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Bonlee music teacher David Clark hitting the right notes

RALEIGH — The occasion was celebratory.

Yet David Clark’s expression was rather subdued. He was in downtown Raleigh. His students were at Bonlee School in Bear Creek, and he said he was missing them. He cares like that.

It was an excused absence, to be sure. In fact, both his principal and superintendent were at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction on Thursday when State Superintendent Mark Johnson recognized Clark for a job well done at Bonlee.

Clark earned the 2017 North Carolina Symphony Musicians Award, which honors emerging music educators with fewer than 10 years of teaching experience. Superintendent Dr. Derrick D. Jordan, Bonlee School music teacher David Clark and Bonlee School principal Kim Taylor at DPI.

“When you really get to know an arts educator, you find out that they are an extension of the classroom,” Clark said. “And I know that the teachers at my school — and many others in Chatham County I can speak for personally — incorporate many of those subjects into what we do every day in the classroom.”

It’s about educating the whole child, said Dr. Derrick D. Jordan, the superintendent of Chatham County Schools.

“I’m a firm believer that it takes a full-scale educational program in order to meet the unique needs of all of our students, and arts education is a critical part of our efforts to ensure that we are providing complex programming designed to tap into all of the talents of our students,” Jordan said.        

Clark understands the research that has documented the link between arts education and overall learning, Bonlee School principal Kim Taylor said.

Taylor nominated Clark for the award. She was responsible for hiring Clark and said she and her leadership team knew right away that he’d be the educator who would guide the music program at Bonlee.

“His passion, his excitement, his enthusiasm — it was very evident early on in the interview that he was the candidate that we felt like would be beneficial to Bonlee,” Taylor said.

Clark, from Silk Hope, was the 2016-17 teacher of the year at Bonlee, where he leads the school’s band program. Bonlee includes both elementary and middle school students. Some of Clark’s students have studied at the UNCG Summer Music Camp and have honed their musicianship at Governor’s School of North Carolina, the nation’s oldest statewide summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students.

On Friday, Clark — he sings opera — will return to downtown Raleigh, this time in Meymandi Concert Hall, where he and other symphony honorees will receive monetary prizes at the symphony’s concert.




Published Oct. 5, 2017