Dr. Sullivan earned his Bachelor’s of music education from Stetson University in Deland, FL, and his Master’s and Doctorate of Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he was honored to serve as the Marilyn Pflederer Zimmerman Fellow in Music Education. Dr. Sullivan taught public high school in New Smyrna Beach Florida, where he was responsible for symphonic bands, marching band, jazz band, AP music theory, guitar and group piano classes, and music appreciation. At the University of Illinois he was responsible for coordinating early field experiences for wind and percussion undergraduates, taught secondary band methods, co-taught a service-learning course for music education students with the local juvenile detention center, and supervised student teachers. He also has served as a church music specialist, focused on contemporary approaches to liturgy, education, and songwriting. He is currently an active performer on mandolin, guitar, and ukulele in the greater Charlotte area, including recent work with Arts+ on adult education and music socialization through group ukulele experiences.
Dr. Sullivan’s research interests include philosophical inquiry in music education, service-learning in non-traditional settings, vernacular musicianship, and generally in the sociocultural dimensions of music making. He has presented research at various regional, state, national, and international music education conferences. His work on service-learning in correctional contexts in music teacher education has been published in Research Studies in Music Education, and in an upcoming edited volume focused on music education and the lived experience of displacement. His dissertation “Exploring a Theory and Ethic of Hospitality Through a Case Study of a Middle School Band Room” was completed in 2017, and was among the first to mix post-structural philosophic and qualitative inquiry in a single study.