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Fair Street music instructor to receive arts honor
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GAINESVILLE — An area school music instructor and choral music director is being honored in Atlanta Saturday as one of the Woodruff Salutes Georgia Arts in Education Leaders.

Ellen Leamon of Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School also works with the Gainesville High School band, holds community performances with Fair Street’s fourth- and fifth-grade choruses and prepares middle and high school students for auditions.

"We are very proud of (her)," Fair Street principal Merrianne Dyer said.

Dyer nominated Leamon for the honor, which is based on an educator’s commitment to teaching both choral and instrumental music.

The Woodruff Arts Center, which sponsors the recognition program, has planned a day of activities, including a "Making Arts Work in Education" symposium and panel discussion, High Museum of Art tour, and a reception and photography session with state officials.

"I was humbled and very honored to be nominated ... for this award," Leamon said. "I look forward to representing Fair Street elementary and all of Gainesville city schools."

Dyer said she plans to attend the reception on behalf of the school and school system.

Leamon is in her second year of teaching overall, with both years at Fair Street.

"Music has always been my passion," she said. "It has provided a medium for my own self-expression for as long as I can remember."

Before teaching, she spent almost 15 years working in marketing, adult education and event management.

But she always stayed close to the music profession, doing a marketing internship with the London Symphony Orchestra, performing with several community groups and at church, and attending the Atlanta Symphony.

At some point, she realized teaching was her true calling.

"I love music and I love children," said Leamon, also a member of the Northwinds Symphonic Band.

"By teaching music, in the public school, we are teaching creativity and providing hope and promise to all children to make the most of music for themselves and enabling them to be good stewards of the arts as they go through life."

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