Mr. Robert Vandergriff
For a decade, our school had two completely horrible choir directors. In only four years, Mr. Vandergriff has taken our choral program to the next level. Every day the choir students at Oscar A Carlson are excited to sing and learn something new. He has forever changed music for so many students. The memories made in his class are unforgettable and some of the happiest times. With him directing us, we came in second at a national competition. It didn’t matter that we didn’t get first, we came from a small city in the midwest all the way to New York and we all were excited to just be there. He’s created so many opportunities for his students to learn and grow even as he’s growing himself as an educator. I am beyond excited to see where our program will be next year and beyond sad that I am coming close to leaving. Because of him, I decided that I want to be a music teacher and help change the world one student at a time, just as he’s changed mine and countless others.
Professor Kartman is the Cello Professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and is one of the finest in his field. He does whatever it takes in order for his students to grow and achieve what it is they desire. He puts in countless hours and so dedicates so much of his spare time to his students and gives them everything he can. He teaches us valuable life skills and life lessons while teaching us artistry and musicianship. He is a selfless teacher and Is able to teach students to perfect their craft as well as mold them into true artists. He evokes joy and nothing but a positive atmosphere for his studio.
Mrs. Stovall has always been caring for all of her students. She has created a classroom where every individual who walks through the door can feel accepted by her and the students that she teaches. Before our first concert this year, she told us that, our theme for this year, is “Be Kind.” Ever since my ninth grade year, she has taught me to have passion for every single song that I come in contact with, because every piece has a special importance to it. She has told us while singing a song, to, “Sing it to death.”, meaning, to put all of our passion, and our power, to every single word in the piece. We would not be able to achieve that, without her. She is compassionate, caring, honest, kind, wise, and admirable. I would like to say, on the behalf of everyone that you have taught, who you are teaching, and those of which you will teach, thank you so much for all you do.
Mrs. Stovall is the choral teacher at Gray’s Creek High School in North Carolina. She touches each and every one of the students who passed through her door. She not only teaches us how to sing but also teaches us about the impact each song should have on the audience. She offers a safe space for students to grow and gain a family inside the school and out. I aspire to one day be as talented as Mrs. Stovall. She has led so many students to become not only great musicians but great people. She truly deserves this!!!
Levi has taken our HS choir from being on its knees to something more than amazing! He has taught our kids and continues to teach them the power of not only their voice but their worth as a human! He has a heart not of gold but of diamond! I’m proud that the students of Alvin HS get to learn from him and have a mentor as amazing as he!
Mr. Duncan is an amazing choir director. He gets involved with the students and makes his classroom a safe place for us to be ourselves. Mr. Duncan stays after school everyday to help his students. He encourages us to be our best.
He’s an amazing choir director and is really passionate about making Alvin choir the best it could ever be. He cares about our feelings and our mental stability he treats us as family and goes above and beyond to provide us with and amazing high school experience.
Mr. Duncan is such a great teacher. He brought our choir program up SOOO much from the beginning of the year to now. He’s helped us become better musically and as students and better people in general. He’s always there for us with what ever we need. We’ve helped him get used to a new school and all new kids. I nominate Levi Duncan because he truly deserves this honor.
A good teacher catalyzes learning, but a great teacher inspires passion. Levi stays after school with students every day, pushing them beyond the limits they’ve created for themselves. Levi also started a community choir, the Southeast Texas Vocal Artists to provide a safe place for musicians from all walks of life to come together and perform. Levi’s passion for his students goes far beyond the classroom, and far beyond the music realm. When hurricane Harvey devastated southeast Texas, I was a freshman in college with no way to return home due to the freeways being shut down. My mother sent me pictures of the volunteers demolishing our home, all ravaged by five feet of water. Amongst those volunteers was Levi Duncan. I was no longer his student, but he was in my home- dust mask and dirty clothes- helping us rebuild. 1000 characters is not enough to go into all he has done for same, but I know I speak for the entire community when I say Levi has made a tremendous impact on us all.
Ross S. Sterling High School’s Levi Duncan is hands down the most inspirational, life-changing, and hardworking choir director I have ever encountered in my time as a musician. His instinct of recognition for potential is amazing, and the way he harnesses that potential is astounding. Myself, along with countless others, have been fortunate enough to have been recognized by Mr. Duncan at such a young age and be introduced to our personal inner musicians that he saw laying inside of us. Along with pushing us extensively musically, he encourages us to grow morally and professionally, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Mr. Craig Luft
Mr. Luft is a small town band director for the middle and high school bands. He cares about more than just the music and the sound we make, he cares about all of us students with his whole heart! He deserves the world and would do anything for any of us. Mr. Luft stays after school and talks to students that need to get something off their chest, or needs to figure out that one part that they can’t quite get yet. He brought the music program back to life in Corunna, and we are more than thankful for all that he does for us.
