Return to Headlines

East Chapel Hill High School Orchestra Teacher Wins NC. Music Educator Award

Ryan Ellefsen, the Director of Instrumental Music at East Chapel Hill High School for 15 years, has received the 2021 Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement, an annual honor for one North Carolina music educator. On June 1, a small group of Ellefsen’s CHCCS peers and administrators gathered to see N.C. Symphony Director of Education, Jason Spencer, present the award, with cupcakes as follow up.

ECHHS Principal, Kenneth Proulx, said, "Ryan is an amazing teacher that has touched the lives of so many students and colleagues during his tenure at East.  This prestigious award is reflective of the educator and person that Ryan is. We are very fortunate to have Ryan at East Chapel Hill High School".

Ellefsen holds very high musical standards, according to Arts Education Coordinator, Dr. Brenda Whiteman, and his influence has made him a leader in music education in the community and throughout the state. He holds leadership positions with the North Carolina Music Educators Association and the American String Teachers Association.

Whiteman said, “Ryan encourages students to reach their maximum potential and to be involved in advanced opportunities through Tri-Mu and the Honors clinics, as well as many extracurricular opportunities. He urges his students toward excellence, while de-emphasizing the focus on grades and competition.”

"Receiving the Jackson Parkhurst Award from the North Carolina Symphony is an incredible honor - easily one of the highest honors of my 20 year career,” Ellefsen said. “Without a doubt teaching music virtually has been a challenge. But when I look back on this year, I can't give enough credit to my students for maintaining and expanding our strong music mentorship program and being so dedicated to keeping music in their lives. I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my peers and by the selection committee with the North Carolina Symphony."

The Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement is named for the Symphony’s former director of education in recognition of his longstanding service and commitment to young people in the state of North Carolina.