Mr. Pierson has been a vital part of my high school experience, and I am extremely thankful to have had him as a teacher for these past four years. He has always been supportive of me and my love for music. His passion for music and teaching is evident through his role in the music department at my school. He always listens to student requests for new music clubs and is always looking to provide students with an avenue to pursue a new musical interest. Through the many clubs he has helped create, I have been able to experience many different aspects of music, such as composing, songwriting, and acapella. I am thankful to Mr. Pierson for giving me this opportunity to explore, and for always being a supportive teacher. Thank you, Mr. Pierson, for all you have done for me, and all of your students. I will miss you next year!!!
Mr. Pierson has been one of the most supporting and caring teachers I’ve ever met. His love for music sparks a passion in others that inspires his students to explore music on their own. Our school was founded in 2011 and since then, he has grown the music program from 45 students to over 250 (or about half the students) at our small, humble school. He is dedicated to continuing to grow the music program at our school and will always make time before and after school to work with students. But he is much more than just a teacher to his students. He is a role model and become a trusted adult that I know I can always rely on. I have had the privilege of being Mr. Pierson’ s student for the past 4 years, and as I go off to college, I know I will always remember the impact he has made in my life.
Mr. Pierson strikes my interest in music in a way that no band director I’ve had before had done.
Mr. Pierson is very nice to me and helps me play music and I like playing music a lot even though sometimes i’m not very good at it but he helps me get better at it like at the start of this year I wasn’t good at all!! But now i’m ok :)
Growing up the radio was always on on my way to school, so I grew to be pretty fond of music overall. I’d considered writing my own music for a while but I never knew how. Going into high school, Mr. Pierson encouraged me to start making music despite my inexperience, and now, because of his support, writing music is one of my primary hobbies.
Mr. Pierson helped me when I switched from trumpet to french horn. I’d been playing trumpet for 4 years, and I wanted to switch to another brass instrument. Mr. Pierson suggested I try french horn because of the similar mouthpiece size, and after about 2 months of his support, I’ve become a fairly proficient horn player and I even play in my local orchestra outside of school.
Mr. Pierson has been a huge influence on my musical experience throughout high school. he’s taught me a lot about the processes in composing a musical piece but also about the importance of never giving up. There were many times where I felt like I had hit a wall in my composing skills but whenever I did Mr.Pierson would always give me some sort of advice to encourage me. usually, the way I write music is I make the main melody and make other sections with varying themes of it. one time I made something that sounded completely different than what I was going for and instead of telling me to delete it, Mr.Pierson said that I should keep it for another song that I might want to compose. after hearing this advice I went on to write tons of musical pieces based on my scraps from others. without Mr. Pierson, I wouldn’t be the confident composer I am today.
I am nominating Mr. Pierson because he approaches music education in a way that many other high school band directors do not. Mr. Pierson doesn’t believe that students should be taught in a one-sided conversation, where the teacher instructs and the students follow, but rather music instruction should be a conversation between all parties, then moving forward students can be individuals with their own ideas, and not just students that can only follow a leader.
I am a junior in high school, and upon entering in freshman year, I had never played an instrument before, although I’d had the interest. Mr. Pierson helped me start learning my instrument of choice, flute, despite the challenges of never having played music before. Now, in my third year of playing, I am in the intermediate level band, Concert Winds, and I’m in my first year of learning music theory with Mr. Pierson as well. From day one, Mr. Pierson has been supportive of my musical endeavors and has made me the musician I am today.
I remember in 8th grade when I first heard the beautiful sonorous sound of “Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2” played on my school piano during afterschool hours. When I checked to see who was playing, I saw none other than Brooke Pierson. I told him the song was beautiful and he told me he could teach me to play it one day. I never had formal piano lessons. My parents never supported my passion for music, they wanted me to become a doctor. I gladly took the opportunity and he began teaching me starting from the basics. As I entered 9th grade, I was able to play the piece flawlessly. I wanted to join the school’s renowned band as well and Mr. Pierson was gracious enough to teach me tuba. When I confided in him that my parents didn’t support me joining the school band, he told them about how music can challenge us intellectually to the same degree a science can. He’s an amazing, caring, and deeply passionate teacher, and dare I say a great friend.
