Ritenour Music Teacher Selected as 2017-18 Missouri Teacher of the Year


At Iveland Elementary in the Ritenour school district, Beth Davey’s classroom does not fit the mold of a traditional music room. There are no risers or chairs, because for Davey, music transcends chord progressions and harmonies; it provides a voice for students to represent their world.

“Our humanity is solidified by feeling that we are known,” said Davey, who teaches K-5 music. “Connections sustain us, and to advance into the future, we must draw upon what connects us the most. Education provides this opportunity for connection.”

Davey’s deep connections with students, fellow staff and her local community were recognized on Friday afternoon when she was announced as the 2017-18 Missouri Teacher of the Year. She becomes the 49th Missouri Teacher of the Year since the program’s inception in 1957 and the first to come from the Ritenour school district.

“Ms. Davey is an outstanding selection as the Missouri Teacher of the Year,” said Amanda Connelly, principal at Iveland Elementary. “When I walk into Ms. Davey’s classroom, there is consistent evidence of her instructional skill. Music is not an auxiliary class; it is a core component of their education.”

Davey has been at Iveland Elementary since she began teaching in 2012. She is in charge of music curriculum and instruction, and she serves on the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports team. Davey is the founder and director of the Iveland Honor Choir, an after-school choral program for third through fifth grades that incorporates peer leadership, world music, literacy, vocal technique, written reflections and student self-evaluations.

“Not only did Ms. Davey teach us beautiful music, but she taught us the culture behind it,” said Cailan Wooten, a sixth-grade student who attended Iveland. “She was an amazing teacher who I could tell music was her life.”

Davey is a 2012 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is currently pursuing a Master of Music Education in Ethnomusicology from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“I have the blessed opportunity to engage young people daily as they spark innovation and the creative spirit, and as they build artistic bridges between their personal realities and our bigger world,” said Davey.

Davey will serve as Missouri’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. She will be honored at a banquet in Jefferson City on Oct. 30 along with five other finalists:

  • Tracy Brosch, Sunrise R-IX (gifted/STEM/writing, Sunrise Elementary)
  • Daniel Gutierrez, Springfield R-XII (vocal music, Reed Academy)
  • Matthew Horn, University City (social studies, University City High School)
  • Ed Kappeler, Meramec Valley R-III (language arts and speech, Pacific High School)
  • Megan Vallis, Lindbergh Schools (library media, Truman Middle School)

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of effective teachers in providing a quality education to their students. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education conducts the program with financial support provided by the Boeing Company and the Monsanto Fund.