The new election policy has been shared in the summer issue of The Recorder. It was to be an online election this year, instead of in person at the AGM, however, an election is not necessary, as all positions have been acclaimed. The new slate of directors will be presented to the membership at the AGM at Blue Mountain on November 5, 2022 at 12 noon. At that time, the membership will vote to approve the entire slate, including existing directors. The Elections Nominations Committee thanks everyone for submitting their nominations and for committing to working with the OMEA team. Thank you to Dr. Kim Eyre and Jim Palmer for serving on the OMEA Elections Nominations Committee. Nominees’ statements of intent and biographies appear below.


Lynn Gracey: Nominated for Executive as Vice-President (Acclaimed)

The vice-president position is a two year term. Once complete, the vice-president moves into a two year term as OMEA president. Following this term, they complete a final two years in the role of past president. 

Hello!  My name is Lynn Gracey and I hope to be the next vice-president of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association.

I have been involved with the OMEA for 30 years. During the last four years, I have served on the Ontario Music Educators’ Association board of directors. I have been active on the board by participating on several committees including the legal committee, as well as three of the four most recent conference committees. I am excited to be co-chairing the conference in London in 2024. 

One of my most valuable professional leadership experiences came in March of 2020 when I initiated and chaired the Covid-19 Response Committee. The three important documents which resulted from that committee supported OMEA members with resources and advocated for music education to continue in Ontario schools throughout the pandemic. It was rewarding to know that we made such a difference to music programs in Ontario, as well as in other provinces in Canada. 

I am proud of the work that the OMEA has done recently. We have made transformative steps forward in key areas including: the election process, our membership policy, and a new legal framework. As a board and as members, we have begun the hard work of confronting our bias and evaluating everything we do through an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion lens. 

I am currently an elementary music teacher with the Thames Valley District School Board in London. I have served on several committees to advocate for music programs for all students and also serve as an NTIP mentor and an associate teacher. Prior to teaching for the TVDSB, I taught music in secondary schools in Huron County School Board, and I have experience in both rural and urban areas.

I am excited to serve the music educators of Ontario and to continue building robust music education options for Ontario students. Thank you for your consideration.

Lesley Pontarini: Nominated for an OMEA Executive as Secretary (Acclaimed)

Lesley Pontarini is a music specialist and teaches K-8 music in the Peel District School Board. She also has a private music studio where she teaches RCM piano and theory. She has served on the Ontario Music Educators’ Association’s Board of Director since 2017 and the Kodály Society of Ontario’s Board of Directors since 2019. As a lifelong learner, Lesley recently started guitar and drum lessons. She is an avid vegetarian cook, enjoys reading and sharing her love of music with her daughter and students.

I have served on the OMEA Board of Directors as Membership and Library Services Director since January 2017. I have proven my dedication through my spotless attendance at board meetings, involvement as workshop clinician and/or conference committee member in OMEA conferences, and through my role as Co-Chair of “Con Fuoco” which had to pivot from face-to-face conference planning to an entirely virtual conference in November 2021. I have worked hard in my current portfolio promoting the OMEA to strengthen our membership. I monitor my email regularly and respond in a timely manner. Nearing the completion of my fifth year in my current portfolio, I am writing this letter of intent to express my interest in the Secretary position which will become available this fall. If successful, I hope to work closely with the OMEA’s outgoing secretary to ensure a smooth transition for the organization.


Darren Hamilton (Acclaimed)

Darren Hamilton has been teaching secondary music with the Peel District School Board for the past fifteen years. He also teaches an undergraduate gospel choir course in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. Darren holds a Masters of Music in music education from the University of Western Ontario and is currently a PhD candidate in music education at the University of Toronto where his research interests lie in equity, diversity and social justice in music curricula as well as in formal gospel music education.

Darren serves on the EDI Committee for the OMEA and has been presenting workshops in gospel music at the annual OMEA conference since 2017, helping to provide diverse offerings to the OMEA membership. He will be co-presenting a hip-hop and social justice-focused workshop at the 2022 OMEA ‘Elevate’ Conference. Through his work on the EDI committee, he has also served on the OMEA conference planning subcommittee. Darren is a regular clinician for the JUNO Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir’s PowerUP Gospel Music Workshop held annually at York University. He has also served as a regular panelist for music education webinars hosted by MusiCounts, York University and University of Toronto.

Darren’s passion for equity and inclusion of cultural music in the curriculum has lead him to co-authoring the MusiCounts Learn cross-curricular teaching resource, #BlackMusicMatters: Hip-Hop and Social Justice in Canada. He has also published articles relating to Anti-Black racism and hip-hop music education in the Canadian Music Educator journal. His commitment and work within the field of music education was recently recognized nationally, being awarded as the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year at the 2022 JUNO Awards.

