Dorothy Kometani Kittaka

Music Teacher
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Total years as a classroom teacher: 28

Dorothy Kometani Kittaka’s education began in a nursery school in an
American Concentration Camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, where she lived
with 120,000 other Japanese Americans, who also were sent to various
other such camps in the U.S. Her earliest memory of music was a
melancholy trumpet melody repeatedly played in the camp by a strange man
she called, “Poo-Pah-Poo Man.”

The culmination of a students’ years at Haverhill is a dinner-theater
musical production, in which parents co-chair and organize the entire
production of dinner, costumes, make-up, programs, setup, etc.

She was a founding member of FAME, Foundation for Art and Music in
Elementary Education, which has become one of the most influential arts
organizations in the state, reaching more than100,000 students in 1999.
Each year, FAME selects a different cultural focus in an effort to
promote better understanding of our country’s richly diverse cultural
heritage. FAME facilitates teacher workshops, a visiting artists
program, cultural kit lesson plans, a week-long summer residence camp,
and a composition project, a collaboration between FAME and the
Philharmonic. It has garnered many awards, including the State Farm’s
Good Neighbor Award and the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award.

Haverhill’s Fine Arts Day is a learning experience for the entire
school, including students, teachers, support staff, and parents, during
which more than 30 different arts courses are offered. from metal
smithing and opera to storytelling and dance.

“Dorothy has helped bring to life an organization (FAME) which now
stands, in my opinion, as the area’s most effective vehicle in
delivering high-quality arts experiences to elementary school children. .
.the Arts United Arts Leadership Initiative program, which she helped
develop and teach, has been called “a new national model for arts
education.”
—  Geoff Gephart, president, Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne

“Dorothy has an engaging dedication and passion for teaching children
an appreciation of music and art. After teaching all day, Dorothy
continues her tremendous efforts outside the clasroom preparing for the
different FAME events that continue throughout the year. She works
non-stop, but to Dorothy it’s not work, it is her life and her soul.
Dorothy is a leader, an asset to our community, and a compelling
educator for our children.”
 –Robert A. Klingle, vice president and general manager, NBC33, WKJG-TV

Education

1961

Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Northern Illinois University

1982

Master of Science in Education, Indiana University at Fort Wayne

Teaching Experience

1979-present

(K – 5) Music, Southwest Allen County Schools

1978-79

(9 – 12) Choral Music, Southwest Allen County Schools

1975-78

(K – 5) Music, Naperville School District

1972-75

(9 -12) Choral Music, Naperville School District

1961-62

(K – 5) Music, Highland Park School District

Special Recognition

1998

Finalist for Indiana Teacher of the Year

1997

Parents Magazine As They Grow Award

1997

Indiana Governor’s Arts Award

1997

Southwest Allen County School Teacher of the Year

1997

Esther Ritz Collyer Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Arts United

1991

Indiana Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Indiana Music Educators Association

1989

First National Professional Best by Learning Magazine

1989

Margaret Ann Keegan Award for Arts in Education, Arts United

1984

Runner-up Indiana State Teacher of the Year

1984

Excellence in Education Award, Instant Copy

1984

John F. Kennedy Fellowship for Teachers in the Arts

1984

Southwest Allen County School Teacher of the Year