Rowland Hall Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson can end 2018 on a high note: the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) this month named him Music Educator of the Year.
Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic nominated Bret. She said she's ecstatic UHSAA selected him and the honor is well-earned. "He is truly the consummate professional who loves his students and who loves to bring music into their lives."
Bret trains students to view music as a creative art that has relevance and potency in their lives, Kendra wrote in her nomination letter, and he's often the first person in the building each morning and the last to leave each night. "It never fails that I see or hear him working with a student or students in the music room every time I walk by," she added. "His dedication and commitment to creating a strong music program at Rowland Hall is incredible."
Through that dedication—plus his musical prowess and unfailingly friendly disposition—Bret has made a big impression on Rowland Hall since his 2005 hiring. He and his students have accumulated numerous awards, including top honors at state and region music festivals and competitions. And his contributions extend beyond the music department: he's always happy to organize a jazz band performance at sports games and other school events, Kendra wrote. "Any time our band is involved with a sporting activity, our fan attendance goes up exponentially because of the festive atmosphere that Dr. Jackson and his jazz band creates in the gym."
Bret loves teaching young musicians in their formative years: he said his own life has been largely defined by the opportunities for growth, achievement, and leadership he had back in high school. "Recognizing this, I feel lucky to have a career that allows me to help young people develop important life skills and a love for art through nurturing their musical talents."
The top teacher added he's grateful for the award and bolstered by the recognition. "If it can help get the word out that there is great music being made at Rowland Hall, then all the better."
Read more about Bret in his biography.
The accolade is part of UHSAA's Distinguished Service Awards, initiated in 1987 to honor individuals for their service and contributions to high school activities. Bret will join 16 other coaches, officials, teachers, and contributors who will be honored at a January luncheon.
Bret is the seventh Rowland Hall employee on record to receive a UHSAA Distinguished Service Award. Full list:
- Dr. Bret Jackson, band director and music teacher, 2018 Music Educator of the Year
- Bobby Kennedy, girls soccer head coach, 2015 2A Coach of the Year
- Mark Oftedal, cross country and track and field coach, 2014 2A Coach of the Year
- Kathy Howa, softball and volleyball coach, 2013 Distinguished Contributor of the Year
- Shawn MacQueen, former boys basketball and golf coach, 2009 2A Coach of the Year
- Ryan Hoglund, former debate coach and current director of ethical education, 2007 Speech Educator of the Year
- Kendra Tomsic, director of athletics, 2004 Athletic Director of the Year