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2011-12 Music Educator Awards

Section Winners 


 Marion Roberts 

 Section 5 

Marion Roberts has proven to be one of Kansas’s most consistent and highly respected music educators. Since 1986, he has served as both band director and music teacher at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. During his tenure, he has instructed 374 all-state band and orchestra students and directed his band in front of the Kansas Music Educators Association four times.

Roberts is also a charter member (since 1974) of the Kansas Bandmasters Association (KBA) and was president of the organization from 2009 to 2011. He was named Outstanding Band Director by the KBA in 2010 and was included in the SBO Magazine list of Fifty Band Directors Who Make a Difference in 2009.

In addition to his education roles, Roberts has performed with the Lawrence City Band since 1980.



James Van Zandt 

Section 6 

Since 2001, James Van Zandt has served as the director of fine arts for the Round Rock (Texas) Independent School District. However, in the 35 years prior to that, he directed highly successful bands at six different high schools and received many awards and honors for his work in music throughout Texas.

Van Zandt has been honored with Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) Sweepstakes Awards for 29 of his 35 years as an active high school band director, and his bands placed in the First Division in the UIL Marching Contest 33 of those 35 years.

The many organizations that Van Zandt has served include the Texas Music Educators Association – where he was president in 1985-86 – the Texas Coalition for Quailty Arts Education and the Texas Music Administrators Association.

In 2010, Van Zandt was selected as the Texas Music Administrator of the Year by the Texas Music Administrators Conference.



Lois Johnson 

Section 7 

Lois Johnson has devoted the past 26 years to music education in Utah – the last 14 at Lone Peak High School in Provo. She not only directs a choir that is consistently recognized as excellent but also teaches music classes at Lone Peak.

Johnson’s choirs receive Superior ratings at the regional and national levels on a regular basis and have been named the top choir at the National Choral Invitational Festival in New York City two times. Her choirs have twice performed at Carnegie Hall and earned numerous Gold Awards at different choral festivals.

Johnson currently serves in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and was president from 1991 to 1993. She was named Outstanding High School Music Educator of the Year by the Utah Music Educators Association in 2000.



 David Weatherred 

Section 8 

David Weatherred has devoted more than 30 years of his life to music in the state of Washington. He has served everywhere from band director to music teacher to a top administrator at all levels of music education.

Weatherred has spent the past 27 years in the Spokane Public School System. From 1985 to 1998, he conducted the band at Ferris High School, and since then he has spent time as both music coordinator and visual and performing arts and events coordinator for the Spokane Public Schools. Everywhere he has worked, Weatherred has a history of increasing enrollment in the music programs and receiving Superior ratings in festivals and contests.

In 2011, he was named Music Educator of the Year by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA)/Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. He is a WMEA Hall of Fame member and has served as president for both the WMEA and the northwest division of The National Association for Music Education. 


State Winners 


 Linda Gail Davis 


Bands all across Mississippi have benefited from Linda Gail Davis’ direction. For more than 20 years, she has directed some of the top high school bands and students in the state.

Currently the director of bands in the South Panola School District, Davis has also led bands at Clarksdale High School, Starkville High School and Quitman High School to many awards and honors. Her groups consistently receive Superior ratings in several different categories including drum major, percussion, guard and band. In addition, Davis regularly has students who are selected for college band scholarships and a variety of honor bands.

Davis served as president of the Mississippi Bandmasters Association in 2007-08 and has been a member of the organization’s executive board since 2005. She also serves as adjudicator for the Mississippi High School Activities Association solo and ensemble events.



Allen Chapman 


During the past 40 years, Allen Chapman has put together an impressive resume as a choral teacher in Iowa. He has served at five different schools since 1971 and made a lasting impression on each.

Chapman has seen numerous choirs, soloists and ensembles receive Division 1 ratings at the Iowa High School Music Association state events throughout his career, and many of his performers have earned honors at the Solo/Small Ensemble Festival. To date, 475 of his students have been selected to perform in the Iowa All-State Chorus.

Chapman has twice been named as a finalist for the Burlington Hawkeye Educator of the Year Award and was named one of the Top 12 music educators in Iowa by the Music Educators National Conference. He has also established the Allen and Sandra Chapman Excellence in Education Award that is presented annually at the Show Choir Nationals at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.



