MTNA Foundation Fellow Program

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.

Show Your Support

  • To make your donation by credit card, visit the MTNA site. Please scroll down and input the nominee name on the fellow line on the form.

  • To make your donation by personal check, print your form here and mail your check to address indicated. Please click the box Fellow and write in the nominee name on the fellow line.

  • Important note from the MTNA National Office:
    IF NO NAME IS INCLUDED, THE CONTRIBUTION WILL NOT BE APPLIED TO THE FELLOW.

  • The deadline to support this year's nominee is January 20, 2020.

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Nominee:  Noreen Wenjen, NCTM  

Noreen Wenjen, NCTM,  is the Immediate Past-President of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT). In 2019, she served as MTNA China Certification Chair, MTNA SPAC Chair, AMT Committee member and MTNA SW Division Director-Elect nominee.

Noreen earned a BM and Artist Diploma, received top prizes from international piano competitions and studied with Joanna Hodges, Stewart Gordon, Nancy Rohr, Peter Yazbeck, and Jim McCormick.

She is the author of Two-Year Waitlist:  An Entrepreneurial Guide for Music Teachers. Her work with Fortune 500 companies helped her to become a leader in technology/entrepreneurship. Join her! MTNA 2020 Conference in Chicago


Past Nominees

2018-2019

William Wellborn

William Wellborn enjoys an active career as a pianist, teacher and lecturer, and has performed and lectured widely over four continents. He received a MM (New England Conservatory) and DMA (University of Texas) in Performance, and a BM in Piano Pedagogy (University of Texas), where his teachers included Gregory Allen, Patricia Zander, and Nancy Garrett, and two leaders in the field of piano pedagogy- Amanda Vick Lethco and Martha Hilley.  He has also received coaching from John Perry, Leon Fleisher, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Adam Wibrowski, Andrzej Jasinski, and Jerome Lowenthal.  

In 2017 he was honored to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT). A faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1989, Wellborn teaches piano in the Pre-College division, and Piano Pedagogy in the Collegiate division. His students frequently win top prizes in numerous state, national, and international piano competitions. Wellborn records for the Marco Polo and Cambria Master Recordings labels.

2017–2018

Dr. J Mitzi Kolar, NCTM


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 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.



2016–2017

Dr. Stephen Cook

District 9


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.

Jennifer Snow

District 3


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.

2015-2016

Su-Shing Chiu

District 8


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


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.

2014-2015

Scott McBride Smith, NCTM

Formerly District 8


Scott McBride Smith 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 Institute 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


Darlene Vlasek 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.