Music Teacher Mary Pat Michels Named Civic Music's Educational Administrator of the Year

Music Teacher Mary Pat Michels Named Civic Music's Educational Administrator of the Year
Posted on 02/01/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Music Teacher Mary Pat Michels Named Civic Music's Educational Administrator of the YearOn Saturday, March 10, 2018, West Allis-West Milwaukee School District Music Teacher, Mrs. Mary Pat Michels will be recognized as the Civic Music Association’s Educational Administrator of the Year.  Civic Music Association of Milwaukee is a non-profit organization that provides and supports music education and performance opportunities for young musicians in the five county greater Milwaukee area.  

Reaching over 1,000 young musicians in the community last year alone, Civic Music nurtures emerging artists with programming focused mainly on solo performance. Participating instrumentalists and vocalists take part in a variety of unique opportunities to refine their skills and grow as a musician through private lessons, auditions, workshops, competition, and performance.

Michels has been an Orchestra teacher in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District for 21 years.  She is currently the Orchestra Director at Frank Lloyd Wright and West Milwaukee Intermediate Schools.  She has also taught at West Allis Central High School (10 years) and at several of the District’s  elementary schools.  

In addition to teaching orchestra classes, Michels served as the Music Liaison and supported her department by mentoring new teachers and organizing annual events such as the District Music Festival (Orchestra, Band, and Choir), Prelude Strings, District Solo-Ensemble Festival, and Youth Arts Month.

For the past two years, Michels has been the Music Curriculum Lead for the District.  In her current role, she provides leadership to 25 teachers in 17 schools.  She oversees hundreds of concerts, community events, and performances as well as leads professional development days for the Music Department. She is also the director of the West Allis-West Milwaukee Shining Strings, a group of 40 students from all five secondary schools who perform nearly 30 community events and concerts each year throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

Recipients of the Civic Music Award are nominated by colleagues, students, or parents of children they work with in school.  Music teachers Bob and Judy Halat explain, “Mrs. Michels’ expertise and understanding of music’s importance in today’s schools have allowed her to advocate for our music program and to be supportive to her colleagues. Her attention to detail and organizational skills have earned her praise and appreciation from fellow administrators.”

Michels is known for her accessibility to both teachers and administrators even outside of school hours. Her willingness to work well with others helps the music program thrive.  She is held in high esteem by her students both past and present.

Former Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate School student and now orchestra teacher in the District Casey Unger adds, “Mary Pat’s dedication to our music program, her students, the district, and the community is truly amazing.  She always works for what is best for her students, our music program, and our district.  Her love and passion for her work is shown through her support of her students and colleagues.  It is an honor to have been her student and now her colleague.”

For Michels, music is a way of life.  “It is always an honor to receive recognition for your work, but to receive nominations from people you have worked with or taught throughout your entire career in a school district is truly very special.  It speaks to the very nature of how our school district functions as a community and our music department functions as a family.  Bob and Judy were my colleagues at both FLW and West Milwaukee and Casey was my student at FLW and is now my colleague in the district.  I am very grateful to work with amazing colleagues and to have support from the leadership of our district.  We all work for the common goal of doing what is best for kids by providing them with an fine arts education that we know is something they will have for the rest of their lives, whether they are performers, supporters, or audience members.”

Civic Music Award recipients will be honored at the
 Marcus Performing Arts Center at the start of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Concert at 8:00 p.m. on March 10, 2018.  Prior to the concert, a reception sponsored by the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee will be held at 6:00 p.m. on the Bradley Promenade on the third floor of the Marcus Center.  A ticket for the reception and concert is $15. (Reception only tickets are $10.)  For tickets to either or both events contact: CMA Executive Director Nancy Herro
Civic Music Award Poster