Dr Mikhail (Misha) Shtangrud
Dr Misha Shtangrud is the Artistic Director of MUSYCA Children’s Choir and Director of Vocal Ensembles at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, but I am nominating him because of my experience with him in his role as Artistic Director of the Burbank Chorale. Misha is an enthusiast, warm, kind, energetic and inspiring teacher. At the Burbank Chorale, he has a wide range of talent levels to work with, and he is appreciative and encouraging to all. Recently, Misha conducts virtual choir rehearsals through Zoom. He is a one man show! He sings all of the parts, is colorful and dramatic and engaging as he teaches the parts and the pronunciation of different languages. He encourages the singers as if he can actually hear them. He personally transforms our sometimes not so elegant submissions into virtual choir presentations that we our proud to share with friends and family. I am so grateful for the work he and others are doing to keep the Burbank Chorale alive.
His district was the only one nearby that wouldn’t allow middle school band or choir to happen in person, even though the two other close districts were ok with it. On Feb 1st, he was able to have his first band class, with a room divided by sheet plastic and a framework to keep the cohorts and himself separate. He persevered through the first 5 months of school teaching a middle school general music exploratory and covering spare blocks for other teachers with the hopes of restarting his band/choir classes. Towards the end of this week, the province of BC made new, stricter guidelines and he may lose the ability to have his classes after only 4 days…..
Ms. Whiteoak, the choir director at Airport High School, MI, has been my choir director for almost 5 years now, and she is one of my biggest inspirations. She has helped me to become a better singer, and she has always been there for me when times were tough. I am planning on majoring in music education, and a lot of the reason for that is that she has inspired me to do so. Ms. Whiteoak has always been such a fun, caring, and passionate person. She makes choir a safe space for everyone in it, and is always available to talk to. It is clear that she loves both her students and music greatly. I don’t think there is anyone in our choirs that doesn’t like her; she’s just that friendly and sociable. Personally, she has always believed in me and my dreams. I strive to be like her someday when I am teaching, and I know I won’t ever forget her influence on me!
Heather Ann Krasner
Heather works tirelessly to deliver fun, engaging and informative lessons for her K-6 general music students in Amherst, MA, USA. Teaching on Zoom is a challenge yet Heather is warm, funny and energetic. Besides planning meaningful content for her students, she received grants so each of her students has a xylophone at home and Heather also helps assemble weekly book bags in addition to her music duties. Heather serves as an ally-leader in her school’s work on social justice, serving as a peer mentor for colleagues who engage in weekly dialogues and professional goal setting. She is truly a leader in all capacities and her students are so lucky to have her!
His choir was the only reason I bothered going to high school. He was patient, fun, kind, and extremely funny – he told us hilarious stories from years back that would make me laugh till I cried! He treated everyone equally, regardless of how their voice sounded. He pushed us, encouraged us, led us and helped each of us. He wasnt just a teacher – he was a friend. A good, genuine, wonderful friend.
Mrs. Hurley is my choir director at Franklin County High School. It would be an understatement to say she has had a major impact on my life, as well as other students’ lives. She has created a welcoming, safe environment for students from every walk of life. She is resilient, passionate, and is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. She will laugh with you, cry with you, be angry with you…whatever you need, she will always be there; even outside of school, she will check up on you. She goes out of her way to make sure her students feel loved and encouraged. She makes music come alive in ways I, personally, never thought to be possible. She considers and examines every lyric, but allows her students to interpret the music however they would like. It’s safe to say that Mrs. Hurley is my biggest inspiration. She has inspired me to take on music education myself, as I wish to have the same impact on my future students as she has on hers.
Mr. Marteney, the choir director for the Heath district in Ohio, goes above and beyond for his students with his cheerful and hard-working method of teaching. He encourages his students to perform to the best of their abilities. Classes are filled with an environment every teacher wants — hard work with an atmosphere full of laughter and community. He also promotes an open and caring environment between the choirs, often with exercises that focus on working together to solve problems — such as crossing a “river” without leaving anyone behind. The emphasis on community is felt, seen, and heard by everyone that witnesses it. When you walk by Mr. Marteney’s classroom, you hear joy in the laughter of his students and in the incredible range of music that they perform. His motto of “One Voice” spreads beyond the closed doors of the choir room and stays with every student that works with him.
Dr. Matthew Fritz
Dr. Fritz has been my favorite professor at Elizabethtown College since I started here as a freshman. He has always created and fun, safe space for his students and shared his love of music with us. I have always said concert choir is the best part of my week and many of my classmates agree. Dr. Fritz has a heart of gold and is an incredible educator and over all an amazing human being. I think he deserves to be acknowledged for all he has done for his students!
Mrs. Leah Purdy
Mrs. Leah Purdy, the choir and musical theatre director at North Platte High School in North Platte, Nebraska, has been a true beacon of hope throughout this pandemic. She made it known to her students that when our 2020 musical, “West Side Story,” was shut down the day before opening night that our work was not for nothing and that we would be able to get through this together. During the shutdown, she would send us emails every day with words of encouragement to keep us connected. She became creative in adjusting to rehearsal guidelines in choir classes when school began again in August of 2020 to make sure we could continue making music together, and our choirs have become stronger musicians because of her methods. Mrs. Purdy has most importantly taught us that no matter what happens in our lives, we will be connected and have someone to love us through our music community. Thank you for never giving up on us, even when it seemed impossible to keep going, Mrs. Purdy.
She is the most important teacher ive had in my life, and one of the most important person as well. Shes changed my love for music and has given me all the tools and more to be a beautiful successful creator.
As an elementary music educator, Hannah takes pride in establishing a strong passion for children to pursue creative avenues. This can be especially challenging in a community generally dominated by athletics and standardized test scores. Hannah consistently molds her instruction around exactly what her students need and does what it takes to convey powerful ideas to our young people. Through the transitions of online learning to in person classes (and back and forth a few times) she has found a way to meet students where they are and effortlessly bring them into the fold. Her grace and companion cannot be overstated and she in as deserving as anyone to receive this distinguished honor.
During the pandemic, Mr. Schmitt has found ways to keep class exciting and has continued to find ways for us to continue playing music safely. He will go above and beyond to make any student happy with that they’re doing and you just can’t help but smile around him. He is an awesome teacher, and deserves all the best for trying to make a terrible situation into the best possible. Not to mention, even before the pandemic, he challenged us and helped us grow so much.
Mrs.Cota is such an amazing teacher! even though we are doing distance learning, she goes above and beyond to help make the year a success. She offers so many opportunities and really cares for us as students! Mrs.Cota by far is the best teacher!
Ms. Delfing was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had!!! She was the musical director and choir teacher at First Philadelphia Prepatory Charter School (PA). She is at another school in New Jersey now. She was always the person to go to if you were down or needed advice. She ran the choirs, musicals, and created many music concerts throughout all the years!!! If you didn’t have the money for something she would help find ways. Ms. Delfing always had a bright spirit in her class and I miss it. The class was just full of positive energy!!!! She taught us a lot not just about music but with inspiration and it’s all about putting your best afford. She would always make it work for people no matter what the cost is. I remember she always talked about how much she inspired your work and I feel like this would brighten her days more. She is always the teacher to remember and I hope everything is going great for her during this pandemic!!!!
Mr. Tyler Owens
Mr. Owens cares for his students like he cares for his own children. I’ve been so fortunate and blessed to have had him as my choir director for the past 6 years. I am now a junior in a high school, and ever since I was in sixth grade, Mr. Owens has shown what it looks like to passionately care about something that is so worth enjoying – the gift of music. Making sure that the songs we sing teach us a LIFE lesson is his top priority at all times. Mr. Owens makes learning inspiring and authentic, which gives his students something to look forward to each time they walk into the classroom. Being a teacher is so much more than giving homework assignments and preparing students for the next big exam. Being a TEACHER is caring about your students so deeply that you would go to any lengths to ensure they know someone cares about them. Mr. Owens is the ultimate example of an amazing educator, and demonstrates this with each and every student interaction.
Mr. Owens has impacted my life and so many others in such amazing ways. He brought me into the world of music, inspired me, encouraged me, and taught me so many things. Without him, I would not be the person I am today so I am incredibly grateful. His passion for being a choir teacher is so inspirational to everyone who meets him. Mr. Owens makes it known that his goal is to change the world through music.
