Dr. Karen Gray is honored to win the Oregon Music Education Association Outstanding Administrator Award.
The following is the text read when she was given this award on January 16. The Outstanding Administrator Award is given in recognition of contributions to music education through administrative support. We work in an area of education that seems to need endless advocacy.
Support for music education from an administrator is of the utmost importance and something for which we are always grateful. This year’s recipient is a superintendent who over the past few tumultuous years has not only maintained but strengthened the Lincoln County School District’s music program. Prior to the 2020-21 school year, there were several schools throughout the district that did not have a music teacher. This superintendent made it her mission to place music teachers in each
building in the district and now every student in Lincoln County, Kindergarten through 12th grade, has access to music classes and a music teacher within their building. This was the first step among many that she is taking to change the course of history for music education in Lincoln County. Last year, she reached out to the district’s music teachers and organized regular meetings to talk about how together they could grow music across the district. This included her desire for every area in the county to have a strings program as well as a 5-year plan to get each school what they needed to succeed.
After a discussion on how to make band equitable for students regardless of their economic status, she secured $300,000 in district funds to purchase instruments so that no student is turned away due to their financial situation. Furthermore, the money for instrument purchases came from the district funds, not from ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund), and is one of the most significant investments for music education ever made in Lincoln County. She continues to meet monthly with her district music teachers to support them, their programs, and the music students. On top of supporting music in her district, this superintendent also supports music in her community as the president of the Newport Symphony, actively working to bring professional musicians to the community and into the classrooms to work with students. For all you do for your community, your schools, and your music students, we honor DR. KAREN GRAY as our 2022 OMEA Outstanding Administrator.