Dobyns-Bennett High School Recognized for High-Quality Music Education by NAMM Foundation

Published April 10, 2017 at 5:05 p.m.

KINGSPORT, Tenn.Dobyns-Bennett High School (DBHS) has recently been named a 2017 Support Music Merit Award (SMMA) School, (Kingsport City Schools Music Department had been previously recognized as being among the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) in 2016) by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

In cooperation with researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas and based on survey results, DBHS was one of 92 schools across the nation recognized in 2017, while Kingsport City Schools was one of 476 districts recognized in 2016. The awards program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. Designations are given to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment to music education. These districts and schools set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education.

“Dobyns-Bennett has a long-standing tradition of excellence in music education,” said Dobyns-Bennett High School Assistant Principal Richard Brown. “Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Choir, A Cappella Choir, String Orchestra, Music Technology, Advanced Placement Music Theory, and History of Rock are offered every year at D-B with over 800 students enrolled at any given time. Musical groups from Dobyns-Bennett have performed at numerous high-profile events throughout the United States and in several countries. Our students frequently earn All-State performance status and are awarded music scholarships from colleges and universities throughout the country.”

The excellence and progress of the DBHS music department are led by teachers Ross Bader, Lafe Cook, Bryan Daniels, Patty Denmark, Ryan Gilbert, and Jenny Rogers.  The Dobyns-Bennett music program is supported by extraordinary middle school and elementary school music programs, led by teachers Rachel Cinnamon, Lydia Elam, Hensley Hefner, Kim Hutchinson, Debbie Johnson, Sandra Kerney, Carole Makowski, Angela Miller, Hunter Mullins, Shauna Slemp, Connie Treadway, Seth Wallingford, and Rachel Zollinger.  Dobyns-Bennett assistant principal and former music teacher Richard Brown serves as a supervisor and supporting administrative liaison for the Kingsport City Schools Music Department.

“Studying music has intrinsic benefits and, on its own, is core to learning.  Links between student success and music education have now been demonstrated by brain researchers in multiple studies,” said Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. “The schools and districts our foundation recognizes are building on that connection between music and academics. These schools and districts are models for other educators who see music as a key ingredient in a well-rounded curriculum that makes music available to all children.”

A list of the 92 schools receiving the 2017 Support Music Merit Awards can be found here. A list of the 476 districts receiving the 2016 Best Communities for Music Education can be found here.

Founded in 2006, the NAMM Foundation represents the generosity and philanthropy of the music products industry. A supporting organization of NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, the NAMM Foundation is funded through trade association activities and donations.

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice and an alternative learning program; with total enrollment over 7,500 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused … World Class.

KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE).

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).