May 25, 2019  

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Seven Arts Educators to Receive the Arts Institute’s 2019 AIM Awards

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The Arts Institute of Mississippi (AIM) at The University of Southern Mississippi, established the AIM Awards to salute and honor the accomplishments of outstanding high school level arts teachers, schools, and organizations that are making an impact through exemplary achievements in arts education throughout the state of Mississippi.

“This year marks the 2nd year in which recipients are honored for commendable service to students and/or community,” said Dr. Jay Dean, executive director of AIM. “Their leadership, dedication, and achievements epitomize the highest standards in arts education throughout our state.

The recipients of the 2019 AIM Awards are high school teachers in the Arts disciplines, including creative writing, dance, music (band, symphony orchestra, and choir), theatre, and visual arts. The Award recipients will be recognized at special events, either at their high schools or at Southern Miss, where they will be presented with the award.

Recipients include:

  • Catherine Williams, English Teacher at West Marion High School in Foxworth, Miss.

Catherine Williams has found innovative ways to teach and incorporate creative writing in her classroom—both for the love of expressive writing and as a tool to enhance the instruction of writing in all forms. Williams provides venues in and outside the school to celebrate student writing, including a Poetry and Art Showcase hosted in Columbia every year and by serving as the co-sponsor for the Art Club. William’s work is praised not only within her school, but also regionally, as she is one of the South Mississippi Writing Projects Teaching Consultants.

  • Tammy Stanford, Dance/Theatre Movement Specialist at the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) in Brookhaven, Miss.

Tammy Stanford’s dance education career spans over 25 years, where she has been starting, establishing, and expanding dance programs throughout the state. Stanford, founder of the MSA Dance department, has established the dance program as a feeder for colleges and universities in the state for dance and has fostered partnerships that benefit her students in a multitude of ways. MSA Dance students have an almost 100% acceptance rate into collegiate dance programs and 20% are offered significant scholarship monies.

  • Terry Walker, Director of Choral Activities at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, Miss.   

Under Terry Walker’s direction, the choirs and ensembles have received superior ratings at district, state, and national festivals. The concert choir has toured Europe for musical performances, most notably after a concert series in Perugia, Italy, the performance ensemble received an immediate return invitation. In spring of 2017, the Bearcat Chorale was selected to perform at the Mississippi Music Educators Association/American Choral Directors Association State Choral Convention.

  • Travis Coakley, Fine & Performing Arts Director/Director of Bands at Biloxi High School in Biloxi, Miss.

Under Travis Coakley’s leadership, the Biloxi Band program has grown to be one of the largest in the southeast, with over 650 students in grades 6-12. The program has experienced a track record of success and achievement—consistently receiving the highest ratings for marching band & concert band performances. The Biloxi Wind Ensemble has recently been a featured performing ensemble at the William Carey Honor Band Clinic, the University of Alabama Honor Band Clinic, the Music for All Lafayette Concert Band Regional, and will travel in 2020 to perform at the American School Band Directors Association National Conference.

  • Daniela Pardo, Teacher of Strings; Education Outreach Coordinator at USM Symphony Orchestra in Hattiesburg, Miss.; and Education Director and String Faculty at Mobile Symphony Orchestra in Mobile, Ala.

Daniela Pardo is an outstanding teacher of strings who has been positively impacting the lives of young musicians for over 20 years. Pardo has been instrumental in the development of string programs, including My First String Camp and the Suzuki Strings program at William Carey University. Pardo currently coordinates the USM Symphony Orchestra’s Education Outreach program that places dozens of performance ensembles into the public schools in the Hattiesburg area, as well as string students in the school programs in the Mobile area for the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.  

  • Dr. Robert Brooks, Theatre Instructor, Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, Miss.

Dr. Robert Brooks has been an instructor teaching acting, directing, theatre history, dramatic literature/theory, play writing, play production, and script analysis at MSA for the past 22 years. Dr. Brooks has set a high standard for comprehensive infusion of the arts in education for our youth. His students have won monologue and speaking contests at the state level of several competitions; are five time winners of the English-Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition; have won contests at the Mississippi Theatre Association festival on both state and regional levels; and have gone on to study theatre at top-notch universities and acting conservatories.

  • Karli Corr, Art Teacher at Our Lady Academy High School in Bay Saint Louis, Miss.

An artist and an educator, Karli Corr, for the past five years has shared her love and knowledge for art with her students, while continuing her own work and craft of art in the Coast. She is the founding sponsor of the National Art Honor Society and has won accolades including Apple Teacher Award and Outstanding Instruction. As an artist, the layers in her abstract paintings capture the balance between our ancient world and out transient life.

To learn more about the 2019 AIM Award recipients, visit: