Board of Directors

To view a brief bio about each board member, please click each person's name.


President - Geoff Herd

President-Elect - Lori McDermott

Immediate Past President - Susan Mullen

Secretary - Margie Way-Kiani

Treasurer - Sara Johnson

  • Past Presidents

    • Susan Mullen, Murfreesboro, 2018 - 2020
    • Emily Hannah Crane, Clarksville, 2015-2018
    • Wesley Baldwin, Knoxville, 2012-2015
    • Dan Allcott, Cookeville, 2010-2012
    • Francis Elliott, Cookeville, 2008-2010
    • Gary Wilkes, Chattanooga, 2006-2008
    • Jenifer Van Tol, Oak Ridge, 2004 - 2006
    • Bill Robinson, Maryville, 2002 - 2004
    • Elisabeth Small, Nashville, 2000 - 2002
    • John Chiego, Memphis, 1998 - 2000
    • Lenny Schranze, Memphis, 1996 - 1998
    • Sara Newman Johnson, Nashville, 1994 - 1996

    We are now maintaining an online archive of past presidents of Tennessee ASTA. If you can help complete the archive, please send additions to the webmaster.

  • Regional Representatives

    West: Pam Wilensky

    Middle: Mandy Funderburk

    East: Wesley Baldwin

We are an organization committed to advocacy for education in the performance of violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, and harp.


Geoff Herd

Geoff HerdViolinist Geoffrey Herd has given performances in the United States, Latin America and Asia, and is frequently sought after as recitalist and chamber musician. Mr. Herd has performed recitals at venues such as the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum of Art in Boston and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Herd has collaborated with some of the finest musicians of our time including Ani Kavafian, Clive Greensmith, James Dunham and Laurie Smukler. Mr. Herd has also performed concertos with numerous orchestras including the Rochester Philharmonic, the Thailand Philharmonic, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Ithaca College Symphony, the Amherst Symphony, the Finger Lakes Symphony, the University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra, and the Longmont Symphony.

A strong proponent of new music, Mr. Herd was a founding member of the contemporary music ensemble Vicennium Void. The group was the dedicatee of many works and were Artists-in-Residence at the Thailand International Composition Festival in June 2014 and 2015. Mr. Herd returned to the festival in 2016 as a soloist with the Thailand Philharmonic performing John Corigiliano’s Red Violin Concerto. Additionally, Mr. Herd has given a number of premiers including the NY premier of Pierre Jalbert’s Wild Ambrosia, and world premieres of Daniel Knagg’s Ancient Ruins, and Chris Walczak’s Incorporeal Spaces.

Equally committed to bringing classical music to new audiences, Mr. Herd is the founder and director of the Geneva Music Festival in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Each summer, the Festival presents a three-week long chamber music series, featuring world-renowned artists, as well as donating educational concerts to local school districts.

Mr. Herd joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in August 2016 where he has built a thriving studio, attracting students from around the globe. His students frequently participate in some of the nation’s top music festivals including the Aspen, Brevard, Sarasota, and Wintergreen festivals and are frequent competition winners throughout the country. Mr. Herd studied at Rice University, Yale School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music with Ani Kavafian, Paul Kantor, William Preucil and David Updegraff.



Lori McDermott


Immediate Past President

Susan Mullen

Susan Mullen Susan Mullen is the Director of Strings at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN. She is an active violinist, violist, conductor and clinician for honor orchestras and summer festivals. She serves on the conducting staff at the Festivo de la Musica del Pacifico in Cobano, Costa Rica as well as the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, Alabama. Ms. Mullen is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra and an active free-lance musician throughout the region. She was the co-founder, Music Director, and Conductor of the Murfreesboro Youth Orchestra for 11 years. She earned her Master of Music Performance from the University of Wyoming, continuing her studies in Neuchatel, Switzerland as a Rotary International Scholar



Margie Way-Kiani



Sara Johnson

Sara JohnsonSara Johnson has been teaching Orchestra in the Metro Nashville Public Schools at the Middle School and High School levels since 1985. She also has taught Strings Methods at Belmont University (1997-2010) and continues to teach Suzuki Violin at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music. Currently serving as Treasurer for the Tennessee Chapter of the American String Teachers Association, Mrs. Johnson is also a Past-President. She continues to be active in the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, and is a charter member of the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra and of the Centennial String Quartet in which she plays viola. Mrs. Johnson graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa, and attained her Plus-30 from MTSU and Cumberland University. She has been listed in five editions of "Who's Who Among America's Teachers", and has been a Clinician for the Quad State Orchestra Festival, the All-West Junior High Orchestra, Metro Summer Orchestra Camp, and the UNC Asheville Summer Music Camp.