My family was never a very fortunate one, with two brothers and three sisters we were often troubled economically. But, ever since I was 7 years old in 2nd grade, I knew I wanted to play the oboe. I loved the way it sounded… so sweet and delicate like a New York cheesecake with a strawberry on top. However, at that time my father had just passed away, and we couldn’t possibly afford an oboe. Many nights we had trouble affording groceries. I often lamented over both my father and my inability to pursue my passion, at least that was until I transferred into a new school in 8th grade. Immediately at this new school I took note of the music program. I desperately wanted to be apart of the band, but I didn’t know how to play anything nonetheless as well as the students here… and when I expressed this to the band director, Mr. Pierson, he said that the school could provide me with an instrument and he could tutor me on how to play! By the end of 11th grade, I was a virtuoso, a master.
To Whom It May Concern: It is my pleasure to recommend Brooke Pierson. I have been Mr. Pierson’s student at Washtenaw International High School for the past two years and got to know him very well. Mr. Pierson quickly earned the respect and trust of his colleagues and became an inherent part of the team. Mr. Pierson approaches problems from different angles and often comes up with creative solutions. Mr. Pierson is a hard-working and energetic person, and I have no doubt that he will experience great success in his future career. His motivation and drive enabled him to deliver best results even under time constraints. On many projects, Mr. Pierson was the driving force behind the team. Based on his performance, I have no hesitations in recommending Mr. Pierson. Do feel free to contact me with questions or inquiries. Sincerely, Alan Smithee
Before I met Mr. Pierson I was lost without a home.
Jeremy is the most kind, motivating teacher any student could ever ask for. He sees something in students that people would not normally believe, and he has helped so many dreams become reality. He has provided music to be a safe spot for anyone willing to learn, and if he knows you well enough, he will push to limits you did not believe possible. He has proven not only to the many students he has taught, but me, personally, how important it is to be kind, and have passion in what you love. Without him, I would not be half the person I am in this moment. He has done so many amazing, inspiring things in his life including being in the military, working in two Broadway shows, and above all, being a father and a teacher. He is truly the most well respected man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His love for music has moved so many students.
She was the first choral teacher to hear my voice and tell me what I needed to do to improve. She encouraged me from high school to my graduate degree in college to sing my best and become the best choral teacher I could be. I wouldn’t be half of the teacher I am today without her guidance, love and support.
Not only is Matthew Hanson a loving, understanding, and hard-working teacher, but he is also a friend. He takes so much of his time in and out of school to go above and beyond for his students. He has taken his students to New York City three times to perform, and two of those times were under the direction of Eric Whitacre. Mr. Hanson’s passion flows not only through him, but through his students. His hard work does not go unnoticed.
Mr. Loe has changed so many lives throughout his years as an educator. He connects with each student uniquely and adapts to different learning styles. He praises and inspires creativity in each student. He is truly there for everyone even when he is having difficulties in his own life. He is truly one of the most selfless people I have ever met. Teaching military children, you never know who you will get mid-semester, or who is leaving year to year, but he always pushes the students to create beautiful music and pushes everyone to audition for the honors program. He is putting Vilseck High School on the map when it comes to music and will continue to inspire me throughout my entire life. So many talented people have walked through his door, and he knows how to mold each and every one of them into a great musician. I know that he has touched so many people in his life, and for all of his students, he fosters a love for music in them every day.
Dr John Moir
I nominate John because he is such a kind and caring conductor, teacher and vocal instructor. He is very patient with this 70 year old voice student who got into bad habits over the years. I am making great progress under his tutelage. He has also transformed the Bluefield Masterworks Chorus in his 3 years here. We were able to participate in a Mozart festival in Salzburg this last summer and tour Austria and Hungary. We sang many American pieces including Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre.
Extraordinary musician! conductor and teacher – on the Bluefield College European tour this past spring, the Lux Aurumque was simply a tour de force.
Rebecca Selvidge is one of the best choral directors I’ve ever had experience with. She not only teaches music skills in her classroom, but also life skills. Her classroom was always a safe place to be yourself and it continues to be. She also cares about her students in a way that I would have never imagined a teacher would. Everyday she asks students as they walk in how they’re doing and after weekends or breaks she wants to know what kinds of things we enjoyed. But she also listens to the negative things happening in her students lives. Rebecca is the one who inspired me to go into music education. I want to one day be a teacher like her who cares about the wellbeing of her students, both musically and personally. Her classroom door is always open to anyone, even if you’ve already graduated. Rebecca is one of the kindest, most caring, compassionate, and talented people I know and I, among other students, will be forever grateful for the sense of community and family that she taught.
