“Instrumental” to Student Success, Music Teacher Nicolas Jacques Scores a $25,000 Milken Educator Award”
Nevada educator and students band together for better learning at Carson Middle School
Nietzsche wrote that “Without music, life would be a mistake.” But thanks to band teacher Nicolas Jacques, that’s a mistake no one is making at Carson Middle School in Carson City, NV. Music is everywhere in the school, the district and the surrounding community as students throng to join Jacques’ concert band, marching band and jazz band ensembles. Employing smart technology through music apps for sight-reading and testing, Jacques challenges students to expand their minds to work together communally as well as improve their skills individually. Band students develop superior discipline under his tutelage even as they have fun expressing themselves. More than just a high energy elective, Jacques’ band program inspires and elevates student engagement while strengthening academic achievement.
But it was Jacques who was elevated today at a surprise school assembly where he was presented with a Milken Educator Award by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken and Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert. An elated Jacques was named a 2019-20 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. He is one of two Milken Educator Award winners from Nevada this year, and is among up to 40 honorees for 2019-20.
The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching” has been opening minds and shaping futures for over 30 years. Research shows teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student growth and achievement. The initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America’s next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, “The future belongs to the educated.”
Jacques is improving that future by working in concert with parents, peers and students. Incorporating the joy of belonging and creating something beautiful together into the daily curriculum, Jacques’ band students go on to shine in regional and state competitions reflecting their hard work and dedication. An inspirational teacher who improvises like a jazz musician within the structures of the educational system, Jacques’ out-of-the-box approach prepares students for greater performances academically and on the larger world stage.
“Nicolas Jacques cultivates a work ethic and passion for music that will last a lifetime,” said Milken. “The rewards of practice, creativity and collaborative harmony are multiplied by his strategic use of high-tech tools and keen insight into his teenage students. As both an educator and a leader, Nicolas inspires students and teachers from primary grades through university. We are proud to have Nicolas Jacques add his voice to the National Milken Educator Network.”
“Nicolas Jacques exemplifies what it means to be a teacher of music, and I’m thankful to the Milken Family Foundation for recognizing his talents with this prestigious award,” said Governor Sisolak. “Mr. Jacques has taken his students to new heights, performing in numerous festivals throughout Washoe County and utilizing cutting-edge technology to help students become better musicians. It comes as no surprise that the confidence and discipline instilled by Mr. Jacques’ teaching has contributed to his students’ high academic performance. Improving K-12 education in Nevada is my top priority as Governor, and empowering teachers like Mr. Jacques is how we make real progress.”
“I am thrilled that for the first time in more than a decade two very deserving educators in Nevada are receiving the Milken Educator Award,” said Ebert. “Two of my top priorities in the state are to elevate the teaching profession and end our teacher shortage. This award not only rewards deserving teachers but signifies how important teachers are in our society. I would like to congratulate Nicolas Jacques for the daily inspiration and music he brings into the lives of young students in Carson City every day.”
“It is not a coincidence that our music program thrives at Carson Middle School,” said Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes. “Nicolas Jacques gets students throughout all of his classes genuinely excited about music. He started the jazz band in 2013 and they perform admirably every year in the Reno Jazz Festival at the university. Having 264 students in his concert, marching and Jazz bands really shows what a gifted teacher Mr. Jacques is and how students want to be part of his programs. It is very rewarding to observe the joy his students display when they perform and to watch their progress under his tutelage. On behalf of the Carson City School District, I would like to thank the Milken Family Foundation for recognizing a great teacher.”