Sunflower music teacher named Lawrence school district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year
photo by: Rachel Asbury, Lawrence Public Schools/Contributed Photo
Story updated at 5:40 p.m. Thursday, April 4:
Sunflower Elementary School music teacher and choir director Peter Gipson said he’s “extremely humbled and grateful” to be named the Lawrence school district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Gipson, now in his 14th year with Lawrence schools and 10th year at Sunflower, was honored during an all-school assembly Thursday morning.
“He does not work or serve for awards or accolades, but simply to inspire and impact all of those he comes in contact with each day,” Sunflower Principal Howard Diacon said in a news release from the district. “As a music teacher, he comes in contact with every child in the building … The kids absolutely love him!”
Gipson told the Journal-World that in his role, he gets to work with every student in the school from kindergarten through fifth grade. Watching them grow — as musicians and as students — and forging lasting bonds with them, he said, is one of the best parts of the job.
Gipson said he tries to come in every day with his mind on the goal of getting kids to love music.
“At times, I feel like I am acting like a fool in front of a bunch of 6- and 7-year-olds, but if it gets them engaged in music and if it takes a high level of energy to do that, then that’s what I feel like I need to do,” Gipson said.
photo by: Lawrence Public Schools/Contributed Photo
Gipson also directs the Sunflower choir, which has twice been selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop, according to the release. He was named the KMEA’s Northeast District Elementary Choral Teacher of the Year in the fall, and he was the Lawrence Schools Foundation’s Elementary Educator of the Year in 2014.
In addition to the honor, Gipson received a $1,000 check from Truity Credit Union.
He’ll also be nominated for the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Teacher of the Year program, according to the release. The Region 2 award banquet for honorees will be Sept. 15 in Topeka.
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