2018 Kentucky Teacher of The Year winner, Mrs. (upcoming Dr.) Kellie Clark is the choral director at Randall K. Cooper Highschool. Her engaging teaching methods and passion for spreading the joy of music among her students led her to being Kentucky’s TOTY and invited to teach at the University of Kentucky. Rarely is there a rehearsal without Mrs. Clark bouncing to the rhythm of the music or swaying to the lines of our sounds. Mrs. Clark’s constant push for excellence results in a district recognized choral program with students who WANT to make music!
My teacher, Mr. Klein is a loving and caring teacher who does nothing less than impress the entire choir ever single day. He gives us all joy and happiness and never fails to make sure we have our heads on straight. He is intelligent, hard working, and most of all genuine. He never lets you walk into the choir room doors without a good morning and a wink!
Mr. Orofino is an amazing vocalist as well as an amazing person. Every morning he comes into Chamber Choir with a smile on his face and eagerness to not only teach us how to sing and become better people, but also to learn more himself. He is a brilliant person that absolutely loves what he does, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He is always ALWAYS willing to help a student when they’re less than 100%, even if that’s not him all the time. He has been such an inspiring mentor to me for the years that I’ve known and worked with him, and he’s inspired me to pursue music in college. He has taught me how to be better at what I love to do, sing. Not only does he direct three different choirs, but he also is the vocal director for our school’s musicals, and he sings in his own choir (CAE Portland). He works so hard every day, and every day he is a better person and educator because of that. I am very thankful for everything that he had taught me about music and myself so far.
Mrs. L not only makes sure her students are understanding the material, but also genuinely cares if her students are okay. She makes it obvious she is dedicated to her job through the way she treats her students as people rather than an undertaking. Teachers like Mrs. L are the reason kids make it through high school whether they go into a music based career afterwards or not.
As a choral director, Mrs. Lagier has taught me and many others how to blossom as singers and how to truly unlock the potential of our voices. She never fails to push us to our limits with challenges and tough pieces, but she makes it all worth it with the outcomes of our performances. As a teacher, Mrs. Lagier is an amazing mentor and someone you know you can go to in rough times. In the months of February to April of this year, I was going through a rough time family-wise and she never failed to offer me a space to express my feelings and showed me that I do have someone to trust at school. In the 3 years I’ve had her as a choral director, she’s never failed to shock me with her kindness and her compassion, as well as her drive and her expectations of her students. She deserves the recognition of Teacher of the Week.
Mrs. Lagier is such a great teacher and just an amazing person overall. She’s helped me gain more confidence and is always so amazing to me and all of my classmates. She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had.
Mrs L had been by choir teacher for 4 years now. She is such a wonderful teacher and person, she always understands us kids and does what she can to help us.
Mrs. Lagier is so supportive of all her students and makes her room a safe and inclusive space for all. She pushes you to better your abilities and helps to build on them. She’s also almost always smiling and filled with positivity.
Mrs. Lagier is one of the most devoted and understanding teacher I have ever had. Her class is always the highlight of my day. Would never be as confident in my self as a artist if it wasn’t for her.
She is our school’s best choir director and instructor. As one of her students I’ve learnt more from her than anyone else. She’s shown great responsibility in her career and has never given up on a single student before. She comes to work most days with a smile on and rarely ever yells just to yell. I nominate her for the outstanding work she’s shown as a teacher and a person combined. She also has a very lovely voice.
The things this woman does for all of her students..it just gives your heart such a warm feeling. She is one of those teachers that you can go to with any questions or concerns. She never fails to have the choir room feel like a second home. Spartan Choir is like my second family, granted we are chaotic but that’s what all families are sometimes right? She deserves to be acknowledged for the things she does! she makes you want to work harder and push yourself to the highest limits. She puts a lot of love and care into whatever she does, She makes you feel like you will always have someone there for you. Outside of being a teacher, Shes just an outstanding mentor, she’s also an amazing mother, and an influential human being. I’ve been with her for about 4 years now and I can honestly say choir with her is always the highlight of my day.
Mrs. Abell has been teaching for 20 years, nine of which have been at my school. She has put in countless hours working with us, staying late after school for musical rehearsal and coming in at 7:30 every morning for Jazz Choir. Her choirs have competed around the world, and received countless excellent and superior ratings. More than that, she is a caring and compassionate person with a love for teaching music.
