Richard Montgomery High School vocal music teacher Ronald P. Frezzo has been selected to receive the 2000 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award from The Washington Post.
Frezzo is among 20 winners of the prestigious award, presented annually to one teacher from each Washington metropolitan area school district. The winners will be honored in a reception at the Post on Monday, April 10. Each winner will receive $3,000 and a crystal apple.
Award winners were nominated by colleagues, parents and other members of their community and selected by their individual school systems based on criteria such as initiative, creativity, ability to inspire students and exceptional professionalism. Frezzo was nominated by Helen Ryan, assistant principal of Richard Montgomery High School, with support of the principal and many others.
Frezzo has been a vocal and general music teacher for 30 years and came to Richard Montgomery in 1985. He is well known in Montgomery County for conducting the Montgomery County Youth Chorus, which has won competitions for performances at the county, state and national level. This year the county chorus had the honor of performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the National Building Museum with the Masterworks Chorus and Kolner Kantorei to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In addition to his classes at Richard Montgomery, Frezzo leads three choral groups at the school -- the Concert Choir, Madrigals and Ladies' Ensemble -- and sponsors an a cappella group called the Broken Consort Singers, and the Piano Club. He has been music director for 13 musicals.
But his work does not stop with Richard Montgomery. Frezzo was one of three high school teachers who helped revise the high school Program of Studies for General/Choral Music. He has conducted training workshops for International Baccalaureate (IB) teachers across the nation, prepared web-based support for IB music teachers and co-authored workbooks for all IB teachers. Frezzo also lectures at Catholic University. He sponsors master classes in piano through community acquaintances at local colleges and universities.
Throughout his career, Frezzo's excellence has been recognized through awards showered on his musical groups and students. They have received awards at Disney World. The Madrigals were designated "Young Artists in the Community" by WGMS-FM and Sallie Mae, which included a performance at the Kennedy Center. This is the second year the Richard Montgomery music department as a whole has been named a Grammy Signature School. One of his former students directed a musical production of "Titanic" at the Kennedy Center; another is director of a competitive music group at Yale University.
This is the 17th year of the Agnes Meyer awards, established in honor of the wife of Eugene Meyer, publisher of The Washington Post from 1933 to 1946. Agnes Meyer was a strong supporter of public education.