Dr. Christopher Cock
Dr. Christopher Cock has been the conductor of the Valparaiso University Chorale for over twenty years, as well as the head of the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University. Dr. Cock has continued to cultivate and inspire music and non-music students in the Chorale for years, by providing unparalleled words of wisdom and guidance throughout everyday rehearsal. He never fails to inspire me when he begins to tell a story of his life experience, or his childhood, or his experience studying under Robert Shaw and Maurice Skones. He continuously reminds us that what he do, our gift of music, is truly special and needs to be shared with the world, may we reach out and touch hearts with our craft. What we do is all part of a greater good, and the rehearsal time is spent harvesting the labors of that craft. Pushing us to be the best musicians and performers we can be, he urges the Chorale to hold steadfast and true to our motto, “PTTL”- Passion (and Professionalism), Time, Trust, and Love.
Mr. Mead has been the music teacher I’ve always dreamed of having. He will go above and beyond to make breathtaking music and give his students a place to escape.
She is the best with kids especially as a mom, she is a strong independent woman. I love her as my mom. I think she should be nominated as teacher of the week at Lauderdale County High School in Rogersville, she is the best teacher. She would give you the shirt off her back, she is the best mom in the world, I love her so much. She is awesome at teaching, she has raised three beautiful children. My brother is a volunteer firefighter and my sister is a nurse, and I’m a student in her 6th grade class. My mom is a awesome teacher and a excellent mother.
Mrs. LoRusso is the most selfless and hardworking teacher we know. Inside and outside of the classroom, she acts as a role model for her students. Mrs. LoRusso directs the concert band, jazz band, and marching band at H. Frank Carey High School. She founded her own wind ensemble as well. Mrs. LoRusso has had many students perform in Nassau-Suffolk Performing Arts, Long Island Youth Orchestra, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, All County, and All State. Each year, she takes her bands to NYSSMA and receives a gold or higher. Mrs. LoRusso creates a warm environment in the band room each and every day. Students know they can come to Mrs. LoRusso for anything; music related or not. She is open-minded and enthusiastic during class. She always goes above and beyond for her students, ensuring success in all of them. All of Mrs. LoRusso’s students have come to value her as a teacher, role model, and friend. We are lucky to know Mrs. LoRusso; no one is more deserving of this award than her.
Mr. Baker is such a nice and patient teacher. He encourages me to be better and to believe in myself. When I first joined Pattonville High School’s Chamber Choir, I was very shy and wouldn’t sing out loud after hearing the others sing. I told him that I was so intimidated by them and that I’m not good enough to be in Chamber Choir. He told me not to compare myself to others because it’s not about who’s better. It’s about being myself and being confident with how I sound like, not how other sound like. It might’ve took a while for me to gain confidence, but his words lifted me up and I started being more positive. I would say I’m really grateful to have a choir director like him who cares so much for students and their success. I really do have the BEST CHOIR TEACHER in the world.
Okay so you know band kids. Most of us are insecure and Mr McAdams is pretty much a father figure to a lot of us. He pushes us super hard, and we excel because of it. There’s also the jokes, there’s three rules in the band room, No gum, No Whining, And if you don’t laugh at some point, there’s something wrong with you. He has a book of quotes and hes all around a cool guy. We love him lots.
Mrs. Green is one of the most charismatic and loving human beings I have ever met. I have seen countless people come into her class crying their eyes out because of a personal issue the are facing, and without even questioning them, Mrs. Green just goes up to them and hugs them and tells them everything is going to be alright. Mrs. Green has also reminded me countless times of the importance of music, and how it can change someone in seconds. She reminds me every single day that music is a powerful force that can do so much in a person’s life. Even on her bad days she powers through because she has a genuine love for people and teaching which is something some teachers have lots through years of the same thing. My favorite part of my day every single day is walking into her Disney themed room to see her smiling face and despite how my day had been prior to that moment I truly feel joyful. I love Mrs. Green and I am so thankful for everything she does for me and my classmates.
