By AMY WEGNER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
WAKARUSA — For NorthWood Middle School’s departing principal, George Roelandts, his career in education is approaching a coda.
The musical metaphor is fitting, in light of news that Roelandts, along with vice-principal Bart Rice, have both received a prestigious award from the Indiana Music Education Association. The announcement was made during the May 13 session of the Wa-Nee Community Schools Board of Trustees.
A trio of music instructors from NorthWood Middle School were on hand to present Roelandts and Rice with the honor. Tonya Angle, Meredith Eller and Maureen Gray submitted a nomination for Roelandts and Rice to become dual recipients for an “Outstanding” distinction bestowed by the IMEA. The men are the only administrators in the state of Indiana to be recognized with this award.
Angle said that the staff felt both individuals were very worthy of the title, owing to the fact that they are avid supporters of the fine arts. Angle said that Roelandts had only missed a very small number of shows and productions during his tenure at NWMS.
The process to be considered for “Outstanding” status included the submission of testimonies from NorthWood Middle School staff members, as well as three letters of recommendation each from local students and parents. The information is then taken under review by the board of the IMEA, with members placing votes on who should receive the award.
“This year, the music staff at NWMS decided to nominate George and Bart as a team because we feel very supported by them and we wished to honor them for that,” Angle told the board. “Not all music educators have the support and security that we have and have had for a long time.”
Roelandts and Rice were notified of their award status earlier this year during the IMEA Professional Development Conference in Fort Wayne. The organization encourages a policy to present the awards again at a local level, so that colleagues can have the opportunity to witness the presentation.
Excerpts from the statement read during the Fort Wayne conference included this declaration, “Both of these recipients are excellent examples of the leadership needed to maintain music as an important part of students’ curriculum. They clearly demonstrate their positive personal beliefs in the importance of music and music education as a part of the overall general education experience. Through their combined leadership, music education is continually supported in their school.”