Meet Our Nominees
Members, please check your email inboxes and spam filters (to be sent out February 15th) for an official NDMEA email ballot. Voting opens February 15th and ends March 15th.
Sarah Harlow was born in Grand Forks, ND. Growing up heavily involved in music, Sarah went on to focus on music education as a career. She majored in Instrumental Music Education at North Dakota State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012.
Sarah is currently a band director at Grand Forks Central High School, teaching in the school district that inspired her to pursue music education as a career. There, she teaches band, jazz band, and lessons to grades nine through twelve. Locally, she does coaching with the Northern Valley Youth Orchestra and teaches private clarinet lessons.
Sarah has been an adjudicator for area Solo and Ensemble contests and Large Group contests. In the summer, she co-directs the Summer Performing Arts “Bands on the Red” program, which she co-founded in 2013. She performs often in the Grand Forks community as principal clarinet with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, the 116 Clarinet Quartet, and in the Helga Budke Ol’ Time Family Polka Band. Sarah has attended many conducting symposiums and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Music Education through the American Band College. She is presently serving as East Band Representative for the North Dakota Music Educators Association.
Sarah lives in Grand Forks, ND with her husband, Andrew, and son, Henry.
Melinda Halverson grew up in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. She became interested in music at an early age, singing, and began playing Horn in the 5th grade. Graduating from Parkers Prairie High School in 2000 she pursued a degree in Music Education at Bemidji State University. Halverson double majored in vocal and instrumental music education. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2004 Halverson took her first teaching job in South Shore, South Dakota as a K-12 band, choir, and general music teacher.
In 2006 Halverson was accepted to Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio for Graduate Studies. While at BGSU she directed the St. Aloysius 5th - 8th grade band, was the teaching assistant for Instrumental Studies, and mentored undergraduate college students in their instrumental teaching practicums.
After graduating with her Masters of Music in 2008 she moved to Bismarck, North Dakota and took a job teaching K-5 general music at Mary Stark Elementary in Mandan, North Dakota. Halverson was able to return to teaching band in 2013 as the Associate Band Director for Bismarck High School and then in 2016 became the band director at Horizon Middle School in Bismarck. She was the
West Region band representative for NDMEA from 2014-2016 and is the co-coordinator of the Share the Music program for Bismarck Public Schools (providing instruments to those in need).
Halverson is currently in the process of becoming a National Board Certified teacher. She is married to
her husband Adam and they have two kids Anna and Elizabeth. Outside of the busy life of teaching she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Band Representative Candidates
Mr. Antoine Poitras is in his seventh year of teaching for Beulah Public Schools in Beulah, ND. Antoine directs and teaches the high school band, junior high band, 6th grade band, 5th grade band, applied junior high lessons, high school jazz ensemble, junior high jazz ensemble, and team-teaches an 8th grade music history class. Poitras’s students and their ensembles have received numerous awards at both regional and state music contests.
Antoine received his Bachelor of Music in Education from North Dakota State University in 2013. At NDSU, he was deeply involved in the Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, and saxophone studio, and competed in two regional MTNA Chamber Music Competitions. Professional affiliations include NAfME and NDNBA. In 2018, Mr. Poitras was the recipient of NDNBA’s Allegro Award.
In addition to his duties in Beulah, he enjoys practicing and performing music, cooking, and woodworking. Antoine resides in Beulah with his lovely wife, Rachel, their newborn son, Miles, and their quirky Goldendoodle, Doby.
Evan Meiers has been a North Dakota music educator since 2009. He has recently taken a position with Minot Public Schools where he teaches beginning band and second year band. He is at the helm of 6 schools in Minot, North Dakota. He has taught band at all public school levels including; high school, middle school, and beginning band. He also is well versed in Choral Methods and Conducting. Meiers has also received the nod to be the current Drumline Instructor for the International Music Camp, located in Bottineau, ND.
