District joins approximately 500 others across the country in receiving honor



FARMINGTON — Its habit of ensuring that students have access to music education has earned the Farmington school district recognition from a national nonprofit organization.

The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation recognized the Farmington Municipal School District with the Best Communities for Music Education designation for its outstanding commitment to music education, according to a press release.

The organization is partially supported by NAMM and is dedicated to advancing active participation in music.

Albuquerque Public Schools, Cloudcroft Municipal Schools and Santa Fe Public Schools were the other districts in New Mexico that also were recognized.

The 527 school districts selected nationwide this year represent about 4 percent of all the districts in the country, according to the NAMM Foundation press release.

Farmington Superintendent Gene Schmidt said the designation is something residents should be excited about.

"I have a great appreciation of music," Schmidt said. "I think music is a special area like foreign language that expands you as a person."

Schmidt played the trumpet while in high school and college. He also performed with the Piedra Vista High School Orchestra during a concert in December.

The district submitted its paperwork for the designation in October and learned in April it had been selected, according to the district's coordinator of fine arts, Daniel Fear.

"It shows our district is really working toward building an arts community," Fear said.


The district's music instruction classes in elementary schools and ensembles for band, choir, orchestra and guitar in middle and high schools were among the programs recognized, Fear said.

A couple of new music teachers at Tibbetts and Heights middle schools were hired for this school year, Fear said. That allowed the schools to offer additional music courses, including a general music class, a piano lab and a drumming class.

Districtwide, there are 22 instructors who teach music education.

Marletta Newman has been teaching choir and piano at Mesa View Middle School for 13 years. She has remained at the school because she loves the students and staff. 


"(Teachers) just all work together, and we support the core subjects, and they support us for a well-rounded education of the students," Newman said.

Music education is important for Newman because it allows the school to bring out the creative side in students.

"I think it's fantastic," Newman said about the designation. "Farmington is a very strong and supportive district for music. When music (education) is going out of so many schools, and teachers are losing positions, Farmington has held onto its music program."

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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