By Linda Dillman
Indian Trail Elementary music teacher Karla Cherwinski’s work with first and second graders was recently recognized by the Columbus Symphony as its 2019 Elementary Music Educator Award recipient.
The award program honors individuals who make a difference in the community through a dedication to music education and promotion of a greater understanding of and appreciation for the art form.
“I am very humbled and honored to be receiving this award,” said Cherwinski, who was nominated for the award in early December. “I didn’t know anything about actually receiving the award until Jean Stahler from the Columbus Symphony was at my classroom door with Mr. Riddle (principal) on Jan. 29. She presented me the award during Mrs. Roberts’ second grade music class. It was a total surprise for me. I was so happy that she came in person and presented while I was with my students.”
Indian Trail Principal Eric Riddle said Cherwinski began teaching music 26 years ago, has taught at Indian Trail for 21 years and impacts over 500 students. She is a member of the school’s leadership team, on the STEM committee and helps facilitate the arts festival at Indian Trail. She is also co-president of the Canal Winchester Education Association and a graduate of both Capital and Ohio State Universities.
“Karla is an amazing leader in the building,” said Riddle. “She works extremely hard, is open to ideas, and does an outstanding job of building relationships with students, parents, staff, and community members. We are lucky to have her.”
Cherwinski is also director of the Kodály Institute at Capital and coordinator of the music education track of Capital’s Master of Music program. She also serves as the program co-chair for the 2019 Organization of American Kodály Educators National Conference that will be held in Columbus in March.
After more than two and a half decades in education, Cherwinski said she still loves what she does each and every day.
“I love making music with my students as well as helping them to learn about music, but most of all I love that I get to share the joy that comes with singing together,” said Cherwinski. “Music truly is something that words cannot express and our students need opportunities to make music to be a well-rounded human being. It is truly a pleasure and a joy that I get to do this job every day.”
Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar lauded Cherwinski for her dedication and called her a vital member of the Canal Winchester family.
“Her commitment to our students is unsurpassed and she is a well-respected teacher throughout the entire community,” said Sotlar. “Her passion for music education goes beyond her classroom of Canal Winchester as she serves as a mentor for Canal Winchester music teachers throughout the district and opens her classrooms to student observers and student teachers with a future in music education. We are honored and excited to have Ms. Cherwinski recognized for the amazing things she is doing both in the world of music and education as a whole.”
The Columbus Symphony Music Educator Award, along with a $2,500 grant for classroom support, materials or professional development, will be presented at a dinner at the Sheridan Downtown. Cherwinski will also be recognized prior to an April 6 symphony concert at the Ohio Theatre.