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Sylvia Coats, NCTM, retired in May 2014 after 27 years as professor of piano pedagogy and class piano at Wichita State University. She authored Thinking as You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons, published by Indiana University Press. The Sotto Voce Trio, of which Coats was a member for 25 years, produced three CDs of their commissioned works. Her credits include articles in Clavier Companion and American Music Teacher and presentations at conferences throughout the United States and internationally in Brazil, Greece, Italy, Malaysia and China. Coats has held many offices in MTNA including the Board of Directors, National Certification chair, and West Central Division Young Artist and Chamber Music Competition chair. She recently completed a term as president of the South Central Kansas Music Teachers Association.

“It is an honor to be nominated for the MTNA secretary-treasurer. My professional life has revolved around MTNA and the state and local affiliates. I treasure this community of professionals that have become my colleagues and friends.

MTNA offers programs and activities to enrich the musical life of teachers and students. In recent years I am especially pleased that MTNA has strengthened offerings for young professionals and collegiate members. MTNA dealt with several challenges in recent years, and our leadership demonstrated a professional manner in handling these challenges. If elected, I will do my best to oversee the financial affairs of MTNA and the proper recording of meeting minutes. I enthusiastically offer my service and hope that I can be helpful,” she says.

Debra Florian, NCTM, has maintained a large independent piano studio since 1978, teaching students of all ages and levels. She holds a BM degree in piano performance from Pacific Lutheran University and the MTNA Permanent Professional Certification designation.

A 35-year member of MTNA, Florian has served in numerous local and state offices, including Washington State MTA president and has chaired Washington’s Leadership Seminar and MTNA Competitions. Under her leadership as state president and Education Board chair, Washington established two highly successful programs: the Outstanding Artist Competition and WSMTA Musicianship Examinations.

At the national level, Florian served on the MTNA Board as Northwest Division director from 2008–2010. During that term, she chaired the MTNA Collegiate Chapters Forum and was instrumental in establishing several new collegiate chapters. Currently, she serves as MTNA vice president. In addition to Board functions, her primary responsibilities include chairing the Membership and One for All Committees, and serving on the Finance Committee.

Florian remains actively engaged in her state and local Kitsap MTA, chairing KMTA’s investment committee as well as the KMTA Music Carnival. Outside of the teaching studio, Florian has been an active member of the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra for 30 years, appearing as featured soloist on numerous occasions. A church musician as well, she enjoys collaborating with other musicians in small and large ensembles.

Florian also enjoys mentoring younger teachers and credits MTNA for her own fulfillment and success as an independent music teacher.

“MTNA has been an essential partner in my own professional development, providing vital opportunities and resources, as well as invaluable collegial interaction and support. As a leading proponent of excellent standards in music education and a strong advocate for the arts, MTNA has both the opportunity and the responsibility to positively impact the future of our profession. I believe in MTNA’s mission to advance the value of music education and music making, as well as our collective power to do so. It has truly been a privilege to serve in leadership roles at all levels of MTNA. I am honored to be nominated for the position of secretary-treasurer. If elected, I will devote my energy, integrity and passion to maintaining and advancing MTNA’s excellent programs for the benefit of our membership and the music community at large,” she says.


Slate of National Officer Nominees


Vice President