Owensboro High School band teacher Aaron Klausing was recently named the winner of the 2022 Kentucky Heart of the Arts award for his dedication to student-center and engaging teaching style.
“If you’ve ever seen Aaron Klausing in front of a group of students, he fits all those things,” said Tom Stites, OPS Coordinator of Fine Arts. “I’ve never seen somebody get 1,500 elementary and middle school students up and partying in the RiverPark Center like him.”
President-elect Alan Emerson nominated Klausing for his dedication to Owensboro Public Schools’ band over his 11 years of teaching. Klausing said it felt special to be nominated by someone outside the district.
There are many people within the community that Klausing considers mentors, including Emerson. Klausing said he is consistently learning what methods do and don’t work for other teachers, allowing him to tweak methods for his own classes.
He currently leads the Red Steel Pan Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Concert Band. He also helps with the marching band, wind ensemble, and middle school band. Across all of those areas, he incorporates a general philosophy into all lessons.
“If I’m excited about it, then they’re going to be excited,” he said.
So, Klausing spends time meticulously choosing what songs would be equally exciting and appropriate for his students to play, whether in the band room or at home for practice.
“I’m always excited when I get up in the morning,” Klausing said. “… Something I’ve tried to do is pick excellent music and the kids will respond with that. Not only that, but having students here that are bought in and excited makes you excited about coming to work.”