In 2015, Music & Arts launched the Music Educator of the Year Award- an honor that recognizes a special music educator for his or her outstanding achievement in music education. From kindergarten teachers to college professors and everyone in between, anyone who has been teaching music full-time in the United States for at least five years can be nominated. This year, we received over 2,700 nominations from students and parents across the country. After some careful deliberation by an independent committee, we’re proud to announce our 2016 winner: Amy Delorge!
Who is Amy Delorge?
Amy Delorge is the band director at Biddeford Middle School in Biddeford, Maine. She’s served the community of Biddeford in her role for over two decades, and in that time has left quite an impression on both her students and colleagues. In her position as Director of Bands, she conducts and directs not one band, but three: two concert bands and the school’s marching band. She prepares students for school functions, including parades and seasonal concerts, conducts one-on-one tutoring sessions with new or struggling band members, and prides herself on providing opportunities for all students, regardless of their family’s financial status.
According to Amy’s colleagues, her passion for music education and her devotion to her students is unmatched by any other music educator. In a day and age when students feel so much pressure to be perfect, Amy welcomes every child into the Band Program. By connecting with them on a personal level and showing them compassion, she nurtures them for success not only at Biddeford Middle School, but in the world around them. In her own words, “Teaching allows me to build a better place for community. Music education gives me a vehicle for modeling social justice, benevolence, creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking.” To Amy, music is more than just a career: it’s a way of life.
What Do Her Colleagues Say?
The praise Amy received is too much to put into words, but we’ll try. According to Vicki Lee, a colleague at Biddeford Middle School, Amy is the type of teacher that every student deserves. She cares for her students unconditionally, has a well-structured program, and has grown the music program to more than five times the size during her time as Bands Director. “As teachers, we cannot always impact our students in our given subject area in the way we would like, but often a teacher comes along and connects with students in a way that is life-changing,” says Lee. “Amy is that type of teacher.”
Tammy L. Carusone, Choral Director at Biddeford Middle School, agrees, claiming she goes out of her way to help students in need. “Not only does Amy provide materials…for her students, but she goes out of her way to reach out to the community and get monetary donations to help students pay for music campus during the summer.” Kyle Keenan, Principal of Biddeford Middle School points to her personality as a driving factor of the nomination. “As a teacher, Amy’s strengths lie in her ability to connect with her students”, Keenan says. “It is clear that her students feel a strong connection to her and they trust that she has their best interest at heart.”
Support From Her Students
Finally, no music educator nomination would be complete without some praise from students. Maliha Raidah, one of Amy’s students, compares her excitement for Amy’s class to the excitement a five year old feels for their favorite candy. “Mrs. Delorge is one of the best teachers I have ever had in my life,” says Maliha. “Her enthusiasm made me love band unknowingly.” Aurelia Leonard, a seventh grade student, agrees, claiming “She’s just an all-around amazing person and that’s why I love having her as a band teacher.” And parents, like Paul and Hope Burnell, can see the effect Amy’s teaching has had on their community firsthand when they say “Amy’s warmth, leadership, and drive is bringing students and families together through music.”
Support From Music & Arts
“Music & Arts celebrates educators like Amy Delorge who inspire their students to develop a livelong relationship of music that enriches their community and nourishes their soul,” says Steve Zapf, President of Music & Arts. “We’d like to take this time to congratulate her, and extend our appreciation for Amy and music educators just like her across the country.”
Read the complete interview with 2016 Music Educator Amy Delorge here.