President - Michael Polutnik
Michael Polutnik is in his 11th year as director of the Desert Oasis High School Choirs in Las Vegas, NV.
Michael began his teaching career in 1994 after graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education from Montana State University-Billings. Michael taught two years in Montana and three years in Oregon before moving to Las Vegas in 1999. He received his Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2001. Michael has also taught 11 years at the elementary level and 5 years at the middle school level.
Mr. Polutnik has previously served as the Nevada ACDA and the ACDA Western Division R&S Chair. Michael has been serving on the CCSD High School Honor Choir Committee and as the Instructional Leader/Department Chair for the Desert Oasis HS Performing Arts Department since 2014.
Mr. Polutnik’s choirs consistently earn “Superior” ratings at various choral festivals around Nevada, Arizona, and California. In his first year at Desert Oasis HS, his Chamber Singers were selected for the NMEA All State “Command Performance”. In his second year at Desert Oasis, the DOHS Chamber Singers were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC under the direction of Eric Whitacre. Mr. Polutnik received the CCSD “Distinguished Educator Award” in 2003, 2016, and 2017 and was a finalist for the “Heart of Education Award” in 2018 and 2019.
President Elect - Jennifer Lowry
Jennifer Lowry is currently the choir director at Del Webb Middle School located in Henderson, NV. She is an active member of NAfMe, NMEA, and ACDA. Mrs. Lowry was co-chair of the NMEA Middle School All-State Choir from 2016-2019 and was the Western Region ACDA Middle School Honor Choir Manager in 2020. Most recently, Mrs. Lowry was asked to be a panelist for the Junior High Round Table Session at the National ACDA Conference in 2021.
Mrs. Lowry’s choirs consistently earn Superior Ratings at various festival performances around Nevada. In 2014, Mrs. Lowry’s Concert Choir was the only public middle selected to perform at the Western Division ACDA Conference in Santa Barbara, California. In 2019, Mrs. Lowry’s Concert Choir was selected to perform at the National ACDA Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Mrs. Lowry is committed to helping her students learn to express their emotions through music in a safe and respectful environment. Mrs. Lowry knows how important music is and hopes to instill that same passion in her students. She wishes that each student will continue their love of music into high school and beyond.
Secretary - Kim Ritzer
Kimberly Barclay Ritzer is in her 31st year as director of the Green Valley High School Choirs in Henderson, Nevada, opening the school in 1991. She is in her 32nd year as a teacher for the Clark County School District. As a graduate of the CCSD, she is proud to have taught her entire career in the district she grew up in. She is a 1990 graduate of UNLV where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and a 2001 graduate of The University of Phoenix with a Masters Degree in Educational Administration.
Mrs. Ritzer is currently the Task Force Chair for High School Choir and Facility Chair for the Clark County School District Secondary Fine Arts Programs. In addition, Kim serves as the Green Valley High School Performing Arts Department Chair and has taught Secondary Choral Methods at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has served three terms as president of the Nevada Music Educators Association and three terms as Nevada ACDA president. She is currently Past-President of the American Choral Directors Western Division, and Secretary of the Nevada ACDA chapter.
Under her direction, the Green Valley High School Choirs consistently receive superior ratings at district, regional, state and national festivals. The GVHS Concert Choir performed at the 1998 ACDA Western Division Convention in Reno, the Madrigal Singers performed at the 2005 ACDA National Convention in Los Angeles, the 2009 ACDA National Convention in Oklahoma City, and the 2014 ACDA Western Division Conference in Santa Barbara. In November of 2001, Kim was named the Henderson Chamber of Commerce "Most Outstanding Educator" and in February of 2002, she was named "Nevada Music Educator of the Year.” In November of 2002, Kim was selected as a recipient of the "Clark County School District Excellence in Education" Award. In 2004, she was named “Outstanding Alumni for the College of Fine Arts” by the UNLV Alumni Association and was most recently a finalist in the “Heart of Education” Awards for the Clark County School District in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020. Kim was also a 2021 semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.
Treasurer - David Sonnichsen
David Sonnichsen grew up in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota and graduated from University of Minnesota, Duluth with a Bachelor of Music Education in June of 1999 with dual certification for teaching both choir and band. After graduation he taught choir and band in Minnesota for four years. He completed the Master of Music (Choral Conducting) program at The Ohio State University (OSU) in 2005 and moved to Las Vegas to fill the Director of Choirs position at Valley High School. David teaches choir and music technology, which is a class that introduces students to sound systems, live audio mixing and digital audio recording. He continues to love working with all the choir, music tech and theater students at Valley helping them to explore and find their voices. During summers, David enjoys camping and visiting the National Parks with his wife, Deborah and their child, Amanda.
Membership - Heather Scobie
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Webmaster - Jim Halvorson
Jim currently serves as the director of the choral program at Shadow Ridge High School where he oversees six choirs and serves and Performing Arts Department Chair. Jim currently holds a B.A. in Vocal Music Education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, with graduate coursework in Music Ed. from UNLV. Jim is in his 24 year of teaching and 23rd year in the CLark County School District.
Jim was a “late bloomer” to the barbershop world, starting his barbershop career at the tender age of 10. In his 35 years of membership, he has sung and competed in quartets and choruses at all levels of barbershop competition and directed both men’s and women’s barbershop ensembles. Jim has had a directorial role in barbershop chapters since he was 20 years old.
When Jim isn’t singing and/or cheering on the Vegas Golden Knights professional hockey team, he spends his time with his wife, Lyn, and their children, Laura and Larry.