WHS arts dean among contenders for Grammy Award
WINDHAM — Windham High School’s beloved band director may soon be hobnobbing with celebrities.
Earlier this month, Jared Cassedy learned he’s among the 222 American music teachers named as a quarterfinalist for the Grammy’s 2015 Music Educator of the Year Award.
He’s the only Granite State teacher to make the list.
Cassedy has been working in the Windham School District since 2005, when he was hired as the middle school’s band director. He moved to the high school in 2009 and is now the school’s dean of arts.
Starting in August, Cassedy will be the district’s director of arts.
Earlier this year, Cassedy said he was nominated for the honors by one of his students, senior Tim Raymond, and Raymond’s mother, Christina.
As part of the entry process, Cassedy filled out an application and wrote an essay, where he talked about teaching methodologies.
“My theme was on how music really is such a great vehicle for collaborative learning,” he said.
Of the 7,000 teachers nominated for a Grammy by their fellow teachers, administrators, parents, students or professional recording arts, 5,000 ultimately applied.
The National Association for Music Education and Grammy officials will name the top 10 finalists in September, with the award winner to be announced by year’s end.
aguil\Each of the top 10 finalists will win $1,000 for their respective schools, with the winner to be presented with a check for $10,000.
Cassedy, who lives in Manchester, said his interest in music was piqued as a child, when he began taking piano lessons.
Playing in the Salem High School band as a teenager, he found further inspiration in the teachers that nurtured his dreams, and he went on to study music education at University of New Hampshire.
“Music is such a wonderful outlet, and regardless of what level you’re at, it teaches you how to connect,” Cassedy said.
In April, Cassedy took members of the Windham High School band on the trip of a lifetime, where the group performed a concert at Carnegie Hall.
“It’s been an incredible year for our music programs,” he told the School Board Tuesday night.
Raymond, the band’s president, said he’s been on several trips with Cassedy during his four years at the high school.
“It’s been an experience like no other,” he said.
Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said Cassedy’s latest accomplishment is a proud moment for Windham.
“We already knew our programs were in excellent hands,” he said. “But this just gives me chills.”
School Board member Mike Joanis, who traveled with the band to the Big Apple this spring and also went along on its trip to Chicago last year, recalled how immediately following the Carnegie Hall performance, every parent and student in attendance lined up to personally thank Cassedy and congratulate him on a job well done.
“It showed such a strong connection between this educator and his students,” Joanis said. “The level of commitment is unbelievable.”