Voting has closed for 2020.
Ryan Fisher, Associate Professor of Music Education, is in his seventh year at the University of Memphis where he served as the Music Education Coordinator and Associate Director of Choral Activities in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music before becoming the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Communication and Fine Arts in 2018. Choirs under his direction have been featured at the Arkansas Music Educators Association conference (2010), Tennessee Music Education Association conference (2015), and ACDA Southern region conference (2020) and made frequent guest appearances with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Conway Symphony Orchestra, and Germantown Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Fisher has served as the Vice President of the Choral Division of the Texas Private Music Educators Association, President-Elect of the Arkansas Music Educators Association, Higher Education Chair of the Tennessee Music Education Association, Higher Education Chair of the West Tennessee Vocal Music Educators Association, and member of the National Association for Music Education Choral Council. He currently serves on the Tennessee American Choral Directors Association state board and the Update: Applications of Research in Music Education editorial committee. Dr. Fisher is an active choral clinician and researcher. He earned a BME from Lee University, a MM in choral conducting and a PhD in music education from the University of North Texas. In 2016, he was named the Lee University School of Music Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. His research interests involve the male voice change, assessment in music education, and self-efficacy. His writings have been published in various prestigious journals including the Journal of Research in Music Education, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, and Update: Applications of Research in Music Education.
Dr. Fisher's TNMEA Vision statement:
My vision would be to implement the goals of our organization as stated in the TMEA bylaws (Article II, Section 2). As with many state music organizations that sponsor All State music ensembles, we tend to spend most of our time and energy meeting our first stated goal: “Encourage and provide students with opportunities for high quality music experiences.” We should continue to do this by continually improving the quality of our clinicians and ensembles. I feel TMEA could do a better job in achieving our second goal: “Actively promote and provide the best resources and opportunities for professional development.” I know that during my time on the TMEA board, we made a concerted effort to increase attendance of elementary and middle school music educators at our annual conference. We must continue these efforts and begin to target our marketing materials and social media campaigns to reach potential members and conference participants who may not be bringing students to participate in the All-State ensembles. TMEA must strive to provide stellar clinicians for all areas so the professional development needs of our current and future music teachers are met, and our knowledge and skills related to teaching is increased.
We must also do more to meet our teacher’s professional development needs outside of our annual state conference. Perhaps we could more successfully use social media to allow teachers to share inspirational stories, videos of a successful lesson, or lesson plans. That medium allows a free and accessible way for music teachers to easily interact with one another. TMEA area chairs could supervise those discussions to ensure quality advice is being shared. We should encourage more article submissions for the Tennessee Musician from our members via a “call for papers”. We can also partner with our regional music education organizations in the state to potentially offer workshops at their meetings throughout the year.
The last goal in which I think we should continue our efforts is in the area of advocacy. NAfME has had great success in establishing a coalition of various music organizations to promote the importance of music in our schools. They have also been aggressive and active in advocating for music’s place in our schools as evidenced by legislative achievements in the past 10 years. TMEA is on a great path to implementing some of these strategies at the state level, and I believe we should increase our level of involvement. I believe the President of TMEA should regularly meet with the presidents of the other arts education organizations throughout the state to be sure we have a unified voice and consider how legislation, policies, and funding may impact all arts programs in our schools. I developed this special board of arts education leaders in Arkansas before taking the University of Memphis job and we were successful in having proposed state bills and policies that would have negatively impacted the arts in the state pulled or significantly altered.
We should extend these advocacy efforts to promote the importance of music to our district superintendents and school principals. I believe TMEA should coordinate presentations to share at state school administrators’ conferences and partner with principals who are strong music advocates. By reinforcing our Opportunity to Learn Standards, and asking for protection and integrity of our music classes, we could provide a strong, supportive voice for our members who often feel devalued and ostracized.
TMEA is a wonderful organization and has had wonderful leadership. We have great potential to meet the goals established in our bylaws. I believe in the power of music and have devoted my life to promoting and protecting its place in our schools. I have served numerous music education organizations in my career and it would be the honor of my life to serve this organization.