Ellen Koziel, head of the church’s children’s choirs, received the Hall of Fame Award this spring from the Tennessee Music Educators Association, a group of nearly 2,000 music teachers in public and private elementary, middle and high schools, plus colleges, across the state.
Koziel, who retired in 2015 from Shelby County Schools after teaching elementary music 31 years, taught thousands of children in that time and also helped hundreds of teachers improve their skills as a master teacher in Orff-Schulwerk methods at the University of Memphis.
“She works with many, many teachers during the summer,” said David Potter, music teacher at Levi Elementary. “She completely brought my teaching to life; she really connected things for me.”
“There is joy in everything she teaches. That really stuck with me,” he said.
Koziel began her work at Holy Communion in the fall of 2015. In a year, participation in the children’s choirs, including the new St. Cecilia Choir, had doubled.
With her guidance this school year, the older children in the CHC Choristers participated in the Royal School of Church Music training, mastering 13 targets required to earn their first RSCM ribbon this spring.
TMEA has given the Hall of Fame Award since 2003, according to executive director Ron Neers.
“But there are some years, we don’t give it all because we don’t have strong candidates,” he said.
“Just Ellen’s resume would bowl you over,” Neers said, noting that Koziel is among the hardest-workers he knows.
“It’s got to be something inside that pushes them. It’s an internal force.”