Lawrence High orchestra director receives outstanding high school music teacher honor

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A Lawrence High teacher has been named an outstanding music educator for the northeast Kansas region.

Mariah Barnett, director of orchestras, was recently recognized as Northeast District Kansas Music Educators Association’s 2021-2022 Outstanding High School Music Educator. The Lawrence school board honored Barnett at its meeting Monday.


LHS Principal Jessica Bassett described Barnett as inspiring. “Her students feel a genuine connection to the music community that she has created. Mariah nurtures her students’ love for music and their craft as musicians. She stretches and supports her students in a way that produces music of the highest quality.”

This is Barnett’s fourth year teaching at LHS. She thanked the board for the acknowledgement.

“It’s honestly an honor to be recognized not only by my colleagues and my peers but also by the board. It feels very special and I’m very grateful for that. What we do at Lawrence High School is pretty amazing. I feel lucky to be a part of that staff. And I couldn’t be there without all of my colleagues and all of the help that has been given to me along the way.”

According to the KMEA website, the state is divided into seven regional districts. The northeast district is led by President Damian Johnson, director of bands at Eudora middle and high schools, and comprises the following counties: Atchison, Brown, Doniphan, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Nemaha, Shawnee and Wyandotte.

KMEA districts honor music educators for outstanding teaching at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels annually as Outstanding District Music Educators in band, orchestra and choir. Those teachers are then considered for the state award, which is given by KMEA leaders at the annual in-service workshop each February, according to the website.

In the YouTube video below, the board’s recognition of Barnett begins at the 57:25 minute mark.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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