Mr. Cassedy Accepts Music Teacher of Excellence Award

Emily Wu and Janya Utkarsh

On Oct. 19, Jared Cassedy, the Lexington Public Schools K-12 Performing Arts Coordinator and Lexington High School Wind Ensemble Conductor, received the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation’s Music Teacher of Excellence award. The event recognizes ten music educators nationally, as well as local teachers in Nashville and across Tennessee.

“[The CMA Foundation Music Teachers of Excellence Gala] took place at Marathon Motorworks in Nashville. The evening was filled with numerous speeches by music industry leaders, Secretary Cardona, and musicians like Kix Brooks (of Brooks and Dunn), culminating with individual recognition of each Music Teacher of Excellence,” Cassedy said.

After receiving his award, Cassedy participated in a round-table discussion led by Dr. Miguel Cardona, United States Secretary of Education, to discuss the value of music education. LPS Superintendent Dr. Julie Hackett also attended to show her support for Cassedy’s contribution to music education at LHS.

Overall, Cassedy enjoyed his experience during the event as he appreciated the work of music educators across the country. 

“This was a really amazing honor! It has made me beyond proud to be part of such an amazing community of educators,” Cassedy said.

As the 2015 GRAMMY recipient for Music Education, Mr. Cassedy is already a well-respected teacher within the musical education community. Ever since he was a child, music has been a big part of his life. 

“My parents saw the value in such an experience in my sisters and brother’s, and my life. We all took piano lessons and played a band instrument. When I played clarinet in my high school band, I not only found a place to express myself musically, but found a community of individuals who were just so very invested in one another both as musicians and as people,” Cassedy said. 

However, his path towards a music career has not always been straightforward.

“Ironically, when I told my parents I wanted to become a music teacher, they were not thrilled with this decision due to concerns around having a steady career if a school district made budget cuts,” Cassedy said. 

While an accomplished musician in his own right, Cassedy is firmly devoted to teaching aspiring musicians. Seeing his students grow and develop brings him immense joy.

“This is my 19th year in education and I would still say that the greatest accomplishment I have had as a musician and educator is being provided the opportunity to teach and learn with and from the thousands of students I’ve been given the chance to work with. Each day is never the same and to see how students progress and develop into the amazing human beings they are is exceptionally satisfying,” Cassedy said.

Music teachers close with Cassedy praise his teaching methods.

Mr. Cassedy’s approach is special because he works hard to set a positive tone while also maintaining high expectations for engagement and performance…He doesn’t use pressure or stress or consequences to motivate. Instead, he uses encouragement; and his expectations are always fair,” Justin Aramati, an LHS music teacher and a colleague of Cassedy, said.

Cassedy firmly believes in the power of music to break barriers and connect people.

“Music is about one thing—us. Music provides us a forum to explore who we are and to take risks, to connect with one another,” Cassedy said.