Through shining peer recommendations and a Review Committee from St. Mary’s County Arts Council, Nicole McCumbee from Margaret Brent Middle School (MBMS) has been chosen to receive the 2022 Kay Daugherty Arts Educator Award! Along with this special recognition, McCumbee will also receive $500 in appreciation of her dedication and above-and-beyond contributions as an arts educator in our community.

Nicole is currently working in her 15th year as the Director of Bands at Margaret Brent Middle School and is in her 17th year of teaching for St. Mary’s Public Schools (SMCPS). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.

McCumbee also serves as the Unified Arts Department Chairperson at MBMS and has been the SMCPS All-County Middle School Band event manager since 2015. Within her own program, she directs ensembles for students from grades 6th, 7th, and 8th and also directs the Festival Band which is a competition group by the audition process.

During an extremely challenging period of time, both for students and instructors, Nicole received the “Excellence in Online Teaching”, a testament to her creativity and ability to adapt and provide quality instruction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of McCumbee’s long-held philosophy of teaching has been “to help each student develop a passion and love for music. I work to include all students, regardless of economic status, race, and playing ability, to feel as if my room is a safe haven where they can be themselves and not be judged.”

Nicole’s instructional goals include the concepts of instilling values of teamwork, discipline, respect, responsibility, and dedication in her students in the hopes that they will take what they learned and apply these teachings to all aspects of their lives as they mature into young adults.

As part of the Kay Daugherty Award nomination process, letters of reference have been received and include a number of fabulous reviews for McCumbee!

“Nicole directs the band program at Margaret Brent Middle School, providing multiple performance opportunities for students throughout the school year. She takes time before and after school to make sure her students are confident and prepared for each performance.” ~ Dr. Ashland M. Murphy, band director colleague in SMCPS

These awards are granted in memory and recognition of Kay Daugherty (1921-2006) who was well-known for her love of art in a wide variety of different forms. In 2018, an award was created in Kay’s honor and in recognition of outstanding art educators currently teaching in the St. Mary’s County, Maryland public school system.


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