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Elementary music teacher named Lyndonville’s first ‘Educator of the Year’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2017 at 8:36 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: John Bailey was recognized during Monday’s Board of Education meeting as Lyndonville’s Educator of the Year. The district plans to make it an annual award.

LYNDONVILLE – The school district presented its first “Educator of the Year” award on Monday and selected an elementary school music teacher who is beloved by his students and respected by his colleagues.

John Bailey, 27, is finishing his fifth year at Lyndonville. He is a high-energy teacher, inspiring students of all backgrounds and skill levels to work hard in band, and in other classes and activities at Lyndonville.

“He has a unique ability to connect with students,” said Kristina Best, the high school band teacher. “He is very caring.”

Best was among three nominators for Bailey to receive the Educator of the Year. She said Bailey’s work in elementary school has helped the high school program to take off, with high schoolers playing collegiate and professional level music.

Bailey pushes his students to excel, with a nurturing approach. He uses that same style as the JV girls softball coach, helping the team to win games with skills, and not looking for scapegoats in defeat.

Bailey last year worked with Best to start a marching band for the annual Fourth of July Parade. There are nearly 100 students in the band. Working with that group extends the school year for Bailey. Other teachers are happily enjoying summer vacation while he is getting students ready for the parade.

Leif Isaacson, a senior at Lyndonville, said Bailey strives to get the best out of students.

John Bailey is shown last year working with the newly formed marching band while it practiced for the Fourth of July parade.

“Mr. Bailey also has a heart of gold and is committed not only to teaching what is necessary for his class, but also important life skills,” Isaacson said in a letter supporting Bailey for the award. “It doesn’t matter what kind of home you come from, or what the rest of your day has been like, because when you walk into Mr. Bailey’s room, all of that goes away and you become his student. He is a true mentor to his students.”

Jacob Corser, another student, also submitted a nomination for Bailey, calling him an “exceptional band teacher.”

“Mr. Bailey is encouraging all of his students to be the best they can be and we all love him,” Corser said.

Bailey said he wants to bridge the gap between athletics, academics and music. He feels he has done that as a coach, music teacher and educator.

“I’m humbled and incredibly honored to receive this award,” Bailey said at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

He praised his colleagues in the music department, Best and Jennifer Neroni-Trupo, for their support and dedication to students.

“I wouldn’t look good if I wasn’t surrounded by incredible people,” he said. “This is a special place to be.”

Bailey, who grew up in Pembroke, stays busy outside of school, directing the Batavia Concert Band and the Pembroke-Corfu Community Band.

He said he is impressed by the Lyndonville school district, with students pushing themselves to do their best in athletics, the music program, the Academic Decathlon which competed in nationals in Wisconsin. The district has a strong team in place with administrators, teachers and parents striving to support students, Bailey said.

“I’ve really fallen in love with Lyndonville,” Bailey said after the BOE meeting. “It’s the most tightknit community I’ve seen. The district is passionate about well-rounded students.”

The Educator of the year award includes $1,000 for Bailey to use in the music department. He said he would pursue having an original piece of music written for Lyndonville.

The Board of Education on Monday also approved tenure for two teachers.  Jennifer Neroni-Trupo is a music teacher and director of the school’s drama program. She was praised by Principal Aaron Slack for pushing her students to excel and participate in the music program. She also leads the annual musical, which includes students from Medina.

“Jen has great people-management skills,” Slack said. “She has brought the two districts together with the musical program.”

Joe Suhr, a high school social studies teacher, also was approved for tenure. He has shown “a clear ability to build relationships with students” while engaging them in lively class lessons, Slack said. “He’s made history come alive for his students.”

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