Wade honored as Pratt's game-changing choir teacher
The College of Education at Pittsburg State University has chosen a game-changing choir teacher and a dedicated administrator for the college’s two annual Distinguished Service Awards.
The Distinguished Administrator Service Award goes to Rex Bollinger, superintendent of USD 362 Prairie View in LaCygne, Kansas.
The Distinguished Teacher Service Award goes to Brandon Wade, middle and high school choir teacher at USD 382 in Pratt, Kansas.
Wade chose music as a career at age six, and after performing in music festivals on campus as a high school student, he chose PSU for his education. It was the right choice, said Wade, who praised the faculty and the atmosphere.
“Honestly, seeing the work ethic of Dr. Susan Marchant prepared me the most for being a music teacher,” he said. “She works tirelessly for her students, the music, and the community. I wouldn’t be the educator I am without her constant encouragement, discipline, and love.”
He earned his bachelor’s in music education from PSU in 2009, and Superintendent Tony Helfrich hired him as choir director for Eureka School District where “he was an immediate sensation.”
When Helfrich went to Pratt School District a few years later, he took Wade with him.
There, just six students were enrolled in choir. Today, there are 126 students in two groups at Liberty Middle School and Pratt High School, and an additional 20 who perform as the Pratt High Singers — a very visible and expert group that was invited to sing at the Kansas Music Educators Association convention.
Wade also created a District All Staff Choir of 20 staff that has provided a sense of comradery.
Wade took on extra roles, helping the drama teacher with the annual musical and coaching middle school football and high school basketball.
“Brandon is a game changer,” said Principal Steve Blankenship. “His innovative teaching methods are an inspiration to all teachers.”
Now, students from outside Pratt enroll in the district because they want to be involved with Wade's program.
“My reaction to being chosen for this award is one of extreme humbleness,” he said. “I know so many amazing educators that have graduated from Pitt State. I am very thankful for those who thought enough of what I do to nominate me for this award, and I am very grateful to those who chose me to receive it.”
Rex Bollinger, the other Distinguished Service Award winner serves as the superintendent of LaCygne School District.
He chose PSU for his degree in education, graduating in 1992, and his master’s in building administration, graduating in 1997.