David Moroz is not only an incredible pianist, he is also one of the most incredibly kind and nurturing teachers I have been blessed with the opportunity of studying under. He is patient, is always there to listen and give advice, and encourages us students to do the best we can. He knows just how to give us the push we need, while also intuitively knowing when we need support. Every lesson begins with a warm conversation; before the playing begins, we chat about how the week has been, what we have been up to, and how school is going. If you’ve been having a rough go of things, he always has words of kindness and wisdom to share. His words of encouragement clearly come from a place of genuine care and passion for teaching, and every lesson ends with smiles on both of our faces. David’s love of music, and his love of helping young pianists become the best players they can be are both evident, and each and every student he has taught appreciates and is grateful for all he does.
Jen Satalick, music teacher at Dayton Elementary School in the rural Lyon County School District in Nevada, has gone above and beyond for all students this year. When school began with a very different looking model, her weekly music classes were unable to be held as usual. We have had to keep students with their classes and limit movement around the school. Mrs. Satalick jumped in to learn our new social emotional curriculum and has been bringing lessons to support students’ mental health to all K-6 students. She has found fun and exciting ways to incorporate music and movement into her lessons, giving our students positive experiences and a musical outlet! She is well-deserving of this special recognition!
Miss Alyssa Wiltbank
Miss Alyssa Wiltbank is a PreK-8 Music Teacher and teaches 600+ students between two schools within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She brings joy and creativity to her lessons to students both in-person and virtually which shows just how flexible and dynamic she is. From creative movement activities to boomwhacker and rhythm stick composition projects, she always brings the fun, and her students always look forward to music class each week. She is very passionate about music education as well as performing and believes that every child has the ability to be musical. She is truly dedicated to advocating for the arts and determined to bring high quality music instruction to her students.
Mr Keith Savoline
Retired, but made a big impact in his 30+yr teaching career. He taught elementary school and during lunch recess he taught band to those who were interested in music performance. He always helps his elementary school even after he retired, helping with the school musicals. Highly respected. Personally, he was the reason I decided from the time I was in grade 6 to pursue music. He taught his students how to truly show their potential, by giving them lots of opportunities. I am forever grateful for Mr Savoline. The world should know how amazing he is!
Why am I nominating Michael McCullough? Michael McCullough has been a director of Palmdale high school for 25 years and part of voice faculty at Antelope Valley college for 30 years . Michael McCullough has gone above and beyond for all students as much as he can and he will sacrifice his own time and energy to help others and students . He has been my mentor for 4 years now ever since I was a freshman In high school . I never had a father , but McCullough changed that . He became my father figure . When he was upset it affected me , when he was disappointed it affected me . He has taught me many things that I would have never learned anywhere else . McCullough has been there for me whenever I needed him and whoever asked him for a favor , he was there no matter what , whether it was for a charity event or a simple favor. McCullough means the world to me , my mother passed away recently and now I I don’t have my parents here physically, but McCullough will always be father figure
He is one of the most inspiring and passionate music teachers ever. He has helped me through rough singing moments and has made me a better person. He deserves this shout out and so much more.
Wow this man is so passionate about choir and teaching! He is the reason I am now a music teacher.
General awesomeness and a willingness to take the patience needed to teach stubborn teenagers to appreciate classical madrigals and working in “concert” with fellow students. In short, he rocks.
I was a novice Alto II my senior year. He always believed in me and pushed me to sing through my fear. He saw me and my efforts. I can’t remember another teacher ever caring so much, for me, in such a large group. He’s a wonderful man.
I, in my heart was in love with singing as a child. It was Mr Michael McCullough and his class that brought it out of me and taught me the joy of singing with others on a deep level. Through his dedication, love, and passion for for what he does, he has successfully flown high school children from the Palmdale desert across the world to sing in amazing music festivals year after year. The year that I went was the first time I could see that music and my passion could take me somewhere in life. As an adult, I was able to use that ambition, motivation, and experience. All that he gave us helped me to have the confidence I needed to get a record deal with a major label as well as have other successes in life. I often reflect on the love and joy that he expressed through his work and it reminds me why I continually love it. I am so grateful for all that he instilled in us and all that he poured out to us. Thank you Mr McCullough!