TMAC Past President, 1994-1996
2004 TMAC Outstanding Administrator
Craig Welle served as TMAC President from 1994-96. As a TMAC Board member, he edited The Texas School Music Program: Description and Standards first published in Southwestern Musician Special Edition in March, 1993 and the TMAC survey of Texas music programs. During his tenure on the TMAC Board, Craig was Music/Fine Arts Coordinator for the Spring Branch school district in Houston, a position he held for fifteen years. In 2003 Craig received the Music Administrator of the Year award from TMAC and the Administrator Excellence award from the Texas Chapter of ASTA.
When Welle took the position in Spring Branch, the district was coming to terms with a major demographic shift and UIL music event participation was in steep decline. Within the next ten years with one additional middle school campus, the district was sending twice as many groups on a regular basis including bands, choirs and orchestras from most campuses and the number of first division ratings had doubled as well. Mr. Welle was instrumental in expanding an elementary Suzuki strings program which greatly improved the orchestra program in the district resulting in six string orchestras and one full orchestra named as TMEA Honor Orchestras over an eight-year period. In order to increase interest and participation in music programs, he also collaborated with community arts organizations and PTA’s to put the ARTS Partners program in place that provided field trips to major arts venues in Houston for twenty thousand elementary and middle school students. In 1997 the project was named the Outstanding Partnership in Texas by the Texas Association of Partnerships in Education and also resulted in Mr. Welle being awarded PTA Life Membership by the Spring Branch Council of PTA’s in 1991 and the Jacob L. and Sophia Meyer Farb School Bell Award by the Houston Symphony in 1996. In 2001, Spring Branch ISD received the Arts Basic Award from the Texas Commission on the Arts for its commitment to arts education.
Prior to his position in Spring Branch, Welle taught choir, band, and general music for fourteen years in Texas, Iowa and in overseas schools in Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. He earned his BME from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, an MA in Music Education from the University of Iowa, and Mid-Management Educator Certification through the University of St. Thomas in Houston. In addition to teaching he performed regularly as a tenor soloist and choral musician in a number of venues including the Saratoga – Potsdam Choral Institute, New York, with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy, Aaron Copland and John Pritchard in 1976, Classical Music Seminar, Eisenstadt, Austria, conducted by Dr. Don Moses in 1981-82, Dorian Opera Festival in Decorah, Iowa, in 1988, and a variety of choirs in Houston between 1988 and 2005 including St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Congregation Beth Israel, St. Philip Presbyterian Church and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.
As president of the Texas Music Educators Conference from 2002-2004, Welle led the effort to establish the biennial MENC Southwestern Division Symposium for Music Education in Urban and Rural Schools and served as Conference Chair in 2003, 2005, and 2007. It successfully convened again in June, 2009 and planning for 2011 is underway. He became president of the Southwestern Division of MENC, the National Association for Music Education in 2009, serving on the National Executive Board through June, 2011 and from July, 2012 to June, 2013. He was nominated by MENC and accepted the invitation to serve a three year term on the College Board’s Arts Academic Advisory Committee in 2010.
Craig served on Texas board of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Through Texas ASCD, he worked with key arts leaders in Texas to organize the Texas Fine Arts Network, a predecessor of the Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education, for which he was a member of the Executive Board from 1997-2005. He was elected to the National ASCD Board in 1998 for a four-year term, and served on the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2002 ASCD National Conference in San Antonio.
In 2005, Craig took the position of Director of Fine Arts in Dallas Independent School District and in 2007 was named Executive Director for Enrichment Curriculum and Instruction, supervising the district-wide fine arts, physical education, library media services, instructional technology, JROTC, languages other than English and out of school time enrichment programs in the District. A large part of his work has been to establish and implement standards of service for all students in the district in all enrichment subjects. Implementation of these standards is being accomplished through the Thriving Minds initiative, a partnership among Dallas ISD, City of Dallas and community partners coordinated by Big Thought, a local non-profit organization. As part of this project, Dallas ISD doubled the number of district-funded music teachers in order to place them at all elementary campuses by formula based upon enrollment. Another major focus has been to increase student participation in band beginning with the middle school programs where numbers increased from 2,243 in 2004 to 4,010 in 2010. The number of Dallas ISD middle school and high school music groups participating in yearly UIL events increased from 87 in 2005-06 to 128 in 2009-10 and in 2009, Welle was elected chair of the Region 20 Music UIL Executive Committee.