Local Band Director Named Educator of the Year

Jeffrey Mayo

The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music proudly announces Jeffrey Mayo (BM ’12) as the recipient of the 2024 Educator of the Year award. Currently serving as the Director of Bands at Brighton High School, Mayo receives this honor in recognition of his exceptional contributions to music education and his profound impact on students’ lives.

The School of Music Educator of the Year Award celebrates and honors the accomplishments of educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to educating and inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers. The purpose of the award is to publicly recognize music educators for distinguished career accomplishments and for exemplary contributions to society and music they have made.

Formerly the Director of Bands for Brighton Middle School, Mayo earned accolades including Teacher of the Year and the 2017 Outstanding Young Music Educator Award from the Tennessee Music Educators Association, underscoring his commitment to nurturing musical talent and fostering a deep passion for music among his students.

Mackenzie Saylors, a former student who nominated Mayo for the award, attested, “Mr. Mayo embodies the qualities every music educator should strive for. His dedication to his students and pursuit of excellence is unparalleled. He remains innovative, staying at the forefront of developments in the music world, while also emphasizing the importance of service and collaboration.”

A highly accomplished educator, Mayo holds an honors bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Memphis, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He furthered his education by earning a Master of Music in Music Education Degree from Anderson University (SC), achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

“Jeffrey Mayo’s exemplary dedication to music education not only elevates the standards of teaching but also profoundly enriches the lives of every student he mentors,” said Dr. Kevin Sanders, director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. “We are immensely proud to count him among our distinguished alumni and to honor him with this well-deserved recognition.”

Mayo’s expertise spans various domains within music education. At Brighton High School, he oversees marching band, concert band, jazz band, chamber ensembles, percussion, and winter programs. In addition, Mayo serves as the program’s designer, arranger, composer, and choreographer, showcasing his multifaceted talents and unwavering dedication to musical excellence.

As a Vic Firth Education Artist, Mayo is recognized for his commitment to advancing music education. He has also shared his expertise as a guest clinician at Georgia Southern University and presented on educational music technology at the Memphis chapter of the Collegiate National Association for Music Education (CNAFME).

Upon receiving this award, Mayo expressed gratitude to his mentors and students, emphasizing the reciprocal nature of learning in the classroom. “I firmly believe that I have learned just as much from my students as they have learned from me,” he remarked. He dedicated the award to his students, urging the audience to embrace a lifelong love of learning and to discover the wealth of knowledge they can gain from each other.

As an active member of music associations such as the Tennessee Music Educators Association and the National Association for Music Education, Mayo continues to impact the music education landscape significantly. 

His dedication to community engagement is evident through his involvement in various charitable initiatives and performances that benefit the local community. “Mr. Mayo regularly has his band perform for the community at parades, elementary schools, and other local events,” wrote Saylors. “The band has engaged with local charities and causes, just last year raising money for Crestview Middle School’s band after a tornado destroyed their building.”

In addition to his outstanding contributions to music education, Mayo is an accomplished performer and composer, enriching the cultural fabric of the Mid-South area with his talent and creativity.

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