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WNCC Music Professor receives Nebraska's 2013-2014 Music Educator Award


Rita Stinner of Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) is Nebraska’s 2013-14 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Outstanding Music Educator of the Year Award Recipient.

Ms. Stinner was nominated for the NFHS award by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) with the collaboration of the Nebraska Music Educators Association (NMEA). Nominations are based upon outstanding service and unselfish devotion to interscholastic music by high school or college music directors.

Stinner is recognized as an outstanding music instructor and leader in Western Nebraska. She has been Music Program Director and Director of Choral Activities at WNCC since 1997 and during a distinguished 40 year career has served as an Arts Advocate, Music Consultant, Adjudicator and Clinician.

After earning Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music in Voice degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she began her career as Director of Choral Music with Lincoln Public Schools before moving west to the Gering-Scottsbluff Area in 1991.

Over the years Ms. Stinner has earned numerous awards including: Graduating Cum Laude from UNL; Metropolitan Opera (MET) Audition Winner; Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce Trailblazer Award “recognizing a lifetime of achievement contributing to the quality of life through the arts”; “Citizen of the Year Award”/ “People Who Made a Difference”/ Runner Up, “Citizen of the Century”- by the Scottsbluff Star-Herald; Nebraska Music Educators Association “Hall of Fame Member”; Nebraska Arts Council “Governor’s Award for Excellence in

Arts Education”; Nebraska Community College Association “Faculty Award”; member of the Midwest Unified Arts Task Force; Awarded State Life Memberships in PTA and FFA.

Her students have been featured and earned recognition as performers at the 2013 National Convention for the Association of Community College Trustees in Seattle, WA;

were Grand Champions at the Midlands Jazz Festival/ UNL Scarlet and Cream Invitational/ Peru State College and Northwest Missouri State University Show Choir Competitions; and were winners at the Mid-America and Greeley Jazz Festivals. They have made featured appearances at the Nebraska Choral Directors Association State Convention, at Colorado Rockies games, the U.S. Air Force Academy and at district festivals and music clinics throughout the region.

Rita Stinner has served in artistic and business director capacities with the “Valley Voices”, “Panhandle Symphony Orchestra” and was founder of the “Valley Eight” vocal group. The vocal groups have performed on National Public Radio and at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In addition to her considerable WNCC program and regional accomplishments, Ms. Stinner has served as site director since 2001 for the Nebraska School Activities Association District VI Music Contest hosting thousands of area high school students every spring at WNCC.

Ms. Stinner was honored and presented with her award in Lincoln at the Nebraska Music Educators Association Annual Awards Banquet in November. The NFHS Music Association Outstanding Music Educator Award was first presented in 1989.

Nebraska’s Previous NFHS Music Educator Award Winners

2002 - Bryan Johnson, Oakland-Craig High School

2003 - Dean Dahlke, Bertrand High School

2004 - Gene Torrens, Elkhorn High School

2005 - Dr. Michell Bluford, Elkhorn High School

2006 - Fred Ritter, Columbus High School

2007 - Sharon Hoffman, Bayard Public Schools

2008 - Byron Braasch, Lewis & Clark Middle School

2009 - Stan Johnson, Shickley Public Schools

2010 - Dave Klein, Kearney Public Schools

2011 - Cheri Helmer-Riensche, Papillion-La Vista South High School

2012 – William Reichert, Broken Bow High School


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