MTNA Foundation Fellow Program

MTNA Foundation Fellow Program

MTNA Foundation
Mie Shirai

The Music Teachers National Association Foundation Fellow Program offers a meaningful method for honoring individuals while supporting the efforts of the MTNA Foundation Fund through a donation to the Foundation Fund in an individual’s name.

Each year, new MTNA Fellows are recognized at the MTNA National Conference. Fellows receive a complimentary ticket to the Gala, an attractive MTNA Fellow certificate and pin. Also, new Fellows are prominently recognized on the Foundation Fund website and their names will appear on a plaque located at the MTNA National Headquarters. A press release will be sent to media outlets selected by the Fellow.

Announcing the 2018–2019 Nominee

Dr. William Wellborn, NCTM (District 2)

The CAPMT State Board has unanimously nominated Dr. William Wellborn, NCTM, as California’s 2018–2019 MTNA Foundation Fund Fellow. Please join us in honoring him for his outstanding work, service, and extensive leadership for CAPMT and MTNA.

The recipient of the 2017 CAPMT Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Wellborn enjoyes an active career as a pianist, teacher, and lecturer on three continents, and holds degrees from the New England Conservatory (MM) and the University of Texas at Austin (BM and DMA).

A guest artist at music festivalls in Canada, France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Brazil, he also teaches in the summer at the Idyllwild Adult Piano Workshop and the Krakow Piano Seminar. An inveterate traveler, Dr. Wellborn has co-hosted 17 different music tours throughout Europe. He is on the national board of the American Liszt Society and is the founding president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.

A faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1989, his students are frequently top prizewinners in state, national, and international piano competitions. Dr. Wellborn records for the Marco Polo and Cambria Master Recordings labels. For more information, please visit his website at:

Show Your Support

  • To make your donation by credit card, please access the online form here, fill out, and submit with payment. Please click on the box for “Foundation Fellow (enter name below),” then scroll down and enter “William Wellborn” in the “Fellow" field.
  • To make your donation by personal check, please download this form here, fill out, and mail with check to address indicated. Please check the “Fellow (specify below)” box—the last box in the list, then write in “William Wellborn“ on the line immediately below.
  • Important note from the MTNA National Office:


Past Nominees

Dr. J Mitzi Kolar, NCTM

Mitzi Kolar

Mitzi Kolar, Professor of Music Emerita, San Diego State University, served as Director, Graduate Studies in Music, and taught piano, pedagogy, and research. Her publications include Music in Education, Yamaha Corporation; Celebrate Piano, Stipes Publishing LLC; an improvisation series; and she recorded Ross Finney’s Youth’s Companion, C. F. Peters.

Dr. Kolar has performed or presented workshops and master classes throughout the United States and internationally. A former Vice President and CAPMT Communiqué Newsletter editor, Kolar currently serves as CAPMT District 1 Director and is on the Editorial Committee of CAPMT Connect. She is also a Director, MTAC-San Diego; Past-President of The Musical Merit Foundation, a large music endowment, and she maintains an independent studio.

Edward Francis (in memoriam)

Edward Francis

Edward Francis had a teaching career that spanned more than 40 years. He was a member of MTNA, CAPMT, and the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC)-Conejo Valley, where he served as President or Vice-President for many terms. He also previously held board positions with the Glendale Piano Competition and Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF). A favored adjudicator, he served as a judge for countless competitions.

Prof. Francis’s college teaching career began at Oxnard College in 1981. He served on that faculty for more than 20 years. He also taught at Ventura College and then most recently a member of the applied music faculty at Moorpark College where he was “Artist-in-Residence” with his piano duo partner, Mona We DeCesare, NCTM. He joined the music faculty at Pepperdine University in 1996 and the faculty at California State University, Northridge in 2010, where he was the Coordinator of Piano Pedagogy.

Dr. Stephen Cook (District 9)

Stephen Cook photo

Stephen Cook received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of South Carolina, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California. From 1996 to 2012 he served on the faculty of the Colburn School of Performing Arts, and from 1996 until 2004 was the Director of the Pianist Program at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California, a nationally recognized pre-professional arts conservatory.

Dr. Cook has served on the Executive Board of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (including as President), is a former Research Program Specialist with the Music Intelligence Neural Development Institute at the University of California, Irvine, and is currently Chair of the Piano Department at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and Associate Professor of Music at Whittier College.

