2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference 2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference

The Path to Personal and Professional Antiracism: an honest look at my journey so far

Colorado Hall A/B

Missy Strong
Mt Laurel Township Schools, Music Teacher

Missy Strong has taught general, choral, and instrumental music at the early childhood, elementary, and middle school levels for 26 years. She holds a Master of Music Education degree from Rowan University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Education with a specialty in Early Childhood Development from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Missy currently teaches elementary general and choral music. She has served as the Senior Research Assistant for Music Together and was the director of children’s music education at Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church for over a decade. Missy is a FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainer in both First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege. She is a Founding Member of FAME and a former President of the organization. A frequent music education consultant and clinician, Missy presents conference sessions, professional development workshops, webinars, and courses at the collegiate, international, regional, state, and local levels. She is a published author and editor with articles in both state and national music education journals and books from GIA Publications and Oxford University Press.

A period of difficult personal & professional reckoning led me to confront my own racism, internal bias, & privilege. As a Filipina-American woman, I was surprised to discover how oblivious I was to the pervasive nature of systemic racism in education, the US, & in myself. Every day I grapple with how to eliminate these in my classroom by doing the hard work of shedding my former “colorblind” philosophy to put on one in which I see, acknowledge, value, & celebrate each student. This has resulted in many necessary challenges to me in my philosophy, practice, & pedagogy, but with each step on the path I know I am moving in the right direction. While my story is imperfect, I hope that sharing it provokes thought & encourages other educators to join me on the journey to create a more equitable, musical, thoughtful, & just world for students, their families, & our communities.