Ms. Herron is legitimately the best choir teacher I’ve ever had in my entire life. She picks excellent music to learn and always pushes me to my limits. If I hadn’t been one of her students, I would have never been able to reach my fullest potential. She always believes in me and what I can do, and never hesitates to help me when I need it. She sacrifices so much time to make our music department a better place. I will miss her so dearly when I graduate.
Ms Herron is the reason I fell in love with music! She shows each student so much respect and takes time to make sure they understand what they are learning. The only thing above her dedication to her students is her dedication to music. I used to sing for shallow and dull reasons. But, under Ms Herron’s leadership, I began to grow a true passion for the music I was singing. In times when I have been unable to be proud of myself, she has been proud of me. Ms Herron carefully cultivates each student’s knowledge so they can flourish and grow to love music truly.
Mr. Reiche is a once-in-a-lifetime individual. Not only is he our band AND choir director, but he also directs our jazz band and marching band at Pen Argyl High School in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania. He is incredibly well rounded! The amount of responsibility he holds within Pen Argyl’s music program and the school itself is an imperative part to the school’s atmosphere as a whole. Although a seemingly rough individual, Mr. Reiche’s expectations and attitudes towards his students set the bar high for individual and ensemble success. He has a kind heart, using it to help others in and outside of his community. He is always quick to crack a joke, as well as tell us a story about a funny event he’s recently experienced. Every rehearsal with him is filled with smiles. Plus, he is the reason I transferred to Pen Argyl High School in the first place! Thank you, Mr. Reiche, for all you’ve done for me, your community, your students, and our school!
Our choir director, Mrs. Schroeder has pushed us in the healthiest manner possible to succeed in everything our choir has always been scared of. From day one she set the minimum standard of maximum effort. We began our year with the key rule of: Once walk into this room, it’s all in this room. Let the rest of the world leave your mind for this time. As a whole choir, we chose to agree on her push. This meant Bach Chorales every day, more difficult pieces of literature, extra rehearsals outside of school, and to learn about each composer who arranged/wrote our literature. For the first time in years, our choir got 2nd in our league, with that we are going to state! This would not have been a thought in our minds if Mrs. Schroeder hadn’t put her whole mind, heart, body, and soul into this group and the whole choir program at our school. She has become the most influential person I have met in my life. She expressed true confidence in me. She is the reason I am pursuing music ed.
Ms. Ito is the best teacher in the entire world, she is super good at conducting and takes all our suggestions that help better our sound as a choir and she always puts a lot of emotion into it which helps me feel the power of the piece if I had previously been ambivalent or disconnected from it. Also, she teaches me how to conduct and the patterns, she is also super good at teaching us and she makes learning music super accessible and helps me understand complex concepts by simplifying them and explaining them in personalized ways that I would understand. She is a genius and has great taste in choral music and she is a silly goose.
Ms. Kelly Jones redefines what it means to be an extraordinary educator. Her passion for music extends to every one of her students and is recognized by her peers. She can often be found scheduling rehearsals, performances, and opportunities for her students to become incredible musicians. The classroom is her arena. From the minute the bell rings to the end of class, students are engaging in rigorous material. What makes Ms. Jones so unique is she has found a way for students to not be discouraged by difficult work. Students are curious, excited, determined, and motivated to work through pieces and create beautiful music. These students would not have been able to reach their true potential without Ms. Jones. To be a “fly on the wall” in her classroom is a privilege. Watching her work is like watching Mozart create a masterpiece. I can honestly say that having Ms. Jones as my teacher has changed my life for the better. As a future music educator, I hope to be half the teacher she is
Katie is a beautiful light in everyone’s life. She goes above and beyond to make sure everyone sees how talented they really are!
She has picked me up from a lot of low points and is one of the people I trust most in life! She is a safe space and a kind soul who is always there for everyone! She listens and has great advice. Katie inspires all of the music nerds and is always full of jokes! She’s so talented! On top of having a beautiful singing voice, playing piano, organ and flute, and having perfect pitch…even her CURLS can direct people! 🖤 (Specifically curl #47-that’s the Soprano curl!) She always pushes people to their best potential. She brings out the talent in everyone and let’s them know NOT to be afraid to show it! She is not only a teacher but also a friend! I can’t think of anyone better who deserves this honor! We love you Katie Barton!
