AP NEWS

Innovative band leader named Teacher of the Year

October 26, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An innovative southern Illinois band leader is the 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

Eric Combs was given the honor this month at the 45th annual “Those Who Excel” banquet in Normal.

Combs is the band teacher at Richland County Middle School in Olney.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined the Illinois State Board of Education in honoring Combs and 257 other teachers, leaders and support employees with Those Who Excel awards .

Combs started a program at his school that loans instruments to students for free. His system of differentiated and individualized music instruction allows students to progress at their own pace.

Combs has a worldwide network of band leaders with whom he shares material.

Olney is 123 miles (198 kilometers) east of St. Louis.

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Online

Those Who Excel honorees: https://bit.ly/2PfX3wy