Kingsport City Schools Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Published on June 26, 2018 at 9:52 a.m.
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Kingsport City Schools (KCS) has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. From more than 13,500 school districts in the United States, 583 were selected for the 2018 BCME award. 
The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, KCS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“Kingsport City Schools has held a long tradition of excellence in music education, with consistent, ongoing, and purposeful improvements and expansions through the years." said Dobyns-Bennett High School Assistant Principal and KCS Secondary Arts Supervisor Richard Brown. "This tradition is most evident through our outstanding and nationally competitive high school bands, orchestras and choirs, supported by exemplary elementary school and middle school music programs. The greater Kingsport community recognizes the value of music education for all students.  We are pleased to receive this award in response to our city’s commitment to music education.”
The excellence and progress of the KCS music department are led by teachers Ross Bader, Rachel Cinnamon, Lafe Cook, Patty Denmark, Lydia Elam, Ryan Gilbert, Turner Hawkins, Kristian Hefner, Kim Hutchison, Debbie Johnson, Sandra Kerney, Carole Makowski, Angela Miller, Hunter Mullins, Jenny Rogers, Shauna Slemp,Connie Treadway, Seth Wallingford, and Rachel Zollinger. 
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who participate in music programs. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University, a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from Northwestern, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well as learning how to give and receive constructive criticism in pursuit of excellence.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.
For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

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 7,700 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, download our mobile app for Apple / Android devices or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook(Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).