Ariel Bermitz Beahan
Mrs. Beahan has been a great teacher and someone I’ve looked up to for the past two years of my life. I moved to Florida as a freshman, and I was struggling a lot, and joining the choir program helped me significantly. She has been an amazing support and helped me grow so much not only as a musician but as a person. She has worked to build a community for the choir, where everyone feels safe and is able to be themselves, and not every program is like that. When I graduate high school, I strive to be like her, and eventually teach a choir, and build a community where kids are able to be themselves and grow. I really think she deserves the recognition she doesn’t always get at South Lake.
Mrs.Pinto is not just a teacher, but a role model, a friend, and a leader in our community. At the Visual and Performing Arts Academy in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she gives constructive feedback that elevates our skills as singers. Mrs.Pinto constantly wants the best for her students, and this desire is extended beyond the music world. For her students, she often provides community service opportunities, writes recommendations for future opportunities, and frequently offers help to meet future life goals. Outside of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School, she teaches children in the community music via the Virginia Children’s Chorus. It is clear by Mrs.Pinto’s actions towards her students that she does her job for her love of music and the students. Besides her impressive and lengthy resume, Mrs.Pinto typically includes at least one of Eric Whitacre’s compositions. She admires his work, and this award would be a great gift to show her our appreciation.
Mrs. Jennifer Porath has been an incredible director of the bands at Concordia Lutheran High School. She is incredibly dedicated to her program. She directs the high school band program in the morning and also goes to local middle schools to teach them how to best enable their gifts. We all grow and blossom under her direction. We are all taught how to take grasp of our talents and make them the best we can be. In this setting, we learn many ways to hone in our gifts, teach others, be servant leaders, and grow in respect for others. This community is a tight-knit family that is filled with love for each other and the love of God. We are blessed to be under her direction in our symphonic, concert, and marching band (we used your song in October for our 2021 marching show!). Mrs. Porath has learned much from her past director, Mrs. Mollering, but also continues to find her own ways of doing things. Much love from her symphonic band students!
I nominate Jack Kernochan, an attentive English teacher in Denver who makes people FEEL cherished, accepted and understood.
He recognizes 7th grade as a particularly critical time for developing self confidence and realization of how we matter in this world. He strives for racial and LGBTQ inclusion & accepts heat in his school for pushing back against outdated racist and exclusionary literature.
Last fall, one of his homeroom students was murdered. As the school encouraged everyone to move on and not discuss what happened, Jack got professional advice and was able to incorporate the student’s legacy intentionally as well as actively care for his current students’ emotions. As a choral teacher, I turn to music to grapple with deep emotions. I am amazed by Jack’s natural gift to do the same but using the art of literature and language.
By the way, Jack is marrying our daughter. We’re thrilled to welcome this amazing teacher into our family as well!
This woman is absolutely incredible. She inspires each and every one of her students to be better every single day. She ensures that her students feel included. She is the reason we got to attend the DCINY concert in New York with Whitacre. She worked so hard to put that trip together and it was an amazing experience for every student who was able to go. She has the kindest soul and music is truly her passion. She is wonderful with what she does and she deserves so much recognition.
Alberta “Smitty” Smith is a wonderful teacher and friend. She has put so much work and time into making me and my friends the best singers we can be, and helping us get the opportunity to sing with Eric Whitacre in New York. She is an inspiration to us all and I think she would be a perfect fit for the teacher of the week.
Ms. Cheng has shown an exceptional level of dedication to the choral program at Palisades Charter High School. After saving the choir program from being eliminated due to the pandemic, she invigorated the program with her passion for music and joyful spirit. In her tenure as director, she has led the program to be an award-winning ensemble that is set to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2024. She truly is inspiring the next generation of choral composers and conductors and giving us the tools to pursue collegiate music education at some of the finest institutions in the world. However, not only is she a wonderful vocalist and soprano, she truly lives to teach music. There are students in our choir program who can’t afford to eat breakfast before choir at 7:30 in the morning, so she takes money out of her paycheck to provide them with food. In addition to her generosity, she is also one of the most humble people I have come to know. There truly is no finer music educator than Ms. Cheng.
Mr. Griffith has been one of the biggest inspirations in my life. I speak for everyone in our schools choir when I say that he is the reason our small-town choir has achieved great things. He is beyond caring and treats all of us with utmost respect. He presents us with opportunities some of us would never have without him. This week we are even taking a trip to Chicago from our home in Southern Indiana. Mr. Griffith has taught me how to maintain discipline while also enjoying myself in the company of others. The impact he has made on me and the rest of his students is truly astronomical, and I could not ask for a better choir director. He reminds us every day of our worth and that we can do great things. As G once said “Why can’t you be amazing?”
