GREENVILLE — Her students have believed it for years, but Saturday it was made official.
The Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA)named Greenville High School Band and Orchestra Director Susan Gould Orchestra Teacher of the Year on Saturday during the Michigan Music Conference at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
Gould was nominated for the award for a second time in her career and beat two other finalists on Saturday.
“To even to be nominated once during someone’s career is pretty unbelievable, I’m at a loss for words” Gould said. “But that’s not why any of us get into education. It is about getting kids into a subject that we as music teachers love.”
Gould was announced the winner before a crowd of roughly a thousand in attendance, including her parents and several close friends, including former Greenville Band Director Keith Hudson.
“It’s extremely difficult to even be nominated,” Hudson said. “This is her second time making it to the state level. Then to be voted on by your colleagues, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. It’s the highest honor she could achieve.”
Gould was nominated in 2009 but fell short of winning.
“I think the recognition is more about the entire career and journey, not just this year,” she said. “I’ve been so fortunate to be in this community, as I have been able to do some really cool things with the kids over the years. Having been given the support to do these kinds of things, such as trips to Paris, Orlando and all the other interesting performance opportunities, it makes it that much more rewarding.”
Hudson said he can’t think of anyone who has worked harder to produce the kind of results he has seen from the GHS orchestra over the years.
“Just the way she’s worked so hard with the orchestra to make it as successful as it is and to be recognized by other directors for her work and excellence, it’s a terrific honor,” he said. “I can’t think of anything that would be a higher honor for an orchestra or a band director.”
Gould was most proud that her orchestra was able to perform at the music conference a day before she was announced teacher of the year.
“It was an extremely exciting opportunity for our kids,” she said. “Anytime we can get kids outside of the community of Greenville, it’s very exciting. Our students got to see the inside the Amway Grand Hotel and they played in an enormous ballroom. They kind of felt like rock stars.”
As Orchestra Teacher of the Year, Gould will now have the opportunity to conduct in May at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
Gould had three students perform at the event last year and hopes for similar results this year.
“I’m already thinking about what that opportunity is going to be like,” she said. “With any luck, I may have one of my own (students) in that group.