WHO WE ARE

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BRANDI WALLER-PACE, creator of Decolonizing the Music Room, teaches elementary music in Fort Worth, Texas, where she has taught for 9 years. She writes elementary music curriculum for her school district. Brandi holds a B.M. and M.M. in Jazz Studies from Howard University and has completed Orff Schulwerk certification, Kodály level I, and Music Learning Theory levels I & II. She is a member of her district’s racial equity committee and in 2019 completed a Campus Voices Fellowship with Leadership ISD, focusing on educational equity. Brandi performs and presents on jazz and the Black roots of early American music. She seeks to de-center the dominant white American narrative in music education to make teacher training, pre-service coursework, resources, and classroom practices more reflective of the many voices and traditions that exist in our schools.  

Contributors

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LORELEI BATISLAONG is a 14-year veteran of the elementary music classroom. She served on the American Orff Schulwerk Association National Board of Trustees as Region III Representative and is the chair of the AOSA Diversity and Inclusion committee.  She is the State Director of the Texas affiliate of National Association for Music Education. Along with presenting clinics at the local, state, and national level, Lorelei is completing a Ph.D. in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include: Teacher noticing and decision-making, inclusivity in the music classroom and the teaching profession, and generally wondering why everything is the way it is and how could it be better.

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MICHELLE MCCAULEY (Washoe/Shoshone/Paiute/Quinault) is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in NV where she grew up and currently lives. Michelle is dedicated to Native Wellness by way of dance. She is a classically trained musician from the age of 10, has a bachelors in general studies and masters degree in music education from the University of Nevada, Reno, champion fancy shawl dancer, mother, Zumba instructor, and has played in various music ensembles.  Michelle loves to inspire and innovate through performance with her knowledge of cultural dances from around the world. Upholding traditions and evolving them to fit our lives today is what Michelle is most passionate about.   

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VALERIE DIAZ LEROY is a lead trainer for QuaverMusic. Before coaching music teachers around the country, she served as a dedicated music educator for 13 years at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida. Valerie received her B.A. in Vocal Performance from Boston College, holds Orff Levels I & II, and a Kodály Certification. She is vice president of Kodály of North Carolina and sits on the OAKE Inclusion and Diversity Committee. Valerie has been researching the historical evolution of the banjo and the disconnect that exists between the implementation of folk music in the classroom and its historical origins and perspectives.

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MARTIN (pronounced mar-TEEN) URBACH is a Latinx Immigrant, educator, drummer/percussionist, activist, and youth organizer. His work is based on facilitating brave spaces for youth to fall in love with music and promoting social justice through music making. He holds a B.A. in Jazz Performance from the University of New Orleans, an M.A. in Jazz Arts from the Manhattan School of Music, an Advanced Certificate in Music Education from Brooklyn College, and is a Doctoral candidate in Music Education at Teachers College at Columbia University. He teaches music and coordinates a restorative justice program at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City. Martin presents on the intersections of social justice activism, music technology, music education and youth development. His community music group, “Liberation Drum Circles," engages youth in co-facilitating workshops for teaching and learning topics of oppression and liberation through the setting of a drum circle and by problematizing, researching and organizing to create meaningful change in their communities. 

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KEVIN SUNG CHO teaches elementary music and private percussion lessons in Richardson Independent School District. He earned his Associate of Arts at Bucks Country Community College, B.M at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and his M.M in percussion performance and music education at Southern Methodist University. Kevin has completed his Orff Schulwerk Certification and is an officer in the North Texas AOSA. He has presented locally on creative approaches to rhythm and melody in the music classroom and has studied abroad in Bali, Indonesia and at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico. His research interests include: The influence of Asian cultural music and its impact on westernized music throughout history, world music and its importance in the elementary classroom, and classroom management using the traditional practices of other cultures. 

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ELISA RANGEL is an Elementary Music Educator for the Fort Worth Independent School District. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education at The University of Texas at Arlington. She holds her Orff Schulwerk certification and has completed Kodaly I level. Elisa is currently a part of the elementary music curriculum writing team for Fort Worth ISD and was an Assistant Director of the Fort Worth Children’s Honor Choir for 2 years. Rangel seeks to shed light on the Latino culture and promote the recognition of Latino culture in the education field and American society as a whole. 

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 ANDREW ELLINGSEN teaches elementary music and works as an instructional coach in Decorah, IA.  He earned his B.A. at Luther College and his M.A.M.E. at the University of St. Thomas with a dual concentration in Kodály and Orff Schulwerk.  Ellingsen teaches movement in the Orff courses at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and has presented at both the Organization of American Kodály Educators and the American Orff Schulwerk Association national conferences.  He is currently serving on the OAKE Inclusion and Diversity Committee and the Decorah Human Rights Commission. Ellingsen believes teachers should be lifelong learners and address our blind spots in order to continually make the classroom a more inclusive place.