Zach VanderGraaff, President Melissa Stouffer, President-Elect Jayme Williams, Secretary Melissa Wakeley-Sapienza, Treasurer Dr. Ashley Allen, Past President Joan Long, Member-At-Large Jessica Gonder, Member-At-Large
Zach VanderGraaff, President
Zach VanderGraaff has been the Kindergarten through Fourth Grade Music Educator for Vowles Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, MI., since the fall of 2015, Mr. V. is currently enrolled in Central Michigan University's Master's of Music Education program where he also received his Bachelor's in Music Education. Zachery completed his Kodaly Level I and II training through C.M.U.'s Summer Kodaly Certification under Dr. Joy Nelson and Dr. Ashley Allen.
Melissa Stouffer, President-Elect
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.
Jayme Williams, Secretary
Jayme Williams is a wife and new mother to daughter Amaya, born in April 2015. For the past six years, she has been teaching private voice lessons as well as serving as a Music educator in the K-12 arena. Jayme holds a Master of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University. Her hobbies include sports, crafting and of course, singing!
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. .
Dr. Ashley Allen, Past President
Ashley Allen, assistant professor of music education at Central Michigan University, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and observes student teachers. She received a B.M. in music education from The University of Oklahoma, an M.M. in music education with an emphasis in Kodály studies from The University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in music education from The University of Kansas. Other pedagogical training includes Kodály training and certification in levels 1, 2, and 3 at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Allen taught secondary choral and general music for grades 6-12 in public schools in central Oklahoma, and higher education courses in music education as a graduate assistant for The University of Oklahoma and The University of Kansas. She also served as an intern with the Norman Children’s Chorus and as an assistant director with the Kansas University Youth Chorus.
Joan Long, Member-At-Large
Joan Long is a music educator who lives in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Since retiring from Clare Public Schools, she has taught at Central Michigan University and is currently teaching elementary music methods at Alma College. Ms. Long received a BS in Music Ed from Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis) and a MS in Music Ed from University of Illinois. She has taught K-12 classroom music focusing on general classroom and choral music. Ms. Long is a regular judge for Michigan School Vocal Music Association festivals and stays active with a variety of music groups including the CMU Festival Chorus and the Gateway Community Band.
Jessica Gonder, Member-At-Large
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.