The Kansas Bandmasters Association (KBA) recently recognized Erik Cooke-Stone as the 2017 Outstanding Young Bandmaster award winner.

This award is presented to a band director who has taught in the state of Kansas for fewer than seven years.  The winner must be nominated by an established director and elected by members of the KBA board, as well as members of Phi Beta Mu, an international band director fraternity. The recipient must have shown tremendous growth as an educator and exhibited outstanding commitment to his/her students.

Stone has just completed his third year teaching at both Comanche Middle School and Dodge City High School.  He was nominated by Travis Johnson, Director of Bands in Cheney, and received the honor on July 21.

"I first met Travis in 2011 when I began teaching as a private clarinet instructor for Cheney students preparing to take solos to contest," Stone, who later did his student teaching under Johnson, said.  "Travis has been a trusted mentor of mine and his guidance has played a major role in my success as an educator. When Travis told me he nominated me, I was ecstatic, and at first, I thought he was kidding me."

Originally from Kansas City, Kan., Stone accepted his current position with Dodge City Public Schools after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Special-Instrumental Music Education in 2013 from Wichita State University.

"Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved the idea of teaching. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I should probably teach something I’m good at and band seemed to be the only thing," Stone added.  "Working with the teachers, staff, and administration in Dodge City has been a wonderful experience, and I’ve had the opportunity to really grow as a music educator."

Stone said he appreciates the support of his friends and family as he continues his endeavors in music education.

"I know many of my colleagues across the state would agree that our students are the motivation for what we do," he said.