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Debby Duda is retiring from G.C. Burkhead Elementary School on a high note.
Duda, music teacher at G.C. Burkhead, was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Music Educators Association at its awards presentation last week. Duda received $500 with the award to be used for materials for her classroom.
The award comes during Duda’s last year before she retires from her 29-year teaching career, all spent at G.C. Burkhead.
Duda learned she had won the award a few months ago, after receiving an email from the organization at home.
“I let out this big scream,” when she found the message, startling her daughter in the process, she said.
“I was very surprised,” Duda said.
Duda was nominated by a fellow music teacher at Creekside Elementary School and received the award for the fourth district in KMEA for the third time. She prepared a portfolio that consisted of letters of recommendation, an essay about her philosophy of music education, and some anecdotes of creative lessons in her classroom. A selection committee received portfolios and selected winners for each education level.
Duda said for the nomination she made her portfolio like a scrapbook, so even if she didn’t win, she’d have something to save for retirement. And, she said, if someone wanted to nominate her for a third time, “I should really put my best foot forward.”
Along with receiving the honor, Duda and G.C. Burkhead also were selected to take part in recording of the Concert for Music in Our Schools Month, in which schools from across country perform songs on a DVD while other schools participate March 8 in classrooms.
The honors have given Duda a successful year, the end of which she’s now realizing is fast-approaching. She said it will be bittersweet to leave, but she’s happy to have a nice end to her career.
“There’s something to be said for going out when you really love it,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.