HFC alumna begins 35th year teaching music
As the sixth of eight children, Lisa Meyer knew she was on her own when it came to paying for college.
For her, HFC (then Henry Ford Community College) was the best choice from a financial standpoint. It also prepared her for the rest of her academic career, as well as her professional career. Meyer is now the General Music Specialist and Music Resource Teacher in the Dearborn Public Schools, where she has taught for 33 years. She taught for two years in Detroit prior to being hired in Dearborn.
“Duane Smith was my first voice teacher. After our first voice class, he offered me a full scholarship if I joined his choir. In addition to the choir, I had to take six hours of music classes per semester to get the scholarship. Having those classes opened up the field of music education and paved the way for my career,” said Meyer, who lives in Canton with John, her husband of 39 years. They have two daughters.
Meyer was heavily involved in the choir at HFC. She toured with the choir to many places including Toronto.
“I received a good foundation at HFC,” said Meyer. “The College paved the way for my career in music education.”
Babysitting for piano lessons
Born in Livonia, Meyer grew up in Westland. She became involved with her church choir at a young age. She rode her bike a mile to Merriman Road Baptist Church daily to practice the piano. In middle school, she began babysitting in exchange for piano lessons. She eventually saved her money to purchase a piano.
Meyer is an alumna of Cherry Hill High School in Inkster, which encompassed students from Inkster, Dearborn Heights, and Westland. There, she sang in the choir. Upon graduation, she earned her associate degree in music from HFC. Transferring to Eastern Michigan University, Meyer earned her bachelor's degree in music education with a focus on voice.
“While at the College, the choir attended a choral festival at EMU. While I was there, I saw (music professor) Emily Lowe direct her Madrigal Ensemble. I decided at that time that I wanted to be a music teacher, finish my music degree at EMU, and perform in the Madrigal Ensemble. I did all three and was able to travel to England, France, Ireland, and China with the Madrigal Ensemble. Those were life-changing experiences,” Meyer recalled.
She attended Wayne State University, where she earned her master’s degree and certification in elementary education. Her master’s thesis was called “Teaching Literacy through Music.”
Meyer went on to earn an education specialist degree in administration and teacher leadership from Oakland University. She also attended the Galileo Education Consortium – a program dedicated to improving the learning of all students, elevating the education profession, enhancing the leadership skills of teachers, and fulfilling the vital role of public education – through Oakland and Wayne RESA.
Having fun while learning
As of the 2021-22 academic year, Meyer teaches at DuVall Elementary School in Dearborn. She splits her time between DuVall and the Administrative Service Center (ASC) in Dearborn. Her duties include screening and interviewing candidates for open positions, mentoring new teachers, overseeing curriculum updates, monitoring resources, reviewing needs for new resources, designing professional development for staff, overseeing district budgets and inventories, working to form partnerships with area arts organizations to benefit both the organization and the Dearborn music students.
In addition to teaching music, Meyer sings in her choir at Ward Presbyterian Church in Northville. She also teaches private voice lessons and piano lessons out of her home.
“Music is fun! I love seeing my students engaged and having fun while learning! It is the best!” she said. “After spending the last year-and-a-half teaching online, I am looking forward to working in-person with students.”
Bringing out the best in her students
HFC music professor G. Kevin Dewey has had many opportunities to work with Meyer during his time at the College.
“Lisa Meyer is an awesome advocate on behalf of all the music teachers in the Dearborn Public Schools. She has that great combination of musicianship and administrative know-how. She is also a tireless worker. She has been particularly effective in assisting HFC students and myself, working with the music departments of all three Dearborn high schools for our ‘Why Dearborn Sings’ project last spring and again this fall,” said Dewey.
Dearborn City Councilwoman Leslie Herrick, Meyer’s fellow HFC alumna, has high praise for Meyer. Herrick’s son Brendan Hay was one of Meyer’s students. Meyer saw his singing talent before Herrick did.
“Lisa is wonderful about looking for opportunities for her students to succeed in music,” said Herrick. “She brings out her students’ musical talents. I have seen it firsthand. She recommended that my son join the elementary honors choir and later encouraged him to audition for a part in The King and I while he was in high school. As a parent, I was amazed at how that opportunity gave him a chance to shine! I was also amazed at how well he could sing! I had no idea he could sing like that! Lisa has encouraged and sparked the interest of some many students participating in vocal music and instrumental in Dearborn and well beyond.”