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Who's Who: Dawn Clayton

Name: Dawn A. Clayton

Position & school(s): Cooke Elementary School - General Music K-5

How long have you been teaching?
14 years – 5 in Ellenville, 9 in Monticello

Where did you go to college? What degrees do you hold?
Associate Degree in Individualized Studies from Ulster County Community College, Bachelor of Music Performance, Bachelor of Elementary Education N-6, and a Master’s Degree as a Literacy Specialist - all from SUNY New Paltz.

Any awards/accomplishments? Any claims to fame?
I was a member of the Ellenville Jazz Ensemble that was named the “Best HS Jazz Ensemble in the Country”, in 1982-1983. I had the opportunity to travel with the band to play in the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
Watching the students glow with pride after a well performed concert. I know I’ve done my job when they ask when they get to perform again.

Why did you become a music teacher?
I have always had a love for music. It has played an important part of my life. Music has given me many opportunities to travel and to meet people. I love to share with students the joy of music and the opportunities that it brings.

Did you do anything else before you became a music teacher?
Yes, I was a full time mom, a credit union representative, a deputy town clerk, and a teaching assistant/substitute teacher in another school district.

In your opinion, why do you think music education is important?
When we teach music, we touch on everything else in life. Music is scientific. Music is mathematical. Music is a foreign language. Music is history. Music is physical education. Music is philosophy. Music is art. But most importantly, music is the human experience. Music inspires thought, reflection and emotion. We teach music so students can recognize beauty, have more compassion, and be fully human.

How has music influenced your life?
Music has always put me back on the right path in life.

Who is your favorite musician?
I don’t really have a favorite musician. I enjoy listening to a wide variety of music.

What CD is in your CD player right now?
Either Meatloaf or Classic from the 50's.

What are your hobbies?
Riding and showing horses.

What advice would you offer to an aspiring musician?
Learning to play an instrument is like learning to ride a bike – you have to keep trying. Practice, practice, PRACTICE!!!