Kris Laird ('97 B.S.) has been named a 2013 Citation of Excellence Award recipient by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) for his work with the Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School band program.
His Hollidaysburg colleague, Jennifer Pappal, wrote: "Kris's greatest strength is is his ability to motivate students. His students understand that they need to work hard in band, but they know that they will be rewarded with a fantastic musical experience at the end of the learning process."
Edward Barton, principal of Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School, reported that Laird "has the desire to get every student involved in music. He is constantly promoting our music programs to students, parents, and staff. He illustrates how students who get involve with music have a high correlation with improving their grades and meeting with academic success."
Kris Laird studied tuba and euphonium with Mark Lusk and Marty Erickson at Penn State, and he has finished the course work for his master's degree at Duquesne University. He began working at Hollidaysburg in 2005. He teaches Accelerated Music 8 and conducts the 180-member marching band, jazz bands, seventh-grade band, and the eighth and ninth-grade Concert and Symphonic Bands. In 2010, the Symphonic Band performed at the PMEA conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania under his direction.
An active PMEA member, Laird has served as president of District 6, and he was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and the annual conference planning committee. Currently, he is the state program director for PMEA's Future Music Honors Symposium, a music educator training program for high school seniors. He has written and consulted on articles published in professional journals including JAZZIZ, SBO (School Band and Orchestra), PMEA NEWS and Teaching Music. In addition to PMEA, he holds memberships in NAfME and PSEA.
In addition to his responsibilities at Hollidaysburg, Laird teaches private tuba and euphonium students in Blair County, is the song leader for the Altoona Bible Church, and is an active musician in the central Pennsylvania region. He resides in Tyrone with his wife and two children.