Suzanne Burton, Ph.D.

University of Delaware


When a partnership is formed between inservice and preservice music educators with the intent to impact music teacher retention, opportunities for music educators to contribute to the profession through mentoring, developing, and empowering young leaders in music education are presented. In Delaware, such a partnership between the Delaware Music Educators Association (DMEA) and the Collegiate MENC (CMENC) chapter has been in existence for the past three years. This presentation will discuss how this partnership serves preservice, novice, and experienced music educators and how the issue of music teacher retention is being addressed through the support and early professional development of young leaders in music education. The history behind the DMEA and CMENC partnership and how the professional endeavors of each organization contributes to this alliance will be presented by highlighting the ways that DMEA is investing in the future of preservice music educators by involving CMENC members in policy and decision making, providing financial backing for professional activities, and giving professional support. Furthermore, how the CMENC members have reciprocated this relationship through service and participation in professional activities will be shared. Anecdotal evidence gathered from conference presentations, board meetings, personal, e-mail and phone communications, and structured interviews of stakeholders will be presented regarding: 1) perceptions of DMEA and CMENC members of the value of this partnership, 2) perceived benefits or disadvantages of this partnership, 3) time and resources needed to sustain the partnership, 4) the inclusion of Tri-M and the formation of the Early Careers Symposium, and 5) professional development. A model for implementation will be provided with discussion for potential research on the effectiveness of building partnerships through state MEA and CMENC organizations on music teacher retention.