Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
Sherrick receives director of the year award
By Betty Lawrence
Longtime Parkway schools band and choir director Richard Sherrick recently received the Ohio Music Education Association's (OMEA) Ohio Music Educator of the Year award for 2007.
The director's 35 years of dedication to students and drive for excellence is what prompted his daughter, Katie Brautigam, to nominate him for the prestigious award.
After submitting the required forms, including a dozen letters of recommendation from former students, administrators and parents, Brautigam learned, just a few days before Christmas, that her father was selected for the award.
"It was a long time after the letters and papers were sent in before we heard from anyone. Then we got a letter from the OMEA announcing Dad as the winner. It was wrapped up and was presented to him as a Christmas gift," said Brautigam, who followed in her father's footsteps and is now the music instructor at Celina Intermediate School.
She said it was difficult keeping the award a surprise.
"He didn't even know he had been nominated for it, let alone that he was selected," she said. "Mom knew, and of course the people who wrote the letters of recommendation knew. But no one let it slip."
Sherrick was presented the award at a recent OMEA State Convention in Columbus.
"It was so neat, reading the letters that former students and parents had written. Several of the passages were read at the awards ceremony, and it was pretty emotional," Sherrick said.
Other than a two-year stint with the U.S. Army, Sherrick has spent all of his musical career in the halls and classrooms of Parkway schools.
Under his leadership, the Parkway Band has qualified for state competition every year for the past 34 years and has cases and cases of trophies and awards. He leads 150-plus band and choir students, which make up the marching band, two concert bands and the choir.
Sherrick retired in 2005 and was rehired the following year.
"I'm one of those retire, rehire teachers at Parkway," he said. "It was a financial decision. I get my retirement and the school saves money because they don't pay my insurance. It's a win-win situation for all. Plus, I was not ready to retire, and I really wanted to direct in the new school."
Sherrick spent most of his career teaching in the old buildings in Rockford, Mendon and Willshire. Those buildings were torn down to make room for the new school in Rockford, which includes a 600-seat auditorium - a far cry from the cold, damp basements Sherrick taught in at the 100-year-old buildings.
Sherrick says he is doubly proud to be the first music and choir director at the new school.
"It's really neat, having all the grades in one building, and it's nice not having to drive to three different towns (Rockford, Willshire and Mendon) to do my job," he said.
Sherrick is a graduate of Lima Senior High School, earned a bachelor's degree in music education from The Ohio State University and a master's degree in education from Wright State University.
As the recipient of the state music educator award, Sherrick no doubt has reached the pinnacle of his career.
Brautigam summed it up in a few simple words, "I'm just so very proud of him."