She’s the only teacher I’ve seen that has been able to instil a passion for music in people that are on the verge of quitting. Over and over again I’ve seen her enhance the whole department’s love for music, including my own. She has not only taught me how to be a better musician, but also a better, more loving, and more accepting person. She truly has a huge impact on every single student, and every one of us leaves the school being better than the person we came as. Nominated by: Catherine.
Mrs. Franzke is an excellent teacher who puts her students above everything else. She knows how to connect with students on a personal level and loves to devote her time to them. Her dedication to her ensembles and her Music Theory classes is excellent, and you can clearly see her passion for music in the way she conducts her ensembles and her discussions about music theory concepts. Nominated by: Jack.
Mrs. Franzke is by far the best music teacher, the way she connects with her students is unlike any other teacher. She is always 100% honest but is also encouraging. Nominated by: Jamie.
Mrs. Franzke pours endless amounts of passion and love into teaching music. Her honesty and enthusiasm is so motivating to all her students, and she makes all really look forward to coming to class everyday. She makes me so excited to become a music teacher, and is 10000000% deserving of this award. Nominated by: Katie.
Franzke has taught me so much over my years with her and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. Not only does she teach her students about music, she teaches them about the real world. Nominated by: Luke.
Mrs. Franzke has changed my life. Getting the opportunity to be in her IB Music class every day has taught me more about myself as a musician and about the changing world of music around us. She is always there for every one of her students and goes out of her way to make sure to find a teaching style that addresses everyone’s needs in the classroom. Nominated by: Danny
Mrs. Franzke is an inspiring band director who has impacted the lives of so many students at Commack High School in Commack, NY. As my band director and mentor, Mrs. Franzke was the first teacher who ever made me feel that my emotions, struggles and vulnerabilities belonged in the classroom. Her rehearsals were rigorous, and her high expectations of student musicians in her ensembles lifted everyone higher. Throughout my four years of high school, I was motivated to work hard and grew tremendously because I knew that Mrs. Franzke truly believed in me. The emotional, powerful and rewarding performances I was a part of under Mrs. Franzke’s baton are ones I know I will always remember, because they led me to a beautiful career in Music Education. Mrs. Franzke’s impact on me as a young musician is one I will carry with me and hope to pass on to other young musicians. Nominated by: Carmen.
Stacey is the most genuine instructor I’ve ever been under, with such a strong passion for influence and music that could inspire even the most disconnected of students. Nominated by: Matthew.
A truly amazing human being that goes beyond the music in the band room and tries to connect with everyone in the ensemble on a deep emotional level in order to bring out the best in each person. Although there are always members of the band who are not fully invested in the music we play she always puts forth her best effort in order to change people’s perspectives on music and try to allow people to gain more from being in band than just playing an instrument. Her ability to allow me and many others grow not only as musicians but as people made a true impact on my life. Nominated by: Austin.
She is a wonderful teacher who I have had the pleasure of working with. Nominated by: Jackie.
Franzke is the bet teacher I’ve ever had. I learn something new and profound every day not only about music but about my life. I wouldn’t be the musician or person I am today without her continuous love support and passion! Nominated by: Emily.
Mrs. Franzke is the most gracious person I know. Her amoration for music gets trickled down to every member in her bands. I am awed by her ability to pass on her love for music to musicians of all levels of dedication. She is trusting. She is genuine. She is empowering! She makes me want to be the best version of myself and always put forward the best level of musicianship I can. Her dedication to her students not only musically, but personally, has helped so many students find their paths, even if their path is not music. Mrs. Franzke creates a therapeutic environment in her band room that accepts and challenges all. She is a gift to our school!!! Nominated by: Cristina.
Not only does Mrs. Franzke excel in music education, she is also unparalleled in her sense of empathy. Even within her busy job she will find the time to notice minute details in her students that often go amiss. When she detects something wrong, she will not hesitate to ask that student if everything is alright or give him/her a hug. With daily mindfulness and a class that never goes without eye-tearing/stomach-hurting laughter, Mrs. Franzke teaches us to be better musicians and people. Nominated by: Kristen.
Mrs. Franzke is easily one of the best music teachers you could ever have. She has cracked the code for teaching music theory and she has found a way for each student to comprehend the material while simultaneously having the most fun you could ever have in class! She is also an amazing band director who pushes students to always strive for their best. Mrs. Franzke is an incredibly funny, kind, and intelligent person that everyone looks up to. Nominated by: Hannah.
I speak for everyone of her students when I say that Mrs. Franzke has had such a profound impact on all of us. She is not only an incredible educator and musician but a true friend to each and everyone of her students, which is just one reason why we all learn so much from her and are able to make such great music with her. Nominated by: Matthew.
Ms Franzke is not only the best teacher but she is a great person. She teaches with her own personality, making it fun however extremely understandable because the students can relate to what she says. She offers help to students to make sure they fully understand the material and forms bonds and friendships with the students so they understand her as well. I believe that is the best form of teaching. Nominated by: Kaitlyn.
Her personality has made the music department such a better place to be in. I’m very grateful that I have had the pleasure to know such a great person in my life. Nominated by: Ryan.
Mrs. Franzke is an inspiration to me and she encourages me to become a better musician every single day. I have looked up to her for so long because I would come to watch her bands perform. It’s so unreal to me that I finally got the chance to be her student this year. Her rehearsals are intense but she makes sure that every little part of the piece is perfect. Sometimes during rehearsal she tells us a funny story, but then shes like “Okay back to measure 110!” We rehearse each piece thoroughly until is is ready to be performed. Additionally, she genuinely cares about her students. Mrs. Franzke loves all of us and she has a special connection with everyone. I think all of us, as her students, can agree that she changed our lives for the better. I have never seen anyone so passionate about their job and love for music. Mrs. Franzke runs the 10th grade band, 11/12 grade band, the wind ensemble, and the pit orchestra for the musical this year. During the day she also teaches AP music theory, and IB theory 1 and 2. She does a lot for the Commack music community. I can’t wait for the years to come because she is my teacher. Mrs. Franzke definitely makes Commack High School an amazing place for music education. I am so thankful to her and I am so lucky to be her student. Nominated by: Defne.
Ms. Franzke is able to create an environment for her band class that is stress-free and fun, which is a great contrast to the rest of a normal day. She is both funny and also very serious about music and her passion for it shines through in her teaching style. I enjoy all the time I spend in her band class and her other ensembles because she finds a way to challenge me, yet also support me at the same time. I am very grateful to have her as a teacher. Nominated by: Ethan.
I have always said and will continue to say that the music department in our school is insanely lucky and spoiled to have Mrs. Franzke. Anyone who spends any time in her class will leave a better person. She is so approachable, and she offers the kind of hospitality and understanding that so many teachers lack. She is one of the only people I know who can tell what you’re thinking about, what kind of day you had, and what you ate for breakfast just by looking at you. Simply put, I’m a more understanding and knowledgeable person having known her, and I can’t thank her enough for that. Nominated by: Dylan.
Mrs Franzke is one of the most intelligent, wise, and noble people I have ever met, and music is the perfect outlet for such qualities, which is why she excels both as a musician and an educator. She has a way of making music appeal to everyone, and has a habit of often telling us the background of each piece so we can be emotionally available and sound in the various aspects of music we must perform; she brings out the best of her students. Nominated by: Nicholas.
Mrs. Franzke is the first music teacher who I have ever truly related to and felt extremely comfortable near. She’s hilarious and makes learning difficult things very fun and interactive and she makes me feel safe in her classroom. Even on my worst days she makes me smile and cheers me up. Though I’ve only had her for half a year, I can’t wait for the next two and a half years with her. Nominated by: Anna.
She inspires me to be the best person I am and she encourages me to keep pushing myself to be a better musician. I have learned so much from Franzke. Nominated by: Nick.
I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Stacey Franzke in which she guided me in my knowledge of music. She led the way for students to discover the wonders of music. As I continue to study music as my career, I have Mrs. Franzke to thank. Nominated by: Andrew.
She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had. She helped me find the music inside of me and always makes me feel like I can do anything. Everyday she makes us laugh and feel special about who we are as musicians and people. The most amazing teacher in the universe! 🎶🎵 Nominated by: Nicholas.
Stacey Franzke is a band director at Commack High School, she has influenced countless of students and have changed all of their lives for the better. Franzke is the person I aspire to be in the future, because of her I am continuing my music career with the hopes of becoming a band director in the future. She will drop anything and everything to help her students through tough times. Despite anything that she has going on in her personal life, her students always come first. I have never seen someone so selfless and caring and loving towards others. Stacey Franzke makes everyone feel valued and special. I feel like I speak for everyone when I say that Stacey Franzke is the most amazing person in our lives. Nominated by: Alyssa.
Mr. Paltrowitz, or Pal as the POBJFKHS music department refers to him as, knows what he is doing. For nineteen years he has been developing a very strong and intelligent choral program within the school based on tradition, leadership, and dedication. I have never seen anything else like it in any other program. In addition to the teacher run choir program, he advises 8 student run A Cappella groups, where all the music is arranged, taught, and performed in two concerts all by students. As the leader of one of these mentioned groups, I credit all my skills in arranging, music making and performing to him. Mr. Paltrowitz even creates articles about his specific systems which can be found on Choral clarity, along with original compositions. He is truly a pioneer in the choral education world and no other teacher can compare to Adam Paltrowitz.
Mr. Paltrowitz “Pal” has helped shaped my school choir for 20 years. While his wife was performing in Kinky Boots on Broadway, he still commuted every morning to Long Island for the work that he loves. He directs our Mixed and Treble Choirs and is the academic advisor of our 9 acapella groups. He works with every student for NYSSMA and makes personal connections that last a lifetime. He has helped shape me not just as a singer but as a human being and I am forever grateful for him. Thank you Pal!
Dr. John Hugo
Dr. Hugo, of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, introduced me to choral music and music history in a way that I had never experienced before. His love for the choral art and his willingness to share life advice both inside and outside the classroom is unmatched. He genuinely cares about his students and does everything to ensure we are well prepared for performances. His sarcasm and his quick wit made his music history courses one of my favourites during my undergrad. He made sure his learning environment was welcoming, while also pushing his students to produce the best they could – even when we felt we had nothing greater to give. It is for all these reasons that I believe Dr. Hugo should be honoured in this way.
Mrs. Bennett is one of the most amazing teachers I have ever met. As an orchestra director, she is always promoting a deep love and appreciation for music. She is dedicated to spreading messages of kindness and compassion, and she incorporates various service projects into our musical lives to emphasize the fact that music can change the world. She truly cares about every one of her students and is always ready to encourage and support her students with life outside of the orchestra. Mrs. Bennett is an incredible teacher and all-around great human being.
Amanda Hanzlik has conducted many honorable choirs besides the one at home (EO Smith High School), including the Rhode Island All-State choir and the children’s choirs at the Aspen Music Festival. Her commitment to the choir and her personal attention to every single member stands out among other teachers of her caliber. She doesn’t just improve her students as musicians, but makes them better people. She has taught many the importance of trusting your gut, as well as really letting go of yourself, and trusting every singer in the group for the sake of the song. If only there were a teacher of the year award, she would instantly snatch such a title. Nominated by: Sarah.
Mrs. Hanzlik is an amazing teacher and an extremely hardworking and caring person. She does everything she can in order to ensure that her students have the best musical experience possible during their high school career. She encourages everyone to sing, and truly cares about what she does. Nominated by: Jaclyn.
Most capable, flexible, helpful, and sweet choir directors of all time. She is who brought us into recognition from America’s Got Talent. She is who also got actual composers of songs to come rehearse with us (especially Jacob Narverud). All in all, E O Smith wouldn’t exist without her! Nominated by: Oswald.
Amanda Hanzlik is a fantastic choir director for many reasons. She challenges her students with music that is advanced and usually feel good pieces. The students learn so much about music from this in the technical sense and they learn the joy from singing with a group. Rehearsals may be intense however she truly preps students that wish to pursue music in college and beyond. The connections made with the students and Ms. Hanzlik manifest for a happy environment that students look forward and love to be in. She truly gives her all when finding ways to give her students experiences that will enrich their music education and make the choir even more connected, turning into one big singing family. Nominated by: Annie.
She is my choir director and if there was anyone who is supposed to be a choir teacher it would be her. Without Mrs. Hanzlik I wouldn’t have grown so much in my singing abilities in just these past few years. Her love and passion for her work and students is amazing and I am so beyond grateful to have her as my teacher. She’s so good at what she does and really grows beautiful and well-rounded singers. Nominated by: Maddie.
Mrs Hanzlik is such an amazing teacher in so many ways. She genuinely cares about her students and has done everything to prepare us for performances, and the numerous auditions I have had. She is so kind and has taught me more than I ever thought I could know about music. She is also the reason I am planning on going into a music major. She works so so so hard to give us the best education and offers us as many opportunities as we can get. She deserves this more than anyone!!!! Nominated by: Madison.
