NAfME online elections will open to eligible members on January 14, 2020 and will remain open through February 12, 2020 (midnight Eastern time).

Candidates for Orchestra VP

local election information (UMEA)

Ashley Braithwaite has been teaching privately since 2005, and as a secondary orchestra teacher since 2013. She has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Utah in Viola Performance, and a Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Utah State University. Her active leadership roles in Alpine School District have been recognized through “Teacher of the Year” and “Cluster Teacher of the Year” awards, as well as being chosen as Utah’s featured “Director who Makes a Difference” in SBO Magazine for 2019. 


Ashley’s studio students are involved in the Suzuki Association of Utah's annual ViolaFest! and prepare and perform at UFMC's Federation every year as well. She has performed throughout Europe and especially enjoys playing chamber music. She is currently the festival manager for UMEA's State Jr. High Orchestra. Ashley loves teaching her SEVEN middle school orchestras, and endeavors to instill the lifelong love of quality music in each of her 300+ students. She is always looking for innovative ways to engage students in music in her community as well. Ashley also loves action sports such as Supercross, and can be found outside on her dirt bike wherever the sun is shining.


As UMEA Orchestra VP, Ashley hopes to give further support to teachers throughout the State by increasing inter-district communication and collaboration. We are rich in quality, experienced music teachers here in Utah, and the hope is that we can use each other’s expertise to raise the level of teaching and performance in Orchestra across our State. In addition, she plans to bring in quality clinicians that will share new ideas and solutions that directly impact what we do in the classroom. Ashley’s organizational experience with State Jr. Orchestra Festival and on school and district leadership teams gives her the skills necessary to assist in the sharing of professional resources and identifying areas needing assistance, as well as networking support for teachers with each other and out-of-state professionals.

Amanda Kippen Poland is in her 8th year of teaching and is currently at Tooele High School, students range from 3rd through 12th grade. She focuses on the basics (like posture, rhythm, intonation, and tone production) with her students, and is working on growing numbers. Her first 5 years were spent in the Logan City School District, teaching at the high school and middle school. While in Logan she upheld their rich traditions, such as yearly Concerto Night concerts, and started small ensemble concerts, teaching her students to become both strong orchestra and individual musicians. She has taken her students from both Logan and Tooele High to state orchestra where they have received both superior and excellent ratings.

While studying at Weber State University Amanda discovered her love of conducting and became the conductor of Northern Utah Youth Chamber Orchestra. She worked to teach the young children to play expressively as an ensemble and prepared them to join the youth symphony when they became old enough. After graduating with a Music Education degree she continued her position there for 4 more years.

Amanda is a violist and has studied under Ling Yu, Dr. Kevin Call, and Dr. Michael Palumbo. Even though she is busy teaching public school and privately she seeks to keep up her personal level of musicianship by being a member of Chamber Orchestra of Ogden.

She has hosted large orchestra festivals, solo and ensemble festivals, been a judge and clinician, and is now the Music Chairperson for Region 10. Her experiences have helped her be ready and willing to serve in NAfME as the vice president for orchestra. She would like to help the orchestra teachers throughout Utah have renewed confidence in UMEA and its leadership.

Candidates for Elementary Ed VP

Joann Meitler earned a Bachelor of Music with a vocal emphasis from the University of Utah in 1987, followed by earning a teaching certificate from Weber State in 1988; later, she added a Master of Education degree from Lesley University in 2009 in Integrating the Arts in the Curriculum. Following in her father’s footsteps, Joann became a teacher for Granite School District in 1989 and landed a choral teaching position at Wasatch Jr. High teaching next door to Paul Watson, her mentor for three years. Joann’s growing family pre-empted her teaching career for the next 10 years, after which she returned to Granite School District to continue her music education career.

For the next three years, Joann worked with Michael Hamblin as an Elementary Music Integration Specialist, traveling to all 60 elementary schools in the district and providing integrated lesson plans for 5th and 6th grade classroom teachers. Joann continued to work in the elementary schools teaching strings for two years and then General Music while traveling to five schools a week. Joann then signed on at Oakridge Elementary as a full-time music specialist under the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. Collaborating with classroom teachers and dance teachers has been the most personally rewarding assignment for Joann. Learning about the “Orff” process at Oakridge Elementary completely changed Joann’s approach to teaching music to children. Currently, Joann is teaching at Spring Lane Elementary and David Gourley Elementary under the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program in Granite School District. Joann was awarded the Outstanding Music Educator for 2020.

Educational Highlights:

-Jr. High chorus with Tom Waldron at Butler Middle School

-High School Chorus and Madrigals with Vern Miller at Brighton High School

-University of Utah Choir with Ed Thompson and Chamber Choir with Bernell Hales

-Concerto Night winner at Weber State, singing the “Queen of the Night” aria, from The Magic Flute

-Member of the Tabernacle Choir

I chose to work with elementary children early in my career because I believe that an appreciation and love for music begins early in life. If children are encouraged and guided to sing, keep a beat, dance and create throughout their elementary years, they will benefit and gain confidence to work with others, express themselves, and have the skills necessary to be creative and successful in their lives. Music education provides balance and personal enjoyment not only through a child’s educational life, but for the rest of their lives!

Great things are happening in the state of Utah with regards to Elementary Music! Recently, the National Orff Conference was held here for the first time. The Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program is growing and providing jobs and support for elementary music teachers all across the state.  Local Orff chapters are thriving, providing additional support for elementary music teachers. And every year, we reconnect with colleagues and rejuvenate at UMEA! With all of these support systems in place, I see a bright future ahead….but there is room for some “fine tuning.” As your Elementary VP, I will work to encourage stronger connections between universities and school districts. Making these connections will increase opportunities for prospective music teachers to job-shadow in schools to ensure their success as they observe highly qualified music instructors. Let’s work together to keep elementary music in the mainstream!

