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HCS teachers honored for work in music education

By Kelly Cantrall

Hardin County is home to two of the area’s three best music teachers, as chosen by their peers.

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Abe Barr, a band teacher at North Hardin High School, was selected as High School Teacher of the Year within the Kentucky Music Educators Association’s fourth district; and Debby Duda, a music teacher at G.C. Burkhead Elementary School, was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year in the 11-county district.

Their wins make them nominees for Teacher of the Year awards for the entire state.

Teachers are nominated by their peers, who speak on the nominees’ behalf at a Music Educators Association conference. From there, the nominees are voted on by conference attendants.

Barr teaches a jazz ensemble class, which has had recent success. The ensemble was chosen to play at the KMEA State Music Conference as well as at the Jazz Education Network conference this winter. He believes that’s why he was selected for the award.

“It’s really more about their accomplishments,” Barr said of his students.

Barr said the award means a lot because of the other quality teachers in the district.

“To be nominated and selected in this district is quite an honor because there’s so many good educators,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Duda has been selected within the district; it’s her third. Duda has taught music at G.C. Burkhead for 29 years and plans to retire at the end of the year.

“I’ve been here for my entire career basically,” she said.

She began teaching music because of her love of it while she was growing up.

With her career nearing its end, she hadn’t planned on this recognition.

“I was very surprised that they would do that again,” Duda said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.