Mrs. Hanzlik has not only been a constant source of comfort and support throughout my senior year. She has been raw, honest, and in tune with students’ struggles and needs in her class. She goes above and beyond to make class safe and exciting and is able to connect students to their work. She teaches in a way in which students can truly connect with their music and the results are extraordinary. In teaching and personal connection, she surpasses all expectations I have ever had for a teacher and goes well beyond what her job requires of her. Her work in class not only shows a deep knowledge of music, but a personal connection to the arts that goes deeper than the surface, she is an inspiration to all in her class. Nominated by: Emma.
I am nominating Mrs. Hanzlik because she always pours her heart and soul into every rehearsal and class period. Mrs. Hanzlik has gone to great lengths to provide an extraordinary choral experience for our choir. Nominated by: Lukus.
Amanda Hanzlik is not only a wonderful teacher with massive amounts of knowledge, but she inspires each and every one of her students. She holds together the group and it is clear to us that she truly cares about not only the quality of our choir, but the experience of each singer in the group. She is a wonderful, caring individual with such an enormous love for choral music. I cannot think of a better candidate to receive this title. Nominated by: Caroline.
Dan Stowe is in his 26th year as the director of the University of Notre Dame Glee Club. He also serves as the conductor of Notre Dame’s Orchestra and Collegium Musicum. You cannot be in the same room with Dan without learning something, whether how to finesse the attack on a note, or how to achieve success and remain a man of humility. Dan stretches his students’ worldview; he consistently emphasizes the need to experience life outside of the rehearsal room, outside of the present day, outside of the country. He is principally concerned with the formation of conscientious citizens of the world, and his students’ true loyalty and respect is earned. He has a far-reaching knowledge that is the product of intense curiosity and commitment to doing the work. His passion for learning is a natural partner of the dichotomy that is music: an analytical exercise to be carefully approached and studied, and an act of creation justified and beautiful for its own sake. From your students–thank you.
Angie Doctor is a phenomenal jazz voice teacher. She has built a jazz vocal program at Ruth Asawa school of the arts from nothing. She works tremendously hard to accommodate all of her students needs and has changed many students lives through jazz music. Ms. Doctor doesn’t give up on her students and often stays till 7 or 8pm each night to make sure every student has the repertoire and information they need to thrive.
Mr. Comeaux is the most dedicated band director I know. From the way he talks to his students, to pushing us to be our best selfs (musically and emotionally), to how every little detail for our week is posted and thoroughly reminded to us every day, to the way he conducts the beautiful timbre of our music. He goes far beyond what’s expected of him and strives to leave his students with life lessons that they can take with them far into life.
Mr. Boardman was an incredibly astounding and captivating choral director from the first time I met him. He only teaches at the high school level, but he strives for excellence from all his students during each and every performance. His passion for educating and dedication to his craft can be not only heard, but felt whenever listening to his choirs perform. Mr. Boardman makes a point of always teaching his students how to work dynamically when learning difficult pieces, while also teaching them to work cohesively as one unit to produce the best sound possible. I am truly honored to say that Mr. Boardman was my choral director through high school, and I will carry the passion for music that he gave me for the rest of my life.
Yair Corral Villegas
He is a children choir teacher in Sonora, México. He is helping them to learn and joy the blessing of music through choral music in boys and girls from 6 -21 years old. He has no profit and they have an invitation to sing in Chengdù, China in July 2019. Find him on facebook yair corral coro infantil de hermosillo.
Mr. Allgair is a phenomenal band director who cares about each of his students and takes the time to get to know each one individually. He comes in everyday with a smile and tells corny jokes to make his students laugh or roll their eyes. He takes the time to make sure each of his students are doing well academically, and offers to help them find help when they are struggling. He radiates joy and shares his love of music with each of his students and is an all around great person, in and out of the classroom.
It is with great honor that I write to you in support of Michelle Shmuel as an EW “Teacher Of The Week”. While Michelle is clearly an outstanding professional, mentor, musician and teacher, I believe she should be viewed foremost as an outstanding leader. After years of setting the standard as a “young” teacher, Michelle has now transitioned to a “seasoned veteran” who leads by example on a daily basis for not only her students but co-workers as well. Michelle’s unwavering approach to her daily tasks as an educator is a beacon of professionalism for all to see. She truly displays the philosophy that she is teaching young adults how to be better HUMAN BEINGS through singing, as opposed to simply becoming a good musician. She runs three choirs, as well as numerous smaller chamber groups with over 200 students enrolled. It does not matter what level of performer you are, if you are willing to put the work in, she is willing to give her time to teach you. Truly Inspirational!
