Michele (Shelly) Stark, a brass player and conductor has taught music at seven schools in the Seventh-day Adventist school system for over three decades. She is now at Puget Sound Academy in Washington state. She most recently taught at Battle Creek Academy in Michigan, for eighteen years.
Shelly was born in Tecumseh, Michigan, one of five children born to Larry and Barbara Stark. She was attracted to music, inspired by her paternal grandmother, Hazel Stark, an accomplished pianist and trumpet player. Although she started piano lessons at age six, it wasn't until she joined a beginning band in fifth grade that she began to take her lessons seriously.
After starting on the tenor saxophone, Shelly switched to brass instruments. By the time she was in seventh grade she had decided to be a music teacher, impressed by music teacher Brenda Hosford Mejeur. David Burghart, her band director at Cedar Lake Academy, reinforced this decision by providing an enjoyable band program and encouraging her interest in a music career.
Following graduation from CLA in 1984, she enrolled at Andrews University as a music major with French horn as her performance area. Barbara Favorito, band director and brass teacher, became her major professor and is described by Stark as the most influential person in her life as she prepared to teach, developed a teaching philosophy, and then taught.
In 1987 Stark accepted a teaching position at West Indies College, now Northern Caribbean University. At the end of that school year, she resumed study at La Sierra University, where Favorito was now teaching. From 1990-1992 she taught at Mesa Grande Academy in California. During that time she completed a music education degree at LSU in 1991.
Stark then taught at Platte Valley Academy in Nebraska for two years before going to Broadview Academy in Illinois, where she taught for four years. From 1998 to 2000, she taught at Sunnydale Academy in Missouri, where she directed both band and choir until 2000 when she went to Battle Creek.
Source: Information provided by Michele Stark, September 2011; other sources.