Tonya Allison attributes her passion for music education to her Yadkin County music teachers; JP Vanhoy, Donna Wiles, Tommy Garner, and Libby Brown. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education from Campbell University, earned her Master of Education degree from AIU Online and is currently pursuing her Masters in School Administration from Gardner Webb University. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher and holds certificates in Orff Schulwerk Level I and II, World Music Drumming Level I and II, and AP Music Theory.
As a member of NCMEA, Tonya has served twice as District President and mentored new teachers through the Mentoring program. She is currently treasurer of the Elementary section and serves on the NCMEA board as co-chair of the MIOSM committee. She serves in leadership roles for NC ACDA and NC Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for women educators. She partners with the Winston Salem Symphony Play Music program to teach violin lessons to 160 students at her school and the NC School of the Arts internship program. She has been a recipient of numerous grants that have provided new instruments to her classroom and funds for PD.
She taught K-12 music appreciation and AP Theory with NC Virtual Public Schools, band, guitar and chorus, with Hoke County Schools, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and Yadkin County Schools and is currently the music specialist at Ward Elementary School in the WSFCS District. Her students have been selected for NCMEA Elementary and Middle School Honor Choruses and she has served as a clinician for several All-County Choruses. As a member of NCMEA and NAfME for over 30 years, Tonya recognizes how successfully these organizations support music education and considers it an honor to teach and serve alongside our many dedicated music educators.
Carolina Perez joined the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (Durham) as Instructor of Music in 2020, teaching Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Music Theory. She enjoys performing as a cornetist with the Triangle Brass Band and loved her time performing with the World Adult Wind Orchestra Project in Schladming, Austria.
Carolina holds a master’s degree in instrumental conducting and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While studying at UNCG, she served as graduate conductor for the university’s three concert bands, the graduate chamber ensemble, and the UNCG Pep Band, and also served as a university supervisor for pre-service student teachers.
Prior to her graduate studies, Carolina spent six years teaching in small, rural schools in Union and Randolph counties, where she led successful concert and marching ensembles at the middle school and high school levels. She is a 2023 Morehead-Cain Impact Educator and frequently serves as a conductor and adjudicator for marching and concert band festivals across North Carolina.
As an educator, Carolina is passionate about promoting the work of underrepresented composers, studying and performing music of diverse cultures, and creating unique performance opportunities for her students. She serves in leadership positions with the North Carolina Music Educators Association and the Central District Bandmasters Association and is a member of Women Band Directors International and the National Band Association. Outside of music, her interests include traveling, cooking, hiking, and playing with her rescue dog Elli.
Lisa Packer, a National Certified Board teacher, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from UNC Greensboro in 1992. She has taught both elementary music and middle school choral music in Fayetteville, North Carolina for 25 years, where her choral students have received Superior ratings at MPA/festivals. She currently teaches at Stoney Point Elementary School where she has taught for most of her career and has been named Teacher of the Year. She was selected as the NCMEA Elementary Music Teacher of the year in 2012. Throughout her career, her students have performed with the Fayetteville Symphony, Cumberland Oratorio Singers and participated in the NC Elementary and Middle School Honors Chorus. She looks forward to conducting the Cumberland County Elementary All County Chorus this school year.
Lisa served as a lead middle school choral teacher for Cumberland County Schools and a lead elementary music teacher from 2011-18 where she offered multiple professional development sessions as well as participated on the curriculum team, writing music units for the county. She has served as a mentor teacher for college students at three local universities. She has taught Kindermusik and directed either adult, youth or children’s choirs at Westminster Presbyterian and Haymount United Methodist Church.
Lisa has been a member of NCMEA since 1991 and served on the NCMEA Elementary Board 2004-06. She is certified in Orff, World Drumming and passionate about teaching music literacy not just performance. Lisa has received many grants so that her students have access to programs and materials needed to be successful learners in music. She enjoys singing in the Cumberland Choral Arts program under the direction of Dr. Michael Martin as well as traveling with her husband and two daughters.
Dr. Cindy Wagoner
Dr. Cindy Wagoner is a Professor and Department Chair of Music Education and Music Therapy for East Carolina University, specializing in instrumental music instruction and pre-service music teacher education. Her research presentations focus on music teacher identity, mentoring new teachers, and teacher pedagogy with publications appearing in Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz, Teaching Music, Psychology of Music, Research Issues in Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Music Educators Journal. Her most recent work appears in Teaching instrumental music: Contemporary perspectives and pedagogies with Oxford University Press. She is dedicated to serving the music education community in her current position at ECU.
Wagoner holds a B.S. and M.S. from Indiana State University and spent 27 years in Indiana teaching middle and high school instrumental music, known for having a large and successful program across marching, concert, small ensemble, and jazz events. Graduating from the University of Carolina Greensboro with a Ph.D. in Music Education in 2011, she moved directly to East Carolina. She was awarded the ECU Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.
