Recognizing Excellence in Collaboration
Frederick Burrack and Kelly A. Parkes Recognized as Lowell Mason Fellows
By NAfME Member Lori Schwartz Reichl
This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of Teaching Music magazine.
Each year, NAfME designates Lowell Mason Fellows to recognize exemplary dedication to music education. This prestigious award—which is named for Lowell Mason, who is considered to be the father of public school music education in the United States—can be bestowed on music educators, music education advocates, political leaders, industry professionals, and others who have contributed to music education in their unique way.
Frederick Burrack and Kelly A. Parkes are recipients of the 2017 Lowell Mason Award. Burrack is director of assessment for Kansas State University in Manhattan, where he also serves as chair of the graduate music program and professor of music education. Parkes is program director and associate professor, music and music education, at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, New York. They were honored in March at the 2018 NAfME Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Both Burrack and Parkes were unaware that they were nominated for the award. Says Burrack, “I was totally shocked. I found out I was a recipient of the award one week before the research conference. Someone had called and congratulated me, and I didn’t know what they were congratulating me for!” Parkes says, “I was thrilled when I found out! It was wonderful to be co-nominated because we both worked very hard on the Model Cornerstone Assessments Research Project together.”
Both recipients agree that this recognition is significant. Burrack notes, “It’s a very high honor. It’s humbling by looking at all the other people who have received this award in the past and in the profession I look up to.” James L. Byo, professor and chair of music education at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and Scott C. Shuler, Past President of NAfME and retired arts education specialist with the Connecticut State Department of Education, nominated Burrack and Parkes.
Burrack is “most passionate about the quality of student learning and experiences in school music programs. Part of that is improving the quality of teaching through assessing the experience of learning.” Parkes says, “I believe that everyone should make music that is meaningful to them. I also believe that teachers need support in their classrooms when policy and legislation require new or challenging elements that impact their pedagogies. Assessment is one of these areas.”
“I believe that everyone should make music that is meaningful to them.” — Kelly A. Parkes
As Lowell Mason Fellows, Burrack and Parkes will continue to individually and collaboratively contribute to music education. Parkes says, “I currently prepare teachers who will work in K12 settings by mentoring them both during and after their studies with me. I also prepare doctoral students who conduct relevant research into music education issues.”
Burrack shares, “We just recently published the book, Applying Model Cornerstone Assessments in K-12 Music: A Research-Supported Approach.… We are currently working on another book which is a text for collegiate music education courses, to be used for teaching students how to assess when they become teachers.” In May 2018, Burrack was invited to several universities in China to share the model cornerstone assessments and provide strategies to implement them there. Both Burrack and Parkes are very willing to visit schools nationwide to collaborate similarly with music educators to improve their assessment processes.
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