Jeff Knell, a music teacher at Neil Armstrong Middle School, as well as William Penn and Benjamin Franklin Elementary Schools, recently received the 2022 Pennsylvania Music Educators' Association (PMEA) District 1 Citation of Excellence in Teaching award.
The award is offered biennially to elementary and middle school music teachers.
Knell, who grew up in Peters Township and holds degrees from Duquesne and Mercyhurst, was nominated by his colleague, Rachel Skilone, who has worked with Knell for the past nine years.
“Jeff and I have an almost sibling-like relationship some respects,” she said. “He is just an amazing person to work with and he also happens to be an extraordinary music teacher.”
Knell admits to initially being taken aback by the recognition but concedes it is a wonderful honor. “It’s obviously very flattering to be recognized by your peers and a huge honor, but it’s not something I can take credit for,” he said, quickly pointing out that his students put in a lot of work.
Knell added that it is a privilege to be a part of the Bethel Park music department. “The people in this department are just so incredibly helpful and supportive,” he said. “None of what we have been able to accomplish would have been possible if we didn’t all work so well together as a team.”
Knell will be recognized via a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. He will also be formally presented with a plaque commemorating his achievement by PMEA District 1 representative, Eryn Carranza during Neil Armstrong’s May 18 Spring Band Concert.