Singing & Serving Spartan

March 26, 2021

Margaret “Maggie” Malone is a Spartan alumna with many credits to her name. 

She has been an integral figure in the College of Education’s Alumni Board in recent years, serving as president from 2017 and ending her term in 2021. 

She is the director of fine arts and shared time for Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), a position she’s held since 2013. Previously, she has held roles in schools in Lansing and Battle Creek, Mich. She’s also the founder of, singer in and part-time rapper for Staff Notes GR, a contemporary vocal group of 20 singers with connections to GRPS. 

“We are educators using our talents to make the world better—one song at a time,” said Malone, B.M. ’91 (Music Education) and M.A. ’08 (K-12 Educational Administration).

The group officially launched in 2018. They’ve performed locally and statewide—and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they debuted “Better,” a song to provide hope and inspiration for teachers and students. 

“Staff Notes / needs you to know / you matter in this world. / Dig deep within / to find your strength,” raps Malone, a former member of MSU’s Spartan Marching Band (alto saxophone) and an advocate for and supporter of College of Education student scholarships. She has also long-served as a volunteer and recruiter for the college’s annual Get-A-Job Event, pairing Teacher Preparation Program interns with alumni for practice interviews. 

Vocals for the track were all recorded on the group’s phones during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. The lyrics address the challenges of teaching and learning during the pandemic, but have a lens of optimism through themes of being stronger together and finding and sharing hope.

Credit: Grand Rapids Public Schools

The group has performed in a variety of venues, including Spectrum Butterworth Hospital, Helen Devos Children’s Hospital and as an opening act for the Grand Rapids Symphony Pop Orchestra. Other songs from the group include a snow day song to help announce when GRPS is closed, and their first single, “Shalom Chaverim,” a 2020 holiday song arranged by group members. Staff Notes GR is also working on a holiday album. 

In her role with GRPS, Malone supports staff who teach visual art and music to more than 17,000 K-12 students in more than 70 facilities. She also maintains relationships with external organizations to help provide quality learning experiences for all students.