Nicole Cody.
Nicole Cody.
Nicole Cody, orchestra teacher at Decorah High School, has been named the 2017 Classroom Teacher of the Year by the Iowa chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). The award was presented on February 11, 2017, at the state string teachers conference at Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School.

Cody’s nomination stated, “The level of musicianship of the high school orchestras has grown under Nicole’s leadership. She exposes her students to a variety of genres and encourages them to attend musical events outside of the school. At contest, her orchestras have scored superior ratings annually. The groups are well prepared and polished beyond compare of the other orchestras in the region. She often conducts without the use of a score and has had her students memorize their performance pieces so they can work together to make music beyond just simply playing the notes. As a role model, Nicole plays professionally in area symphony orchestras and other community venues. She is a lifelong learner.

“Planning and designing curriculum is where her creativity flows. Past concerts demonstrate that Nicole is intentional about not only teaching skills to her students, but also making sure that there is an effective response to the music. A concert theme of ‘War and Peace’ included a service project where the students raised money for the local peace and justice center. This year’s fall concert was an ‘informance,’ an experience where parents were invited to the stage to sit with their student and observe the learning process that happens in an orchestra class.

“The orchestra program in Decorah is at level of excellence because of the efforts of Nicole. She is a talented musician and educator.”

Nicole Cody has taught in Decorah for 8 years. She is responsible for giving lessons and teaching the grades 9-10 and 11-12 orchestras and AP Music Theory. She is also a violinist in the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra, La Crosse Symphony, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony.