Missouri Alliance for Arts Education

Elected Officers

CHAIR: email:

Jeff Sandquist currently serves as the Chair of MAAE. He served for a number of years as the secretary and vice-chair of MAAE. His history with the Alliance goes back over 20 years to the beginnings of what is now the MAAE. In addition to his work for MAAE he is a past-president of; Southwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association, Missouri Choral Directors Association, Missouri Music Educators Association, Central District MMEA, and Arts Rolla!. He continues to serve SWACDA as the Honor Choir Coordinator. In real life he is recently retired from the music department chair and choral director position for the Rolla Public Schools, a position he has held for twenty-five years.

VICE-CHAIR: email:

Tom Tobias, Tom Tobias, born 1954 in Decatur Illinois, spent his early, formative years in Quincy Illinois and St. Louis Missouri. He graduated from Lindbergh High School in 1972. In 1976 he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Southwest Missouri State University (Missouri State University) with an emphasis in printmaking and drawing. In 1982, he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts Degree and teaching certification from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

His 33 years as a teacher were spent teaching art, K-12 at various schools in the Saint Louis Public Schools, the last ten at Metro High School. Throughout his teaching years, at various times he taught part time as an adjunct instructor for Meramec Community College and Washington University. In December of 2014, he retired from teaching, and accepted a position as Arts Education Director for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He retired from his position as Arts Education Director in June of 2019 and is currently a long-term substitute teacher for the Mehlville School District.

In between substitute teaching opportunities he spends his time making art, completing house repairs, traveling and spending time with family and grandchildren.


Michael Dove , PhD currently serves as the secretary for MAAE. He is the vice-president elementary music for the South Central Missouri Music Educators Association and is the treasurer for Kodaly of the Ozarks. He has been a full-time music educator since 1989 and earned his doctorate from the University of Kansas in 2008. Dr. Dove has completed Kodaly certifications in Levels 1-3 and Orff certification Level 1. He has served as the chairman of the music department, professor of music education and director of bands at Baptist Bible College, Springfield. Currently he is teaching in the Marshfield R-I school district.


Bruce Dickerson, Master of Science with a Specialization in Choral Music Education from The Univeristy of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign 1982 and a Bachelor of Science with a Specialization in Music Education: Choral/Vocal Emphasis from the U of I Dec 1978. Retired Choral Director from Truman High School 2006 and as Director of Middle & Upper School Music at The Barstow School in 2018. Previous teaching was at LaSalle-Peru Twp. High School in Illinois. Bruce was President of the Missouri Choral Director's Association 2005-2007, President of KC Metro MMEA District #3, serves on the Board of Directors at Music/Arts Institute in Independence MO where he founded The Young MAIsterSingers Children's Choir in 1985 which performed with KC Symphony, Independence Symphony and Northland Symphony Orchestras as well as recording new children's choir music for Belwin Mills Music Co. Bruce has served as a building rep for the Independence NEA and as District Department Chair. Retirement includes assisting MCDA when needed, teaching piano to 4 of his 7 grandchildren and serving as Finance Chair for LifeConnection Church: Independence.


Advisory Council

Harlan Brownlee currently serves as Chair of the MAAE Advisory Council and understands the transformational power that the arts have to improve the quality of life for individuals and the community. He has worked for thirty-five years in the arts education field as a performing artist, teaching artist, and arts administrator. Mr. Brownlee received his B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned an M.A. in Educational Research and Psychology from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. He has an extensive performance background and currently serves on the Credentialing and Professional Development Committees for the National Young Audiences – Arts for Learning Network. Brownlee is on the Kennedy Center’s National touring roster for the Partners in Education program and Changing Education through the Arts.

Arts Integration Committee

Robert M. Gifford, DMA was a member of the statewide Arts Education Task Force that in 1990 recommended formation of the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, and he has served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance since that time. He was Chair of MAAE from 2003-2011 and currently serves as Chair of the MAAE Arts Integration Committee. Dr. Gifford is a member of the Missouri Music Educators Association Hall of Fame and the 2010 recipient of the Missouri Arts Council Arts Award in Arts Education.

Committee to address issues of Racism, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (RIDE)

Maria A. Ellis, currently serves as Chair of the MAAE RIDE Committee addressing issues of Racism, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity and is a passionate educator and conductor. She is the owner of Girl Conductor and currently serves as the Director of The Sheldon’s City of Music All-Star Chorus and The St. Louis Children’s Choirs newest virtual ensemble

. She is an active clinician, adjudicator and presenter throughout the United States and abroad. Mariaholds a B.M. in Music Education emphasis on Voice (K-12 Certified) Degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. She has served as the Arts and Administrative Fellow for The St. Louis Symphony and has served as the Community Engagement Manager for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs. Maria is the Repertoire and Resource Chair of Inclusivity for the Missouri Choral Directors Association. She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Music Educators, Missouri Alliance for Arts Education and holds Level 3 Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education. Maria is the wife of Marion Ellis Jr. and the mother of Aria, Kendal and Noah.



Phyllis Pasley - Master in Art of Teaching , Webster University, Bachelor of Science in Education (Elementary) and Bachelor of Music Education (K-12 Vocal) from University of Central Missouri. Retired after 34 years in public school teaching from Pattonville School District July 2019, where she spent the bulk of her tenure as a K-5 General/Vocal Music specialist at Willow Brook Elementary. Her teaching experience also included long-term sub positions at Duchesne Catholic High School and St. Louis Public Schools. Phyllis has served on boards and commissions for the Creative Motion Alliance, and the Maryland Heights Cultural Arts Commission. She has worked closely on a series of benefit concerts for the Branson Regional Arts Council and Neighbors and Friends of Table Rock Lake. Married to Tom since 1985, the couple reside in Maryland Heights, Missouri. Phyllis Pasley began training in January 2020 with Ben Martin and assumed the executive director role July 1, 2020.


Kyna Iman a Missouri lobbyist, has an unusual name, pronounced Ki-na I-mahn. Since 1993, Kyna has run her own one-person lobbying firm, Kyna Iman LLC. The one person is her, and it’s how she likes it. Iman went to William Woods University in Fulton, Mo., where, unlike some of her colleagues at the Capitol, she did not study political science or law; she was an English and communications Major, who minored in dance. She's worked with the Arts Council, since 1988, and now represents a wide variety of issues related to arts, education and health including Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, Missouri Citizens for the Arts, Gifted Association of Missouri, American Red Cross, the Missouri Nurses Association (MONA), Missouri Southern State University, Missouri Canoe and Floaters Association, among others.


Ben Martin taught and directed educational theatre in Missouri for 34 years before retiring in the spring of 2010 During his career, he won the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards from the Lee's Summit School District, The Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri and Missouri State Thespians. Martin continues to be an active advocate for school theatre by serving as Executive Director for the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education and has just completed terms on the boards of the Educational Theatre Association and the Missouri State Thespians . He is active in his community of Lee's Summit where he is a past president of the Arts Council, current president of the new community theatre, Summit Theatre Group, a member of Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. Ben retired from his role as executive director of MAAE in 2020 and now serves as State Arts Advocacy Chair through Americans for the Arts for Missouri Citizens for the Arts and serves as liaison from MCA to MAAE.

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