From the nomination letter:
Sonja London-Hall is one of the most hard-working, student centered teachers I know. She is an energetic, exemplary director. For a small school with limited numbers in our program she has brought us all to a level of musicianship no one thought possible for our group. Her high expectations have allowed us to play music most large programs would only dream of approaching as band literature. Our performing groups receive top ratings at region and state festivals. We have fun in class, learn, and really are thrilled to have Mrs. London-Hall as our teacher.
In addition to making us all better musicians, Mrs. London-Hall has written considerable amounts of grants for the program. Last year Mrs. London-Hall was awarded the following grants:
1. Diamondbacks Challenge Grant – $5,000
2. Fender Grant – $8,000 in instruments for jazz band
3. CenturyLink, AZTEA Technology Grant, iBand Project – $4625
4. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow State Finalist – Samsung Tablets, top five finalists out of 2300 applications
Grants have funded musical instruments, music technology applications in the classroom, and green screen applications in the HS Drama class. Yes, Mrs. London-Hall is also our HS Drama teacher and in the three years since starting HS Drama at the school we have performed several outstanding stage productions including Arsenic and Old Lace and our 2014 production of Little Shop of Horrors; a remarkable feat complete with Audrey II and a full house.
Our Fine Arts, Instrumental Music Department was awarded a Grammy Award and Grant funds this past school year. This award could only have been possible if the four components of the application (Band, choir, strings, and guitar) scored high enough and showed exceptional strength as a department. We are very proud of this. We attribute the score received for the band to Mrs. London-Halls direction. She has very high expectations and helps us all rise to the occasion.
Finally, in addition to being a superior classroom teacher, Mrs. London-Hall also teaches by example. We see her in the community in art shows, exhibits, in the news, and in local galleries. Her art form is as exacting as her directing and she puts monumental efforts into being good at her craft. She works hard for the community and gives back with support through art donations and special fundraising projects.
I am the oboe player in our HS band. I am very proud to nominate this teacher for Excellence in Arts Education.