Brandi Jason, an Instrumental Music Teacher at Liberty High School, has been selected as one of seven finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year.
The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from a number of key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents, and higher education. All finalists were chosen based on a rigorous set of state and national criteria that include teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement. The finalists were selected from a group of 24 local teachers of the year, representing the 24 Maryland school systems.
The 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore on October 25, 2019. The Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award, to be announced next April. Maryland’s Teacher of the Year will also spend the coming year as an educational speaker and advisor in Maryland and will be honored by the President at the White House next spring. The Maryland Teacher of the Year will also participate in several national meetings and conferences.
Jason earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from James Madison University in 2000. In 2002, she earned a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance, also from James Madison University. Jason was a Vocal Music and General Music Teacher at East Middle School before moving to Liberty High School where she has been teaching since 2005.
Throughout her teaching career at Liberty High School, Jason has served as the Tri-M National Music Honor Society Advisor, the Instructional Team Leader for the Fine Arts Department, and Director of the Honors Wind Ensemble, the Honors Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Orchestra, Honors Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Honors Jazz Ensemble, and the Lions’ Pride (competitive) Marching Band.
Jason has grown Liberty Instrumental Music into the largest instrumental music program in Carroll County – a program that is strong in the areas of student performance, extracurriculars, community outreach, and parent involvement. Statistically, one-quarter of the school population is enrolled in instrumental music with over twenty percent of students doubling on at least more than one instrument. The honor ensembles are performing college-level literature and continue to receive superior ratings at music assessment festivals. The marching band is ranked first on the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast (Group 3) – the highest scoring marching band in Maryland history. Liberty graduates 3-7 instrumental music majors annually and has the largest percentage of students participating in All-County and All-State ensembles.
Among her many accomplishments, Jason established a Liberty High School chapter of the Tri-M National Music Honors Society. While at Liberty, she also created the “big sibling” mentor program, which pairs veteran members with newcomers to the department. She also started the private lesson program that provides free tutoring services for struggling middle and high school students. In addition, Jason created the annual Salute to the Armed Forces Red, White, and Blue Pops Concert series, which brings all ensembles into contact with their own solo guest artist while honoring local service people and veterans in the community.
Jason was a 2018 GRAMMY Finalist – 1 of 9 educators nationwide. For the last three years, she has been a Music Educator Semi-Finalist – 1 of 25 educators nationwide. Liberty High School was named a “Best Community for Music Education” by the National Association for Music Education in 2016 (1 of 118 schools recognized). Jason has been a finalist three times for Carroll County Teacher of the Year.
According to Principal Kenneth Goncz, “Brandi is a masterful instructor and director. She creates a learning environment that results in high achievement. She is a master teacher who stretches her students to achieve excellence. Her ability to motivate and inspire students and guide them toward success serves as a model for our students, and her unwavering dedication is admirable. It is hard to overstate the positive impact Brandi has had and continues to have on Liberty High School.“