Maple School orchestra director nominated for 2021 Outstanding Music Educator Award

  • Maple School Orchestra Director Renee Yoo has been nominated by her peers for the 2021 Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award.

    Maple School Orchestra Director Renee Yoo has been nominated by her peers for the 2021 Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award. Courtesy of District 30

 
 
Updated 9/2/2021 10:33 AM

Maple School Orchestra Director Renee Yoo has been nominated by her peers for the 2021 Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award.

She admitted she was surprised and a little embarrassed by it.

 

"I'm a low-key, quiet person trying to do the best job I can," Yoo said.

Still, the Northbrook resident, Maple School's orchestra director since 1993, was among 38 music educators nominated.

Yoo did not know who nominated her, and only found out of her honor when a fellow band director told her about it.

"I was quite shocked," she said.

One of her favorite quotes is attributed, naturally, to Beethoven: "Music is the electric soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents."

Another quote Yoo has taken to heart comes from author John Maxwell: "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

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Yoo plans to continue teaching at least seven or eight more years, she said.

While grateful for the nomination, which Yoo said was reflective of the 2020-21 academic year, she brings it back to her students.

"It's a wonderful thing to celebrate, but if I can make a difference in one child, the world doesn't need to know, the community doesn't need to know. I think making a difference in a child is what's worth celebrating," she said.

Since 1989, the Quinlan & Fabish Music Company -- 62 years old, it has nine stores in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, including a location in Arlington Heights -- has recognized excellence in the field of music education with the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award.

Typically six are selected from among the nominees. This year there were seven. Of the 38 Illinois nominees, they were: Frank Alongi of Old Quarry Middle School, Lemont; Candace Horton of Thomas Middle School, Arlington Heights; Megan Lopresto of Hill Middle School, Naperville; Eric Morong of Hinsdale Community Consolidated Elementary District 181; Stephanie San Roman of Oswego High School; Sarah Whitlock of Homewood-Flossmoor High School; and the late J. Will Burck of Waubonsie Valley High School.

"Even being nominated, I feel very grateful and humbled by it," Yoo said.

"My mission in teaching is student first, then music. And, to me, music is just an outlet to show kindness and empathy to each child."

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