A veteran of 36 years in public school music education, Marcia Neel has directed successful secondary music programs in Connecticut, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Nevada. She received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education with a concentration in Choral Music from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and her Master of Arts Degree in History from the University of Nevada Las Vegas specializing in 20th Century Labor History. She served as Coordinator of Secondary Fine Arts for the Clark County School District (CCSD), headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1994 until her retirement in 2007. During the course of those years, she led the Secondary Music Education Program to a total class count of over 55,000 in 56 middle and 38 high schools and over 100,000 in Secondary Fine and Performing Arts overall. Her greatest pride was in knowing that all of the students in each of the district’s secondary schools were provided with an equal opportunity to study music. In conjunction with the National School Boards Association, VH1 and NAMM, the CCSD Board of School Trustees was recognized with the National Distinguished Service to Music Education Award at their 2007 NSBA Conference. The district employs approximately 500 elementary and secondary music educators.
Well-known for her commitment to program expansion and innovation, Marcia is recognized for her creative approaches to curriculum design and implementation. Two of the most successful are the CCSD’s standards-based Guitar Program which has received national recognition for its curriculum, exponential growth and popularity as well as its high level of performance. Subsequently, the CCSD Mariachi Program was instituted in 2002 with four (4) instructors teaching 250 students and now staffed by over 35 full-time, licensed mariachi educators teaching over 7,000 students daily. Marcia is the lead author of ¡Simplemente Mariachi!, an instrumental and vocal method series for mariachi students and educators. Over the years, she has become a leader in assessment-driven curriculum for mariachi education and as a result of her National Mariachi Workshops for Educators, she has been instrumental in implementing or further developing over 100 mariachi programs across the nation. Marcia is tireless in her endeavor to bring more students to music-making through hands-on, high quality experiences provided by a sequential curriculum that focuses on achievement. Marcia sees mariachi as yet another opportunity for students to find meaningful experiences at school and over the years, many former students have relayed the similar story that they stayed in school solely because of the connections they made – some within their own families – through participation in their mariachi ensemble. She continues to offer the National Mariachi Workshops for Educators each summer in Las Vegas, with graduate credit offered through VanderCook College of Music. Her greatest joy is to see young people excelling as a result of becoming engaged in both of these types of life-changing music-making programs. The pride displayed by these young musicians and their families is the ultimate reward!
Marcia is highly regarded for her advocacy efforts at the local, state, as well as national levels via her participation in the NAMM Foundation’s annual D.C. Fly-in. She has authored and edited an array of articles and publications for NAfME, the National Association for Music Education, Yamaha's SupportED Magazine, School Band and Orchestra (SBO) Magazine, Strings Magazine, Parent Magazine and Leadership Magazine and Music For All's annual National Festival and Bands of America publications.
Elected to numerous leadership positions, Neel has served as Western Division President of MENC; President of the Nevada Music Educators Association (two separate terms); and President of the Nevada Choral Directors Association. She was appointed by two Nevada governors to sit on the Goals 2000 Panel and in that capacity, co-chaired the team responsible for the writing of Nevada's Content Standards in Arts Education. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Percussive Arts Society. Marcia is a past recipient of the Disney Channel 's National Performing Arts Teacher of the Year Award.
Neel currently serves as president of Music Education Consultants, Inc., a consortium of music education professionals which works with a variety of educational organizations, arts associations, and school districts to foster the growth and breadth of articulated, music education programs for all children. In 2016, Marcia was named Senior Director of Education for Yamaha Corporation of America and in this position, consults with numerous school districts to assist in the development of a variety of facets of their Music and Arts Education Programs. Among others, specialty areas include curriculum development and expansion, professional development, teacher induction programs, and the providing of conductors and adjudicators for honor ensembles and music festivals. She also serves as Education Advisor to The Music Achievement Council, a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation whose main focus is professional development for instrumental educators to reach and serve more music students. In this capacity, she has provided innovative and engaging sessions, keynotes, and in-service trainings in 41 states. She has taught graduate music courses at Duquesne University, the Hartt School and Villanova University. Marcia is a past recipient of the Disney Channel's National Performing Arts Teacher of the Year Award.