Mr. Wright is a kindhearted and caring man who loves each of his students with such a heart that it amazes me. He is someone who never gives up on his students and personally impacts me as more than just a teacher. He does his job not because he has to but because he loves to. He deserves this more than anyone else I know.
Mandy Mikita Scott
Mandy is an encouraging, kind person through and through. She supports her students after graduation in all their endeavours throughout all of the districts she has instructed. When she was tough with me, it was because I needed someone to hold me accountable and it made me buckle down and focus. When I graduated, she told me to never stop singing, and I’m sure if I hadn’t been encouraged I wouldn’t have. I now am a singer, songwriter, and recording artist and through her vocal training I know how to harness my talents, and through her example, I have patience and love for my fellow family in life.
I say it all the time— Mrs. Scott is one of the people who has most impacted me in my life. Her big heart and postivie attitude have helped mold me into the person I am today. Even though I graduated over five years ago, she and her husband still open their home to me, offering tea and homemade sweets.
Mandy Scott is a high school choral director in Rockford, Michigan. I was blessed to have Mandy as my choral director my freshmen and sophomore year. Under her direction we received top ratings at choral festivals. We were also selected to perform at our state’s Youth Arts Festival. I greatly value the musical skills Mandy has taught me. She was such an inspiration in my life that I decided to pursue teaching and am now a music teacher myself. Mandy does much more than teach music, however. She encourages each of her students to be compassionate towards others. In her classroom there is a perfect blend of teaching life skills and musical skills. It is clear from being in her class room that her goal is shape well rounded and respectful young adults first and high preforming musicians second. I am nominating Mandy Scott because she is and always has been a role model for high school students needing a place to feel a sense of belonging. I was one of those student.
Mandy Scott is caring, compassionate, selfless, hard working, gives unconditional love, kind, and so much more! Thank you for all that you have taught me! I appreciate you!
Mandy Scott is as remarkable a choral educator as I’ve ever met. The energy she puts into teaching and encouraging musical excellence in her students is only overshadowed by the energy she puts into ensuring that each of her students feels loved and supported. She is a fierce advocate for each of her students and makes the choir classroom a safe place for all to be themselves. I could mention the Rockford Commission Project, which has brought nearly 30 new works into the world in 10 years, or the conference performances and awards, but it really comes down to the connection she makes with her students, and the difference she makes in their lives.
Mrs. Scott is an amazing, talented, and loving choral instructor and teacher. She pushes students of all kinds to be there best self, no matter what they bring to the choir and classroom. Mrs. Scott encourages her students to be a team, and she provides family environment for her choirs and classes. Her creativity and passion is seen in all she does. Mrs. Scott deserves to be awarded the best of the best.
Mrs. Scott is one of the most respected teachers in her field, and for good reason. Mrs. Scott has always put people first. She taught me how to be a person through the avenue of music. Ever since the day I walked into her classroom, for the first time, Mrs. Scott has pushed/motivated me to improve in all areas of my life. She encouraged me to pursue a career as a music educator, for which I am so thankful. As I began my collegiate music studies, I truly realized how unusual and outstanding my high school choir experience really was. When discussing my experience with peers in college, they were often in awe of what I had already experienced in high school. These experiences being so normal to me, goes to show Mrs. Scott’s standards and program are consistently extraordinary. I have built my high school choir program to model her program in any way I can. I encourage every student I have pursuing a music education degree, to spend time in her choir room.
Mandy is a choir teacher in Rockford, Michigan. She has a very rare gift for teaching. She exemplifies kindness, patience, determination, musical and personal excellence, and practices lifelong learning. I could talk about the wonderful things that choirs under her direction have done, speak to the great number of students who she has inspired to pursue a career in music education and the arts (myself included), and the connection that her particular style of education builds with her students, but they doesn’t address her most important impact of her teaching. She inspires her students not only to be excellent, sensitive musicians, but even more importantly inspires them to be excellent people. Just over 15 years later, I’m STILL unpacking the lessons I’ve learned from Mrs. Scott. Thank you, Mrs. Scott, for your continued impact on SO MANY lives.
She’s the greatest!
Mandy Scott has made a lasting impression on her students, inspiring them to keep singing well beyond their high school graduation. 13 years after graduating from Mandy’s choirs, I still sing in community choirs because of the feeling of community and fulfilment it gives me. Many of my fellow students have also continued to sing in community choirs, inspired like me by Mandy’s love of music. Mandy exposes her students to a wide variety of music. Under her direction at Grosse Pointe North, I had the opportunity to sing vocal jazz (which I continued in college), Buddhist pali script, Swahili, French folk songs, and an original setting of an Emily Dickinson poem. This variety of musical styles and languages opened up my and my peers’ minds to the world around us and outside of Michigan, and taught us to be more accepting and adventurous of other cultures. I am forever grateful to Mandy for both broadening my horizons and making me feel at home in her choir room.
