Dr. Kim Watters named 2023 NAfME/BHS Music Educator of the Year
In recognition of her broad influence on close harmony and a cappella singing, Dr. Kim Watters of Gordon Central High School, Calhoun, Georgia has been named the 2023 recipient of the Music Educator Award by the Barbershop Harmony Society and NAfME, The National Association for Music Education.
The award was announced in a surprise school visit by CFO Erik Dove on February 5, 2023, at the Georgia Spirit sendoff show, including local Atlanta barbershop choruses, Kims students, and attended by family, friends, students and former students.
The BHS/NAfME award honors educators “who give students the opportunity to learn and participate in the joy and power that music education brings in uplifting the human spirit and fostering the well being of society.”
Watters’ impact on music students in the Gordon County Schools extends across multiple ensembles and programs serving as the Director of Choral & Theatre Activities for Gordon Central High School. Colleagues praise her high quality of instruction and the breadth of opportunities she provides students through festivals and trips. She has received multiple additional awards including District Teacher of the Year, Georgia Shuler Awards Best Director, and Georgia Outstanding Theatre Educator.
Watters has been a champion of barbershop in music education. She has had students at 12 International Midwinter Festivals, including 2023 in Daytona Beach, been a part of over a dozen local camps, and helped create a seminar on the barbershop style for the Georgia Music Educators Association All-State Chorus event. Her doctoral dissertation was titled: Improving Male Student Enrollments In The High School Choral Program Through The Use Of A Youth Barbershop Program
“Barbershop is like glue that holds us together as singers,” says Watters. “The kids love it! It draws in new members and offers a platform of varied music styles for all. I continue to tell students that the Barbershop Harmony Society offers the opportunity for them to sing the rest of their lives.”
A former student who has pursued music education in college writes, “I am continually inspired by Dr. Kim Watters every day for all that she does. I and countless other wouldn’t be where we are today without her constant efforts to push us to become better than ourselves. Even in times we couldn’t see it, she saw the greatness within. Educators like her only come around once in a lifetime. I know you will continue to touch the lives of so many. ”
Watters holds a BME in Music Education from Shorter College, a MME in Music Education - Choral Conducting from Shenandoah University, and a EdD in Educational Leadership & Management from Capella University.