Parkersburg South High School band director honored

PARKERSBURG — The band director at Parkersburg South High School has received West Virginia’s and the National Federation of State High School Association’s Section 2 Outstanding Music Educator Award for 2018-19.

Eric Staats was nominated for the National Federation award by Mark Palmer, who is on the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission and is the Section 2 representative of the National Federation Music Committee.

The Section 2 award recipient is selected from music educators from West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Staats has a bachelor’s in music education and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Marshall University. He is recognized as an outstanding music teacher, known for building excellent classroom culture and his “outside-the-box” approach to music education, according to a press release.

He has taught for 19 years in the Wood County School System at Williamstown High School (2000-2008), Edison Middle School (2008-2011) and is in his eighth year as director of bands at Parkersburg South.

Staats has built a career on the personal mission of “providing quality music education for every child.” His mission can be identified on Friday nights at Parkersburg South football games, or at any performance of the Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Marching Band. His students consistently place in the West Virginia All State Band and Orchestra and in state Honor Bands and Solo and Ensemble festivals.

Staats is on the activities commission’s Bandmasters Committee as the Region II performance evaluation director, is the West Virginia Music Educators Association Region V Solo and Ensemble chairman, served four years as the Section 2 representative of the National Federation, has been recognized by the State Journal in its “40 Professionals Under 40” and was listed in School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.”

His bands have performed in Orlando, Cleveland, New York City and this spring in Chicago. His latest activity includes participating in an educational outreach program with the Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Staats was presented with the award March 9 at the West Virginia Music Educators Association annual conference in Charleston.

Recognition of high school or college band, choral or orchestral directors, supervisors and adjudicators is awarded to individuals whose contributions have impacted high school activities programs.

Nominees must exemplify the highest standards of ethical conduct and carry the endorsement of their respective state high school association. Significant or long-term contributions to interscholastic high school music activities is a criterion in evaluating each candidate.

The Outstanding Music Educator Award was first given in 1989. Since then, 170 sectional and 305 state awards have been awarded.