Music From the Very Beginning: Jewel Casselman

February 2, 2023
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Every part of longtime music educator Jewel Casselman’s career has come together piece by piece to paint a picture of a dedicated, determined, and committed professional. Much like the quilt she handcrafted and donated to help raise funds at the Manitoba Orff Chapter Conference, every element of her 34-year career has been carefully stitched together into an impressive whole.

As she approaches retirement, Jewel stands as a well-recognized figure in her field with two nominations for the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award presented by CST Foundation to her name. Jewel is on the board of the Manitoba Orff Chapter, leads provincial and national diversity committees, and was recognized for her dedication to music education with the Morna-June Morrow Award for Excellence in Music Education in Manitoba in 2014 and the Michael J. Proudfoot Award for Choral Excellence from the Winnipeg Music Festival in 2019.

These accolades and accomplishments are only part of the picture. In addition to these recognitions, Jewel is also a fierce advocate for the role elementary-level music education plays in the formation of bright young kids. “The elementary music educator lays the groundwork for the student’s musical growth not only in elementary school, but also in middle school, high school, and continuing throughout their lives,” Jewel has said, and she’s right.

Of course, music programming in early years delivers so much more than just technique and skill. As Jewel says, “in the music room, the teacher is guiding them to be independent thinkers and teaching them to look with a critical eye at the world around them. They are making connections between themselves and their own cultural music, their families, the community, and the world.”

Jewel Casselman of Lakewood School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is one of five exceptional educators nominated for the 2023 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by CST Foundation. The award recognizes an exceptional music educator with a $10,000 cash prize, a generous donation to their school through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program, and a JUNO statuette.

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award was established in 2005 to recognize and honour an exceptional Canadian music teacher each year. This award is generously presented by CST Foundation. To date, this award has celebrated the accomplishments of 17 music educators across Canada who strive to preserve the livelihood of music education in their school and community.

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award is presented by