Roma Jean Sanders
Roma Sanders, a pianist and organist, has taught in Seventh-day Adventist schools on both the east and west coasts of the U.S. and in the Midwest. She is presently Scholarship Director for the Nebraska-Kansas Conference.
Sanders was born and raised on a wheat and cattle farm in western Nebraska, one of five children born to Edward and Phyllis Stanley Sanders. While music was an important part of life in her home, she was the only sibling who would study and pursue it as a career. She started piano lessons at age seven and continued study on the instrument with Lilya Wagner while at Platte Valley Academy. She also played clarinet and saxophone in the academy band.
After graduating from PVA in 1965, she pursued a music degree at Union College, studying piano under Robert Murray. Following completion of a B.S. in music education at UC in 1970, when she was named Music Major of the Year, she began her teaching career at Madison Academy in Tennessee, where she taught for two years.
At that time she received the Winiger Fellowship at Andrews University and took a year off for graduate study. While teaching at MA, Sanders studied composition with Charles Hall, organ with Warren Becker, piano with Blythe Owen, and music history with Hans-Jørgen Holman. In the autumn of 1973, she began teaching at Garden State Academy, and in the summer of 1974 completed an M.A. in music at AU. She then taught for seven more years at GSA.
In 1981 she returned to Nebraska and taught at College View Academy in Lincoln for one year before returning to teach at her alma mater, Platte Valley Academy. When PVA began to downsize two years later, Sanders became music teacher at Midland Adventist School, now Academy, in Kansas, where she taught until 1987.
She accepted a music and English teaching position at Redding Junior Academy, now Redding Adventist Academy, in California, teaching there until 1996. While there she received the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award in 1992.
When the opportunity to teach just music at Sacramento Junior Academy, now Sacramento Adventist Academy, arose, she took the position and taught there for the next three years. She then began teaching at Napa Junior Academy, now Napa Christian Campus of Christian Education, a position she held for the next nine years. In 2008, she returned to the Midwest to teach at Great Plains Academy for two years before accepting her present position.
Sources: Interview, 2008; conversation, August 2013, “Sanders to Help Teens Attend Academy,“ Mid-America Outlook, September 2010.