Steve Adams is the Kansas Music Educator of the Year, as named by the Kansas Music Educators Association.
Adams, who has served as band director at Shawnee Mission South for 34 years, is recognized for mentoring teachers and students and fostering the love of music.
Nicholas Platko, associate principal, made the surprise announcement in the SM South auditorium. Click here to see a video. Platko was a band student of Adams. Platko says Adams is why he pursued a career in teaching and then became an administrator.
Gae Phillips, president of the KMEA, and Elise Peterson, president of the East Central region, presented the KMEA honor to Adams. Phillips shared Adams was selected from seven regional finalists in the state. Phillips said Adams has built a strong tradition at SM South where his bands have performed four times at the KMEA In-Service Workshop, performed in Europe and has had countless students who received ratings of superior at regional and state festivals. Adams volunteers at music camps and festivals and is an outstanding mentor and role model, Phillips noted.
She also shared comments from colleagues, parents, and students who described Adams as “humble,” “dedicated,” and a “good listener.”
“Steve is the gold standard,” a colleague wrote, saying with Adams it is never about the ratings or scores and that his work is about achieving something meaningful and rewarding for his students.
“We are in awe of his positive attitude,” wrote one band parent. “Our children have learned essential life skills including teamwork, leadership, and accountability.”
As a person who does not like the spotlight, Adams said he credits the program’s success to his students who truly take on responsibility and leadership.
“We have the best kids and faculty, and the best band community. It’s a gift to work here,” Adams said.