Having left the choir/show choir world in middle school, I was content to be unseen and in the background. Fate would see a reunion if a middle School show choir to bring a past love of stage to the attention of Mrs. Scott who through an endless amount of encouragement and patience guided me back to a path that allowed me to express myself and grow comfortable being in the spotlight. She helped me move past insecurities to try and be a role model to others and gained presentation skills that are still used today as a leader at a billion dollar mortgage company. Mrs. Scott didn’t just teach skills, she changed lives and I don’t want to think where mine could have been without her in it.
Mrs. Scott always makes her students feel heard, welcome, and important. She uses music to reach across difference and she never fails to have a smile on her face every single day. She was the best part of my high school experience and I’m a better person for having taken choir with her.
Mrs. Scott has taught our Rockford High School program so much and everyone who walks into the choir room is immediately overwhelmed by love and feels safe. She is always finding new ways to improve our sound collectively by teaching us specific techniques in smaller groups. She dedicates so much of her time to her students and to many of us it’s not just choir, it’s a family. I have made the best of friends in her choir classes because she brings together the best type of people. She deserves so much and expects so little, I admire her for everything that she is, she is truly a one of a kind woman, teacher, and friend!
Mandy Scott is the most genuine, kind, caring, soul that I have ever known. Her love and dedication to her students are beyond words I can express. She works relentlessly to help her students learn to be good musicians, but more importantly to be good humans. She has the ability to know exactly what each of her individual students need to succeed and wants all of them to grow into the best possible versions of themselves. There is no judgement, ever. She understands that each student comes with their own unique stories. I have had the pleasure of working with Mandy for the last 10 years. I am still learning from her every day.
I’ve always gotten to brag about my high school choir teacher because she is one of the absolute best. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased, students from other schools would tell me how lucky I was to have her and that they wished she was their teacher. Mandy is incredibly talented, I’ve learned all of my best choral skills from her and I will never forget them. Not only is she bursting with talent and ability, she is the kindest, most down to earth human being I’ve ever met. She makes each and every one of her students feel special, and she has a LOT of students. She takes the time and effort to make each one of her students feel seen and heard. Mandy Scott deserves the world, and I can confidently say many agree.
Mrs. Scott made music come alive for me, and I honestly think for everyone in the Rockford Choirs. I walked into freshman choir with a love of music, but little understanding of choral singing, reading music, and performance. She teaches and appreciates each member equally, meeting everyone where they’re at. She made my high school career what it was by cultivating a welcoming environment and creating so many unique opportunities for us. With Rockford Choirs, I was able to learn to read music, participate in solo and ensemble competitions, and travel to Europe.
Mandy started teaching at Rockford High when I was a sophomore – which was at least ten years ago. Our choir program was slowly going downhill and our previous director was close to retiring. She and her husband rebuilt the program and pushed it to even greater excellence than before. She works to, not only educate her students about music and singing, but advocate for healthy lifestyles, inclusivity and better mental health! She is an incredible, positive light in our community and has pushed many, including myself, to be the best person and musician they can be!
Mandy Scott nurtures musical excellence, inclusion, and safety in her class. She inspired me to pursue musical theater as a career, and now, I’ll be graduating from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music in May. I don’t think I would ever feel like this was an actual possibility for me if it were not for Mandy and her teaching. My life path has been permanently influenced by the beautiful work she does.
She is an amazing choir teacher she deserves this honor she really has a love for music and her students I should know I am former choir member from north high school.
She always reminds us that we have a place to go. She truly cares for us like a mother. And to everyone she might as well be a second mom.
In the harsh climate of navigating high school, Mrs. Scott was able to bring focus to our daily life in the hour we were able to spend with her every day and create beautiful music that still resonates with me 11 years after graduation. Her music selection and direction has stuck with me into my 30s and I frequently think of her and her style when I listen to my favorite choral music (Eric Whitacre or Christmas). She has had a huge and lasting impact on my life.
Mrs. Scott works to create excellence in our choirs while still caring for all of her students. She is so intentional in the way she relates to everyone, and she truly cares about her students lives. She pushes us to work hard, be kind, and be ourselves. Mrs. Scott is one of the few teachers that beautifully balances intentionality and care along with hard work and excellence. Rockford is luck to have her as an employee , but her students are even more lucky to have her as a mentor and educator.
