Kim Hastings, a teacher in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, is this year’s MusiCounts Teacher of the Year.
“She has worked tirelessly to make the music program at Pioneer Middle School accessible to all students and her advocacy for music education has had a positive influence on curriculums at both the local and provincial level.”
Hastings will be honoured at this year’s JUNO Awards in London, Ont., on March 16 in addition to receiving a $10,000 donation, with a “significant contribution” going to her school’s music program.
“I am completely overwhelmed and humbled to receive this award,” Hastings said. “I love teaching middle school band and am passionate about the need to have music be a part of every child’s education.”
Hastings is a dedicated, longtime educator, teaching music for 30 years overall, 27 of them at Pioneer. She’s twice won the Rocky Mountain House Mayor’s Award for Contribution to the Arts and the band she instructs has repeatedly been honoured at the regional, provincial and national level for both full band and ensemble.
“Hastings works tirelessly to remove barriers that students might face while trying to access music education,” MusiCounts says. “She often waives fees, transports students to rehearsals and created a beginner band program to allow all students the chance to explore music. An impressive 75% of Pioneer middle School students participate in her classes, some of whom have gone on to become music teachers themselves.”
Hastings told the Red Deer Advocate: “It doesn’t matter if somebody is the best player, what matters (is) that they all get the chance to play.”
She’s the 13th teacher honoured by MusiCounts, an effort funded by companies including The Leadership Circle, TD Bank Group, Bell Media, SiriusXM Canada and the Slaight Family Foundation. Established in 1997, more than $11 million has been donated by MusiCounts in support of music education, benefitting more than 1,000 schools and communities and more than 350 post-secondary music program graduates.