Darren desires to continue sharing his passion and expertise in equity, diversity and inclusion work as a member of the OMEA board.

Katie Nicholl (Acclaimed)

Hi OMEA members, my name is Katie Nicholl and I am currently serving as an interim director of the OMEA in the role of University Liaison. I’m also new to the role of Grade 7-9 vocal and 7-12 winds teacher at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener. Previously I was a K-8 music teacher in the Upper Grand District School Board teaching in Guelph for 14 years. In the fall of 2020, I graduated from the Masters of Community Music program at Laurier. I have always been passionate about bringing music education to all students regardless of barriers that may exist. I am a constant advocate for my students, and was awarded a MusiCounts Band Aid grant in 2017 to help achieve some of my bigger dreams for my students. As someone who grew up from humble beginnings herself, I relied on the music programs that ran in my public schools in order to grow as a musician. My goal is to be that same role model to my own students. In my role as University Liaison this year, I organized an interview workshop for students, and presented to pre-service teachers and undergraduate students at various universities across the province on the benefits of OMEA and also about real-world experience as a teacher. As well, I served on the committee organizing our student volunteers for our Elevate 2022 conference . I feel passionate about the growth and changes that are currently happening at OMEA. We are as an organization taking steps to become more relevant and inclusive to all of our members and learning as a team how we can better support all members of all backgrounds. My hope is to continue on this journey andserve you as a director to the best of my ability.

Lyndsay Promane (Acclaimed)

I believe I am an excellent candidate for this position. As the Private Music Lessons Coordinator at the Holy Trinity School, I am responsible for instructing private piano lessons for students in Grades 1 to 5. With this, I fulfill the necessary administrative duties such as creating lesson schedules and clear correspondence to align faculty, families, and students. To add, I teach Kindergarten and Grade 1 music as of this year. I also maintain an active profile as an opera singer with the Canadian Opera Company where I became a Dora Mavor Moore Award nominated artist in 2020. As well, I frequently collaborate with Tapestry Opera to premiere new operas by emerging composers and librettists.

I am a current member of the OMEA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee which has been a very fulfilling experience and has inspired me to get more involved. I am passionate about maintaining music education in the school system and making it accessible to all learners in Ontario. EDI is at the center of my practice as an educator and musician and I intend on bringing this to the role.

To best serve the board, I intend on bringing flexibility, strong communication, and collaboration in order to establish strong connections with my colleagues. The varied perspectives and experiences of a collective are what make its outcome of greatest value to the people it serves. My profile as an active artist, educator, and current OMEA advocate as well as unique professional perspective will make me an excellent fit for this team.

Lauren Simmons (Acclaimed)

For as long as I’ve attended OMEA Conferences, for over 15 year, I have wanted to be a part of the OMEA leadership to help steward our organization as our profession changes and face new challenges. With my leadership experience in a variety of school and union capacities, my capacity for hard work and collaboration, and my personal passion for equity and anti-racism in music education, I believe I would be a valuable member on the OMEA board, and would be honoured to serve as such.

Lauren Simmons is Assistant Curriculum Leader for Equity and Global Competencies at Leaside High School in Toronto, where she has taught music for over fifteen years. She is driven by student voice and choice in her teaching, centering anti-racist and decolonial practices, and culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy.  She is a member of the TDSB’s Teacher Leadership Collective and is a Digital Lead Learner in her board.  Lauren has presented at OMEA conferences since 2009, and was Co-Chair of Vibrations 2012. She attended the 2019 OMEA Leadership retreat, and other leadership retreats in the past. She is a member of OMEA’s EDI Committee and has written a number of resources in this capacity, and also contributed to the election policy workgroup. Lauren is a trained presenter for OSSTF provincial equity workshops, and served three terms on OSSTF Provincial Standing Committees, most recently as Chair of the Educational Services. Lauren is a member of the GTA Anti-racist music educators collective.

Lisa Snow (Acclaimed)

I have been a music specialist and classroom educator for over 3 decades, and I’m currently responsible for Grade 1-8 Music classes at Old North Public School in London, Ontario, teaching orchestral strings, ukulele, barred instruments, and vocal music with a Kodaly background.

While working as a classroom teacher, I continued to teach music, both in the school system, and privately with Forest City School for Talent Education, Amabile Choirs of London Animato program, and El Sistema Aeolian.

I am currently the Junior/Intermediate Resources Director with OMEA and would like to continue in this role for another term. This position has provided many opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, teachers, and education leaders across Ontario. I have learned a great deal about equity, diversity, and inclusion through work with OMEA directors, committees, and projects. I am passionate about supporting music educators by curating and developing resources, based on their interests and needs.

I am proud to be part of an organization that has been focused on developing and supporting a more equitable and inclusive vision and would like to be part of OMEA as it moves forwards. I hope you will again consider me for the position of Junior/Intermediate Resources Director.