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Cobre High Band Director Gerheart Receives NEA Teaching Excellence Award

California Casualty Contributes $650 to Cobre High School in Honor of Award

    No stranger to accolades, Cobre High School Band Director Charles Gerheart has again been recognized for his stellar work with Cobre music students as New Mexico’s 2013-14 recipient of the National Education Association Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.   Gerheart will travel to Washington, D.C. to attend a February 7, 2014 gala event during which he and other state winners will be recognized & considered for the Foundation’s national honor.  This Wednesday, December 18, at the conclusion of the Cobre High School Winter Band Program, NEA’s partner and sponsor of the Foundation for Teaching Excellence, California Casualty, will present a check for $650 to Cobre High School Principal Frank Quarrell in celebration of Gerheart and his students’ success.

    Beginning in 1999, while in his third year of teaching, Gerheart led the Cobre High School Indian Pride Band to the first of a dozen state championships in the AAA Division of the New Mexico Activities Association State Band Contest.   Every year since then, the tiny band (averaging 24 students each year) has received a rating of “Superior” at the New Mexico Music Educators Association annual District Concert Band Festival.  Each year from 1998 to 2012, the band placed in the top three of its class at the New Mexico State Tournament of Bands Marching Competition and took the competition eight of those years.

    This is not the first time Gerheart’s teaching style and methods have been recognized as outstanding by his colleagues.  He has led numerous clinics and workshops with an emphasis on building success with small band programs, and was included among “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” by School Band and Orchestra Magazine in 2003.  He was also featured in a 2009 article in Teaching Music, another music educators’ national publication.

    Margene Van Liew, a parent of one of Gerheart’s former students, remarked, “When a student completes four years of band at Cobre High School, they have learned not only the beauty of music, but also discipline, respect for others, and responsibility.”  Cobre-NEA President Cheryl Holland who nominated Gerheart for the award, commented that  she is “constantly amazed” by Gerheart’s positive impact on the entire Cobre school system and the way his students achieve academically and serve as role models for other students.   California Casualty Representative Christine Aguilar will present the $650 check on Wednesday night.

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