ACDA-MN Vote 2017


The annual elections for ACDA-MN is scheduled for March 1-10, and we are utilizing an on-line form for members to cast your vote (the form at the end of this page).

Voting is for:

  • State President-Elect (six year term)
  • District Chair positions in the Central and Southeast districts (three year term)
  • ACDA-MN By-Laws Changes

We are thrilled to announce this lineup of these exceptional candidates that are eager to support our growing professional organization. Please take the time to become familiar with the reasons they wish to serve by clicking on their profiles listed below.

Your voting districts should be per your work or school location. If you are not sure of your district, please click on the following “View District Map” bar to see the districts and their associated counties.

President-Elect Position Candidates



Diane Heaney
Albert Lea High School

Diane Heaney is in her 24th year as the high school vocal music director in Albert Lea, MN where she directs the 9th grade Tiger Mixed Choir, Women’s Varsity Choir, Concert Choir, Chorale, “CAT’ aclysmic Show Choir, the annual fall musical and talent show, and gives private voice lessons. Diane has a BME degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and a MME degree from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati, Ohio. She was chosen as Teacher of the Year for Albert Lea District #241 in 2007, state semi-finalist for MN Teacher of the Year in 2008, and was inducted into the ALHS Wall of Inspiration in 2011. Diane and her choral singers travel every other year, regularly perform for parents, community members, and senior citizens, and have been honored to perform at choral festivals at Luther College, Mankato State University, MMEA Winter Conference, and the Choral Arts Finale. Diane has served ACDA in the past as SE MN representative and repertoire chair for show choirs, and has served MMEA as Choral VP.

How has ACDA-MN influenced your personal growth as a choral director?

My involvement with ACDA is one of the reasons I still love my job and sustains me in the really tough and busy times. ACDA provides a people-support system for me with choral directors who understand what I do daily, both the struggles and the joys that come with working with choral musicians. I have built incredibly close friendships, been challenged in my thinking, and been inspired with great new ideas for teaching and repertoire through discussions at Summer Dialogue and other ACDA events. I cannot imagine what would have happened to me as a young conductor in the “out state” without this community of support. I consider ACDA to be my life-line to continual professional development.

If elected, how will I support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state?

Our demographics and our definition of “community of singers” is changing rapidly. We need to be the guide for our choirs to be inspiring, to challenge, and fill their musical as well as spiritual needs. We are so fortunate to have a strong state organization that seeks to serve the changing needs of its members. I am very passionate about reaching the soul and spirit of our singers in a more inclusive environment. After all, however and wherever we lead a choir, our goal is to make a difference in lives through beautiful and meaningful music making with sometimes fragile personal voices. We need that unifying community experience more than ever in our world. I would welcome the opportunity to be a part of leadership that will stand firm to defend and celebrate what we do for our singers and listeners every time we sing.



Elizabeth Shepley
Northfield Children’s Choir

  • Years of Teaching: 35
  • Current Workplace: Northfield Youth Choirs- Artistic Director
  • Previous Locations: The House of Hope Presbyterian Church Choir School; Bethel Lutheran Church- Northfield; Mounds Park Academy; Elk River Public Schools
  • Education: MA-University of St. Thomas; BA-Concordia College, Moorhead, Mn; Orff and Kodaly Certificates, UST; Further study: Jaques-Dalcroze Institute, Switzerland; Orff Institute, Austria; Kodaly Institute, Hungary; Royal School of Church Music
  • ACDA-MN Experience: Board of Directors- SE District Chair; Commissioning Task Force, Honor Choir Conductor, Tribute Concert Conductor, Summer Dialogue Presenter
How has ACDA-MN influenced your personal growth as a choral director?

ACDA of Minnesota amazes me. Our organization is filled with the collective wisdom of experienced, compassionate, engaged and thoughtful educators who enjoy sharing ideas, successes, challenges and laughter with one another. ACDA- MN welcomes, encourages and inspires new conductor/teachers. As an unseasoned but enthusiastic teacher starting out, ACDA-MN served as a lifeline for me, exposing me to a world of joyful choral innovation, avenues towards solving dilemmas, and social and professional connections which I have valued throughout my career.

If elected, how will I support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state?

ACDA-MN is recognized as a leading choral organization in our nation. My intent is to nurture and advance this legacy by, working with the Board of Directors and membership, empowering our state’s choral musicians to achieve their creative goals.

CENTRAL District Chair Candidates



Mary Ebanks
Big Lake Public Schools

Mary Ebanks has been teaching choral music for 12 years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Music Education with a Choral emphasis from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Her positions have included directing youth, women’s and adult church choirs, choral director at St. Francis High School in St. Francis, MN, and K-6 music and choirs in the St. Louis Park school district. She has been in her current position as choral director and musical vocal director at Big Lake High School for five years.

How has ACDA-MN influenced your personal growth as a choral director?

ACDA-MN has influenced my personal AND professional growth as a choral director through continuous communication and connection with colleagues, by providing opportunities to share ideas and seek assistance, and by offering a platform to openly discuss challenging topics. The fall conference, Summer Dialogue, and honor choir opportunities help to challenge my students and encourage them to be life-long singers.

If elected, how will I support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state?

If elected as the Central District Chair, I will support and inspire the choral community through open communication with member and non-members, and have a genuine interest in suggestions and concerns. I will do my best to represent the Central District and model enthusiasm, integrity, and respect to fellow colleagues and singers. I will continue to support the mission and vision of ACDA-MN by promoting the organization as a resource to other singers and choral musicians for personal and professional development.



