Leyden's Stacy Cunningham recipient of ILMEA Mary Hoffman Award
Leyden's Stacy Cunningham is this year's recipient of the Mary Hoffman Award for Excellence in Education. Conferred by the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) at the organization's All-State Conference held January 23-26 in Peoria, the award is the association's highest honor. Award criteria states the nominees must demonstrate excellence in teaching, and the characteristics of an outstanding music educator.
"This award is a testament to Stacy's dedication to her students, and her commitment to their success," says Bryan Miller, Music Department chair and the person who nominated Cunningham for the award. "She has been developing and adding to our choral department curriculum as well as extra-curricular activities for more than fourteen years."
Cunningham received the Hoffman award at the conference's opening general session, in the presence of about two thousand Illinois music educators. She says she "never thought" she'd be the recipient of a major award.
"When I looked at the list of previous winners, many of whom have been education idols of mine, I couldn't believe it. I am so humbled by this honor. To be recognized by an organization that has had such an impact on me since the time I was a young student is overwhelming," she says.
A teacher at Leyden for 17 years, Cunningham works with five curricular choral ensembles and a few independent study students each year. She created the GraceNotes and three levels of Vocal Jazz at Leyden: Jazz Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Women of Jazz. She also is responsible for the Chamber Singers and the district's musicals. Under her direction, the Leyden choral students have toured and competed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and New York.
"I'm very proud of the exceptional work being done by Stacy," Miller says. "She's a tremendous asset to our department and the community."