 Gregory Townsend 


Gregory Townsend has been educating high school students in Illinois for more than 15 years, the last 10 of which have been spent as Instrumental Music Educator at Carbondale Community High School in Carbondale.

His bands have consistently earned first place division awards in several different concert and marching band competitions and put together a stretch of five consecutive top 10 placements at the Illinois High School Association Class A Music Sweepstakes. He has directed many different all-state and all-district musicians during his time teaching music.

Townsend has been part of the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers list multiple times and served the Illinois Music Educators Association as band division chair, District VI from 2002 to 2004. He also is a member of the Illinois Education Association, the National Education Association and the National Band Association.



C. Wayne Manzanares 


C. Wayne Manzanares has spent his entire music education career in Colorado. Although he has retired from teaching, he continues to remain active in the state’s music community.

Manzanares conducted bands at two high schools and one elementary school during his career. His bands received numerous regional awards and his band at Ponderosa High School in Parker was named Colorado Bandmasters Association Marching State Champion five times. He directed bands that have performed in the Rose Bowl Parade, Orange Bowl Parade, Hollywood Christmas Parade and at halftime of Denver Broncos games on 12 different occasions.

In 1989, he was presented with the Colorado Bandmasters Association Colorado Hall of Fame Award. The next year, he took over as the chairman of marching affairs for the organization and has served that post for the past 22 years. Since then, he has also received the Ponderosa High School Hall of Fame Award and the Douglas County Music Educators Lifetime Achievement Award.



Patti Fleer 


Patti Fleer has spent her entire life devoted to music and music education. Her personal music education started at age five when she began playing violin, and since then she has directed a variety of successful choirs, bands and orchestras.

Fleer currently serves as the music department chair and orchestra director at Eureka High School in Eureka. Her orchestra regularly competes at the national level and receives Superior ratings at Missouri State High School Activities Association district and state events. In 2011, Fleer directed her orchestra in front of the Missouri Music Educators Convention.

A member of the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) for 18 years and the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) for 16 years, Fleer has served as president of the Missouri chapter of the ASTA and orchestra vice-president of the MMEA. She has also maintained a private studio of violin students since 1985.



 Cheri Helmer-Riensche 


For almost 40 years, Cheri Helmer-Riensche has been directing choirs at a high level in the state of Nebraska. She has spent 10 or more years at three different schools, and her choirs have excelled everywhere she has been.

After spending two years at Randolph High School, Helmer-Riensche went on to direct the choirs at Seward High School for 14 years, Omaha Benson High School for 10 years and Papillion La Vista South High School since 2002. All of her choirs have consistently received Superior ratings at music contests, while her choirs have earned more than 25 grand championships combined.

Helmer-Riensche has twice served as president of the Nebraska Choral Directors Association and has been a member of the Nebraska Music Educators Association since 1976. She was named Nebraska Choral Directors’ Association Choral Director of the Year in 2004 and was inducted into the Nebraska Music Educators’ Hall of Fame in 2009.



 Corliss L. Johnson 

South Dakota 

Before his retirement in 2007, Corliss Johnson served South Dakota students for 35 years as a music instructor and band director at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Although his profession involved working with college students on a daily basis, Johnson made an impact on music students at all levels throughout his career.

While at SDSU, Johnson’s work included directing jazz activities, instructing woodwind pedagogy and music literature courses and serving as music department head for several years. He also adjudicated the South Dakota All-State Band for 27 years, All-State Orchestra for nine years and All-State Jazz Ensemble for 20 years.

Johnson has served in the South Dakota Bandmasters Association for more than 35 years and received the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011. He has also received distinguished service awards from the South Dakota Music Education Association and South Dakota High School Activities Association.



 Cheryl McIntyre 

North Dakota 

Cheryl McIntyre has been sharing her love and knowledge of music with students of all ages for more than 20 years. After starting her career teaching music to elementary and middle school students in South Dakota, McIntyre has moved on to direct highly successful choirs at Jamestown High School in Jamestown, North Dakota.

