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District Fine Arts leader receives national award

District Fine Arts leader receives national award

Shawn ChastainShawn Chastain, Executive Coordinator of Fine Arts for Wichita Public Schools, has been selected as the 2024 Outstanding Administrator by the Organization of American Kodaly Educators.

He will be recognized at the organization’s national conference on March 15 in Chicago.

Inspired by the vision of Zoltán Kodály, the mission of the Organization of American Kodály Educators is to support music education of the highest quality, promote universal music literacy and lifelong music making, and preserve the musical heritage of the people of the United States of America through education, artistic performance, advocacy and research.

In his role in the district, Chastain oversees more than 275 fine arts teachers. He also serves as conductor of highly recognized community groups including The Wichita Choral Society, and A.R.I.S.E. (African Americans Renewing Spirituals Ensemble) as well as the music director for Calvary United Methodist Church in Wichita. He is also an Ex. Officio board member of the Wichita Arts Council, Ballet Wichita and the Wichita Symphony; member at large and past national council chair of the National Association For Music Education Council of Music Program Leaders; Arts Partners Program Committee Member; past chair of Wichita State University Friends of Fine Arts, past co-director of the Sedgwick County Jail Men’s Ensemble, and serves as fund chair for the district’s Education EDGE Fine Arts Gift Fund.

According to his nomination, Chastain was pivotal in the district receiving a grant in 2008 from the United States Department of Education that enabled a large group of Wichita Public School music educators to attend Kodaly Levels courses at Wichita State University. When the grant ended, he advocated for the district to continue covering a portion of the Kodaly training costs as professional development.

He also became an integral part in the annual training at Wichita State as one of the conducting teachers and directors of the certification choir. 

Nina Kindt-Wilson, a vocal music teacher at OK Elementary School who will present the award to Chastain, says he is seen as a model administrator, primarily because he is a model teacher. 

“Shawn’s leadership style is marked by approachability, open communication, and genuine concern for the well-being of students and staff alike. This has resulted in a positive and inclusive atmosphere that encourages students to flourish and educators to thrive. Mostly, in the spirit of Zoltan Kodaly, Mr. Chastain’s emphasis on lifelong music making underscores his belief in the enduring value of music in individual’s lives. By instilling a love for music that transcends the classroom, Shawn Chastain uses his role as an administrator to ensure that students develop a lifelong appreciation for the arts and continue to engage with music as a source of joy and enrichment.”

Chastain says it’s been a privilege to be part of the WPS/WSU Kodaly Team.

“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition,” said Chastain. “I strongly support O.A.K.E.’s mission of providing Music Educators with impactful professional development and am #WPSProud of our district music teachers who have taken advantage of these PD opportunities.”