Schools notebook // Washburn wins music room makeover

Band teacher’s essay wins music room ‘makeover’

TANGLETOWN — An essay by Washburn High School band teacher Timothy Martin won his school the “Ultimate Music Room Makeover” from In Tune Monthly magazine.

The Washburn band room was stocked with $30,000 worth of musical gear, including new sound equipment, a drum kit, guitars and a variety of brass and woodwind instruments — like a clarinet, the instrument Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, who was on hand for the Oct. 18 instrument unveiling, said she picked up in band class. The prize also included a $2,000 check.

In Tune Partners CEO Irwin Kornfeld, who presented the prize, said Martin’s essay stood out in the contest for its description of a rejuvenated school music program, one that is attracting a variety of students. Contest judges were impressed by Martin’s efforts to increase participation in band and broaden the class’ curriculum, while at the same time teaching students about career options in music.

“We learned about Miller pride,” Kornfeld said.

Martins’ essay was selected from among “a couple hundred” submitted by band teachers in schools “coast-to-coast,” he said.


Dance teacher honored

LINDEN HILLS — Southwest High School dance instructor Colleen Callahan-Russell was named 2011–2012 National Dance Educator of the Year by the National Dance Education Organization.

Callahan-Russell received the honor during the organization’s Oct. 19–23 national conference in Minneapolis. The award recognizes dance educators in post-secondary, K–12, private sector and community-based programs on a rotating annual basis.

A nearly three-decade veteran of Minneapolis Public Schools, Callahan-Russell has taught at Southwest for 14 years and previously taught at North High School for 15 years. Former students include several local and national performers: Thomasina Taylor Petrus of Penumbra Theatre Company; Stephanie Fellner of Ballet of the Dolls; Voices of Culture drum and dance company Director Kenna-Camara “Sarge” Cottman; television and film actor Peter Macon; and Aneka McMullen, a dancer and choreographer with Ballare Teatro.


Armatage hosting craft fair

ARMATAGE — More than 40 vendors were expected at the first-ever School House Craft Fair to benefit the Armatage Montessori School media center.

Local printmaking duo Aesthetic Apparatus (who designed the event poster) and high-end coffee purveyors Dogwood Coffee Company were expected along with a variety of independent artisans, many of who, like EKate Designs, sell their wares online through the craft website Etsy. The mix of crafts will include everything from handmade jewelry and clothing to artwork, organizer and Armatage parent Holly Miller-Byzewski said.

Miller-Byzewski said vendor table fees plus 10 percent of sales would go to support the school library.

“We want to do some replenishing in the library as far as books go, and then have some sort of book technology, whether it would be [e-readers such as] Kindle or iPads or whatever,” she said.

The event runs 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Nov. 4 and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Nov. 5 at Armatage School, 2501 W. 56th St.


Former Minneapolis superintendent returns to speak

Former Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson returns to the city Nov. 10 to speak at the annual Education Partners Luncheon hosted by AchieveMpls, the district’s fundraising partner.

A former Minnesota Superintendent of the Year who now serves as superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Johnson is the luncheon’s keynote speaker. This year’s theme is “High-Quality Public Schools for All: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time” — a title that alludes to Minneapolis’ stubborn achievement gap.

Johnson headed the St. Louis Park school district for two years before she was named Minneapolis superintendent in 1997. She left the district in 2003 after six years to lead Memphis City Schools, and then moved onto Boston in 2007.

Tickets for individuals are $100. For more information, or to order tickets, go to