Michael Sellheim
Annandale High School

Michael Sellheim has been teaching 7-12 Vocal Music in the Annandale School District since 2009. He previously taught in Becker, MN for 4 years and was also fortunate to teach overseas in the country of Taiwan for 3 years. At Annandale he teaches 5 curricular choirs, 1 extra-curricular jazz/pop group, and is the musical director for the fall musical. He previously was the choir director at Faith Lutheran Church in Becker, MN. He is an active arranger and composer for middle and high school choirs. Mike hails from the small town of Minto, ND and is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He lives in Annandale with his wife and three daughters.

How has ACDA-MN influenced your personal growth as a choral director?

When I returned from teaching overseas in 2005 and securing a vocal music teaching position, joining ACDA-MN was the next step I took. I was fortunate to get a scholarship for Dialogue and met many wonderful colleagues during that week in August. I was so impressed at how open and approachable everyone was at discussing any and all aspects of our profession. Teachers that I had revered from afar were now talking literature and classroom management with me and I was over the moon! In my opinion, THAT is the one aspect of ACDA-MN that I believe we cannot ever let go. I hope as I continue to grow in my teaching abilities, that I can be helpful to new teachers and musicians in the years to come.

If elected, how will I support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state?

Social media has allowed us to share ideas and information at a much quicker rate than ever before. I would reach out to as many colleagues in the Central District and ask them what resources or encouragement would make a real impact on their teaching. How can ACDA-MN be a part of that process of improvement? I think getting out and observing other teachers in their own environment is one of the best vehicles for our own self-improvement. I glean repertoire, staging, and even fun program nuances from these events. I would encourage all of us to get out and see what amazing productions and events our peers are showcasing.

SOUTHEAST District Chair Candidates



Michael Jeffrey
Pine Island Public Schools

Michael Jeffrey has been teaching choral music, grades 5-12, in the Pine Island School District for two years. Prior to his work in Pine Island, he was a director and office assistant for the Northfield Youth Choirs. Michael earned his B.A. in Music from St. Olaf College, and his M.A. in Teaching Music from the University of St. Thomas where he also completed his Level 1 Kodály Certification. Michael is an active vocalist in the choral community of the Twin Cities where he serves as Tenor Section Leader for Magnum Chorum and has sung with the Pop-Up Choir of Minneapolis.

How has ACDA-MN influenced your personal growth as a choral director?

ACDA-MN has given me the opportunity to learn and has inspired me to be open to new ideas. I have learned so much from my colleagues and friends in the network of incredible, intelligent, creative, and energetic directors of ACDA-MN. Through experiences like Summer Dialogue, I have enjoyed getting to know directors from around the state, and I have benefited from their experiences as we have shared stories, challenges, and ideas. I have left these conversations feeling inspired, motivated, and often reconsidering how I approach choral music. There are so many great ideas in our choral community right now, and ACDA-MN allows me to connect with them!

If elected, how will I support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state?

If elected, I will do my best to support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state by doing my best to serve the directors in my district the way I have been served by ACDA-MN. Whether that is making a connection or listening to and striving to address area concerns, I believe my role would be to have open lines of communication, be approachable, and to offer or help create opportunities for a choral community. There are some wonderful ways that SE MN is working to create a choral community through Conductors Networks, collaboration performances, and choral festivals, and I hope that I could support these endeavors.



Maria Wilson
Ellis Middle School, Austin

Maria Wilson is a 6th-8th grade choir teacher in Austin, MN.  This year is her fifth year at Austin Public Schools.  She has previously taught general music at International Academy of Beijing (Beijing, China) and 7th-12th grade at Fillmore Central Schools (consolidated school district in Harmony and Preston, MN).  Ms. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern College, now University of Northwestern-St. Paul, in 2003.

At Austin Public Schools, Ms. Wilson travels between two different schools (a STEAM 5th/6th grade building and a 7th/8th grade building) and conducts three curricular choirs, two extra-curricular choirs, and co-directs the schools’ musicals and plays.  Under her direction, she has helped build the middle school choir program to include 341 young singers.  Many of her singers have participated in state ACDA honor choirs as well as regional ACDA honor choirs.

How has ACDA-MN influenced your personal growth as a choral director?

ACDA was an integral part of my being successful as a first-year teacher. Being a scholarship recipient, I could afford to attend Summer Dialogue. Summer Dialogue had great sessions that supported skills that I already had, but also gave me new ideas that I could implement with my performing ensembles. Even now, as an “older” teacher, ACDA continues to help me grow as an educator. From implementing technology in my rehearsals to aural skills and music literacy, ACDA always is current with their knowledge of what we directors need to be the best educators, friend, parent, and social worker for our students.

If elected, how will I support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state?

If elected, I am excited to continue ACDA’s work of helping one another to be great choral directors. We all have gained a wealth of knowledge from our experiences. I would love to support our having a system to collaborate and share; not just at conferences and dialogue, but also through online sessions (google chat/zoom) and/or social media. Our world is more global than it used to be, and we as educators need to help our students be prepared to interact with diverse cultures and thoughts. Collaboration is a necessary skill for our singers to be successful. I cannot think of a better way to inspire our students than through performance in an ensemble, ideas brought to light through song, and see their own directors collaborate with others.

By-Laws Changes


View the proposed By-Laws changes in the document (PDF file) below. Note that the document contains only the changes and not the complete by-laws.

The changes highlighted in RED are to be removed and in YELLOW are to be added.

Proposed By-Law Changes

District Map