ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Executive Board of the Texas Private School Music Educators Association (TPSMEA) has selected The Oakridge School's Jon Kellam, Head of School, as the organization's 2017-2018 Distinguished Administrator of the Year.
The announcement came on Jan. 27 at the All-State Clinic and Concert at the Eismann Center Performance Hall in Richardson, where six singers and two instrumentalists from The Oakridge School took part. The students were selected by audition from a large pool of musicians from around the state.
Each year Mr. Kellam works to cultivate community engagement and support for the school's mission, which inspires students to seek their full potential in academics, the arts, and athletics. He proudly attends a number of Oakridge events, including concerts, plays, and numerous other student activities, and he encourages others to support Oakridge students as well.
"I believe academic and athletic competitions, as well as music education, concerts, and events such as those hosted by the TPSMEA, strengthen students as they pursue their passions and find their voice in the world," said Mr. Kellam, who has served as Head of School since 2007. "Many things contribute to a young person's growth and maturity, and music shapes abilities and character in a unique and meaningful way."
Mr. Andy Stewart, the Director of Choirs and Chair of the Fine Arts Department, nominated Mr. Kellam for the award, noting that though there are more than 30 performances a year in the John P. Flavin Fine Arts Center, Mr. Kellam is assuredly in attendance at the vast majority. In his nomination letter, Mr. Stewart wrote: "Mr. Kellam's support of the arts goes beyond Oakridge's mission statement... believing that arts education starts at the earliest levels, he understands arts impact on a young person's academic and emotional development. A champion of arts education as an integral part of a student's overall education, Mr. Kellam often cites performing arts programs when promoting broader school initiatives. In a time when many schools might be tempted to limit funding, Mr. Kellam continues to say 'yes.'"
Such support has allowed arts programs to flourish at Oakridge as evident by a full third of the student body participating in the Upper School Choir and Orchestra programs. In just the previous five years, Oakridge has placed almost 120 students in region ensembles with 45 of them advancing to TPSMEA All-State ensembles, including placing five singers in the TMEA All-State Choir and one musician in the TMEA All-State Orchestra.
The Texas Private School Music Educators Association created the Distinguished Administrator of the Year award to recognize administrators who demonstrate continued leadership in developing, improving and supporting music education within a wider commitment to arts education.
About The Oakridge School
Established in 1979, The Oakridge School is a coeducational, college preparatory school for students in preschool through grade 12. The school draws a diverse student body from 37 area cities and 19 countries to a dynamic learning environment on a 100-acre campus in Arlington. The Oakridge School mission is to inspire students to seek their full potential in academics, the arts, and athletics in a challenging and nurturing environment that cultivates social responsibility, mutual respect, and personal integrity. Oakridge was named the 2016 Spotlight School by the Lausanne Learning Institute as recognition for its campuswide innovative instruction. To learn more about The Oakridge School, visit www.theoakridgeschool.org.