Madison music teacher inspires her students

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Lisa Clark, Madison Central SSA and SATB Madrigals director, said her top priority is motivating her students and having them realize their potential. 

That priority is why she was chosen as the National Federation of High Schools Music Educator of the Year for Mississippi. 

Claudia Pieroni, a member of the Madison Central SATB Madrigals, said Clark deserves everything she has earned, especially being recognized as Music Educator of the Year. 

“Ms. Clark has been so motivational and she inspires us to become the very best since she knows our potential,” said Pieroni, a senior at Madison Central. “She uses emotions to invoke tone in our music and I’ve bonded with everyone in the choral groups I’ve been in.” 

Clark is not only the director of the Madison Central SSA and SATB Madrigals, but she is also the choir director at Rosa Scott School.

As Music Educator of the Year for Mississippi and Section 3 of the National Federation of High Schools, Clark also represents the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

Clark grew up in Louisville and currently lives in Ridgeland.

When she isn't teaching music, Clark said she loves to visit Starkville and attend Mississippi State Women’s basketball games. She also likes watching Nascar races and visiting the Neshoba County Fair, which she said is her favorite vacation spot. 

Ever since she was a young girl, Clark said she has been interested in music and started taking piano lessons in the third grade. She moved to Ridgeland from Louisville in 2002 when she got the opportunity to enter the Madison County School District when Ridgeland High School opened.

“The first principal of Ridgeland High, Lee Boozer, gave me the opportunity,” Clark said. “After 10 wonderful years at Ridgeland, I felt my career needed some revitalization. I moved to Madison Central High School in 2012 and have been there for the last nine years. It’s been wonderful there.”

Clark said music can touch a person not only intellectually, but also emotionally and physically. It doesn’t matter what’s trying to be expressed. Music is the way to express it. 

Clark said she tells her students that anyone can sing or play the notes and rhythms on a page, but what matters is what’s done with it that makes the music. A performer can be technical, but they also need to have expression. 

“The way you can touch people with music is so much different than any other type of career,” she said. “It’s just one of those things that you see so much right now with education going to the technological side.” 

Clark said even if people aren’t actively participating in a musical group, they can still participate by enjoying what a choir or band is doing, such as a musical or play. She said observers can still have that appreciation for what the performers are doing, especially if they have been there before. 

“Music is more than what is on the paper. Through the interpretation of music, someone’s performance tells a story to the listener,” Clark said. “The world is currently going through so much division and uncertainty, and it’s music and thinking that can bring joy to our community, state, country and the world.” 

Carson Jones, a member of the SSA Madrigals and senior at Madison Central, has been a studnet of Clark’s since the ninth grade and said she’s a better singer and student after learning from Clark. 

“I’m so happy she got this award because she has been so good at encouraging us and pushing us to do better than we think we can do,” Jones said. “I’m insanely happy and proud of her. She has worked so hard over the years.”

Jones noted that Clark’s best skill is helping people improve with multiple different skill sets and different kinds of choirs, and always pushes people to succeed. 

To learn more about the SSA and SATB Madrigals choir program and Lisa Clark, visit www.madison-schools.com, or email Clark at lckark@madison-schools.com. 


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