Prior to coming to Mississippi Arts Commission, Smelser served as Director of Education at Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council in Texarkana, Texas. Working closely with public and private school administrators and teachers, she developed a comprehensive program of professional development in arts integrated teaching strategies. Under her leadership, strong collaborations were developed, resulting in a cadre of educators willing to lead others in this specialized approach to educational excellence.

Smelser received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, and Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. While completing her Doctoral coursework at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Smelser focused her research on the musical preferences of elementary children and had presented her findings at conferences in Kentucky, Arizona and Florida.

Smelser’s professional teaching experience includes both public and private school campuses and university settings in the subjects of general education, music education, arts integration, 21st century learning skills and creativity.

Smelser performs on a variety of musical instruments ranging from piano to folk and historical instruments.

Program Area Information
Music, dance, theater and visual art are core subjects that comply with state and national standards similar to the subjects of language arts, math, science and social studies. Learning in, through and about the arts can be particularly beneficial for at-risk students. When the arts are integrated into the daily school curriculum, learning becomes engaging and active, requiring critical thinking skills and innovative problem solving. The arts are the critical link to meeting the individual learning needs of each child.