Berkeley County music teacher a quarterfinalist for national recognition

From The Berkeley Independent

Linda VersprilleA Berkeley County music teacher has been selected as a quarterfinalist for the 2016 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Award.

Linda Versprille, director of Orchestras and the Panjamdrum Steel Band at Sangaree Middle School, in Ladson, S.C., is one of 213 music teachers from 194 cities across 42 states to have been announced as quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.

More than 4,500 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

Versprille attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Her Bachelor of Music Degree is in Piano and Music Education General Supervisor’s Curriculum. She is certified in Music K-12 Instrumental, Choral and Piano.

Versprille received her Master’s in Education from Lesley University in Creative Arts in Learning and she is currently completing her doctoral coursework at Concordia University, Portland in Transformational Leadership.

She has taken more than 80 hours of instruction in piano at the University of South Carolina where she studied with Dr. Charles Fugo and received certification in all levels of Orff Schulwerk at the Eastman School of Music. Versprille attained her National Board Certification in 2007, and is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the South Carolina Music Educators Association and the American String Teachers Association.

Versprille has taught school choral music and private piano in Aiken, Augusta, Columbia and Charlotte. After moving to Berkeley County in 2000, she helped pilot the first arts infused magnet school at Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School where she taught general music, strings, band and steel drums.

There, Versprille developed the Cainhoy Steel Tigers, which performed at Piccolo Spoleto three times between 2005 and 2007.

In 2008, Versprille began developing the strings program at Cane Bay High School. She also was able to build the feeder program through Sangaree Middle School. That same year Versprille created the Panjamdrum Steel Band. Since then, the group has performed at Piccolo Spoleto, this year’s performance being Sunday, May 24 at Second Presbyterian Church. The performance will mark the group’s seventh consecutive performance, the tenth consecutive for a Berkeley County Steel Band, at Piccolo Spoleto.

“The skills and talents of the fine arts faculties at Sangaree Middle and Cane Bay High Schools are inspirational. I treasure the collaborative nature of these friends and the constant support given to the arts by my principals, Ms. Sissy Day of Sangaree Middle School and Dr. Lee Westberry of Cane Bay High School,” said Verpsrille.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools. Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists, and will be recognized for his or her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The winner will be flown to the host city of the GRAMMY Awards to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

Semifinalists will be announced in September.

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