Florida Music Education Association honors two OCPS educators for their contributions to the arts. At a virtual event, FMEA presented Kelly Paduano, Ed.D., Timber Creek High School principal, with the 2021 Administrator of the Year Award, and Evan Powers, Avalon Middle School choral director, the 2021 Exemplary Model Project Award for his Songbird Project.
“Dr. Paduano is an ardent supporter and advocate for the music programs at her school and well loved by her entire visual and performing arts department. As a result of the support of Dr. Paduano, Timber Creek High School offers a comprehensive arts education program for all students including band, chorus, orchestra, Advanced Placement and Honors Music Theory, theatre, dance and the visual arts,” Paul Roy wrote on behalf of the Florida Vocal Association.
As principal, Dr. Paduano expanded the Performing Arts Department to include 13 highly qualified, certified arts educators. The music education program at Timber Creek HS is 550 students strong. The performing groups receive regular invitations to perform at Disney, are omnipresent in the Avalon Park Community, have a large acceptance to All County and FMEA All State groups, and attain superior ratings on Music Performance Assessments. The music faculty at Timber Creek often mentors new teachers and continuously collaborates with local colleges and universities. Dr. Paduano’s unending support makes this possible.
Mr. Powers created Songbirds, a choral program that connects seventh and eighth grade students to elders living with dementia. Students attend a four-week training program and then are partnered with memory care residents at Encore at Avalon Park, an assisted living facility. Songbirds learn the types of music residents enjoy and then they research and learn it to share with the residents at a future visit.
“They see the kids and they light up and smile. The kids start playing the music and the residents are singing and dancing along. It’s just awesome,” Powers said.
Songbirds uses a shared love a music to connection generations. The sessions, even though they are currently virtual due to the pandemic, brighten residents’ days and provide students with a sense of service and purpose.
“FMEA is proud to celebrate and recognize music educators within the membership who demonstrate the highest level of professionalism in music education as well as those allies who work to support the profession,” FMEA President Steven Kelly, Ph.D., said.