LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC Kevin Hebert can scarcely remember a time when music wasn’t a big part of his life.
As a young child, he began playing in a “family band” of sorts with his father and mother in church and later joined the Irmo Middle School band as a trumpet player in the seventh grade.
“My love of music continued to grow, but it wasn’t until I started playing in the band at Irmo High School that I witnessed the power a teacher has to change lives and I knew that’s who I wanted to be.”
The Chapin High School band teacher has continued to embrace that thinking and recently was named Lexington-Richland 5’s Teacher of the Year.
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Hebert was selected from among the 22 individual teachers of the year. He was honored at the district’s Employee Recognition Program earlier this month.
“Being named Teacher of the Year is a great honor,” said Hebert, who has been listed among the best music educators in the country in School Band and Orchestra magazine.
“I was raised in this district, went to schools in this district, and always felt like it had the best teachers and schools around,” he said. “So, to now be named teacher of the year for District 5 is a very proud moment.”
Hebert has 13 years of teaching experience, including five years in his current position. Since he arrived at Chapin, the marching band has won two state championships and four lower state championships, while the concert band and jazz ensemble have received superior ratings each year during the annual festival.
Hebert also started a concert percussion ensemble, which has won two state championships while receiving superior ratings.
Earlier this year, he was recognized by the School Band and Orchestra magazine as South Carolina’s representative for “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” for the second time.
While pleased with his own accomplishments, Hebert said he is most proud of the difference he is able to make in the lives of students each year. It’s a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly.
“As educators, we have the opportunity of influencing the next generation, providing students with the choice of how they are going to pursue their future,” Hebert said. “We touch lives and change stereotypes. We create, mold and nurture genius.”
But molding, he said, must be accompanied by caring.
“For a teacher to be successful and reach a student, that teacher must show that you care about their success at the level that is most attainable for them,” Hebert said. “Students need to know that teachers are on their side and are vested in their success. Once you earn a student’s trust, their minds are ready to learn.”
Hebert has a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of South Carolina and is working on his master’s in music education.
Chapin Middle School teacher assistant Brenda Macaluso was named the district’s Support Employee of the Year during the recent recognition ceremony.
“District 5 is great because of the many caring and talented teachers and support staff we have in our schools,” said Superintendent Stephen Hefner. “Mr. Hebert and Ms. Macaluso represent the best of the best in our district.”