TOY: Huskey's teaching music to the ears of her students

Mar. 24, 2013 @ 08:19 PM

Megan Huskey, music and chorus teacher at Catlettsburg Elementary School, wants her classes to be upbeat.

"We keep moving," said Huskey, who was awarded Sevier County Teacher of the Year for primary grades. "There's not a lot of sitting. We sit at the beginning to do a song and then we'll get up and play instruments, or we'll do a dance or movement activity. The kids really enjoy it; they have a lot of fun."

Huskey's approach in the classroom comes from her background in dance. The Boone, N.C. native moved to Sevier County to pursue a career in theater and dance.

Before that, she attended Mars Hill College near Asheville, N.C. and thought she was going to pursue a career in computer science. But she joined the band and decided music was "something I wanted to do as a career, and the teaching came along with it," she said.

"It wasn't until college that I decided that I really wanted to be a teacher," Huskey said. "I observed some elementary music classes and really fell in love with it, and it just went from there."

She got a master's degree in elementary education at East Tennessee State University and her education specialist degree at Lincoln Memorial College. While working at the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge, a teaching position opened up, so she worked both jobs for a while.

Huskey has taught in Sevier County for seven years, and it's her second year at Catlettsburg Elementary. She believes she won Teacher of the Year because of her involvement with all of the students at the school.

"It's things like the Christmas programs," she said. "I work with all the kids and get them to perform and involve everyone so I'm not leaving anyone out."

A true performer, Huskey wants to instill self-confidence and individuality in her students.

"I want kids to find their voice and their selves as performers and as citizens, so self-confidence is really important, and also being comfortable interacting with other people," she said.

Huskey believes interaction with students is important for being a good teacher.

"It's not just about giving them facts; having a personal relationship with them is important," Huskey said. "Being a good teacher is about being able to interact with the kids and have them learn from that. I try to make learning memorable and fun."

She also wants to be a positive influence for her students, someone they can look up to.

"I try to be a role model for them because there are so many bad influences for kids," she said. "I try to be a good one for them."

Huskey extends dance beyond school hours. She runs an after-school dance program at the school, and two years ago she opened a dance studio, Move Dance Factory, in Sevierville.

"The dance studio takes up most of my time outside of the classroom," Huskey said. "I teach here from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then I'm at the studio from 4-8 p.m., so that's most of my life."

Huskey also gives private lessons on the side. Although she said she has basic skills on almost any instrument, Huskey's primarily an oboist and flutist.

"That's what I did in the band at Mars Hill," she said.

rhargett@themountainpress.com