Jami Lupold accepting her award as Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Pearl Hall Elementary music instructor Jami Lupold was selected Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year during an awards banquet last week.
Lupold, who was named the Pasadena ISD winner last spring, will now compete for the state elementary teacher of the year award. That announcement will be made this October in Austin.
"It is an enormous honor," Lupold said. "Without our principal's and our superintendent's support, we would not be able to have developed the type of programs that have brought so many great opportunities to students and teachers at Pearl Hall. It is such a great way to validate the work that my teaching team and I have been doing through music education over the past 13 years."
With 26 years of teaching experience -- including the past 13 at Pearl Hall -- the unique collaborations established with NASA, the Houston Symphony the Society for the Performing Arts and the Houston Grand Opera have had a major impact on the culture of our community.
Eleven years ago Jami and her mother, with whom she team teaches, established the "Building Cultural Bridges" program on campus. The program has drawn numerous musicians, astronauts and scientists from around the globe to Pearl Hall to share their stories and expertise with students.
Lupold was elated to hear her name called at last week's awards banquet, which drew an audience of about 800, including Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and her parents, Bill and Pat Surface.
"I smiled inside and out," she said. "And then I looked at Dr. Lewis and grinned. He nodded and smiled, and I turned and looked at my mom and dad. And my mom said 'It's you!'"
My dad was smiling so proudly," she said. "He gave me that 'Well-done!' look he has always given since I was just a kid playing at music contests."
So what great plans does the music education team have for Pearl Hall this school year?
There are 4 major plans in place: We'll start the year with students building habitats for colonizing the Moon and Mars guided by the astronauts and engineers who work on this every day. Our select Christmas choir will sing for the Houston Symphony's family Christmas concert as we have for several years. We are collaborating with Commander Chris Hadfield of the International Space Station Expedition 35 crew to help write the first music CD to be recorded in space - with a post-flight concert on stage with the Houston Symphony and our choir. We will continue the mission of creating "Passion-Driven Learning" for students and teachers infusing creative and performing arts throughout our curriculum as Jami experienced this summer at Harvard with Yo Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble.