Clark County music director receives state award

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 4:37 PM CST
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KAHOKA, Mo. (WGEM) - Robert Dooley, the music director for Clark County High School, was given statewide recognition last week for his education and leadership.

Dooley was the recipient of this year’s prestigious Dr. Wynne J. Harrell Outstanding Music Educator Award by the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA).

The award is given out in recognition of music educators across Missouri every year.

According to MMEA President-Elect Chris Sacco, out of the many educators nominated for the award this year, Dooley was the standout.

Dooley, who has led the music program at Clark County High School for more than 40 years, said he was honored to receive the award.

“I was surprised, in shock actually because I didn’t realize that was possible to be honest. So, to receive it from the state, and my peers throughout the state, is a great honor and it’s just a pat on the back that’s well needed at times,” said Dooley.

He said he loves working with his students and giving them opportunities to succeed and explore new experiences.

“We tried to develop jazz bands, solo and ensemble contests, show choirs, we did a magical dinner when I first started teaching to teach the kids some medieval history,” Dooley said. “We try to give them as many experiences so that when they graduate and go off to college, they can be part of different organizations and as they get older with their own kids, will know the value of music in their lives.”

He said over his years of teaching, he has learned that the best practices an educator can demonstrate is being passionate and showing the students that you care.

“If you put in the work, they will put the work in also. If they see you working hard to achieve a goal, like during marching season or concert season... If they see you put the time in, they will also put the time in and try to be as good as possible,” Dooley said.

Students have taken notice of his passion for music, the school and the community.

In a statement to the Missouri Music Educators Association, one former student said, “Not only has he been an important part of so many students’ lives, but the entire community. He is now teaching the kids of the kids of the kids he started. Generations of the community have been impacted by his teaching. Not only has he given students the gift and joy of music and the opportunities to travel the country, but for me, a career. I am now in my 24th year of teaching music... a career I chose due to his influence.”

Dooley said he was looking forward to the band’s trip in March to play in the New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Robert Dooley leading the Monday morning band practice.
Robert Dooley leading the Monday morning band practice.(WGEM)

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