Nationally renowned jazz educator joins faculty at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago as college steps into the forefront of the field of jazz education in America.
VanderCook College of Music, one of the leading collegiate music education programs in the nation, is pleased to announce the appointment of award-winning jazz educator Dr. Roosevelt Griffin, to the faculty. Together with distinguished faculty, including Director of Jazz Studies, Professor Anthony Kidonakis, and Professor of Vocal Jazz, Professor Michelle Thomas, Dr. Griffin's appointment expands VanderCook's unrivaled jazz education program.
Dr. Griffin was recently named the 2022 John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year from Berklee College of Music and the Jazz Education Network. His many awards and honors include the 2019 Men of Excellence Award from the Chicago Defender/Real Times Media, 2018 Award for Human and Civil Rights from the Illinois Education Association, 2018 Men of Excellence Award from the Illinois Education Association, 2017 Jazz Educator of the Year from the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Semi-Finalist for the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Music Educator, 2015 Outstanding Alumni from Northern Illinois University, 2015 Jefferson Award for Public Service, and the 2014 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has performed with some of the world's greatest musicians, including Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Ross, and Jimmy Heath.
Since 2018, Dr. Griffin has been Co-Artistic Director of VanderCook's One City program, which provides high quality musical instruments and jazz instruction at no cost to school-age students from Bronzeville and the surrounding communities. President Roseanne Rosenthal remarked, "We couldn't be more pleased to welcome Dr. Griffin to our collegiate teaching faculty. With his incredible expertise, experience, positive energy, and consummate musicianship, Dr. Griffin is the perfect fit for VanderCook College of Music."
Dr. Griffin also teaches at the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic's Jazz Academy, which will be relocating to VanderCook College of Music in the fall of 2022, and at the Griffin Institute, and he is a frequent guest artist and clinician across the country. He served for over a decade as director of the acclaimed jazz bands at Harvey School District 152. His middle school students have performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, Jazz Showcase, and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
VanderCook College of Music
Founded in 1909, VanderCook College of Music has been training outstanding music educators for over a century. VanderCook graduates currently teach music in all 50 states and more than 20 countries around the world, and VanderCook is one of the top three collegiate music programs in the state of Illinois. VanderCook is located on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus, just minutes from downtown Chicago, and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education.
The Jazz Education Network and Berklee College of Music collaborate to present the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year award. The award is named after the legendary jazz educator, John LaPorta, and will recognize an outstanding elementary, middle, or high school educator with a focus on jazz education, who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to their institution and their students.
Concordia University Chicago’s Distinguished Alumni Awards annually honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their fields of endeavor, their communities, their churches, and who exemplify the University’s core values of Christian Faith, The Individual, Excellence, Integrity, and Service. Since 1984, Concordia University Chicago has recognized graduates whose service to the church and community has brought honor to their alma mater. This award honors individuals who have enhanced the prestige of the University by virtue of their character, integrity, and personal accomplishments. They have achieved remarkable professional achievement as evidenced by a sustained and significant wide-spread reputation and recognition among colleagues for accomplishments and service to their vocation.
ROSEMONT – A band teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Harvey, Ill., has been selected by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) as the recipient of its 2018 Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award.
Roosevelt Griffin III, director of bands for Harvey Public School District 152, was recognized on Thursday at the annual Representative Assembly of the IEA.
“Roosevelt Griffin III is an inspiration to all IEA members and to the members of his community,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin.
“The street on which he grew up in Harvey was renamed for him a few years ago, due to his exemplary work in music education and his activism. We are proud Roosevelt Griffin III is an IEA member and that he’s dedicated his adult life to helping students improve their own lives through music.”
Griffin has been a teacher in District 152 for 14 years. His commitment to his community was noted in the nomination for the Human and Civil Rights Award which reads in part, “Being from the community and going back to the community sets this candidate apart. The programs he has built are sustainable even if he was no longer engaged. He has demonstrated a long-term commitment.”
Among the many honors Griffin has received for his teaching and his activism are, the “Excellence in Education Award” from the Harvey Education Association, a Golden Apple Award, “Most Outstanding Alumni Award” from Northern Illinois University, and “Jazz Educator of the Year for 2017” from the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
The IEA Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award is one of the association’s highest honors for a member. It is named after the former president of the IEA and the National Education Association, Reg Weaver.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.
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