The Pennsylvania - Delaware String Teachers Association

2022 Biennial Officer Election

Every two years PADESTA holds elections for President-Elect and Secretary.  President-Elect is a 6 year term; 2 years as President-Elect, 2 years as President, and 2 years as Past-President.  Secretary is a 2 year term. The ballot is open from March 14, 2022 through April 1, 2022 this year.  Our bylaws state the election should take place during the month of March. 

Current PADESTA members may vote one (1) time. Student and Institutional Members MAY NOT cast a ballot. Below are our candidates for the 2020 election.

President-Elect | Secretary


(2 candidates - choose 1)

Candidate 1 - Eric Baker

Eric Baker is currently the Director of Orchestras in the Blackhawk School District, where he leads all string instruction for grades 4-12. He also maintains a healthy private studio teaching lessons, as well as working with the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra, and performing with several orchestras across Western Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio. Baker graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, and is currently completing a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from Indiana University.

Within ASTA, Eric has been the Membership Chair for PADESTA for the past year, works with the new teacher mentor program, acts as an Operations Assistant at the National Conference, and led the Duquesne University chapter for two years. Baker was awarded the Student Exemplary Service Award for his work with the collegiate chapter and string community.

Eric would like to serve as the President to assist in the development of string programs for teachers and students in multiple settings. His goal is to increase involvement of k-12 teachers and studio teachers, as well as create opportunities for them and their students. He also plans to improve the website for easier access to information, and utilize social media to help increase communication and foster a larger sense of community.


Candidate 2 - John Vaida

It is an honor for me to be nominated for the office of President-elect for the Pennsylvania - Delaware String Teachers Association. If elected I eagerly await the opportunity to contribute to the continuing mission of the organization. The advocacy of string education and the building of an inclusive community of string teachers and players is at the core of my own mission as a performer and educator.

 As a performer and educator, I have long felt an inherent sense of responsibility to strengthen my local community. Through my work at Mansfield University and as Executive Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chamber Music Society, I regularly give workshops, masterclasses, and clinics in local schools. Having over a decade of experience as a music educator, I have been a steadfast supporter of music education. I welcome the opportunity to bring my experience and expertise to the Pennsylvania – Delaware String Teachers Association.


(1 candidate)

Lauren Donato

 Lauren Donato is a string specialist and violinist that received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from Duquesne University. She has been teaching orchestra for 14 years and held positions in the Elmira City School District in New York, Peters Township School District in Pennsylvania, and the North Allegheny School District in Pennsylvania. For the past 12 years, she has been a string specialist in the North Allegheny School District and is currently teaching middle school and high school orchestra. She has remained active in ASTA by attending conferences and participating on the ASTA Mentoring Committee, which is designed to mentor new teachers in their first 5 years of teaching. Maintaining an ASTA membership has provided professional contacts, best practices in string education, and excellent resources for research. Having the opportunity to serve as the PADESTA Secretary would provide opportunities for increased networking with string teachers and performers in our state chapter. Being the PADESTA Secretary would allow the chance for further connections with PMEA and ASTA to enhance involvement in solo competitions, festivals, and conferences.