2016-17 Kansas NFHS Outstanding Music Educator Award

Kelly Knedler, Choir Director at Dodge City High School
Kelly Knedler, Choir Director at Dodge City High School

The National Federation of State High School Association’s (NFHS) Outstanding Music Educator Award recognizes high school or college band, choral or orchestral directors, supervisors, and adjudicators.  It is awarded to individuals whose contributions have impacted high school activities programs.  Nominees must exemplify the highest standards of ethical conduct and carry the endorsement of their respective state high school association.  Significant and/or long-term contributions to interscholastic high school music activities are important criterion in evaluating candidates.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) is pleased to announce that Kelly Knedler, director of Choral Music and Music Theatre at Dodge City High School since 1997, has been selected as the 2016-17 Kansas NFHS “Outstanding Music Educator Award” recipient.

Martha Gabel, KMEA President stated that Kelly has touched the lives of countless students through his service as a choral director.  He has taught in public, private, and collegiate settings in Kansas, Colorado, and Arkansas.  Throughout his tenure at Dodge City High School, Kelly’s groups have received numerous Superior ratings at KSHSAA Large Group Festival and many of his students successfully participate each year in KSHSAA Regional and State Solo and Small Ensemble Festivals.  At the core of these successful programs is Kelly’s belief in building caring and positive relationships with his students and he continues to work each day to ensure that his students not only leave his program as better musicians, but they also leave as better people.

While working with his students takes a great deal of his time, Mr. Knedler has stepped up time and time again to serve and support music educators and the profession of music education in Kansas.  He has served in various leadership positions in KMEA including Southwest District President, Southwest District Choral Chair, and most recently as the Southwest District Executive Director and the State Mentoring Co-Chair. In his role as the Mentoring Co-Chair, Kelly helps to support novice music educators by connecting them with experienced music education mentors.  He also provides training and professional development for both mentors and mentees through clinic workshops. Kelly has written numerous articles on mentoring for the Kansas Music Review and co-authored the KMEA New Teacher Handbook.  In addition to his work with KMEA, Kelly has also served as an adjudicator for multiple KSHSAA Solo and Small Ensemble Festivals and continues to host a variety of musical festivals and events in his school.

The NFHS Music Association Outstanding Music Educator Award was first given in 1989 when seven individuals received sectional awards.  Since that time, 163 sectional and 293 state awards have been presented. Added to those totals for 2016-2017 are seven sectional awards and twelve state awards.  Also, 1989 marked the beginning of an annual selection of a NFHS Citation recipient.  The Citation is one of the highest awards presented by the NFHS in the fine arts.