left menu

The northwest’s Karen Fulmer elected president-elect designate for the national ACDA

Much tofulmer the delight of enthusiastic friends and colleagues, Karen Fulmer was elected to the office of President-Elect Designate for the American Choral Directors Association.

Tim Sharp, Executive Secretary of the national association, said, “"Karen's election as President Elect Designate and her forthcoming position on ACDA's Executive Committee is tribute to her dedication to the choral art, her excellent leadership and work on behalf of  middle and high school choral education and performance, and her service to ACDA."

She will assume this new role beginning July 1, 2010. Karen says her first months will be spent observing and learning as much as possible about the role and responsibility of the office of president.  She said, “I want to learn as much as possible about the current status of the organization, operational procedures, special projects, task forces, initiatives and vision for the future.”


Karen’s term as president of the national organization would then begin July 1, 2013. In the meantime, she will take a more and more active role in ACDA activities. Many of her responsibilities will be defined over the next few months. She feels certain she’ll assume duties related to the national conference set for Chicago in 2011.

She said this about serving as president-elect, “I am very honored to serve ACDA and appreciate the many people who have molded my life by giving something of themselves to others.  I am grateful for the opportunity to give back and uphold this glorious art form.”

Jerry McCoy, current ACDA president, called her Wednesday evening, January 27th, and asked, “Are you sitting down?” Karen replied, “No, I’m pacing the kitchen floor…should I sit?” She continued the story saying, “Then he asked me if I'd like to be national ACDA president.  I took a couple of seconds to process what he just said, then replied, ‘yes, absolutely!’”

Karen is only the second northwestern division members to become national president. Royce Saltzman was the first. She and Minnesota’s Diana Leland are the only K-12 teachers to ever hold the office.  

Karen Fulmer has been involved in ACDA since her first year in teaching in 1978. She helped at the honor choir registration desk in the 1978 convention. She served on state and northwest boards, was elected president of WA-ACDA for the 1989-1991 term, and was president of the northwest division in 2000-2002. Her interest and enthusiasm for all things ACDA has not diminished since that time.

She has presented interest sessions for the Washington Music Educator’s Association and for two national ACDA conventions on the topics of arts advocacy and assessment.  In Miami, Karen served on the on-site interest session committee and in Oklahoma City, was co-chair of the National High School Honor Choir, a responsibility she also held for the MENC All-Northwest High School Honor Choir in 1997.

Karen has conducted All-State Junior High Honor Choirs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, festival choirs in Washington and currently serves as Northwestern Division High School Repertoire & Standards chair.

She is a member of the local committee preparing for the 2010 division conference in Seattle.

She says that her vision for national leadership includes: 1) mentoring emerging conductors and building student chapters, 2) maintaining high standards in literature, performance and research, 3) establishing partnerships with other successful music organizations, and 4) utilizing technology as a relevant and meaningful way to connect with ACDA membership. “This is a vision is built on relationships, seeded within a powerful, simple invitation to get involved.”

Washington’s choral community took great pride in 1997, in the announcement that Karen was named Washington State “Teacher of the Year”, representing educators at all grade levels and subject areas. This title included a ceremony at the White House, NASA Space Camp and numerous speaking engagements which provided an opportunity to accentuate the importance of music in society.   

Other honors include the 1993 Western Washington University Woodring College of Education Award for Professional Excellence, 1996 Washington State Christa McAuliffe Award, 1998 Washington State Music Educators Hall of Fame, inaugural class, 2007 Bonney Lake High School Leadership Award, and 2008 Washington State ACDA Leadership and Service Award.

Congratulations, Karen P. Fulmer! Northwest ACDA members are so very proud of you. We know the national organization and all ACDA members will be served very well under your leadership.


NW President, Richard Nance, congratulates Karen Fulmer

Lnanceast March at the National ACDA conference in Oklahoma City, I was invited to attend a dinner that was held to honor all past presidents of ACDA as part of the 50th Anniversary.  My “date” for the evening was Karen Fulmer, past president of the NW division and a close friend.  

As we sat at our table we couldn’t help looking around the room at all the distinguished guests—it was a remarkable gathering and I was humbled to be there.  I could tell Karen felt the same emotion. 

Her knowledge of the history of the organization was evident as she would point out past and present leaders and talked about what they had meant to the organization.  I knew at that moment that if ever given the opportunity, I would nominate Karen to serve as national president of ACDA.

Actually, I had thought for years that Karen would be perfect for the job.  She is professional, personable, supremely organized, doesn’t play political games but knows how to get things done, loves working with people, and she cares very deeply about ACDA and the art it represents.  I know from experience that if you need something done, Karen will make it happen.  She has boundless optimism, but it is framed by common sense.  Karen is a thinker, a detail person, and she is not afraid to dream.

And so, now it has happened!  I got a phone message just this morning from Karen, saying she had won the election!  She is to be only the second national president from the Northwestern division, and--unbelievably--only the second person with a K-12 teaching background to hold the office.  I have all the faith in the world in Karen and her ability to lead ACDA. 

Please join me in congratulating her for being elected, and thank her for being willing to serve.  Great things lie ahead for ACDA under Karen’s leadership!