Zell named County Teacher of Year
"I believe it is the responsibility of public schools to insure that children are not musically impoverished...Study after study has shown the importance of a musical education in the development of the whole child; attention, behavior, even attendance problems have been shown to improve by the addition of well-directed music programs...I believe that music classes give students a place in school where they can be joyful, creative, and imaginative in a learning context that builds discipline, community, and inter-dependence.
Ronald Zell, a K-8 music teacher for Jonata and Oak Valley Schools in the Buellton Union School District for six years, was named 2006-07 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year.
Zell will become the county's official representative on July 1.
, one of a number of outstanding countywide nominees for the honor, was selected by a committee including representatives of teachers, administrators, PTAs, and school boards.
Distinguished Educators were also named and will be announced at the June board meeting.
has taught music in public and private schools for 16 years and currently teaches K-3 general classroom music, fourth grade chorus and recorder, fifth grade beginning band, sixth grade intermediate band, and seventh/eighth grade advanced band.
In all, he
teaches 540 students per week, K-8.
Zell received bachelors degrees in education and music from Concordia University in Portland, and received his teaching credential in music and Masters of Education from California Lutheran University.
Zell began teaching music part-time at La Patera School in Goleta and was director of music at Trinity Lutheran church in Santa Barbara.
He then became director of Christian Education at Zion Lutheran Church and School in San Francisco and subsequently held part-time music teaching positions at Adams School in Santa Barbara, El Rancho School in Goleta, and Temple Christian School in Ventura before taking his current position in 2000.
Zell has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the University of San Diego and the University of Phoenix.
founded and directed the Joyful Note Music Education Foundation
from 1994-2000, which provided after-school music classes to children in more than 20 schools, churches, and community organizations in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
In addition, he
taught more than 20 classes and workshops for teachers on using music in the classroom.
stated, "As music teacher for the district, I have the privilege of teaching music to 540 students each week, in 25 classes, spanning nine different grade levels.
Zell is a teaching icon...[he] is a highly creative teacher who embraces change in the interest of his students...What sets Ron aside from the rest is his ability to implement instruction from a concrete operation level to a synthesis level simultaneously.
This unique instruction methodology insures that all students participate at the highest possible cognitive levels...Students in his
programs gain the confidence and ability to learn from each other and teach what they have learned in a highly engaging and cooperative atmospheres...He is a teacher who leads by example.
work ethic is beyond reproach...He has the unique ability to stimulate others to achieve at much higher levels through collaboration...His
leadership in elevating our education community to higher professional levels is nothing short of inspirational."
Wrote Jonata School principal Patricia Garrett: "Ron is passionate about music and its benefits for those who both listen to it and, more importantly, learn to create it...[He] is very dedicated to showing Jonata students that music is not only an elective class, but also a way of life.
Many students move from grade to grade while playing in the Jonata
band and each year Ron
helps these students progress not only in musical ability, but also in self-esteem and maturity levels."
As Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year
will be available to speak countywide, and can be reached at Jonata School
in the Buellton Union School District
at 688-4222, or at the County Education Office, by calling Louise Fisher at 964-4711, ext. 5281.