Profession(s): Betsy has been teaching violin and viola lessons, coaching chamber music, conducting orchestras on occasion since 1976, and freelancing on violin and viola. Relationship to PSS: After studying with Dr. Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan for 2 years, Betsy got married to ‘the wonderful guy’ Naoto, and lived in Tokyo for another 5 years immersed in the culture of the Suzuki Method in Japan. When they moved to Maine, Ellen Gawler and she got their students together for group classes and Pineland Suzuki School was born! Her three children studied in PSS. Even though they do not play music now, they have a great love and respect for people and music, hard work, beauty, discipline and detail. Paths to help PSS: While teaching with Buffalo Suzuki Strings led by Mary Cay Neal and later in Japan studying with Dr.Suzuki, Betsy saw the wonderful potential of children. In starting PSS, she wanted to inspire students to realize and enjoy their amazing gifts with motivation, mindset and methodology. She is touched that Board Directors want this group to continue on in the future. Some fun things:Swimming, especially at sunrise or sunset, gardening, cooking holiday meals that take all day to prepare, reading, playing word games, enjoying nature especially with my family, reading the whole Bible through (more than once) and discovering its truths and wisdom among the puzzling parts.…and she does love her work which is to play music, and teach, and especially FUN is improvising with students in lessons, playing duets and hearing them go beyond what she has taught them.
Treasurer and Board Director
Profession(s): Ken wears many hats in his job but his primary role is as the Director of Operations for Fedco Seeds’ Tree Division. Fedco cares for and sells a wide variety of bare root, heritage, edible and ornamental trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials. He also oversees company wide IT. Relationship to PSS: Ken has two children (ages 12 and 15) in the Pineland Suzuki Program. Both of his children have been going to the school since the age of 4. Music has played such an important role in their upbringing and he is deeply grateful for the role PSS has played over the years. Paths to help PSS: Ken hopes to help PSS grow into its next phase of operation. He hopes to help it grow and to be a healthy organization that can continue to teach kids how to play beautiful music far into the future. Some fun things: Cooking, hiking, backpacking, camping, reading, gardening and spending time with his family.
Profession(s):Mathew is a native of Augusta, has worked for 25 years for Maine nonprofits as an organizer, writer and fundraiser. Relationship with PSS:His daughter Lily started learning violin with Pineland Suzuki School in kindergarten and is now a high schooler playing viola with PSS's pre-Capital Strings ensemble. Paths to help PSS:He brings years of experience in fundraising, financial management and nonprofit governance to the Board, which he joined in 2022. Some fun things:Matt and his family enjoy music, gardening, hiking and spending time with our dog, cats and chickens
Profession(s): Barbara has a Ph.D. in Education and over 35 years of experience in the field of education in Maine. For 17 years she was a K-8 special education teacher in the public schools. She then founded and directed a private middle school for the arts, coordinated professional development funding at the Maine Department of Education, and chaired the School of Education at Husson University for 8 years. Barbara completed her full-time career serving as the Director of Child & Family Services at Midcoast Maine Community Action. Relationship with PSS: Barbara's youngest child was with the Pineland Suzuki School from age 3 - 18 and has a graduate degree in cello performance. He now teaches some students at PSS, plays in a number of orchestras, and teaches private students. Paths to help PSS:Barbara is so happy to give back to PSS after all of the wonderful years spent as a parent in the program. Some fun things:Barbara loves to go camping with her husband Stan, visit her grandchildren, and play the viola in a quartet and ensemble. She is also an avid reader. She and Stan are trying to walk 100 trails in Maine in her first year of retirement. We are up to 71 since August, 2022!
