N. Thurston music teacher to be honored

Grant Sears will enter Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame

lpemberton@theolympian.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Grant Sears has taught orchestra for 28 years in North Thurston Public Schools.

And he can’t imagine doing anything else.

“Teaching – it is just a joy, every day,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve always loved to do.”

Sears, 53, will be inducted into the Washington Music Educators Association’s Hall of Fame on Thursday at a banquet in Yakima. He said he was shocked, humbled and pleased about the honor.

“There are so many people that do such a great job,” he said.

Every two years, the association adds up to 10 educators to its Hall of Fame, to recognize those who “provide exceptional support, inspiration and outstanding contribution to the growth and development of music education, both public and private, in the state of Washington,” according to its Web site.

Sears teaches orchestra at North Thurston High School and South Bay, Pleasant Glade and Olympic View elementary schools.

He plays several string instruments, but violin is his main instrument.

“I started playing when I was 10 years old,” Sears said. “It’s challenging, but it’s a beautiful instrument. You get a lot of chances to really make music with the violin.”

Sears grew up in Wenatchee. His parents were public school educators, and he knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps by the time he was in junior high.

He earned a bachelor of arts in music at Washington State University and a master of arts in music from Pacific Lutheran University.

Retired North Thurston orchestra teacher Ian Edlund recalled Sears as a standout musician at state orchestra events that he competed in during high school and college.

“We followed him through his university career,” Edlund said. “When the opportunity arose to add staff to North Thurston, we hired him. … He’s concerned deeply about the value he gives to kids. This comes through in his everyday work.”

Sears is married to Cheryl Sears, a fourth-grade teacher at Evergreen Forest. Their oldest daughter, Jessica, is a junior at WSU; their youngest daughter, Christine, is a senior at North Thurston High and plays cello in the school’s orchestra.

Sears played in the Olympia Symphony and was its concertmaster for 17 years. He’s also involved in the Washington Music Educators Association and a summer institute for music educators.

Besides music, Sears said he enjoys playing tennis and spending time with his family and enjoying the great outdoors.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com

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