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2015 Distinguished Teaching Artist Awards

It is our pleasure to introduce the winners of the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Artist awards: Jason McInnes, Reggio McLaughlin, and Elaine Moore.

These honorees have been nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of members from Old Town Schools Board Of Directors. Criteria for selection was based upon excellence as a teaching artist, excellence as a leader among fellow teachers and excellence in their contributions to the community culture of the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Our teaching artists help make the School a national model for community arts learning and inspire our students, community members, and staff alike. Congratulations to Jason, Reggio, and Elaine!


Jason McInnes

From working in The Old Town School Store to heading up the Human Resources Department to, at last, finding his art as a teaching artist, Jason McInnes has always stayed connected to the roots of our School. He is hungry to learn more, working hard until he knows by heart the stories of Frank Hamilton, Win Stracke, Mark Dvorak, Ella Jenkins, and others. He works so diligently because he cares deeply about the keepers of the School's legacy - its youth. He tirelessly assures there is a home here for young folks and their families. "Come on in!" says Jason. You belong. "Let's do music!" His gifts to Old Town School are invaluable. For his gifts to music and to folks of all ages, we are grateful.

Jason is an exceptional teacher in so many ways. He persistently pursues learning for himself while carefully and respectfully encouraging his students to make their own discoveries. He makes his classroom culture precious while connecting it to the larger Old Town School community and consistently creates opportunities for the community to grow. And finally, he stands for quality learning throughout the School, deeply knows each student in his care, and instills bravery and a boundless love for music in folks of all ages.

Learn more about Jason


Reggio McLaughlin

To take a class with Reggio "The Hoofer" McLaughlin is to be filled with the spirits of the rhythmic masters that are part of his hoofing lineage. His classes are inspirational, exciting, and overflowing with joy. He truly embodies the idea that Every Body Dances, and his students are always grateful for his nurturing guidance. On top of that, his showmanship is stellar and his accomplishments are vast. In 2014, Reggio was awarded the prestigious Flo-Bert Award for his lifetime achievements in the field of tap dance and in 2015, he added published author to his list. His book, Reggio McLaughlin: Tap Dance of Life is currently available for purchase in the Music Store and online wherever books are sold.

Learn more about Reggio


Elaine Moore

For almost 30 years, Elaine has provided an abundance of joy and clarity in her many roles at Old Town School. She joined the school's small administrative staff in 1987, managing the office after the Armitage Avenue renovation. As the school rapidly grew, Elaine filled a number of administrative roles, ultimately serving as Associate Program Director alongside Program Director Michael Miles. She began teaching guitar shortly after the School celebrated its 30th Anniversary. It was then that she began an extended engagement to fellow teacher Jim Dewan. They were married in 1994 and are blessed with two lovely children, Violet and Seamus. Lucky for everyone, she continues to teach both guitar and voice full time as an original member of Frank's Faculty.

All her students adore her. One made the remark that she is "The Mary Poppins of the Old Town School because of the magic she brings everyday." Fellow teaching artists speak of her with the highest admiration and respect; "Just to hear her sing harmony at the Second Half is the highlight of the day." Elaine is utterly welcoming to everyone, and we all thank her for her presence. As she often says, "O.K. take a deep breath, and let's do it again."

Learn more about Elaine