The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world. 


Graduate work in higher education leadership and policy.  Breadth of experience successfully building and leading community engagement and undergraduate arts programs. Strong fundraising background. Inclusive piano teaching consultant.



Active performer. Internationally recognized leader in the field of inclusive piano teaching.  Over fifty clinical workshops presented to music educators around the world.  Co-author of Inclusive Piano Teaching and co-chair of the special needs committee for NCKP.

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Graduate degrees in special education and piano pedagogy. Breadth of experience teaching at the college and pre-college levels.  Student centered philosophy with a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion.   

Leadership Philosophy


My leadership style involves a balance of collaboration and transparency with an emphasis on strong decision making and the drive towards excellence. I draw heavily on my education, experience and intuition and when I do not feel confident about something, I do my research. Carefully. Thoughtfully. And thoroughly. I value direct communication, honesty and sincerity. I own my mistakes, in my work and in my life, and lead from a place of reflection, humility, humor, and grace. 

I maintain high standards while also recognizing that some people need to be coached. I believe in second chances and, as much as possible, aim to build consensus. I strive to strike a balance between gathering buy-in for the most critical decisions, prioritizing the best interest of the organization when making hard decisions, and respectfully navigating conflict when decisions are made.  I believe vision and mission need to be a the forefront of all decisions, but only after a process of shared development.  I am highly student-centered and I value civic engagement as a vital learning strategy. It is critically important to me that I do everything I can to ensure that the faculty and students in the programs I lead are provided with the best opportunities to realize their full potential.  I strive to do this with openness, kindness, integrity, and strength.  


OpporTUNEity Music Connections


I have devoted much of my career to delivering workshops, building programs, and leading grassroots movements that bridge the gap between K-12 and higher education institutions.  I am deeply passionate about using the arts to address social justice issues, forge partnerships between academic institutions and community organizations, and improve the lives of children in our most impoverished communities. In my position as Program Coordinator of Music and the Founding Director of Music Outreach Programs at Martin Methodist College, my primary focus was on developing the college music program in a way that enhanced the quality of music education and outreach opportunities to all children in the region while simultaneously using these community learning opportunities to enhance the educational experiences provided to undergraduate students. In my efforts to leverage the arts to address racism, equity and equality issues, I accepted the position as Service Learning Coordinator and founded OpporTUNEity; in three years, OpporTUNEity made an enormous impact. 

OpporTUNEity is a co-curricular service-learning project that provides underserved youth with a unique opportunity to receive music lessons and mentoring from undergraduate students in a supervised setting. OpporTUNEity was awarded the Boys & Girls Club Tennessee Area Council Award for Program Impact Excellence in the Arts in 2014 and 2015. In 2017, OpporTUNEity severed its relationship with Martin Methodist College. We are now in the process of re-branding as a non-profit organization with a global mission.  As we rapidly expand, our program becomes increasingly complex but our mission remains simple: to use college resources to bring musical opportunities to underserved youth in our communities, holding them to high standards of behavioral and performance excellence, while simultaneously providing engaging and enriching experiences to our undergraduate students. As we do this, we strengthen the ties to our local communities, leverage music as a pathway towards academic and behavioral excellence, bridge class and racial gaps in urban areas, and enhance the quality of students recruited our undergraduate music programs. In the end, everybody wins.  

OpporTUNEity Website 


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Teaching Philosophy


My teaching philosophy is grounded in my passion and commitment to engage in lifelong learning.  While there are fundamental aspects of my philosophy that I believe will remain constant throughout my teaching career, I strive to maintain unconditional openness to learning from my mistakes, my students, and my life, while ultimately weaving these lessons into my day-to-day teaching.  Therefore, I begin my teaching philosophy with the statement that my teaching style and philosophy will always be flexible and open to change. I learned very early in my academic career that maintaining a humble and flexible approach is essential to avoiding stress, finding joy in the process, and not succumbing to the pressures of ego. 

While my teaching approach and technique may vary between private lessons, group and classroom instruction, what remains constant is the respect I have for my students as individuals and my deep commitment to good teaching, inclusive education, equity and diversity in music.  I strive to develop strong rapport and communication with all of my students and to do whatever is necessary to ensure that real learning is always taking place.  I believe my unique background in performance, pedagogy, and special education enhances this.  In all of my teaching environments, I support and open and honest communication, collaboration, and the establishment of a judgment free zone where students are free to be themselves, and encouraged to explore and experience the learning process without fear (which I believe is a strong barrier to authentic learning). 

In the classroom setting, I believe strongly that my students should always know the motivation and purpose behind standards I set for them, the topics I choose to discuss, assignments I require of them, and my methods for assessing them. Transparency is essential.  In history and theory based courses, I place a strong emphasis on the development of good listening and writing skills as I believe they are essential to the life of a professional musician. I encourage and facilitate discussion so that all students are challenged to take ownership of their thoughts and opinions.  I use a similar approach to my pedagogy courses, where I also challenge my students’ beliefs about teaching, encouraging them not to box themselves in with traditional and comfortable learning models. In class piano courses, I constantly remind my students of the role their functional skills will have in their understanding of music theory and in their professional lives.  This is especially true for music education students, who may one day find themselves teaching in an environment where there is no budget to hire an accompanist.  