Profession(s): Ellen is a fiddler, specializing in the musical styles from the State of Maine, which includes: Scots/Irish, French Canadian, and Maritime traditions. Her music has taken far and wide with several groups, including travel and perform with family. Ellen has been a Suzuki teacher since 1986 and is dedicated to the ways that Suzuki method and fiddling intersect and benefit each other. Ellen is a founding member and top youth instructor of Maine Fiddle Camp. Relationship to PSS: Betsy Kobayashi and Ellen co-founded the Pineland Suzuki School together in 1993 by combining their programs and creating group classes. Their long, rich experience together through all the bumps and celebrated moments, has included dreaming up every aspect of the school and all its functions. Ellen created the fiddling branch of the school, recording on 3 occasions, and inspiring the students by taking trips to thriving fiddling places: Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, Ireland, Turkmenistan, and most recently, Shetland. Ellen says, “PSS was formative for my family and set my 3 girls on a beautiful path of music making. They have come away with a belief in themselves that anything is possible that they got in no small part from the Suzuki method.” Paths to help PSS: To date, PSS has had a beautiful arc of success, with many accomplished musicians launched into the world. As the founders peer into the crystal ball, it is abundantly clear that we the organization needs to take new steps to thrive into the future. Ellen is committed to working through this process. Some Fun things: Garden, fiddle, garden, contradance, garden, ski/snowshoe, garden, cook, garden, kayak, garden, sew, garden, hike, garden, travel, garden, tell bad jokes, garden, garden, garden.......
Chair and Board
Profession(s): Joan enjoyed a 40-year career at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1918 she moved to Pittston, Maine to be near her daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. From 1974-1980 she studied for and received veterinary(V.M.D.) and neuroscience (Ph.D.) degrees at Penn. She was a professor of medicine (in both the veterinary and the medical schools) and served as Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine from 2006-2018. Relationship to PSS: Even before she moved to Maine, Joan saw her two Gardiner granddaughters get entranced by the music of PSS. Upon retiring, she engaged with violin seriously, carrying on a family legacy that goes back to her violinist-conductor-composer grandfather. She grew up playing piano and wind instruments and singing but, oddly, had never even held a bowed string instrument. She is making up for lost time! Joan is now a fledgling student of Betsy’s and has been a practice partner for the two girls. She is intrigued by the Suzuki philosophy and moved by the PSS commitment to access and excellence. Paths to help PSS: During her career as an academic veterinarian, Joan enjoyed planning for the future and working with people committed to a selfless mission, and PSS is now her outlet for these passions. She hopes the experience during 45+ years of learning and working at Penn can be put to good use in realizing the Pineland School’s dreams for the future. Some fun things: Joan delights in spending time with the family, especially grandchildren (two here, two in Chicago) and several pets. Discovering the beauties and history of Central Maine and settling into retired life is an ongoing education with her husband of 4+decades. Pursuing new commitments (yoga, hiking, dusting off piano skills) and doing some volunteer work for the Maine Veterinary Medical Association fills in the spaces.
Profession(s):Martha is a lifelong resident of Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine, Farmington, with dual degrees: in special education and elementary education. She later earned a master’s degree in literacy from U.S.M. Martha taught second grade for the Augusta School Department for 35 years. She then tutored for the Special Education Department for 5 years before fully retiring. Relationship to PSS:Martha’s granddaughter Olivia, age 7, is a student at PSS. When Olivia was 3 years old she attended a concert at Snow Pond and became enthralled with the music and stage presentation put on by Betsy Kobayashi and her PSS students. A few years passed and her desire to learn was still there so her parents signed her up for classes with PSS and bought Martha a violin for her 70th birthday. Paths to help PSS:Martha hopes her willingness to work and bring people together will help PSS to continue to flourish and enrich the communities it serves. She was impressed by the purposes of PSS set forth in the bylaws, especially the part that reads, “This organization is dedicated to nurturing each student’s character through the beauty of music, by developing musical excellence in a joyful, non competitive environment, and by enriching and educating the community through public performances.” She will strive to keep these thoughts in mind while serving on the board of PSS. Some Fun things:Martha takes long walks through nature to enjoy, appreciate, learn about and marvel at God and His creation. She plays and works with family and friends and also appreciates music, art, good food and company. She enjoys playing bridge and tennis. She cross country skis, knits, listens to good books, likes to fix things and solve puzzles!
