MHS band director honored as Outstanding Music Educator

MHS band director honored as Outstanding Music Educator
Posted on 02/09/2024
Tony BrownTony Brown, the band director at Mehlville High School, is the 2024 recipient of the Missouri Music Educators Association’s Dr. Wynne Harrell Outstanding Music Educator Award. The MMEA presents this award to one music educator each year who exemplifies the profession’s highest standards of teaching, learning and professionalism.

Tony Brown in high school

IMAGE: After serving as the drum major of the Mehlville High School Panther Band, Brown pursued a degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas.

After graduating from Mehlville High School in 1987, Brown attended the University of North Texas to study music education. Don Kinnison, his former high school band director, convinced him to return to his alma mater for five years following college graduation. Those five years turned into more than 30. He spent 13 years as the assistant band director and has directed the Panther Band for the past 18 years.

“Tony is the perfect mix of a hard-working and caring instructor,” said Sean Gallagher, MHS Class of 2021. “I have watched him push countless students to achieve greatness beyond what they could have imagined.”

Tony Brown with marching band students
Image: Brown with members of the Panthers Marching Band.

Brown has worked tirelessly to make the MHS band program as impactful for his students as possible by exposing them to great musicians, traveling the country and establishing college scholarships. That dedication is due in part to his own experience as a student at MHS.

“Tony fell in love with band in that band room,” said Jennifer Garrison Brown, the band director at Washington Middle School and Brown’s wife. “It’s where he found his place and his voice. He has spent 31 years chasing those memories and trying to give his students their version of his story.”

Brown was inducted into the Mehlville School District Alumni Hall of Fame in 2022 for the impact he has had on thousands of students. Three decades into his career, Brown is now teaching the children of students he had when he began his career at MHS.

“Tony is truly an institution at Mehlville High School,” said Dr. Jason Landherr, Mehlville High School principal. “Whether a student plans to pursue a music career or not, he wants to make sure every student in the program is afforded amazing opportunities and develops a love of music.”

Tony Brown at conference
Image: Brown received the Dr. Wynne J. Harrell Outstanding Music Educator Award at the MMEA Conference in January.

Brown was presented the award in January at the MMEA Conference. He was nominated by colleagues, former students, mentors and administrators.

“For us, music is the vehicle to teach the lessons that go beyond the classroom, and our students deserve our best effort every day,” said Brown. “I have had so many great experiences at Mehlville High School as a student and, for the past 31 years, as one of the band directors. The Mehlville band program feels like a family member to us, and the memories made here are a huge part of my life.”

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].