New Hampshire Teacher Wins Grammy Music Educator Award

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

You know you have a great teacher when his students endearingly call him “The Energizer Bunny.”

Jared Cassedy, the band director at Windham High School in New Hampshire, will be recognized with the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award, CBS News reports.

Cassedy was chosen from an initial list of 7,000 nominees from all 50 states, then from 10 finalists. This is the second year the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation has recognized a music educator who has “made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrates a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.”

As the head of Windham’s music program, Cassedy quickly earned his nickname from his highly contagious passion, according to students. He was hired when the school opened six years ago, and since then, the school’s band has grown from around 40 students to a current roster of 87. Anyone can join, Cassedy said, and he doesn’t believe in auditions so that anyone can have access to music education.

Students said Cassedy sets a high ceiling for them, calling them professional musicians, and the results show it. Windham won band festivals in New York and Chicago in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Last year, Windham’s band was invited to perform at a recital on the main stage at Carnegie Hall

It was a former student of Cassedy’s who wrote the letter to the Grammy committee to nominate him for the music educator award. Thanks to that recommendation, Cassedy will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and receive a $10,000 honorarium at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony. The other nine finalists will receive $1,000 each, and the schools for all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

Cassedy was adopted from South Korea by an American family at the age of 4. His parents introduced him to music as a child, and he went on to study music education at New Hampshire University. He began his career at Windham Middle School as the band director and teacher of music appreciation before moving to Windham High School in 2009, where he has since been the band director.

According to CNBC, Cassedy also balances his position at Windham High School with being director of the New Hampshire Youth Wind Ensemble and director of K-12 fine arts for the Windham School District. He is also working on attaining his administrative certification in curriculum and institution with a focus on educational leadership at Southern New Hampshire University.


Photo via CBS News. H/T to Korea Times US