Profession(s): Bill has been a Health System Specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs for over a decade. His prior experiences include Assistant Site Manager at the Newark Now -a non-profit organization established by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a Board of Trustees member of Family Resource Center (FARC) in Orange, NJ. He is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) -an organization that promotes innovative leadership in healthcare management and spearheads professional networking among its members through learning and knowledge sharing. Relationship to PSS: Bill has two children (9 and 13 years old) who are currently active participants in Pineland Suzuki School for Violin and Cello for two years. Paths to help PSS: Looking forward to promoting the work of PSS and contributions to the immediate surrounding communities and beyond. I want to work toward creating awareness of PSS and the positive impact it has on children and the communities it serves. I also will support any fund-raising activities to continue promoting the magnificent work of PSS. Some Fun things: Bill loves to run every day. Run the 10K in the Governor’s Race in Montana in 2019 and was third in his age group and 52nd out of 358 participants. Personal best is ten (10) miles in 1hr. 15 mins. On average, Bill runs between 4-5 miles each day in his community. He is currently learning Suzuki Guitar so he can have fun with his son who is also a Suzuki guitar student.
Pineland Suzuki School Advisory Board
Advisory Board Job Description
Profession(s): Walt is an attorney in Augusta. He owns his own firm, McKee Law. He has been practicing law for 30 years now, half in criminal defense and the other half in civil litigation. Relationship to PSS Walt’s daughters Anne and Kate McKee were PSS students starting when they were 4 years old. Paths to help PSS Walt would like to do what he can to take PSS to the next level. The program is wonderful and he would like to see it advance in size and someday have dedicated space for lessons and group classes. Some Fun things Walt is a long time runner and enjoys all things outdoors.
Katie Webb Clark
Profession(s): Katie has worked in agriculture and holistic health, and presently owns and operates an organic dairy with her husband, Nate. She is mother to 8 month old Nathaniel and 6 year old Edith. She is homeschooling Edith. Relationship to PSS: Katie is extremely grateful Edith is Ellen's student. Edith is beginning to enjoy her accomplishments with both her Suzuki and fiddle studies. Pineland Suzuki is an important element of Edith's homeschooling, offering an excellent musical education as well as a warm community, opportunities for learning citizenship, and character development for kids. Paths to help PSS: Katie is very energized by putting together a Parent Support Network, with several panels and a connection to the Maine Suzuki Association. On the same theme of linking parents to help each other, she is piloting a mentoring project, with Board Director Barbara Moody as her mentor. She has initiated a series of parent interviews for the PIneland Post, aimed at providing insights into how longterm Suzuki parents experienced the program and advice they can provide to newer families. Some fun things: Katie’s interests include gardening, foraging wild foods and herbs, meditation, and studying foreign languages.
Current Profession: After 20 years in education (as an administrator/teacher in K-8 education, a high school math teacher and running coach, and a community college instructor in the social sciences), I now serve as the Librarian for the Readfield Community Library in Readfield, ME, working to provide residents of all ages with quality materials and programming. My education includes a BA in Psychology (Colby College), and a MA in Education and a PhD in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Connecticut. Relationship to PSS: After attending a Gawler Family concert in 2001 with our oldest child (who was then 3) expressed interest in learning to play the violin. Lessons began for him in 2003, and 4 children and 18 years later, we are still involved with Pineland Suzuki School. Through the years I have volunteered in a variety of roles, including helping to coordinate the annual Benefit Concert and serving on the Board. How You Hope to Help: PSS has provided our four children with a solid music foundation and an appreciation for achieving big goals by breaking things down into smaller tasks. I enjoy serving the organization by offering the board my experience in pedagogy and in educational administration, as well as the perspective of a 4-time PSS parent. Some Fun Things I Like to Do: I enjoy organizing events, bringing the community together, and the challenge of assisting someone who asks “Can you help me…?” When not at the Library, I like to run, snowshoe, Nordic ski, watch my kids’ alpine ski races and soccer games, and read picture books to my young nieces and nephews on FaceTime or in person!