Roanoke City School District Superintendent Receives VH1 Award


Award Presented During American Association of School Administrator’s
National Conference on Education

(Los Angeles, CA) February 25, 2013– Dr. Rita Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools in Roanoke, VA, has been named the recipient of the eighth annual Administrator Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education. Dr. Bishop was chosen for her deep commitment to providing Roanoke City students with music education as part of the core curriculum.

The award is sponsored by the VH1 Save The Music Foundation and was given on February 23, 2013, at the awards ceremony at the American Association of School Administrator's (AASA) National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, CA. The award is presented each year at AASA's national conference to one superintendent or school CEO who has exhibited outstanding commitment to restoring music education in his or her school district. Past recipients include: Kathy L. Kelly, superintendent of of the Columbia Heights (MN) Public Schools, Duncan N. P. "Pat" Pritchett Jr., past superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools; Dr. John Lange, past superintendent of Adams County School District 14 (Colorado); Dr. Carol Johnson, past superintendent of the Memphis City Schools and current superintendent of the Boston Public Schools; Richard Kaplan, superintendent of New Brunswick (New Jersey) Public Schools; Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools and Dr. James A. Williams, Superintendent of the Buffalo (NY) Public Schools.

“Dr. Rita Bishop’s work has been a prime example of what public school music programs should strive for,” said Paul Cothran, Vice President & Executive Director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “Through our partnership with her and Roanoke City Public Schools, ten elementary schools have restored their instrumental music programs. Since 2009, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation has donated $300,000 worth of new musical instruments to Roanoke City Public Schools. With Dr. Bishop’s unparalleled support from the top, she is committed to providing equity in access to music and the arts for all students district-wide.”

Roanoke City Schools is a diverse and urban setting that serves over 13,000 students. One of the core beliefs of Roanoke City Schools is that “diversity is our strength.” This is evident in the Fine and Performing Arts classes through the intentional and equitable opportunities provided to students. All elementary students receive weekly instruction in art and music. Through the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, students in 10 elementary schools have the opportunity for additional music instruction. Middle School students may participate in band, chorus, orchestra, and art classes. Currently, 89% of middle school students are enrolled in an arts class. Students in the high school level have the opportunity to enroll in a variety of dance, theatre, visual arts and music classes. Students are able to broaden the scope of the traditional music classes (band, orchestra, and chorus) through electronic music, AP music theory, piano lab, and guitar.

District Leadership is constantly pursuing avenues to expose students to a wide variety of cultural experiences to enhance instruction. Through the general allocation of funds to the Fine Arts Department, Roanoke City Schools has established partnerships with many local cultural organizations. This allows students the opportunity to work with professional musicians and see a variety of musical performances.

“Last May I had the overwhelming pleasure of watching the Patrick Henry High School Orchestra play at Carnegie Hall,” said Dr. Rita Bishop. “As I sat in the audience, I was so grateful to our wonderful teachers and to everyone at the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. Musicians begin in elementary school where our students have their first opportunity to develop their talents. The VH1 Save The Music Foundation has brought our elementary students so much joy and enabled them to experience a true sense of accomplishment. They do better in all school subjects and practice self-discipline because VH1 Save The Music has been such a generous contributor to their music education. Every child in Roanoke City Public Schools has musical opportunities. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the next Yo-Yo Ma, Pablo Casals or Wynton Marsalis were sitting in one of our third grade classrooms?”

Since 2009, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation has donated $300,000 worth of new musical instruments to Roanoke City Public Schools. Through the VH1 Save The Music grant students in 10 elementary schools- Westside, Grandin Court, Fairview, Garden City, Fishburn Park, Morningside, Crystal Spring, Lincoln Terrace, Hurt Park and Roanoke Academy have the opportunity to receive additional instruction from a certified music teacher. Many of our students come from economically disadvantaged homes and would be unable to participate in instrumental music without the assistance of the VH1 programs. The addition of instrumental music in many of our elementary schools has resulted in larger numbers and an increased quality in our secondary programs.

Research consistently shows that musical study develops critical thinking and self discipline skills and improves a child's early cognitive development, basic math and reading abilities, self-esteem, SAT scores, ability to work in teams, spatial reasoning skills and school attendance. Researchers have also found that children involved with music education are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college and are less likely to be involved with gangs and substance abuse.

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit Follow AASA on twitter at Become a fan of the AASA Facebook page at

About VH1 Save The Music Foundation
The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. To date, VH1 Save The Music has provided more than $49.5 million in new musical instruments to 1,850 public schools in more than 192 school districts around the country, impacting the lives of over 2.1 million children. For more information please visit

Nick Cacaterra/VH1 Save The Music – Susan Blond Inc

Kitty Porterfield/AASA