Wagoner continues to be active as a researcher, guest conductor, and adjudicator, traveling extensively across the country and internationally. She holds membership in Society for Music Teacher Education, American Education Researcher Association, International Society for Music Education, NAfME, NCMEA, and ISME where she serves on the editorial board for the International Journal of Music Education. Most importantly, she loves time with her husband, children, and grandson, and a goofy Texas Heeler named Ryder.
Member-at-Large #1 Nominees
Michael Henderson is in his 18th year of teaching bands and chorus. He joined the faculty of Chase Middle School in Forest City as Director of Bands and Vocal Music in 2019. For thirteen years prior, he held the same role at Chase High School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Western Carolina University (’06) and a Master’s degree in Music Education from East Carolina University (’12).
His band program was recently awarded a $32,000 Mr. Holland’s Opus Grant. His ensembles have performed in Chicago, Washington DC, Orlando, and beyond, reflecting his dedication to diverse and enriching experiences.
An active adjudicator for fall and winter pageantry activities, Henderson is a driving force in promoting performance excellence. His roles as Chief Judge for CIPA and WGI circuit certified judge underscore his expertise.
Beyond teaching, he’s a seasoned visual designer for bands nationwide. Actively engaged, he’s a member of NAfME, the WNC Band Director’s Association, and the NC Music Educator’s Association. His accolades include being named Chase Middle School Teacher of the Year (2022-2023), and Chase High School Teacher of the Year (2011-2012, 2014-2015). He earned recognition as Rutherford County Schools Teacher of the Year (2014-2015) and achieved semifinalist status for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award in 2017.
Amid all this, his proudest role is within his family. He coaches golf and dances hip hop with his kids. Residing in Forest City, NC, he shares his life with his wife, Jenn, and their children: Cara, Gavin, Ellie, and Andy.
Andrew Childers is a native of Kings Mountain, NC who currently resides in Wilson. Mr. Childers attended Wingate University under the direction of Dr. Kenney Potter. He has been teaching in North Carolina public schools for 14 years and is currently the director of choirs at James B. Hunt High School in Wilson, NC.
Mr. Childers is dedicated to global teaching through music with a belief that all students should have access to music education. His choirs compete in contests and festivals in North Carolina and in the surrounding regions. His students have sung in Florida, Georgia, New York, and Virginia. Under Mr. Childers, Hunt High School has also had the distinct pleasure of being a featured choir at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City in 2019.
Mr. Childers consistently receives high marks and scores at North Carolina Music Performance Adjudication and national assessments. Currently, Mr. Childers is the District 3 President of North Carolina Music Educators. He participates in recruiting and retention of music educators in North Carolina and serves on the North Carolina Music Educators Board. Mr. Childers also is the Arts department chair at Hunt High School and serves on the School Improvement Team.
Member-at-Large #2 Nominees
Demeka Kimpson is a Music Educator with over two decades of experience. She holds a BA in Music Education from Claflin University and an MA in Education from Winthrop University. Currently, she is in her 18th year as the Band Director at Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte, NC. She expanded band involvement from 20 students to encompass 30% annually of the school’s population. Ms. Kimpson’s dedication to music education is evident through her involvement as her school’s Adviser for the TRI-M National Music Honor Society and as a member of the CMS Band Professional Development Cadre and the CMS Superintendent Teacher Advisory Council.
In 2010, Ms. Kimpson reintroduced the elementary school band program back to the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system at Park Rd. Montessori Elementary School. Her efforts have been recognized, including being named the 2021 Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Teacher of The Year, 2008 Sedgefield Middle School Teacher of The Year, and earning the distinction of a 2014 GRAMMY Music Educator Quarter Finalist.
In addition to teaching middle school band, Ms. Kimpson has taught General Music in Cabarrus County Schools and was an adjunct Music Instructor and Choral Director at Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC. She also maintains a small private woodwind and piano studio.
Ms. Kimpson is a member of several professional organizations, including Tau Beta Sigma, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Association for Music Education, the North Carolina Music Educators Association, and Women Band Directors International.
Lemar “LJ” Martin
Lemar “LJ” Martin is a music educator and choral conductor based in Greensboro, NC. LJ is the Choral Director at Wheatmore High School in Trinity, NC where he has been since he started teaching. At Wheatmore, he teaches chorus, music theory, and directs the musical theatre program. LJ is also currently on staff with Greensboro Youth Chorus, a community based choral group for school-age children. There, LJ serves as co-director and conducts the Concert Choir.
LJ is also on faculty as Lead Choral Music Instructor for the west campus of the NC Governor’s School. At Governor’s School, LJ oversees the choral program, supervises the rest of the choral music faculty, and collaborates with the other performing arts instructors to produce the performance calendar.
Outside of teaching and conducting, LJ is a regularly performing vocalist and performs across the state with various ensembles. LJ is also the Director of Youth Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Elon, NC. At FUMC, he leads all youth group activities. LJ graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he received his B.M. in Music Education and secondarily studied American Sign Language.