Gainesville Daily Register
While some Texas schools have cut funding for their performance arts programs, one area school administrator was recently cited for helping his school’s music programs flourish.
Era Independent School District Superintendent Jeremy Thompson recently received the Texas Music Educators Association Distinguished Administrator Award.
The TMEA Distinguished Administrator Award is designed, according to the TMEA website, to “recognize upper-level school administrators who have been instrumental in preserving quality music education programs on their campuses and in their districts.”
The site also notes state funding cuts have hurt many Texas school music programs, adding administrators who work hard to maintain these programs should be recognized
“Given the state of education funding and the continuous struggle at all levels to keep quality fine arts education in schools, it is crucial that we take every opportunity to highlight the many successes present in numerous schools across our state.”
Music teacher Tammy Specht nominated Thompson for the TMEA award, detailing his qualifications in a letter to TMEA.
Thompson, she wrote, has been at the district for 13 years serving as a coach, math teacher, principal and eventually, superintendent.
He has four kids and is married to Aimee Thompson.
In addition to protecting the Era ISD music program from funding cuts, Thompson advocated for and secured new sound equipment, got funding for local TMEA training, set up a music UIL stipend to help students attend competitions and helped arrange transportation for music-related trips. Thompson’s participation goes beyond advocacy, she said.
“He personally makes it a priority to attend, open, and close all home concerts,” Specht said. “ Without duty or obligation, he continually volunteers to be one of the first to arrive for set up and one of the last to leave after breaking down the sound shells and risers.”
He has also been an impromptu photographer at competitions, a bus driver during school trips and an advocate in the sight reading room.
“Mr. Thompson’s days are filled from beginning to end with dozens of actions that go above and beyond the call of duty,” she said. “ His actions have not only led to building up the music program at Era, but his actions have built up the students within the program. By this criterion, there is no other administrator more worthy to receive this award than Mr. Thompson.”
Era ISD music students participate in various UIL and other competitions and the program has produced some top award winning musicians, thanks in part, Thompson said to the efforts of music teacher Tammy Specht.
“We are really proud of our music and choir programs here at Era, and Ms. Specht has done a tremendous job of increasing participation and generating opportunities for success for our kids,” Thompson said. “ The program has definitely filled a need for many of our students, both from an academic and extracurricular standpoint, and we’re very happy to be able to offer them the chance to participate.”