Chris Gleason, a band director and instrumental music teacher at Patrick Marsh Middle School in the Sun Prairie Area School District, will represent Wisconsin in the National Teacher of the Year program.
Gleason was named Wisconsin’s Middle School Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony at his school in early September.
As part of representing Wisconsin in the National Teacher of the Year program, Gleason will receive an additional $6,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. Gleason’s total award from the foundation as a Kohl Teacher Fellow, Middle School Teacher of the Year, and representative to the National Teacher of the Year program is $12,000.
Gleason recently received the Mel Pontious Spark Award for innovative teaching, and the Wisconsin Music Educator Association Michael G. George Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, he is among 213 quarterfinalists nationwide for the 2017 Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation.
Grammy representatives invited Gleason to conduct a question and answer session with Ben Folds when he appears at Madison’s Majestic Theater.
Gleason’s Band Lesson Academy pairs students with community musicians. He also secured funds through grants and donations to finance student lessons for families who couldn’t afford them.
A special project he started in 2009, ComMission Possible, has student musicians collaborating with nationally renowned composers to write a commissioned piece of music for middle school band students.
Connecting music beyond the classroom and into the world, students raised funds to travel to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry to see the Apollo 8 capsule and the Apollo 11 Training Module. While there, students performed a concert, including a small piece from the commissioned music.
Gleason’s students perform at local events and larger performances. His middle school bands have twice been chosen to perform at the Capitol Rotunda for Music in our Schools Month.