Celebrating Music Education



musiclogoUtica Community Schools has been named one of America's Best Communities for Music Education by the California-based National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

The NAMM Foundation’s stamp of approval acknowledges and celebrates schools and school districts across the United States for their commitment to and support of music education. The Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation recognizes Utica Community Schools’ efforts to preserve and advance quality music education programs for all students.

In a letter informing the district of the award, NAMM Foundation senior project manager Sharon Bryant congratulated the Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns for setting the example in providing quality school-based music education to the community’s young people.

Board of Education President Dr. Carol Klenow said, “I congratulate everyone involved in the district’s music department for earning this well-deserved recognition. It is another indicator of the high value the UCS community has always placed on fine and performing arts education and the importance of providing students with exceptional learning opportunities in the arts.”

“We are pleased and very proud to have the Utica Community Schools music programs recognized by the NAMM Foundation,” said Dr. Johns. “This honor further affirms the skill and dedication of our talented vocal and instrumental music teachers, as well as the successes of our students as they explore and excel in the performing arts.”

“Music serves to enhance understanding and communication among cultures and nations. As such, it is a vital component of our comprehensive educational programming in preparing students for globally-based careers.”  

To be considered for inclusion in the Best Communities for Music Education, districts are required to detail student access to music instruction and positive achievement outcomes. The data is reviewed by researchers at the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas (an affiliate of the University of Kansas) and the NAMM Foundation.

In conducting the annual BCME selection process, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education such as Americans for the Arts, The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, League of American Orchestras, The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, Music for All, Music Teachers National Association, National Guild For Community Arts Education, National Parent Teacher Association, Yamaha Corporation of America, Young Audiences and VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

Michael Sekich, Utica Community Schools music department co-chairperson and director of bands and orchestra at Stevenson High School, expressed pride in the work of the district’s K-12 vocal and instrumental music teachers. “It is an honor to receive such a prestigious recognition that reflects our teachers’ dedication to outstanding music education and our program’s extraordinary contributions to students,” he said.

Susan Rosso, UCS music department co-chairperson and elementary vocal music teacher, echoed that response. “This recognition gives national validation to the effort UCS music educators and students demonstrate each day. I am proud to be a part of the team providing students with skills for a lifetime of learning. Our pursuit of excellence is evident in the confidence students gain as they master a piece of music or perform for an audience.”

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its nearly 9,000 members worldwide. The Foundation’s mission is to advance active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

Board of Education
Dr. Carol Klenow, President / Gene L. Klida, Vice President / Michele Templeton, Secretary / Dr. Robert A. Ross, Treasurer
Jennifer L. Prybys, Trustee / Ken Krolczyk, Trustee / Dr. Mary K. Thomas, Trustee
Dr. Christine Johns, Superintendent of Schools


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