In my private studio, I set high standards for practice and performance without dictating artistic choices. I find tremendous value in the learning process, and believe in autonomous, authentic, and experiential learning.  I find value in the integration of concepts learned from history, theory, and ear training courses into the process of learning new repertoire.  While I believe strongly in the pursuit of education for knowledge, I believe it is also my duty to prepare college students for successful careers.  It is my goal to help students discover what they are most passionate about and to create opportunities for them to increase their marketability in the field. Additionally, I believe in and support the liberal arts, when implemented effectively, as a method of developing the entire person, enhancing critical thinking skills, and encouraging students to understand their connection to the global society. Finally, I maintain a strong commitment to my own personal daily practice as I see a strong connection between effective studio teaching, and the steadfast development of myself as a pianist and musician.   

I come to every lesson, class, and lecture with a strong sense of preparedness, integrity, centeredness, and gratitude.  I value authenticity.  I strive to treat all of my students with respect for who they are as students, individuals, and adults.  I take pride in my ability to quickly make adjustments in my teaching to accommodate learners of all ages, from all walks of life, and who encompass a range of abilities. I place good rapport on the top of my list of priorities, which can be seen in my student evaluations over the past several years. I teach because I love the process, because I love music, and because I believe in empowering others through music. I exist amongst the population of fortunate people in this world who truly love what they do.  I strive to remind myself of this everyday and to never take it for granted.  


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In 2005, as a doctoral candidate in piano performance at the University of Wisconsin Madison, I participated in a series of concerts in correctional facilities and juvenile detention centers in Milwaukee. I was convinced that a performing career was what I was destined for and my piano professor at the time received grant funding to present concerts to inmates. While the intention was fundamentally good, I found myself deeply disturbed by the act of bringing classical music to an incarcerated population of adults and children who likely never had access to opportunities to learn how to create music themselves. Attempting to speak the language of Mozart and Rzewski to a group of children who had been imprisoned for adult crimes was especially challenging; trying to convince them, and myself, that it mattered was unthinkable. It was equally disheartening to see the racial imbalance amongst them.

My effort to resolve this internal conflict resulted in a drastic shake-up in my graduate studies: I switched from a Doctoral of Musical Arts degree program in performance studies to a Doctoral of Musical Arts degree program in performance and pedagogy.  I added a Master of Science degree in Special Education that was custom designed to accommodate my research agenda. I pursued both degrees simultaneously, often completing cross- disciplinary projects in my special education and pedagogy courses. My final project was a combination of public concerts, pedagogy workshops, and a qualitative dissertation that examined the perceptions piano teachers have of disability and inclusion. Since 2005, my primary goal has been to break down barriers in the arts, through research and education, while maintaining my commitment to solo and collaborative performance.

I have spent the past decade developing pedagogical techniques and educational programs for underserved youth and children with special needs. I have presented workshops to music educators at national and international conferences across the United States, Australia, Europe and Canada, and I have worked tirelessly at bringing music learning opportunities to the population of children who are often the ones avoided and neglected. I am co-author and regular contributor to Inclusive Piano Teaching, a blog sponsored by the Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. This blog is intended to deliver research-based teaching strategies to piano pedagogues across the country. My commitment to using the power of the arts to address social justice issues inspired me to create OpporTUNEity, a co-curricular, service-learning initiative that provides underserved youth with an opportunity to receive music lessons and mentoring from undergraduate piano students in a supervised, one-on-one setting. As my experience and passion grows, I am increasingly drawn to research projects that address inequities in education and in the arts. At the core of my research statement is my deep commitment to a vocation that brings arts educational access to ALL individuals. I strongly believe that higher education is my best path towards achieving this goal.

Last May, I began working on a Doctor of Education Degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University. My motivation to pursue this degree was driven by my developing fascination with leadership, community engagement, and program development. It was also driven by my desire to build a strong foundation as my career aspirations evolved towards leadership and more impactful positions in higher education administration. The Ed. D. program is designed to provide an executive workshop training environment in which to strengthen and improve current vocational initiatives while problem solving ever- evolving challenges. As a result of this program, I am now convinced that education is an equalizer and that the liberal arts, when implemented in a compelling way, serve as a method for developing the entire person, enhancing critical thinking skills, and encouraging students to understand their connection to the global society. I am increasingly drawn to research that focuses on bridging the gap between K-12 organizations and higher education institutions, using service- learning initiatives and the resources accessible to institutions of higher education to enhance the academic experience of undergraduate and graduate students while simultaneously influencing our local communities and educating, mobilizing, and inspiring our local citizens.