I am nominating Mandy Scott because not only is she a fantastic choral teacher and director, but a fantastic human. She cares about all of her students physical and mental health and always has a smile on her face. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than my choral director Mandy Scott!!
Mrs. Scott has always been the light of the school day. She’s always happy and she’s such a strong woman. No matter what the issue is, she puts a smile on her face and always finds a way to get through the hard times. She’s also a great musician and leader and I really admire her. :)
Mrs. Adelung makes a really personal connection with her students and you feel a special bond with her. She’s no ordinary teacher, she’s like your school mom. She’s a person that cares about a students way past their education but how they are as a person. She’s instilled a seed of confidence in me that I thought I lost during my years in high school and she really works hard at what she does and deserves a little more recognition than she receives. She’s a wonderful teacher but an even better ‘Mentor’ and she’s truly loved by all that are blessed to have her as a teacher.
Mrs. Hovey has touched many people’s hearts by bringing them closer to music not only by teaching them but by guiding them to the deeper meaning of what the music is saying. Mrs. Hovey has a music program in a high school of less than 200 people yet she has quieted as many as 10 students in the last 3 years to become music teachers as well. She is the greatest influence I know and to many she is the hardest working most passionate human about music in the area.
Dr. Gackle is a literal angel— I mean it. When we sit in her office and chat I know for a fact that she is heaven sent. She is an incredible choral musician. She programs music in a way that tugs deeply at your heartstrings. She gives music a story that everyone can relate to, or relates it to an anecdotal time in her life. She doesn’t choose music that is emotionless. Every week, I look forward to our Tuesday/Thursday rehearsals so I can continue to fall more in love with choral music and center myself in what the songs make me feel. She is an incredible educator and I am so lucky and grateful to know her.
Britlin Lee Furst
Britlin is by far the most wonderful and kind vocal coach a person could ask for. She is talented, considerate, and most importantly really knowledgeable on the subject she teaches. She’s just amazing.
Britlin makes every lesson fun. She is always prepared and goes above and beyond when figuring out how to have her students get the best results.
Mr. Brian Stevenson
Mr. Stevenson is the choral director at Plainfield High School, CT. Day after day his students learn not only how to be better musicians, but better people. I can happily say that thanks to Mr. Stevenson I want to work in a school just like him. I am going to be a senior in the fall, and I can assure you that these past few years with Mr. Stevenson have shaped me into the person I am today. He is extremely selfless and humble, a teacher for all of the right reasons! When I entered high school I had absolutely no confidence in myself, but because of him I am able to tackle more challenges than I ever thought I would be able to. Mr. Stevenson genuinely cares about every single student, so he will always be my teacher of the week, every single week.
He has been changing kids lives with music since he first started at Plainfield High School. He touches the hearts of every kid he teaches. He is an amazing choir director and is loved by many.
Stevenson is great not only because he’s a great teacher but because he unconditionally cares about his students. He cares and loves us all deeply as much as we love him. He’s an amazing role model and father figure. He knows when to get us into better moods with his incredible humor, he’s always there for us and we all know it. Every one loves being around him and being in his class.
Sean Hurley is a middle school choral director. Sean has posted us (8th grade choir) singing Eric Whitacre’s The Seal Lullaby on YouTube. Eric responded with: thank you for bringing this piece to life. Sean goes out of his way to make his choirs sound great. Sean also cares deeply about every individual student. He teaches out life lessons. Sean teachers for that choir, he teaches us how to be a human.
I’m a rising sophomore at Cedar Ridge High School, NC. In middle school, we didn’t have the best choir program. When I got to high school, I auditioned for choir and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Ms. Phillips has made me fall in love with choir. She loves what she does and she puts so much effort into our choir program, despite the county only giving the choir program $350 per year. Ms. P changes the lives of every student in her program, and I honestly can’t say enough about her. She doesn’t get enough recognition for how amazing she is. Ms. Phillips is hard-working, and also acts as her students’ stand-up comedian and therapist. Again, I honestly can’t say enough about Ms. Phillips. She has pretty much changed my life, and I’m sure all of her other students would say the same. She manages to teach us not only about music, but about every other part of life. I would not be the person I am now without Ms. Phillips.
Mr. Brent Whitaker
Mr. Whitaker is one of those people that believes that teaching a subject is not just teaching the subject. He would teach us music, but foremost, he taught us about life and how music enforces the lessons we learn in life. Things like discipline, focus, hard work, dedication, active listening, and many more things shaped our choir to become one of the best in the state! I believe that if it weren’t for what Mr. Whitaker taught us, I might have become someone with a lacking in core values as a person. I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I do because I followed his example! He is truly one of a kind!