Bret Winternheimer is the band Director at Munster High School in Munster, IN. He is a masterful conductor who has exceedingly high standards and a work ethic that inspires others around him. He is the youngest teacher in Indiana’s history to qualify for the State Concert Band finals with two different schools. He also has transformed his marching band program into a consistent state marching band qualifier and contender for a state championship. Bret students have been accepted into All-State ensembles, as well as some of the top music schools across the Midwest. With degrees from Indiana State and Auburn, he is a great ambassador for those programs. The transparency and musicianship of his ensembles is only duplicated by some of the finest bands across the country.
Bret Winternheimer’s dedication to his students, their education of music is unwavering. Bret Winternheimer is a very talented musician who decided to teach and make a difference in the student’s world.
As a young music educator, he consistantly inspires his students to strive for the best not by forcing them but by encouraging them. I watch how he gives them his expectations and how they accept the challenge. He gives each student a great deal of respect and encourages them to respect each other. His leadership skills give each student opportunities to excel as leaders. He has helped his students become recognized for their talent and discipline. Their band has been a ISSMA state marching band finalist for the last eight years. His concert band receives gold ratings and also earns “with distinction ” classification. Eric is a good Christian man giving his students an excellent role model to emulate. He and his wife are raising their three children to love God, family, and willingly share their talents with others. In my 47 years as a teacher, there are few teachers that have impressed me as much as Eric Criss. Eric is a member of PHI BETA MU, selected by Indiana band direct.
Originally, I was afraid to move up to the high school because of the stories I heard about Mr. Huskey. But, in the three years I have been in his choral program, I have seen how his teaching has changed the lives of many students. He can be stubborn at times, but that is what pushes us to do better. Our choir grown to have wonderful opportunity to perform in so many places— our school, at orchestra concerts, and soon at All-State and SWACDA. He has taught us how to lead with confidence, sing with heart and passion, and most of all how to create a family in choir. We love and laugh together, and it truly shows in our performances and in the classroom. Mr. Huskey’s work has inspired me to become a choral director, and I cannot wait to teach the lessons he has taught me throughout the years.
Mrs. Byrn was my music school teacher for 13 years, from Kindergarten until I graduated as a Senior in high school four years ago. During that time, she taught me everything that I currently know about music, providing me with the knowledge and skills to progress myself as a musician as I moved on into college and sang in the Purdue Varsity Glee Club for the last four years. Most students have Mrs. Byrn all 13 years of their educational career until they graduate high school, creating a bond with the students and really knowing their strengths as a musician. She continues to show compassion, dedication, and truly has joy doing her job every single day. With that, Mrs. Byrn was recently diagnosed with breast cancer—it has left her discouraged as she continues her job as a music educator. By nominating her as the Teacher of the Week, I’m hoping this will remind her of the immense impact that she has left on each one of her students. We wouldn’t be who we are without her.
Ms. Godwin is an incredible teacher and person. She hasn’t been teaching for long, but she’s already done incredible things for our program. Of course, she’s a fantastic musician – her taste is daring, but impeccable. Her first year at our school she took our concert choir to state for the first time in ages. She always offers us a good challenge, but nothing we can’t accomplish under her guidance. But that isn’t what makes her the wonderful teacher she is. What stands her apart, in my mind at least, is her connection with each and every student she meets. And that’s not just students in her choirs, either; she always sees the bright side of every person. She puts her heart and soul into her students and it really makes all the difference. I, and I would dare to presume all of her students, would do anything so she could know what a difference she makes. Because she might not be remarkable, not on first glance. But she makes an impact on each and every one of us.
Dr Hillman inspires all musicians to do their absolute best in everything they do: in music and in life. He is an incredible educator that connects with each of his students. Many of his students can refer to Dr Hillman as a close friend. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. His dedication to his craft is unparalleled, and he impacts the lives of everyone around him.
Dr. Hillman is the director of the Men’s and College Choirs at Gordon College. He’s an amazing educator with a real heart for his students. His commitment to programming diverse works opened my eyes and the eyes of many other students to what the world has to offer for choral literature. He’s personable around campus, and frequently is seen talking to and checking up on his students when it looks like they’re having a bad day. In addition to his efforts at Gordon, he is on faculty at Boston University, where he has dedicated the past 8 years to teaching music education and appreciation to incarcerated men in the greater Boston area prison system. His commitment to the lost, the last, and the least among us truly makes him an incredible educator!