As a hometown North Dakota boy, Meiers graduated in 2009 with his undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science degree in K-12 Music Education) from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota, where he won the Minot State University Senior Honors Competition. He is busy conducting honor bands, adjudicating, and putting on clinics around the state.
Mr. Meiers is an active performer in the percussive arts. He enjoys playing in local bands and venus. He is currently in the process of becoming a KHS Performing Artist. He is a member of the North Dakota National Bandmasters Association, North Dakota Music Educators Association, Minot Educators Association and the Percussive Arts Society.
In 2014 Meiers had the privilege of his high school band being selected as the 2014-2015 North Dakota Governors Band. He was also selected by his peers to serve on the North Dakota High School Activities Music Advisory Board from 2012-2018. With staggering numbers and enthusiasm his students and ensembles have achieved great success in festivals and competitions.
Recently Meiers has resurrected the ever-popular Magi Drumline in Minot, ND. This volunteer drumline includes any Minot band students enrolled in 7-12 grade. In its 2nd year since inception, numbers have tripled in the Magi Drumline. They perform at any local and state venue. His passion for marching band and creating pep-band arrangements can be seen on many videos and pictures across the world wide web.
Mr. Meiers also farms with his family in Blaisdell, ND. His wife is a CPA in Minot, ND and they have 2 daughters ages 2 & 4 (going on 16). They also have a chocolate lab named Phorte.
Choral Representative Candidates
Connie Stordalen is in her 22nd year of teaching Vocal Music Education in North Dakota. For the past six and a half years, Connie has been the Director of Choirs at Horizon Middle School in Bismarck. She teaches 6-8 vocal music, 7-8 show choir and is the 6-8 Musical Theatre Director. Recently, Connie added the role of Associate Director of Choirs at Century High School, assisting with the 9-12 choirs and jazz choirs.
After receiving her K-12 Vocal and Instrumental Music Education degree from North Dakota State University, Connie taught K-5 music in the Grand Forks Public Schools system for 15 years. In addition to her K-5 position, Connie was one of the Associate Directors with the Grand Cities Children's Choir for several years. During the summer months, she held multiple positions with Grand Forks SPA, (Summer Performing Arts), as a Middle School Vocal Music Director, Middle and High School Vocal Coach, and High School Vocal Musical Assistant.
Connie is an active member of ND ACDA, serving as the ND Show Choir Representative board member, has had the honor of directing multiple ND ACDA Surround the State in Song choir festivals, and was the 2015 ND ACDA Middle Level/Junior High Treble Honor Choir Director. Connie is an active vocal adjudicator and guest director around the state. Connie enjoys spending time with her husband Erik, Associate Director of Bands at Century High School and her children Konnor, Samantha, and MeKayla. Connie would be honored to serve as the Western NDMEA Board Vocal Representative.
Lindsay Kerzmann is in her 8th year as Choral Director at Minot High School. She directs both Freshman and Sophomore Concert Choirs, Magi Voices, MCC Women’s Ensemble, Symphonic Choir, Men’s Choir and Change of Pace Singers. She is also the musical director for the Minot High Fall musical.
Prior to Minot High she taught K-12 music at TGU Granville followed by 6th grade general music and choirs at Jim Hill Middle School in Minot.
Lindsay is an active member of NEA, NAfME and ACDA.
She is a 2002 graduate of Minot State and recently finished her Masters degree in music education also from Minot State in 2018.
Lindsay is married to her husband, Randy. They have two daughters, Erin (14) and Anna (11).
James McMahon earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education from the University of Mary in 2002 and has done continuing education work with UND, NDSU and UMary.
James started his professional teaching career in the Fall of 2002 at Simle Middle School in Bismarck. In his work he helps students realize their value by teaching community, collaboration, and creativity.
