ST. LOUIS, MO, November 16, 2011– The St. Louis Public School District has presented the Elementary Music Teacher of the Year and the Secondary Music Teacher of the Year Awards to two educators who have made significant and lasting contributions to the music teaching profession.
Ms. Julie Beede, a music teacher at Dewey International Studies Elementary School, has been recognized as the St. Louis Public School District’s Elementary Music Teacher of the Year for her ability to cultivate the creative talents of her students.
“Her passion is her love for music and she does whatever it takes to make sure that music prevails. Not having all the Orff instruments for a particular piece, I remember Ms. Beede coming to my school in the worst weather to borrow a bass and alto xylophone,” said Ms. Beverly Field Whittington, Vocal Music Specialist at Ames Visual and Performing Arts, who nominated Ms. Beede for the award.
An educator with the District since 2000, Ms. Beede joined Dewey International Studies in 2010 and promptly began to restore the school’s stage and keyboard lab. Her students are now playing recorders, keyboards and Orff instruments on a regular basis, and Ms. Beede is also directing the school’s annual spring and winter concerts.
Mr. John Gerdes, an instrumental music teacher at Compton Drew Investigative Learning Center Middle School, has been named the St. Louis Public School District’s Secondary Music Teacher of the Year for an organized music program that provides strong classroom management and student support.
Nominated by Ms. Susan Reid, principal at Compton Drew investigative Learning Center Middle School, and Mr. Joseph Lindell, teaching colleague, for advocating for behalf of the school’s students and the quality of music education they receive, Mr. Gerdes’ students have performed at Busch stadium for the past four consecutive years as guests of the St. Louis Cardinals, and consistently placed in the Metro District 8 Honors Band and Des Lee Honors Band.
In addition, Mr. Gerdes is believed to be the only music teacher in the District to receive an “I” with both a band and a choir and the All-City Adjudicated Music Festival.
The 2011 Music Teachers of the Year were honored with an awards reception at Webster University where each received a $1,000 check through the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation. They will also each receive two plaques, and a $500 certificate for professional development from the Parsons Blewett Memorial Fund. For more information please contact the Office of Public Information (314) 345-2367.