2023 CODA Ballot

2023 CODA Board of Directors Nominated Ballot


President: Tiffany Ou-Ponticelli

Tiffany Ou-Ponticelli teaches orchestra at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, CA. Ms. Ou-Ponticelli holds a B.A. in Music Education from UCLA, and a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan. In the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, she studied viola with Richard O’Neill, and received her teaching credential from the UCLA Teacher Education Program. Her ensembles, at Gunn High School and previously at Fletcher Middle School, consistently receive superior ratings at festivals. Under Ms. Ou-Ponticelli’s direction, the Henry M. Gunn High School Orchestras have performed at conferences including the Midwest Clinic International Band & Orchestra Conference (2022) and the American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Festival (2018).
Ms. Ou-Ponticelli currently serves as President of the California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA), where she also held positions as All-State Orchestras Coordinator and Secretary. She also serves as the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Bay Section Website Editor, after serving as Orchestra Representative from 2018-2022. Ms. Ou-Ponticelli has been a member of the AST Journal Editorial Committee, and has presented at state and national conferences including ASTA and CASMEC. She was the recipient of the 2022 CMEA Bay Section Outstanding Orchestra Educator Award, and the 2023 CMEA Richard L. Levin Orchestra Educator Award.
Ms. Ou-Ponticelli is an active string teacher, violist, and vocalist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is also the co-host of the string education podcast “Band Meets Strings”. Ms. Ou-Ponticelli holds a Level III Orff Certification from the San Francisco International Orff Course and is an advocate for incorporating Orff pedagogy in the secondary ensemble setting. Her research interests lie in musical self-efficacy, repertoire diversity, group composition, and solfege for instrumentalists.

Vice-President: Joni Swenson

Joni Swenson retired as Director of Orchestras at Santa Monica High School, a position she held from 2002 until 2020. She is a graduate of UCLA, and previously taught in the Sacramento City Unified School District and in the San Jose Unified School District prior to her position at Samohi. Joni has served as guest conductor for many honor orchestras throughout California and recently conducted the Indiana All State Symphony Orchestra. She has presented sessions at both the CMEA State and Bay Section Conferences, as well as at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra (SCSBOA) Fall Conference. In addition, she has served as the Orchestra Representative in both CMEA Capitol and Bay Sections and is also a Past President of the California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA). In 2001, Joni was selected by San Francisco radio station KDFC Classical 102.1 as Music Educator of the Year. In 2004, she received the CMEA Le Blanc Outstanding Orchestra Music Educator Award, and she was selected as a finalist for the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award in 2008. She received the 2016 American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Elizabeth A. H. Green School Educator Award and in 2020 received the CMEA Richard L. Levin Orchestra Award. In her retirement, Joni is enjoying playing in a community orchestra, teaching private lessons, and raising a Samoyed puppy.

Secretary: Greg Conway

Gregory Conway is currently a student in the Instrumental Conducting Master’s Degree program at San Jose State University. Mr. Conway previously attended California State University, Hayward where he completed a B.A. in Music with an emphasis in Music Education and saxophone performance, as well as a teaching credential in Music. After teaching elementary band in South San Francisco Unified School District (2003-2005), he became the Director of Instrumental Music at William Hopkins Jr. High School in Fremont (2005-2021).
While at Hopkins, Mr. Conway expanded the existing band and jazz programs, along with creating a new string orchestra program to increase the instrumental opportunities for students. There he directed the 7th and 8th grade music classes involving about 370 students each year in three concert bands, two string orchestras, two jazz ensembles, and a full orchestra. In addition, he directed an advanced elementary string orchestra, and coordinated four other elementary school level string orchestra classes and multiple elementary band classes for about 550 – 4th through 6th grade students in the Mission San Jose Attendance Area of Fremont Unified School District. Under his direction, the Hopkins Wind Ensemble was a featured performer at the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) State Conference in 2010, and the Hopkins Advanced Orchestra was a featured performer at the California All-State Music Education Conference in 2012 and again in 2017.
Mr. Conway currently serves on the board of directors for several non-profit music organizations including CMEA Bay Section and the California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA). He is the 2016 recipient of the CMEA Bay Section Gilbert T. Freitas Award for Excellence in Instrumental Music Education, the 2017 recipient of the CMEA Richard L. Levin Outstanding Orchestra Educator Award, and the 2018 recipient of the CMEA Bay Section Outstanding Educator Award. In 2019, Mr. Conway was named “Community Hero” by the California State Assembly (District #25) for his outstanding dedication and service to the community, and in 2021 he was selected for the Alameda County Arts Commission/Board of Supervisors Arts Leadership Award for his contribution to youth music education.

Treasurer: Brant Nishida

Brant Nishida (He/Him) currently serves as the Director of Instrumental Music at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, CA. At SRVHS, he directs the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, and Symphonic Band, as well as teaches AP Music Theory. Previously, Brant served as an Assistant Music Director at Diablo Vista Middle School and Music Director at Tassajara Hills Elementary School.
In addition to his teaching duties, Brant is an active member of the California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) and the California Music Educators Association (CMEA). He currently serves as CODA All-State Orchestras Coordinator and has served as CODA Vice-President, CMEA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Co-Chair, and CMEA Bay Section Assistant Orchestra Representative.
Brant holds a Master of Music degree in music education from Boston University and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of the Pacific. He has studied bass under Thomas Derthick and instrumental conducting under the late Dr. Eric Hammer.