Now in his 17th year in education, he continues to develop the Choral Program at Simle with 350 students participating. At Simle, he teaches 6th-8th grade Choir, as well the extra-curricular Simle Singers and Swing Choir. He was awarded the North Dakota American Choral Directors Association “Outstanding Young Choral Director” in 2008 for his commitment to his students and the choral art form. He has also received the “Golden Apple” award for teaching excellence. He is enjoying his 7th season directing Kantorei, the middle-level auditioned choir with the non-profit Central Dakota Children’s Choir. Under his direction, Kantorei was selected as a showcase performance choir for the 2016 NDACDA State Choral Convention. After receiving Arthur Hull drum circle facilitation training, he is now implementing drumming programming for a diverse population of students in Bismarck Public Schools.
James enjoys composing music as a singer-songwriter and integrating his original work into his choral ensembles. He has a love for the Bismarck community and has served as President of the Dakota West Arts Council Board of Directors. James is an accomplished trumpet player and has played principal trumpet in the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony and served on the International Music Camp jazz faculty. James is an assistant tennis coach for the Legacy Sabers boys and girls tennis teams, working with fundamentals of resilience, effort and integrity. He especially values time with his sons Justice, Avery and Stryder and his partner Mollie.
Conway has been the PreK-12 music teacher at New England Public School for 12 years. He teaches 7-12 choir, 5-12 band, and all the general music education classes in the elementary. Over the past 12 years, the program has doubled and tripled in size, consistently earning Star ratings at the region level in both band and choir, outstanding performance awards at the region level in both band and choir, and an outstanding performance award at the state level.
Since Conway has been in New England, the band has joined the Southwest Marching Band, both band and choir have gone on tour and performed in Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans. This summer the choir and band will be touring and performing in Seattle. Conway takes students to music festivals regularly throughout the year whether auditioned festivals or non-auditioned festivals such as Northern Plains Music Festival, Northwest Music Festival, Concordia Choir Festival, Surround the State in Song, Class B at BSC Choir Fest, Big Muddy Band Festival, and other area 5-6 music festivals.
Conway has had the honor of guest conducting Surround the State in Song, Class B at BSC Choir Fest, and in 2016 and 2019 have guest conducted the Christmas in New England community choir. He serves as a member of the teachers’ negotiations committee at New England and has done so since 2014. From 2014-2018, Conway was the song leader for faith formation at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
In 2013, Conway collaboratively began an annual Christmas caroling opportunity open to all NEHS students, regardless of their involvement in the music program. Students spend a day visiting multiple care facilities in Dickinson to spread the joy of Christmas through song. On top of teaching at New England, Conway has a private music studio of 19 students. He currently lives in Dickinson with his four children, Dominique (9), Gus (7), Bridgette Rae (5), and Selah (3) as well as Great Dane, Linc.
General Music Representative Candidates
Rachel Frank currently teaches PreK-12 music at Underwood Public School and is in her 6th year of teaching. She previously taught 5-12 Band and 7-12 Choir for a year at Divide County Schools. Rachel studied music education at Minnesota State University Moorhead and was the founding president of the university’s collegiate NAFME chapter. She has taken Orff Level 1 and World Music Drumming Level 1. Rachel has also been teaching private guitar students for 13 years.
A North Dakota native, Kayla Kilwein earned her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Choral Education from Dickinson State University. She is currently in her sixth year of teaching K-5 General Music at Prairie Rose Elementary in Dickinson, where she was named 2018 Educator of the Year.
Mrs. Kilwein is certified in World Music Drumming I/Curriculum Update, and is one of two certified Let’s Play Music teachers in the state. She plays an active role in music at Dickinson State University as a member of Choral Union, and was recently seen in their production of Little Shop of Horrors, and Handel’s Messiah as the mezzo-soprano soloist.
Mrs. Kilwein is a member of NAfME and has served as President of the DSU collegiate chapter. She is a member of Prairie Winds Orff, St. John Senior Choir, and St. John Hand Bell Choir. She has served as a vocal music adjudicator for the NDHSAA, and a clinician at the Northern Plains Music Festival. Kayla and her husband Jesse have two girls, Lola and Isla.