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September 28, 2010

Stephen Sondheim, Kennedy Center collaborate on awards program for 'inspirational teachers'

With a national debate going on about how to improve education in this country and how to evaluate teacher performance, the news from along the Potomac seems mighty timely, not to mention welcome:

The launch of the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, which will be given annually to "a handful of teachers, kindergarten through college."

The awards, created to honor this year's 80th birthday of the famed Broadway composer, "were initiated and funded through the generous support of [entertainment lawyer and author] Freddie Gershon and his wife Myrna," according to a Kennedy Center press release.

In that release, Sondheim says that

"teachers define us. In our early years, when we are still being formed, they often see in us more than we see in ourselves, more even than our families see and, as a result, help us to evolve into what we ultimately become. Good teachers are touchstones to paths of achieving more than we might have otherwise accomplished, in directions we might not have gone."

The first awards will be given out each year on March 22, Sondheim's birthday. Teachers winning the award will receive $10,00. Nominations for the inaugural awards are due by Dec. 15. A page on the Kennedy Center's Web site includes instructions on who is eligible to make the nominations, which can be submitted in written, audio or video formats. 


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:06 AM | | Comments (1)


I'm so glad that the Kennedy Center and Stephen are collaborating on this. I'm going to check out the nomination process....

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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