I’ve had the distinct honor of having Ms. Blades as a teacher for the past 3 years now; I can firmly say that as an educator, she’s unparalleled. These past two years have been tough for her! She’s lost close, close family, and deals with an hour-long one way commute EVERYday, yet still finds the motivation to prioritize the well-being of her students. As we walk into C114 every morning, we’re met by a REAL teacher – one who never shies away from a lesson, no matter how tough; one who isn’t afraid to go against the flow to teach her students as best as she knows; a human who cares so deeply for every soul that walks into her room, that she recites a speech prior to every weekend: “Students, I love you very much! Have a wonderful weekend, stay safe, be safe, and come back and see me on Monday”.
Well, Ms. Blades, we know you’re retiring this year, but we hope that life treats you well, and that you stay in touch. Even though some of us might need more time to admit it, you’ve changed
I would like to nominate Jayne, the esteemed director of Fiddlesticks and a conductor of melodious fun (https://fiddlesticksperformingarts.com.au/about/), Jayne brings her exceptional expertise to our regional Australian town, serving as the concertmaster for our local community orchestra. Despite the challenges of a small and less experienced string section, she persists and serves as a motivating force, playing a pivotal role in making our performances exceptional. Instead of merely lamenting the decline of music education in our town, where public schools have ceased music classes and youth choirs have disbanded, Jayne works tirelessly to enhance music education for the young people in our community. Through her programs like Baby Beats, Toddle Tunes and Kinder Violin, Jayne demonstrates extraordinary patience and dedication by working with and inspiring musicians from an early age. In addition, she connects and promotes others in the community with a love for music and art.
She is an amazing teacher and an even better person. She goes above and beyond when it comes to her students. Miss.Hanson shares any and every opportunity that is available to us. She believes in each and every one of us and pushes us to be the best performer she knows we can be.
Christy Shinn is one of the most inspiring and caring teachers you could ever have! She has been teaching at Jackson High School for 26 years and I’ve had the opportunity to spend 3 of my years with her. Christy shares her love for music with everyone and makes a difference in many students lives. She cares for each and every student individually and goes out of her way to do things for our choir and help us grow. She practices with every student to make them feel confident in anything music related, helping build a strong choir in the end and achieving Exemplary ratings at State Contests. As a student going into Music Education, I’m honored and blessed to have had Christy as one of my choir teachers. I look back at my time at Jackson High School and wish this could happen forever. She has touched many hearts and she will stay in my heart forever.
Christy’s quotes: “Wear your seatbelts and tell your parents you love them!”
Mr Kentros, our choir teacher has always been a great inspiration to me and other students. He taught me everything I know about singing and handles everything in a mature and professional way. He guided us to winning the Utah Shakespeare festival choir competition this year, and last year he led us to win a competition in San Diego, California. I’m eternally grateful for his contribution to my life, and I’m sure my peers would agree. He’s an amazing person, teacher, husband, and father to his children, Audrey and Danny. Truly one of the best people I know.
Mr. Berg is by far one of the most dedicated and passionate teachers I’ve ever met; whether he is conducting the choir gracefully during a concert or leading during an all-school mass, Mr. Berg takes great pleasure in sharing the gift of music and the beauty it beholds with others in hopes of sharing with them the joy music brings to him. He also is very dedicated to his profession as a choir teacher and makes the students his top priority. He cares very deeply about the students in choir and encourages everyone to reach their fullest potential as choir members. With the insightful feedback he gives each of us, whether it is as a choir or as individual singers, he sees the potential in everyone and encourages them to use that to their advantage. Mr. Berg has not only inspired me to become a better singer, but to also share the gift of music with others. I can’t be anymore thankful to have him as my choir teacher!
Sarah’s story as a first year teacher is a unique one. A school district called in October saying they needed her for a substitute position, as the current teacher had resigned. Sarah enthusiastically took the job. When she arrived in the classroom Monday morning, she had her work cut out for her. The previous teacher left the classroom bare with no supplies. Yet, Sarah’s focus was on making sure the students were taken care of, loved, and safe. Within a week, Sarah had that classroom running so smoothly with a structured schedule, small groups, students walking in a straight line, and quiet voices in the hallway. Her efforts were recognized by the administration and teachers. One teacher walked into the classroom amazed at how students were sitting and listening to a story. Within weeks of starting as a substitute, Sarah was given a full-time offer. Sarah is a trailblazer and advocates for students with special needs. She is an invaluable team player.