Dr. Monte Selby has his roots in education as an award-winning teacher, principal, and professor. He works as a trainer and consultant, has keynoted numerous national and international conferences, and written music with nearly 36,000 K-12 grade students. On the creative side, he’s co-authored eight books and composed over 100 published songs, including “Check Your Attitude”, which landed on the 2012 Grammy Award winning Best Children’s Album. Over one thousand performances, workshops and leadership presentations have left audiences laughing, singing, and applauding across North America, Europe and Asia. Hundreds of participants have evaluated Monte's sessions as, "the most engaging presentation I've ever attended!"
The story really begins when Monte picks up his first guitar, motivated by the desire to escape piano lessons. By age 10, he had written his first song and performed at talent shows and local events. Songwriting and performing continued through middle and high school, leading to a vocal scholarship at Kansas State University. He studied to be a music and math teacher, while continuing to perform with his guitar.
After becoming a teacher, his favorite songwriting topic quickly became “kids”. Observing their behavior, conversations and reactions, he created lyrics and music to entertain fellow teachers and parents. During weekends and summers, he played in several bands, coached basketball, and completed a Master’s Degree in school leadership. He was hired as an assistant middle school principal, then later became the schools principal. Monte has often stated, “Being a middle school principal was like a songwriter’s playground. There are lyric ideas everywhere....”
Monte wrote dozens of “education” songs for fun. It changed his career. He was soon asked to share those songs at other schools, or provide the kick-off session at conferences. He connected the songs to important education topics, and soon he had more requests for presentations that he could accept.
During these years, The Selby Brother’s Band (with Mark Selby) was experiencing success, and the band was invited to perform at the Music City Music Top 10 event in Nashville. Mark Selby then moved to Nashville with a songwriting publishing deal, and Mark Meckel, Monte’s music publisher, also moved to Nashville. This opened countless doors for Monte to write with many more professional writers, and record his music in professional studios with top studio musicians.
The desire to continue his education lead to a Doctorate Degree in school leadership, and a professor position in the Teachers College at Emporia State University. He continued speaking at conferences and events, but also began experimenting with using songwriting as a teaching tool. He found that elementary through graduate students could use the experience of songwriting to summarize their learning, gain insight into effective writing, and build stronger learning communities from the collaborative work.
Songwriting is really the common thread that runs through Monte’s professional and personal life. Whether writing songs to accompany books for educational publishing companies, or writing songs about his children or wife, Michelle, songs are the avenue for organizing his thoughts and expressing ideas, insight, or humor.
Today, Monte lives in Maine, where he enjoys his family, his guitars, and the likely prospect of a another song yet to be written.
“The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.” -- Walt Whitman