Free State High Director of Orchestra Judy Erpelding named Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction

photo by: Contributed

Free State High Director of Orchestras Judy Erpelding

The National Society of High School Scholars selected Lawrence Free State High Director of Orchestras Judy Erpelding as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction.

Erpelding was nominated by a student for outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the profession, according to a news release from the NSHSS. Each year, student members of NSHSS are invited to nominate the educator who has made the most significant contribution to their academic career for the award.

“Dedicated educators who exhibit a commitment to excellence deserve our highest praise and appreciation,” NSHSS President James W. Lewis said in the release.

The NSHSS was formed in 2002 by Lewis and Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

Erpelding is in her 10th year at Free State High, according to a new release from the Lawrence school district. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Baker University in 2012 and completed her internship and student teaching under Rachel Dirks at Lawrence High School and Jennifer Mitchell in the Shawnee Mission Public Schools.

Erpelding is the current president-elect of the Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association. She also has been recognized as the NEKMEA 2020-21 Outstanding High School Level Orchestra Director and the 2016-17 NEKMEA Outstanding Young Orchestra Director. Additionally, Erpelding acted as the KMEA All-State Orchestra chairperson in 2019 and 2020 and served as the assistant chairperson in 2017 and 2018.

In 2019, the Kansas State High School Activities Association recognized Free State’s Performing Arts Department as a KSHSAA Performing Arts School of the Year. This distinction was earned, in part, with contributions and achievements made by orchestra students led by Erpelding.

Erpelding lives in Eudora with her husband, Darren Erpelding, and their three children ages 19, 16 and 14.


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