Zabelsky named top music teacher in state |

Zabelsky named top music teacher in state

by Scott Neuffer
Left to right, Jason Smith, Bill Zabelsky, Tom Flemming, Bryan Ringo, Andy Sonnemaker, Julie Bumgardner, Jon Brill, Briana Valley, and Sarah Holland during the All State Music Festival April 20 in Las Vegas.
Special to The R-C |

Douglas High Music Director Bill Zabelsky received the honor of a lifetime April 20 when the Nevada Music Educators Association named him the 2012-13 Music Teacher of the Year for the entire state.

The honor was announced during the All State Music Festival in Las Vegas.

“I was stunned,” Zabelsky said Monday. “It feels pretty special to be recognized by all the music teachers in Nevada.”

Zabelsky’s former student Jason Smith, now the music director of Fernley High School, and Dayton High Music Director Julie Bumgardner presented the award to “Mr. Z.”

“It was pretty exciting,” said Zabelsky. “I would like to thank all the people who put my name in for the nomination.”

Those people include Janice Florey, Sarah Holland, John Houghton, Tammy Owens, and Bumgardner.

“I couldn’t have done it without the great kids we have,” he said.

Zabelsky, 59, has taught music for 34 years, 28 of those at Douglas High. And the Gardnerville resident is no stranger to accolades; the band room at the high school is laden with trophies from competitions across the region.

One that singles out his accomplishments is harder to find, though. He was named Walmart’s area teacher of the year in 2004.

“I pretty much enjoy what I do,” Zabelsky said.

True to form, he mentioned that the Douglas High spring concert is 7 p.m. May 23 in the commons area.