Metroplex Musicians’ Association honors music teachers

Three Dallas ISD teachers were recently honored by the Dallas Metroplex Musicians’ Association for their dedication to student success and their years of hard work in the music industry. 

Nelda Washington of Clara Oliver Elementary School and Osley Cook Jr. of Franklin D. Roosevelt High School Of Innovation were both inducted into the Dallas Metroplex Musicians’ Association Hall of Fame for serving the area for over 30 years. Chad Lott of Skyline High School earned a Next Generation of Music Professionals Award, which is given to professional musicians who have been in the field for less than 10 years.

The Dallas Metroplex Musicians’ Association is a nonprofit that works to preserve the legacy of distinctively African American music, celebrate local African American musicians and award annual scholarships to students to foster their musical talent and success.

Cook, who is currently an assistant band director, has taught in Dallas ISD for 28 years and counting. He said some of his accomplishments include taking multiple “dead” band programs and bringing them back to life at the elementary, middle and high school level and seeing his students perform at the Battle of the Bands, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parades, several universities, the African American Read-in and more. 

While Cook said he was excited to have been inducted into the Dallas Metroplex Musicians’ Association Hall of Fame, his proudest achievement is seeing his students succeed and benefit from new opportunities. 

“The greatest thrill for me is seeing my students take these music scholarships and go to play in the college programs,” Cook said. “I’m currently aware of six of my former students working as music teachers after receiving their degree in music. Plus, I have another who just graduated in December who hopes to find the right fit for the fall.” 

Lott said he sees his job in a similar manner. He started out in Dallas ISD as a math and science teacher and soon decided to put his music certification to good use. Now in his fourth year as director of choirs and an AP music theory instructor at Skyline, he loves helping his students grow, thrive and find inspiration. 

“I’ve really seen students buy into the choral culture we have created, and it has been amazing,” Lott said. “I want to show them that they can do this—that they can do anything—especially as a man of color. Representation matters, and for them to see that I’ve done this gives them opportunities and credence to feel like they can do the same.” 

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