2019 Music Educator of the Year: Valerie (DeTray) Buckley

Valerie (DeTray) Buckley has been teaching with the Northeastern Local School District of Clark County, OH since the Fall of 2008. Prior to that time, she taught for 4 years with the Orrville City Schools and 1 year with the Southeast Local School District of Wayne County. Mrs. Buckley directs the Chamber Singers, Symphonic Choir, Women’s and Men’s Choir of Kenton Ridge High School and the 7th grade choir and 8th grade choir at Northridge Middle School.

A native of Oak Harbor, Ohio, Mrs. Buckley earned her Bachelor of Music Education (both horn and voice) from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio in 2003. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the Chapel Choir, Symphonic Winds, Wind Symphony, Horn Choir, and the Capital/Bexley Orchestra. She studied private voice with Stephanie Henkle and horn with Nicholas Perrini. In 2016 Buckley received her Master’s Degree in Music Education with a Kodály Emphasis from Capital University.

The Kenton Ridge Choirs are in high demand and perform throughout the community and state. Under Mrs. Buckley’s direction, they continuously receive Excellent and Superior ratings both at District and State Large Group Contest and in 2013 the Women’s Choir performed at the OMEA Professional Development Conference. Members of her choirs have performed in All-State Ensembles and at Solo and Ensemble events. They have won several awards including “Best Overall Choir” at the Clark County Choir Festival and earned a performance spot at the Schuster Performing Arts Center as part of a competition sponsored by Heartland Federal Credit Union. Other notable performances include singing at the Ohio Statehouse, performing the National Anthem before a Cleveland Cavaliers game, Walt Disney World, and New York City.

When she is not directing, Mrs. Buckley sings with the Capital University Choral Union, plays the horn in pit orchestras, sings with various church choirs, and helps out with the Kenton Ridge Marching Cougar Band. She sang with the Summit Choral Society’s Masterworks Chorale as the Alto soloist for the Bach Mass in B-Minor performed in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China. In her free time she enjoys singing show tunes, watching tv, and spending time with her friends and family. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, Derek, and their dog, Atlas, and cat, Lana.

The Music Educator of the Year Award is open for nominations from the general public. Nominees must be a music educator in a public, parochial, or private school, or private lesson studio, in grades K-12, in Clark, Champaign, Greene, Miami, Montgomery or Madison counties. Educators from the following fields are eligible: General Music, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Composition, Music Technology, and Private Instruction Studio.

The award will be presented by Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson from the stage of the Kuss Auditorium during a subscription concert of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Past Winners of the SSO Music Educator of the Year Award:

» 2018 Sean Hurley

» 2017 Michael Weller

» 2016 Lydia Smith-Lockwood

» 2015 Karen Gorretta

» 2014 Amy Whitehall

» 2013 Jim Templeton

» 2012 Sharon Safely

» 2011 Evalind Pickering

Sean-Hurley-right Sean Hurley received the 2018 Music Educator of the Year Award

Michael-Weller-right Michael Weller received the 2017 Music Educator of the Year Award

Smith-Lockwood-right Lydia Smith-Lockwood received the 2016 Music Educator of the Year Award

Goretta-right Karen Goretta received the 2015 Music Educator of the Year Award
MEOY-Whitehill-Award Amy Whitehill receives the 2014 Music Educator of the Year Award from Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson

MOEY-Jim-Templeton Jim Templeton receives the 2013 Music Educator of the Year Award from Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson

MEOY-Safely Sharon Safley acknowledges her 2012 Music Educator of the Year Award

MEOY-Pickering Evalind Pickering receives the 2011 Music Educator of the Year Award from Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson


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