Arleen M Pickett (District 2)


Arleen has been devoted to the music education of children throughout her professional life. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Pacific and her Master of Arts in Music Education from University of California, Berkeley with emphases in piano and organ performance. After teaching music in the public school system, she served as the Director of Music in the Schools for many years through the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View. In this capacity, she brought sequential, skills-based music experiences to thousands of children on the Peninsula.

A highlight of her career has been working with other dedicated and talented teachers across the state through the California Association of Professional Music Teachers. She has served in many capacities, including nine years on the state board and, most recently, six years as president of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter.

Arleen maintains an active private piano studio in Los Gatos, and is a church organist.

Dr. Jennifer Snow (District 3)

Jennifer Snow

Dr. Jennifer Snow is a well-established educator and performer. She has held key leadership positions with The Royal Conservatory, Chromatik, and served as keyboard faculty at UCLA. Her students hold professional positions internationally. A frequently invited speaker and clinician, Jennifer has presented at state, national, and international conferences. She has published pedagogy articles and is an active adjudicator.

Jennifer has served on the CAPMT Exeuctive Board since 2010 and as President since April 2015. She has also served on the MTNA AMT National Editoral Board, National Teacher of the Year Committee, and 2011 National Conference Program Committee. A passionate educator, Jennifer has also appeared as a collaborative pianist throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.


Su-Shing Chiu (District 8)

Sushing Chiu 1

To her students, a lesson with award-winning teacher Su-Shing Chiu means fun, hard work, and a lot of love and caring. A native of Taiwan, Su-Shing comes from a long line of educators and musicians. Her love of teaching can be traced to her two grandfathers, both educators. “One grandfather founded a school and devoted his life to it,” Su-Shing says. “He always said that the beginning is the most important. If you do it wrong, you affect the entire life of the student. He made me realize the importance of early education.”

Su-Shing received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Taiwan. Extensive work in psychology and child development contributes to her success with students. She taught all levels of YAMAHA classes in Taiwan, from beginners to advanced; she joined the Irvine YAMAHA Music School staff in 1986, where she currently teaches the Special Advanced Courses. She also teaches private piano students are her own studio. When asked what kind of student she likes teaching best, Su-Shing replied, “I love any kind of student. I’m not choosy about my students — I just try to understand them and help each one at his or her own level. If they can improve and grow to love music, I feel happy.”

Su-Shing Chiu is the CAPMT Piano Auditions & Ensemble Auditions State Chair. She has perennial winners in the MTNA Composition Competition at the State, Southwest Division, and National Level.

Sue Field (District 2)

Sue Field.IMG 5382

Past CAPMT State President Sue Field is a pianist and mezzo-soprano. She grew up in the UK and arrived in the United States in 1982 with her family. She sang with Opera Colorado and San Diego Opera.

In San Diego she directed staged performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, with her studio. Sue has worked in various churches over many years as mezzo-soprano, pianist, organist, and Music Director. She served on the San Francisco Board of NATS and holds a Diploma in Piano Performance.

Sue attended Lady Spencer Churchill College, Oxford and is currently MTNA Southwest Division Director-Elect.


Dr. Scott McBride Smith, NCTM (formerly District 8)

is past Vice-President, Conference and past President of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT). He is currently the Cordelia Brown Murphy Professor of Piano at the University of Kansas. A recognized leader in music education, Dr. McBride Smith’s philosophical and cognitive approach, combined with a sense of humor, has made him an audience favorite in workshops and master classes around the world. He is President of the International nstitute for Young Musicians, co-author of the college pedagogy text The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher, Associate Editor of Clavier Companion, and co-author of American Popular Piano.

Darlene Vlasek, NCTM (District 3)

has been an independent piano and organ teacher for over 50 years. Her recording of organ compositions by Grigore Nica was broadcast during the 2008 ceremony inducting him into Romania’s Musicians Hall of Fame. Ms. Vlasek has served on the CAPMT State Executive Board for over 22 years and was State President from 2003–2007. She was President of the MTNA State Presidents Advisory Council in 2006–2007. Currently, she is CAPMT State Parliamentarian and is on the CPMT District 3 Board of Directors. She received her education at CSU San Diego, CSU San Jose, and UCLA. Her teachers include Elfrieda Baum, organ, and Bruce Sutherland, piano.

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