Kevin Ford, band director and founder of the Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School, has been named one of five finalists in the 2015 Florida Department of Education – Macy’s Teacher of the Year Program. Ford is Pinellas County Schools 2014 Outstanding Educator of the Year. Officials with the FLDOE notified Ford of his finalist status during a surprise visit to Tarpon Springs High this morning.
Ford, a 20-year veteran of Pinellas County Schools, is credited with envisioning and founding the nationally recognized Leadership Conservatory for the Arts, which integrates curriculum in academics, instrumental music, technology, and leadership skills.
“Mr. Ford is the epitome of a master teacher. The creative and energetic learning environment he provides for his students instills a passion in them to be successful,” said Superintendent Michael A. Grego. “We are thrilled that the Florida Department of Education has recognized Mr. Ford’s unsurpassed dedication to excellence in education with this prestigious honor.”
Ford has garnered numerous local, state and national accolades throughout his career. He was a finalist in the district’s Outstanding Educator of the Year recognition program in 1998, was named the Tarpon Springs Community Teacher of the Year in 1996 and 1997, and was the Tarpon Springs High School Teacher of the Year in 1997. By proclamation, the city of Tarpon Springs declared Sept. 22, 2012 as Kevin Ford Day for his contributions to the school and the youth of the city.
In 2009, Ford was one of only seven educators selected to serve on the Music Educators National Conference Blue Ribbon Panel in Washington, D.C. That same year, under Mr. Ford’s leadership, the Tarpon Springs High School Marching Band was honored with the prestigious John Philip Sousa Sudler Shield Award, an international award recognizing “marching bands of world class excellence.” In 2010, he was the recipient of the Music Educators National Conference’s Music Educators Excellence Award.
Ford was an honorary director for the 2005 and 2008 Bands of America Tournament of Roses Honor Band. He also served as the artistic designer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer games in South Korea.
Under Mr. Ford’s direction, the Tarpon Springs Marching Band is a six-time Bands of America AA and AAA Division National Champion and a 25-time Bands of America Florida and Atlanta Regional Champions. In November, Mr. Ford’s marching band performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. During his tenure, his bands and ensembles have also been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, the Lincoln Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, and is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the Florida Bandmasters Association and Phi Kappa Psi Honor Society.
The state Teacher of the Year will be announced at an awards gala in July.
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