By Mark Ambrogi
Noblesville High School music teacher Bethany Robinson had no idea what was in store for her when she sat down in a faculty meeting last month.
During the meeting, it was announced that the district’s first Teacher of the Year in approximately 30 years would be presented.
“I realized one of the representatives from Noblesville Education Foundation was actually sitting at our table with a camera,” said Robinson, jazz director and assistant band director. “We were sitting as a department at a table and I kept thinking ‘I bet this colleague won it or that one.’ I could name you 10 teachers that I work with that I’m so impressed with their work. It was absolutely shocking and really cool and really humbling. It’s a huge, huge honor.”
As part of her award, Robinson, who has been teaching at NHS since 2005, received a trophy and has had her name engraved on a plaque that will be on display in the Educational Services Building on River Road in Noblesville. The Fishers resident also was given the loan of Chevrolet Corvette for the weekend by Hare Chevrolet.
“Bethany is recognized at NHS as a master of her craft,” Principal Jeff Bryant said. “She doesn’t just teach jazz. She lives it. It’s a passion that she is constantly working to improve. She recognizes the need to model the type of learning and growth that she is asking of her students. We are fortunate to have her at NHS and, as her principal, I’m looking forward to working alongside her for many years.”
Bryant also praised her energy and commitment to students and her work.
“Bethany provides endless opportunities for students to showcase their talents to others outside the walls of NHS,” he said “She is constantly accepting invitations, and seeking opportunities, for her students to perform in the community and at special events. She allows her students to tell their story, and the story of NHS, through their talent and passion in jazz.”
Robinson, 34, established a jazz combo three years ago.
“We brought in college professors and professional musicians who I’ve made connections from my own playing in Indianapolis,” she said. “I’ve just contacted performers with different strengths and asking them to come in and talk to my students.”
Earlier in the year Robinson was named Jazz Educator of the Year by the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation.
Robinson, who plays an upright and electric bass, plays in a jazz combo called Blue Door and Nickel Plate Jazz Orchestra, which is a collection of professional and band directors in the Fishers area. She plays with singer-songwriter Sarah Scharbrough and Shed Zeppelin and at her church.
She said, “I think being versatile in a lot of different genres has really helped me to give students the tools to play in a lot of different situations musically.”