In a diverse student body such as the one found at Crestwood Elementary School in Springfield, students that aren't in the spotlight academically are the ones Crestwood music teacher Debra Lindsay concentrates on. This quality earned her an award as the Virginia General Music Educator of the Year 2003, presented by the Virginia Music Educators Association.
"Music is what pulls the education together. I don't want the students not to know what they need to know. Through the ages, the arts is how we remember history," Lindsay said.
Judy Robinson, counselor, noticed how important music and the arts are for students.
"For some kids, the ability to shine in music and arts keeps them in school," Robinson said. "All kids don't learn the same way. The arts is another way."
The students’ actions around Crestwood revealed the importance of Lindsay's class to Robinson.
Over the 29 years that she has taught in Fairfax County Public Schools, Lindsay's energy is what sets her apart. Principal Pat Zissios notices that energy. Lindsay teaches 47 music classes throughout the week at Crestwood.
"She brings out creativity in children," Zissios said. "She's so dynamic. She'll do anything for the kids."
"The kids were so excited when they came to see me, they were singing one of their [class] songs," Robinson said.
Lindsay started with the school system in 1975 and has been at Crestwood for the past five years. During her tenure at Crestwood, she won the Springfield Rotary International Distinguished Educator of the Year award in May 2002, and the Al and Winnie Hodgson award, and was nominated for various other awards.
Before teaching, Lindsay was "Miss Berkeley" in West Virginia and competed in the Miss West Virginia pageant in 1970.
But teaching is only one of her skills. She and her husband are also authors. Lindsay has several books under her name. Some of those include numerous publications as part of Peg Hoenack's MusicWorks and the Core Knowledge Foundation. Lindsay's husband has written seperate books in the bioethics field.
"My passion is writing. The kids give me the ideas," Lindsay said.
Lindsay is an accomplished piano player and has traveled all around Europe. One of her most memorable performances was playing Rimsky-Korsakoff's piano in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Lindsay traveled to Williamsburg, Va., on Nov. 20 to receive the Virginia General Music Educator of the Year 2003 award.