Decorah Middle School music teacher Dean Beckman is the recipient of the Outstanding Elementary/Middle School Choral Educator Award, presented by the Iowa Choral Directors Association (ICDA) at their annual Summer Symposium. Beckman is the first to receive the elementary/middle school award in the inaugural year of the Honors Program. The purpose of the initiative is to recognize work being done in every arena by the ICDA’s dedicated members and supporters. The ICDA is committed to celebrating the honorees, not only within the organization, but within their communities, the state, and the nation. The aim is to raise them up, demonstrating that they are seen and deeply appreciated.
Beckman began his teaching career in 1985 in Westby, Wisconsin, and has been teaching in the Decorah Community School District since 1988. Over the years he has had incredible success with a considerable number of students being selected into the Iowa Opus Honor Choirs. In several of those years, Beckman has had the most chosen by any teacher in the state. In the fall of 2021, he had a record-breaking 29 students selected. He spends hours outside of the school day working with the singers to prepare them for auditions. In addition, his work on the annual sixth grade musical and the 7th/8th Grade Pops Concert are performances the students take immense pride in and talk about for years beyond middle school. With both of these events, his goal has been to make as many students as possible feel like they are stars so they want to continue making music.
Outside of Decorah Middle School Beckman has been on panels and co-presented at the ICDA Summer Symposium. In 2013, he was honored to serve as the conductor of the Iowa Opus 7th/8th Grade Bass Clef Choir. Beckman is beginning his 35th year of teaching in the Decorah Community School District this week.
The ICDA is an organization of over 700 Iowa choral music educators that serves choral musicians in the state of Iowa by providing leadership, guidance and support, and continuing education opportunities, promoting excellence in the choral art through high-quality offerings and events, supporting growth beyond college graduation, and enriching and renewing the musical souls of its membership.