TIFTON – The Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) recently presented Deborah Bradley, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Band Director, with its highest recognition award during the state conference in Athens. The President of GMEA, Dr. Matthew Koperniak, called Bradley to the stage of the Classic Center to present first a “Certificate of Service” that denotes a music career of 40 years. The second call to the stage, infront of a packed house of music educators, music dealers and students, was to receive the GMEA’s highest honor: the “Distinguished Career Award.”
Bradley previously served as the Staff Director for the Lowndes High School Marching Band, the “Georgia Bridgemen”, and Director of Bands at Lowndes Middle School in Valdosta. She performs in community ensembles and recording studios on the saxophone and is an active adjudicator for the Georgia Music Educators Association and the Georgia Bandmasters Association.
“She has spent 40 years as a music educator with no signs of slowing down,” Koperniak said. “Ms. Bradley has taught middle school, highschool, college, and even adult bands. Throughout her career, she has been named Teacher of the Year for both Valdosta Junior High and Cook High School as well as systemwide Teacher of the Year for Cook County Schools. She has received numerous national honors which include the John Philip Sousa Foundation Legion of Honor 2019, the Sudler Order of Merit,Tau Beta Sigma’s Outstanding Service to Music Award, the Silver Baton, and the International Golden Rose Award from Women Band Directors International. Despite her many accolades she remains a service-oriented, student-focused, humbled teacher and leader. Her passion and purpose serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Bradley spends much of her time as a consultant to high school band programs. She is an active adjudicator for the Georgia Music Educators Association and the Georgia Bandmasters Association. She has served as an officer for the Women Band Directors International (WBDI) for many years. She served as President of Women Band Directors International 2006-2008 and has been an active member of ASBDA, GMEA, MENC and Kappa Delta Phi, the Troy University Alumni Association, where she was the Charter President of the “Sound of the South” alumni.
“I have loved every phase of my professional career,” Bradley said. “Through band music and history, teaching has been very rewarding. I have enjoyed watching my students become responsible citizens in their communities. With band, chorus, and drama, we can balance our students’ lives. The arts are the great equalizer in America. It gives way to increasing global connections.”
Bradley has also served on the Board of the SEUS Concert Band Clinic at Troy University. She currently serves on the Board of the John Phillip Sousa Foundation and is the current director for the Panama City Beach Music Festival in Panama City, Fla.
Also, Bradley has been a clinician and guest conductor throughout the Southeastern United States. She has also received many professional awards and recognitions, which include the Outstanding Service to Music Award (OSMA) from the National Board of Tau Beta Sigma, the Scroll of Excellence from WBDI, the Silver Baton and the International Golden Rose for outstanding contributions and was awarded the Bandworld “Legion of Honor” by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
In 2008, she was inducted into the National High School Band Directors Hall of Fame in Columbus. In 2016, she received the distinguished International Golden Rose Award from Women Band Directors International for her work in the music profession.
Bradley served as an adjudicator for the National St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland in 2011 and 2019. In 2014, she served the Women In Music Speaker Series for Tau Beta Sigma and was a founding Conductor for the South Georgia Classic Community Band called “The Azalea Winds” that same year.
“It is a joy to work along beside the ABAC community and promote high expectations,” she said. “That will allow our students to achieve their greatest potential in their chosen field.”