Joseph Rutkowski, North High School instrumental music teacher, was awarded the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (LIMHoF) 2015 Music Educator of Note Award, given in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Long Island music education.
LIMHoF Education Chairman Tom Needham said, “The Long Island Music Hall of Fame is proud to recognize the distinguished career of music educator, Joseph Rutkowski. He is a remarkable award-winning teacher, performer, writer and lecturer who is loved by his district, colleagues and students.”
Rutkowski has been a music educator for 39 years and has taught at North High since 1991. Prior to that, he taught at Stuyvesant High School and at Mannes College Preparatory School and Extension Division, where he still teaches. Under his guidance, North High has hosted many exchange performances with schools and colleges from Chicago, Singapore, Israel and Australia. North’s music program is a 10-time winner of the Lincoln Center High School Chamber Music Competition and performed at Carnegie Hall 12 times. Under Rutkowski’s tenure, Stuyvesant High School was a five-time winner of the Lincoln Center High School Chamber Music Competition.
“I am completely honored, flattered and humbled to be recognized by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame,” said Rutkowski. “Being in the company of the previous eight winners is a dream come true for me. I only wish that I could share this incredible honor with the teachers who have given me the inspiration and guidance to help my students learn to listen, play and love music: my father, Joseph Rutkowski, Sr.; my first band teacher, Alfred E. Longo; my high school band teacher, Lawrence P. Sobol; my supervisor at Stuyvesant High School, Max Watras; and my predecessor in Great Neck, Earl Higgins. It is really the support of our Music Parent Boosters [led by Karen Lee], Fine & Performing Arts Department Head Neil Saggerson, Principal Bernard Kaplan and my partner in the North High Music Program, Dr. Janine Robinson, that enables our students to make the accomplishments of which we are all so proud.”
Rutkowski began his public school music teaching career in 1982 when he received an MA in Music Performance at Queens College and went on to achieve an MA in Educational Administration/Supervision in 1987 at Hunter CUNY. His awards include the 2002 Presidential Scholars Teacher Award, the 2004 Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award and the 2010 Harvard Club Distinguished Teacher Award. Since 1972, Rutkowski has performed as a chamber musician, orchestral clarinetist and soloist in concert halls in Europe and in the U.S., including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He has taken part in lectures throughout the United States including NYSSMA and NAfME conferences.
Rutkowski’s professional associations include American Federation of Musicians Local 802, National Association for Music Education, National School Orchestral Association, International Clarinet Association, Nassau Music Educators Association, New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education, New York State School Music Association and Long Island String Festival Association.
The Music Educator of Note Award, which began in 2007, is open to any music educator—public or private—who demonstrates an exceptional and longterm commitment to music education in geographic Long Island, including Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk. Nomination may be by a colleague or student—current or former.
Founded in 2004, LIMHoF is comprised of Long Island music lovers, music educators and industry professionals devoted to recognizing, celebrating and preserving the exceptional music heritage of the Long Island region.