Teacher of the Year: ‘My passions are for kids, music’

by Celia Shortt


Students in Schenbeck’s Music in Medicine class learn what it is like to do activities as if they were blind. 

The 2013 Coweta County School System Teacher of the Year, Dr. Lyn Schenbeck, has several constants in her life, but music and teaching have been there the longest.

Schenbeck became a professional musician when she started on the New York musical theater stage at age 13. Seven years later, at the age of 20, she started teaching. “I have always, always wanted to teach,” said Schenbeck.

Schenbeck has been an educator for over 40 years, and in that time has taught all over the country and at all levels of education. She also earned her bachelor of science degree in music education and master of science degree in music education and voice performance from SUNY Potsdam’s, Crane School of Music, and her doctorate in choral and instrumental conducting from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Schenbeck has been in the Coweta County School System since 2006, when she began teaching music and organizing strings classes at Smokey Road Middle School.

“I got to Coweta in October,” she remembered. “I had no classroom, supplies, instruments, or students. My colleagues volunteered rooms, and everyone was supportive. I loved it there! I found this new form of energy.”

“My passions are kids and music — in that order,” she added with a smile.

She still teaches strings classes at Smokey Road, but in 2008, she moved to the CEC to teach music, music business and technology, and music in medicine. Schenbeck is also a musical therapist.

“As a teacher, I have a lot of autonomy here,” she said. “I have the freedom to be creative. I love what Mark Whitlock is doing here. We (the faculty) get support from the top down. The faculty is very cohesive here.”

Schenbeck begins each school year with individual conferences for each of her students. She encourages them to study other disciplines and to integrate music into those disciplines and life skills.

“Music is much more than notes and rhythms on a page,” she said. “I can teach kids things outside of the box. So they can put 2 and 2 together and get more than 4.” “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be in the public school system at this time of my career, ” she added.

Since coming to the Coweta County School District, Schenbeck founded, and is also the conductor for, Centre Strings. Centre Strings is a student and community orchestra that rehearses at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts during the academic year.

Throughout her career, Schenbeck has performed extensively as a singer and conductor throughout the United States and Europe. She has published numerous articles in professional journals, been an editor, and she is on the editorial board for “Choral Journal.” She’s written liner notes for numerous companies. Currently, she is also involved with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

In addition to her music and teaching career, Schenbeck has been married for 34 years. Her husband is also a musician, and they have two children.

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