Shanda Stenger has an associate degree from Snow College and a bachelor’s degree in K-12 Music from the University of Utah. She is also certified in Level 1 Orff Schulwerk. During her time at Snow College she organized a charity concert for the Cambodian Children’s Fund. She also spent two summers riding on a horse drawn carriage playing in the Nauvoo Brass Band. For 8 years Shanda has been involved in teaching music to elementary through high school students. Her experience covers brass sectionals in jazz band, private lessons, and working with 11 different elementary schools to build their music program.  She currently works for Davis School District as an Elementary Music Instructional Coach and Integration Specialist.


Shanda has a passion for teaching elementary music. Words can’t describe the magic that occurs when a child creates music for the first time. Shanda loves to find unique ways to reach all students through music and integration of fine arts, other core curriculum, and technology. One way she has accomplished this is by integrating coding, music composition, and writing. She believes that every child can do something, and her job as a teacher is to find out what each child can do and help them grow from where they are at. She believes relationships and building community are vital for elementary music teachers and that every child deserves a high-quality elementary music education. Shanda loves to laugh, read books, and spend time with her two boys and amazing husband. Her boys love it when she makes up silly songs about them. Shanda’s superpower is solving problems!

Candidates for Jazz Band VP

Mr. Brian Parker is currently the Director of Bands and Orchestras at Lehi High School, a position held since 2016. Prior to this position, he worked for three years at Granite Park Junior High School in Salt Lake City teaching classes in band, orchestra, guitar, percussion, and jazz. He also spent one year teaching band, orchestra, and choir at Quail Run Primary School in Pleasant Grove, UT and a half-year teaching at Centennial Middle School in Provo after graduating from BYU, Provo. He student-taught at Timpview High School under Dr. Dave Fullmer.


Brian holds his Bachelors in Music Education degree from Brigham Young University (2011) and his Masters in Music Education degree from the University of Utah (2019). He has studied conducting from various professors including Dave Fullmer, Don Peterson, Kirt Saville, and Scott Hagen. He also studied trumpet with David Brown, jazz improvisation with Jay Lawrence, and jazz pedagogy with Ray Smith. 


In his current position, Brian teaches two concert bands, a jazz band, two orchestras, the Lehi Marching Band, and a music appreciation class. The Lehi Wind Symphony has qualified for the state festival each of the last 3 years. The Lehi Marching Band has placed in the top 3 of their divisions each of the last 4 years, including being crowned 2A state champions in the 2018 season. The Jazz Band has also performed well in region festivals and regularly participates in the region Essentially Ellington Festival. 


Brian enjoys making music not only with his students but also his peers. Brian has performed in the past with the Utah Premier Brass on both solo cornet and soprano cornet. He also enjoys spending time reading/listening to great books, watching movies, and spending time playing games with friends and family. He finds his greatest joy in spending time with his wife, Christina, and their 3 children. 

“I am honored to have been nominated for this position as the UMEA Vice President over Jazz. As the vice-president, I hope to oversee a quality state jazz festival and provide a clear process for students to audition for the All-State Jazz Band. I also hope to provide world-class professional development for our teachers through sessions at our annual conference and additional opportunities through collaboration with other professional organizations such as JEN (Jazz Educators Network) and Essentially Ellington.”


Matthew Weidner was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He developed a love for jazz as a student of Paul Watson at Wasatch Jr. High and that love was further developed at Skyline High School as he studied with Richard Chatelain and Curtis Mckendrick. In 2009, Matt received his A.S. from Snow College where he studied with Scott Wilson.  As a student at Snow College, Matt earned the Piano Chair for the IAJE Community College All-Star Big Band in 2008. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Utah where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. During that time he played in the jazz ensemble that was selected to perform at the 2010 World Music Expo in Shanghai. Matthew also holds a Master of Music in Music Technology: Studio Production from Southern Utah University, which he completed in 2018. 

Matthew is currently in his eighth year of serving as the Director of Bands at Gunnison Valley Middle and High Schools. When Matt arrived at GVHS in 2012 there were only 11 kids in the band program and within two years, the program had reached 50+ students. In 2015, the Legacy Music Alliance selected him for their Teacher Feature where they named him “a rising star in Utah Music Education.” Under his direction, the Gunnison Valley Jazz Bands and Concert Bands have both performed admirably at region and state festivals.

Beyond the classroom, Matt maintains a private piano studio of over 20 students and enjoys composing in a wide variety of styles for Velvet Green Music. Matthew’s greatest joys are spending time with his beautiful wife and two young daughters.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be a candidate for the UMEA Jazz Vice President Elect. I know those who currently serve and have served put in countless hours to provide excellent opportunities for our students. I look forward to building on what has previously been accomplished so our students can find the greatest amount of success in jazz through festival opportunities, All-State and Regional Honor Bands, in the classroom, and throughout their lives.”

Proposed changes to the UMEA Constitution


It is proposed that the current UMEA Consititution be re-named "Bylaws of Utah Music Educators Association" and re-formatted with a table on contents and twelve articles. This rearranges material in the current constitution, makes navigating the document more efficient, and includes a renaming of the current "Executive Board" to "Board of Directors." This would bring the UMEA Constitution into a format more in-line with NAfME norms and Utah State Government recommendations for 501(c)(3) organizations. If you wish to review the documents please see below.