From the nomination letter:
Upon my retirement I was asked more than a few times, “what was the best thing you did over those 35 years?” and I unerringly say that amongst my proudest moments was chairing the committee which hired Todd Sullivan as Director of the NAU School of Music.
Todd greatly expands the definition of what it means to be an Arts Educator and Leader. There will always be a reason to honor teachers who fit the mold of Mr. Chips, Miss Bishop, or Mr. Holland, those who devote their lives to small classes of young minds, decade after decade. Indeed, Todd served that role admirably in the past. (He was given the Indiana State University College of Arts and Sciences Education Excellence Award in 2000 and was nominated twice for the Distinguished Teaching Award at Northwestern University.)
As Director of the School of Music, however, he expands that spirit of dedication, that concern for the sole student in the practice room, that good-spirited insistence on excellence to one of the most complex organizations at the University. Modern understandings of the complexities of K-16 instruction require educators have a sophisticated grasp of student learning styles, the strategic sequencing of well-developed curricula, and a full appreciation of the advances in the fields of study, be they technological, pedagogical, or ethical. Individual arts instructors at NAU, in FUSD, or at FALA, for example, master their own small, important bits of that grand understanding: Todd Sullivan owns it all. From micro kids in Suzuki, to all manner of children at NAU music camps, thru the evolution of undergraduate/graduate talent, as well as the scores of community members who benefit from instruction and performances, Todd Sullivan is imbricated in their success and appreciation of music. At the risk of being too much on the nose, Professor Sullivan has served as conductor to 100s of arts educators and 1000s of music students.
In 2013, Todd Sullivan and the School of Music had a typically successful year with almost daily recitals, performances by visiting musicians and NAU faculty and students, landmark Horizon series events, festivals, symphonies, camps, orchestras, choirs, operas, concerts, and holiday dinners, oh my! While all this is an administrative complexity of the first order, Todd handles the complexity, while keeping his eye solely on the quality of the students’ (and audiences’!) education and experience.
As suggested in the following, however, 2013 was a remarkable one for Todd and the School of Art, more than worthy of the Viola recognition. Highlighting this year’s major accomplishments was a stellar expansion of the Horizon series, dedicated to community education about both traditional Western classical music, as well as a variety of international music forms: “The NAU School of Music’s Horizons Concert Series provides global exploration and deeper musical experiences for the NAU and Flagstaff Community.”
A major addition to the Horizon series during this year was the start of the Global Musician in Residence Program
Finally, the addition of instructional symposia to the Horizons series on the 100 anniversary of the world-shaking “Rite of Spring” and an examination of the work of Richard Wagner provided the community with an educational context for significant performance:
April 15, 2013 “The Birth of Modernism II—Paris 1913” Lectures and performances addressing the importance of “The Rite of Spring” on its 100th anniversary, as well as other important music and art of the era.
October 28, 2013 In Concert: The Many Sides of Wagner
A careful review of the links above reveal Todd Sullivan as an Arts educator’s educator. To lead a school of Music is a markedly different role from other administrators. Yes, he manages a faculty but he also is the steward of two of the major musical venues in town, the recently reopened Ardrey Auditorium and Ashurst Hall. He is the head faculty presence on any number of Flagstaff Arts Boards, he chaired the search committee for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Director, and of course he is a Board member of Flagstaff Cultural Partners. Like the conductor of the orchestra, he creates the music that makes the music.