McIntyre directs three choirs at Jamestown, where she currently serves as head of the music department. Her choir was named Governor’s Choir in 2009 and has received numerous star and excellent ratings at regional and state music festivals. Many of her students have been chosen to perform in regional, state and national honor choirs.

McIntyre has been an adjudicator at state music festivals for more than 10 years and she is in her first year as the organizing chair for the North Dakota All State Music Festivals.



 Carrie Taylor 


Carrie Taylor has impacted countless students throughout her 30-year career as a music educator. Having served at all levels from preschool to senior high, Taylor has built a reputation as one of the most dedicated and hard-working choral directors in Arkansas.

For the past 15 years, Taylor has served as a teacher and choir director at Dover High School in Dover, Arkansas. She has played a large part in growing a 40-student choir program to one that now boasts more than 200 students. Her singers consistently are selected to all-region and all-state choirs and her groups regularly achieve Division 1 ratings in regional and state competitions. Her choirs at Dover have been selected three times to perform at Walt Disney World Magic Music Day.

Taylor currently serves as the Arkansas Music Educators Association State Choral Chair and was recently elected president of the Arkansas Choral Directors Association.



Pamela Towry Church 

New Mexico 

New Mexico high school band programs have been benefitting from the leadership of Pamela Towry Church for more than 20 years. Through her work at three different high schools, Towry Church has led several bands to high honors and awards.

Towry Church is currently the director of bands at Cimarron Municipal Schools in Cimarron, New Mexico. Under her direction, the Cimarron Wind Ensemble has been State Champion A-AA band eight times in 12 years. She has regularly led bands to Superior Ratings in concert, jazz, sight-reading and marching band competition, and has placed many students into all-state ensembles.

Towry Church served as president of the New Mexico Music Educators Association (NMMEA) for two years and has been the NMMEA All-State Percussion Facilitator since 2000. Last year, she was named the NMMEA Music Educator of the Year.



 Bill Perring 


Bill Perring has spent his entire 18-year high school music education career at Guthrie High School in Guthrie, Oklahoma. He has spent that time turning the Guthrie choir program into one of the most successful and decorated in Oklahoma.

Perring’s choirs have received Superior Ratings from the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) for 18 years in a row and OSSAA Sweepstakes Awards eight of the past 10 years. He also directed a Grand Champion Award Winner at the 2005 Music Fesitval in St. Louis. Perring’s choirs regularly receive Superior Ratings at several other regional, state and national competitions.

After serving as president of the East Central Oklahoma Choral Directors Association from 1998 to 2000, Perring has served on the organization’s executive board every year since. He was the Women’s Choir Chair of the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association (OCDA) in 2007-08 and is currently serving as the OCDA R and S Chair for High School.



George Hattendorf 


George Hattendorf’s music education career has carried him everywhere from Indiana to Georgia to Arizona, but one thing has remained constant – his bands have consistently excelled in numerous areas.

Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona, is Hattendorf’s current home, but he spent 20 years at Chesterton High School in Chesterton, Indiana, and given several other schools a few years of service. His bands in Indiana and Arizona have regularly received Superior Ratings in their respective state contests, and he has directed several marching bands, color guards and winter guards to state championships.

Hattendorf has also directed bands in the Tournament of Roses Parade and Presidential Inaugural Parade. He is currently the president of the Arizona Band/Orchestra Directors Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Music Educators Association. In 1999-2000, he was president of the Indiana State School Music Association.


Nancy Murdock 


Whitewater High School in Whitewater, Montana, is one of the smallest high schools in the state, and 32 years ago, Nancy Murdock started the school’s music program from scratch. Throughout the past three decades, she has put Whitewater on the map as one of the top band and choir schools in the state.

Despite a school enrollment that has dipped below 20 students, Murdock has directed bands and choirs that feature every student in the school. Her groups consistently receive Superior Ratings and her students are regularly named to the Montana Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State Choir.

Murdock served as president of the MMEA from 2008 to 2010 and has served in various leadership roles within the organization for more than 10 years. She was awarded the MMEA Leadership Award in 2003 and was honored with the MMEA Distinguished Service Award last year.

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