Melissa Stouffer, President Jessica Gonder, President-Elect Melanie Jorgensen, Secretary Melissa Wakeley-Sapienza, Treasurer Zach VanderGraff, Past President, Member at Large
Melissa Stouffer, President
Melissa Stouffer is a 7th year teacher with Brighton Area Schools. She is a member of MMEA, NAfME and OAKE (Michigan Chapter). Melissa attended a Catholic school from pre-K through high school and is a lifelong music lover. While in high school, she was a member of the Detroit Star Tamburitzans, a Croatian dance and music ensemble where she danced and played the tamburitza. During college, Melissa was a member of the Michigan Marching Band and Central Michigan’s Marching Chippewas as well as concert bands at both colleges. She played in the Detroit Civic Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Detroit jazz great Marcus Belgrave. At CMU, Melissa sang with the CMU Women’s Chorus, Concert Choir and Festival Chorus. She sang in several small groups, as well as at conferences across the state and appeared in the chorus of two operas at CMU. Melissa is an alumnus of Delta Omicron Professional Music Fraternity, and a founding member as well as the first alumni of the Kappa Kappa Psi Chapter at CMU. She is currently an active member of professional music groups in the state of Michigan.
Jessica Gonder, President-Elect
Jessica Gonder teaches Kindergarten through Fifth Grade music for Lake City Elementary school in Lake City, Michigan. Jessica received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Central Michigan University where she held several board positions with the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. She is continuing her education in CMU’s Masters of Music Education Program. Jessica completed her Kodaly Level 1 training through the Summer Kodaly Certification course held at CMU under the tutelage of Dr. Joy Nelson and Dr. Ashley Allen, and looks forward to completing the next levels.
Melanie Jorgensen, Secretary
Melanie Jorgensen is the music teacher at Ganiard Elementary and Fancher Elementary with Mount Pleasant Public Schools. As a well-loved and experienced music teacher, Mrs. Jorgensen has been involved in music professional development and in the music teacher communities from the beginning of her career. Melanie earned her degrees from Central Michigan University.
Melissa Wakeley-Sapienza, Treasurer
Melissa Wakeley-Sapienza is currently in her fourteenth year of teaching in the Michigan Public School system. Ms. Sapienza spent her first four years of teaching at Birmingham Public Schools, where she helped build a wonderfully rich band program at Seaholm High School. In addition to teaching high school band, Melissa also taught elementary vocal music, middle school band and assisted with elementary and high school strings. After earning her M.M.E., Melissa took the band director position at Clare Public Schools, where she spent the next nine years. During her tenure, the band program exploded in student numbers and developed a reputation of excellence. Many of Ms. Sapienza’s students have pursued degrees in Music Education and Performance from Clare Public Schools. Currently, Melissa teaches elementary vocal music and high school choir at Farwell Area Schools. She has recently received her Level I certification in Kodaly and plans to pursue both Level II and III in the near future. Melissa has performed with the Central Michigan University Brass Band, Gateway Community Band, Paradigm Brass, Birmingham and Farmington Hills Concert Bands, Midland Symphony Orchestra and numerous other performing ensembles. She has been the trumpet instructor and jazz director at Wolverine Music Camp for the past 15 years and has served as part of the Music Mentors programs at Sashabaw Middle School in Clarkston and L'Anse Creuse Middle School-South in Harrison Township. Currently, Melissa teaches a private trumpet studio in her home in Clare.
Zach VanderGraaff, Past President, Member At Large
Zach has been teaching since 2010 and is currently employed as the Kindergarten through Fifth grade music teacher with Bay City Public Schools.
He completed his Master’s and Undergraduate Degrees in Music Education from Central Michigan University. It’s also at CMU where he took Kodaly Level I and II.
Zach then earned his Kodaly Certificate from Indiana University and their Kodaly Summer Program where he took Level III with help from the Organization of American Kodaly Educator’s Jeno Adam Scholarship.
Mr. V (as his students like to call him) is also involved in presenting regularly at state-level conferences, serving as Executive Secretary of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association, helping out as Past- President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators, and contributing to journals such as the Kodaly Envoy, MKMEA Bulletin, and Michigan Music Educators Association Spotlight. When not teaching, playing, or writing about music, Zach enjoys playing with his 3 crazy boys and his wife, Chelsea (also a music teacher).