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Middle school band instructor in Folsom gets top educator award

By: Eyragon Eidam, Telegraph Correspondent
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FOLSOM, CA - The California Music Educators Association, Capitol Section, has named a 33-year teaching veteran as its 2013 Educator of the Year.

Don Wersky, band director at Folsom and Sutter middle schools, was honored for his passion and service throughout his extensive career as a music educator.

Each year, recipients are selected by their colleagues throughout each chapter of the CMEA. The Capitol Section encompasses Sacramento, Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo Counties.

Wersky said his dedication to his students and profession comes out of a love of what he does on a daily basis.

“It’s what I’ve always done because I like it. I love it,” said Wersky. “There are so many people in the world that go to work and hate their jobs. ... I’ve always felt blessed because I’ve got a great gig. I go to work every day, play music with kids, and they pay me. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Wersky said the award was an unexpected honor, but said he wished his hard-working peers and colleagues could share the award with him.

“I feel like they deserve this award too,” said the newly-honored band director.

Having called the Folsom Cordova Unified School District home for the last 11 years, Wersky has earned himself a reputation as a passionate and dedicated educator throughout the district.

Keri Phillips, principal at Sutter Middle School in Folsom, said this recognition was well-deserved and applauded his approach when it comes to educating youth.

“He has an easy caring demeanor about him,” said Phillips in a written statement. “He can take a group of 40-80 students from schools throughout Folsom with varying levels of music abilities and have them playing together in no time like they have been doing it all along.”

But, the well-versed band director’s reputation stretches far beyond his students and colleagues at his home schools.

Teresa Stanley, district board member, also gave kudos to the long-time educator who taught her daughter in middle and high school.

“I think the skills of teachers like Don are often overlooked in Folsom Cordova because of the outstanding band programs we have here,” said Stanley in a written statement. “Don deserves this recognition as an outstanding and good-natured educator. He has both skill in music and with students. I am happy for him.”

Brad North, Capitol Section president and principal at Woodcreek High School in Roseville, said that Wersky was selected out of 200 other section members.

“For the 30 plus years he’s taught, his performing groups have been some of the best around,” said North.