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Choral Educator Named Rising Star Teacher of the Year

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Less than two years on the job, Danielle Gover is knocking it out of the park. Gover, choral teacher at Westland Middle School, is this year’s Rising Star Teacher of the Year.

Even though her career is just getting started, she shows a remarkable ability to tailor her teaching approach to meet her students’ diverse needs. She teaches beginning chorus, intermediate concert choice, advanced chorale and two general music ukulele courses. Gover adeptly breaks down intricate musical concepts into digestible components, ensuring that every student comprehends and appreciates the content. She effectively differentiates lessons for autism resource services inclusion classes, and designs and lessons within the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. Colleagues note that when they walk into her classroom, every single student is singing with confidence and conviction; she brings out confidence and curiosity in even the most reserved student.

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Gover’s passion for music started in her youth. She sang in choirs, held jam sessions with her family and participated in musicals. An inspiring choir teacher in high school led her to pursue a music education degree at the University of Delaware, where she studied voice and served as the music director of an a cappella group and a section leader in the university’s chorale.

Now in her second year at Westland, she has significantly expanded the choir program, growing it from 60 to 90 singers. In the spring of her first year, her seventh and eighth grade choir earned a combination of high and superior ratings and her sixth grade choir earned superior ratings. In May 2023, the choir achieved near-perfect scores in adjudications and won first place at Music in the Parks, a festival held in Williamsburg, Va. that welcomes performance ensembles from all over the U.S. and Canada.

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Through Westland’s Y’all Come Sing after-school club, she has been able to include even more students. This club is open to anyone regardless of musical experience, reaching students whose schedules don’t allow them to participate in music and increasing access to the arts. She is also creating an after-school choral program at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School, one of Westland’s feeder schools.

Gover will be recognized along with other honorees at the Champions for Children celebration on Wednesday, May 1, at Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville.