Inducted in 2018
Gerald "Jerry" Gipson received his Bachelor of Music Education and
Master of Music Education from the University of Missouri - Kansas City
Conservatory of Music where he studied percussion with Charmaine Asher
Wiley. He studied advanced conducting with David Worthington, UMKC,
and Dr. Craig Fuchs, Pittsburg State University. Jerry is a founding
member of the Kansas John Philip Sousa Junior Honor Band and served
on the Executive Committee from 2003-2016. He has served as both the
Middle Level Band Chair and Middle Level Orchestra Chair for the
Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association.
Jerry began his teaching career at Nallwood Junior High School in
Shawnee Mission in January of 1973. With personalized communication
and the formation of the Nallwood Area Band Festival, Jerry was able to
make significant increases in enrollment and a third band was added to
the program. The Nallwood Symphonic Band performed at the KMEA In-
Service Workshop in 1977, 1979, and 1981.
In 1981, Jerry moved to Olathe North High School followed by a six-year
assignment at Arrowhead Middle School in Kansas City. In 1991, he
moved to Oxford Middle School in Blue Valley where he taught until his
retirement in 2017. At Oxford, Jerry increased overall band enrollment from
140 to well over 200. Jerry, along with Jim Leacox, started a summer band
program and he taught in the summer program for fifteen years. The
Oxford Eighth Grade Symphonic Band performed at the KMEA In-Service
Workshop in 1996, 2004, 2006, and 2009.
In addition to his school assignments, Jerry served as a co-conductor of
the Olathe Area Youth Symphony for nine seasons and guest conductor
at the Midwestern Music Camp for seven summer sessions. He continued
to be active as substitute teacher, clinician, guest conductor and
Former student and fellow teacher, Steve Adams says: Mr. Gipson was
an exceptional mentor—I wanted to be just like him. As I was
leaving Jazz Band practice one day during my ninth grade year, Mr.
Gipson patted me on the shoulder and said, "Someday you will make
a fine band director." My path was set that afternoon. He couldn't have
known at the time, but he changed a boy's life that day.
Colleague and mentor Dr. Martin Bergee says: Jerry is one of the finest
teachers I've ever known. A nurturer and developer who always has the
interests of students at heart, he's nothing less than superb with
middle-schoolers, who don't often permit themselves to be easy to work
with. At the same time, his personal musicianship and his skill at
cultivating musicianship in youths are unparalleled.
Fellow teacher and retired Deputy Superintendent of Blue Valley, Dr. Al
Hanna says: In both Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley, no other band
program could match the consistent quality that Jerry produced. His
bands performed literature worthy of a higher-level band and they
performed it well. If you look in the dictionary under the words "middle
school band director", it will show a picture of Jerry Gipson. He is the
Fellow teacher John Selzer says: I will never forget the words he said to
me in one of our earliest conversations when we were discussing our
teaching philosophies. He said, "I just can't suffer mediocrity." How
wonderfully Jerry. I can't even describe what this meant to our program,
not just in terms of retention, but in terms of the way our incoming
freshman class already viewed playing in band. They felt they were
participating in a worthwhile and dignified endeavor. Nothing could be more
important than that and Jerry knew it.