA.
Bio: Kurt Sand is in his 24th year of teaching. He began his career in Montana where he taught for 7 years. Over the course of his teaching experience, Kurt has taught elementary general music, middle school band and choir as well as high school band and choir. During the 17 years he has been at Star Valley, he has taught band and choir at both the middle and high school levels. He has directed many successful high school musical productions. His current assignment is director of bands at the middle school and high school as well as 7th grade choir. His music groups consistently receive high ratings at contests and festivals. His Concert Band, Marching Band and Jazz Bands have performed at Disneyland, Universal Studios and Long Beach State University in California. His Jazz Band continues to perform at the UNC Greeley Jazz Festival each spring. The Marching Braves compete in the ISU Marching Band Invitational held each fall in Pocatello, Idaho as well as the Wyoming State Marching Band Festival. Kurt has had the privilege of serving as his school district’s Fine Arts Department Chair, as well as the WMEA Southwest District President. For the past two years, he has served the WMEA as the Secondary Vice-President. He would be honored to serve another two years in that role.
Position Statement: I am honored to have been nominated for the position of Secondary Vice President. I believe my experience and connections in band, choir, orchestra, and elementary music make me a qualified candidate for this position in the WMEA. I understand the responsibilities therein and have the organizational skills to fulfill the tasks that would be asked of me if I were elected to serve in this position. I will strive to do my best to provide quality experiences for our music educators in our great state.
Bio: Cara Sommers teaches 6 – 12 band and 9 – 12 choir at Rocky Mountain Middle and High School in Cowley, Wyoming where she is the President-Elect of the North Big Horn Basin Music District. She is a Wyoming native; having spent her childhood years in Lusk, then moving to Cody where she was a four-year All-Stater (choir) and graduating from Cody High School. She went to Casper College where she majored in music education with and emphasis on voice then switching to instrumental music education. She was a student of Dr. Pat Patton (CCC and Concert Choir), Steven Trinkle (private trumpet), and Jean Tichenor (private voice). Following Casper College, she ventured southeast to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she received her Bachelor of Music Education. While in Las Vegas, Cara played in the UNLV Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Tara Krissa, The Star of Nevada Marching Band under Anthony LaBounty, took jazz studies with Dave Loeb, music education courses with Eugenie Burkett, and elementary music with Orff Schulwerk icon, Sue Mueller.
In the summer months of her college career, Cara performed casually with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Austin Boudreau and was a crewmember on the performing barge based in Pittsburg Pennsylvania. Following her graduation from UNLV, she began teaching middle school band at Rocky Mountain Middle School in Idaho Falls, Idaho. While in Idaho, she played in the Idaho Falls Symphony Orchestra, The Idaho Falls Community Band, and the Jazz House Big Band. She also made an album as a back up singer with country artist, Brian Morris, and performed radio jingles for local radio stations.
During her time teaching at RMMHS, her groups have received superior and excellent ratings at festivals and her high school band has doubled in size.
IN-Ovations Vice President
Position Statement: I am interested in joining the WMEA Board as the IN-Ovations Vice President for a number of reasons, not the least of which is simply out of a desire to serve music educators in the state of Wyoming. I believe this particular chair on the board is positioned to be able to offer unique and innovative educational opportunities to teachers in our state, both via the annual conference and other outlets. In my own career and teaching, much of my focus has been on jazz and contemporary styles, so the potential of serving in this chair is particularly exciting for me. I believe that my background and interests in contemporary music qualifies me to serve as In-Ovations VP. I personally explore a variety of teaching styles and pedagogical methods to effectively lead my ensembles and students. Attending, presenting, and performing at state music education conferences as well as ACDA and JEN conferences not only guides my own teaching but also gives me a look into what those in leadership are doing nationwide. I feel that I have a strong network of colleagues who are leaders in their fields, who I can bring to Wyoming to share their teaching strategies, knowledge, and passion for their art. I believe I can serve Wyoming music educators well as IN-Ovations Vice President. I appreciate your support and dedication to the field of music education.
Bio: Brennan Baglio is the Music Department Coordinator and Director of Choirs at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, where he directs the Studio Singers, Collegiate Chorale, and teaches second year music theory and aural skills classes. Brennan is a native of the Seattle area and previously taught choir, piano, voice, and music technology courses at Bellevue College. Brennan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting, both from Central Washington University. As an educator, Brennan has received various honors and awards. Most recently, Brennan is the recipient of the 2018 Wyoming Jazz Educator of the Year award. Additionally, under his direction, the Northwest College Studio Singers were one of a select number of collegiate vocal jazz ensembles invited to perform at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in Dallas, TX in January of 2018
Brennan is the baritone and tour manager in the professional vocal jazz septet Groove For Thought. He has had the opportunity to perform on NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” open for Jay Leno, and perform throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Groove For Thought performed at the 2014 and 2016 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences, and has performed at American Choral Directors Association Conferences, the Polyfolia World Choral Symposium, the Europa Contact Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley Jazz Festival, the Gold Company Invitational, and many other Jazz and Choral Festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad.
As a clinician and adjudicator, Brennan has been asked to present at the Jazz Education Network Conference, at the Washington, Wyoming, and Utah Music Educators Conferences. He has also been asked to direct numerous honor choirs and be an adjudicator at jazz festivals throughout the country. In addition to teaching and performing, Brennan maintains a busy schedule as a studio singer, producer and mix engineer, and arranger. He enjoys arranging for his own ensembles, has published several of his arrangements, and has sung on radio jingles, commercials, and other vocal projects. Brennan also assists in producing and mixing Groove For Thought videos and recordings.
DR. JENNIFER MELLIZO
Position Statement: I am interested in serving as In-Ovations VP for Wyomea because I am passionate about the exploring the ways in which creative and innovative practices (for example: world music integration, non-traditional performance ensembles, and technological advances) can provide Wyoming students with more opportunities to personally experience the benefits a musical education can provide. Throughout the past several years, I have increasingly incorporated world music learning experiences in all of my elementary and middle school classes, and have written curriculum materials based on music traditions such as: West African Drumming and Dance, Hawaiian Ukulele, Steel Pans from Trinidad and Tobago, Balinese Gamelan, and Zimbabwean Mbira. I am also very interested in sharing ideas related to culturally responsive teaching–a pedagogical idea that is quickly gaining traction in our field. I would be honored to serve our organization as In-Ovations VP, and I am eager to collaborate with (and learn from) other amazing music educators from around the state.
Bio: Dr. Jennifer M. Mellizo has been teaching general music, band, and choir in Laramie for the past 17 years (fifteen of these have been at the University of Wyoming Laboratory School). She completed a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction, with an emphasis in multicultural music education and a minor in quantitative research methods in 2016. Jennifer was named an Arch Coal Teacher of the Year in 2014, the Southeast Wyoming Music Educator of the Year in 2015, the Albany County Teacher of the Year in 2016, and the UW College of Education Outstanding Graduate Student in 2016. She has traveled to Benin, West Africa on two separate occasions to learn about music and culture, and has written a variety of music curriculum resources based on these experiences. These resources have been used by music educators in the state of Wyoming, and beyond. Jennifer has published theoretical, practical, and research articles in journals such as General Music Today, TOPICS for Music Education Praxis, and Intercultural Education. In addition to these publications, she presents the results of her research at a variety of regional, national, and international professional conferences. In March, she will present findings from her most recent qualitative study at NAfME’s national biennial music education research conference in Atlanta, GA.