Mr. Andrew Robinson
Our school has never seen a more dedicated, passionate teacher than Mr. Robinson. Everyday he motivates his students not only to learn great music but to be amazing people. Through the short time he has been at Munster High School, he has brought so much love to our choirs and has allowed us to have such amazing experiences including singing at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Mr. Whitacre himself. He never gives up on us even when we seem hopeless. He is incredibly humble and he’s always there for his students. He has touched our hearts and changed our lives for the better. All of us are so incredibly lucky to have him, and I know we will never have a director as amazing as Mr. Robinson ever again. He is truly one of a kind.
Martha Helen Schmidt
Ms. Schmidt has taught me and so many other students what it is to love music. She has spent her whole life writing and teaching, and I am so blessed to have been taught by someone with an enormous amount of talent in just one finger tip.
Dr. René Clausen
I nominate Dr. Rene Clausen at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. For over 20 years, he has taken his students on a personal journey; learning about music, learning about themselves. He is lighthearted and funny, serious and intense. His search for excellence in each and every sound is infectious. A simple 8-part E-chord was enough to cleanse my soul from whatever I carried on my shoulders. I came to choir to sing and left with a family. I will always remember the wink and smile after the final cutoff, “Happy Birthday” on the piano, and his stunning ability to pull a limerick out of thin air. Experiencing choral music the way I did with him, in his choir, is something I will never have again, and will cherish forever.
Emmanuella Mazile teaches choir at Lowell Scott Middle School. She’s only in her second year of teaching and has already made such a difference in their music program and in the lives of her students. Her kids come to class excited to learn because she engages them with respect, humor, and love. They’re not just learning songs in Miss Mazile’s class; they’re learning how to be musicians. Parents, teachers, and students alike recognize how beautifully–and quickly–she’s transformed an “easy A” choir class into a high-quality music education. Emmanuella is an incredible, natural teacher and advocate for kids who are often navigating a tumultuous period of their lives. I met Emmanuella in college while we were both studying music. I’m so immensely proud of her and thankful to call her my best friend; she’s a daily source of inspiration for me and I’m absolutely thrilled for all of the students in the years to come who will get to learn music from Miss Mazile.
Chris Koehn treats every child he encounters at the Coweta band room as his own. There have been so many nights where he has slept at the band room because we have gotten back so late from an event and he still has stuff to do. During marching season, he and his wife (one of our other directors) put in some of their own money to make our show as great as possible. Mr. Koehn is one of the most compassionate and loving people that I have ever met and it is impossible to describe how great he is. He knows when we’re havibg an off day and does everything in his power to change that. He pushes all of us to do our best everyday yet never yells at us when he knows we could have done better. Mr. Koehn is one of the greatest men I have ever met and I wish every person had the chance to sit and learn under him or just be able to talk to him.
Ms. Chandler is an outstanding teacher that motivates her students with her great creative talents.
Dr. Paul Torkelson
Dr. Paul Torkelson is the director of choral studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. He directs the Symphonic Choir, the Nevada Chamber Singers and teaches choral conducting. He has conducted many All-State choirs and is frequently a guest clinician at state ACDA conventions. Many students call him Dr. T. Dr. T is an amazing inspiration to me as well as many students that sing for him. He challenges us to think critically when it comes to singing with technique and text stress. He encourages his singers to sing with passion and think about what the music means to them. Dr. T has invited his singers to sing in Carnegie Hall and Europe through the MidAmerica Productions. Dr. T, your kindness, compassion and dedication has greatly impacted many singers. Thank you, Dr. T!
Mrs. Ubrig is the current High School Choir Director at Mesquite High School, but when I was with her she was the Choir Director at Alhambra High School in Phoenix, AZ. Mrs. Ubrig made choir a place that everyone could call home, regardless of what our actual home life was like. She inspired so many of us to be passionate about music. Within the 2004-2006 graduating class, 3 of us went on to become Choir Directors. Even now, as I am directing my own choir, I think of her often and how much she meant to me. She changed my life forever and I know is still doing the same for many others.