A Special Award of

The John Philip Sousa Foundation

Tiffany Hitz is now the Robinson Secondary School Director of Middle School Bands. She was recently Director of Bands and Music Department Chair at Rachel Carson Middle School in Fairfax County, VA. Mrs. Hitz has been teaching in Fairfax County since 2001, and recently completed a tenure as Secondary Fine and Performing Arts Coach for their Teacher Induction Program, Great Beginnings: The Next Generation. A member of the Virginia Music Educators Association, Mrs. Hitz was identified by the organization as an Emerging Leader and is currently on the state’s New Music Grading Committee and Conference Registration Staff. She is also a member of Women Band Directors International and has been published in and served as the Elementary Editor of their official journal, Woman Conductor.

She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and Master of Music in Music Education from Boston University. Mrs. Hitz received the Outstanding Music Education Alumni Award from VCU School of the Arts in 2018. She is an inducted member of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity and was previously recognized by the School Band and Orchestra Magazine as one of the “Fifty Directors Who Make a Difference”. In 2013, she became a National Board Certified Teacher, was selected for membership into the American School Band Directors Association, and was nominated for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Mrs. Hitz currently serves as the Virginia State Chair of the National Band Association and the administrator for the Dr. William P. Foster Music Education Alliance “Award of Excellence” and holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, International Horn Society, Sigma Alpha Iota: Women’s Professional Music Fraternity, and Fairfax County Band Directors Association, formerly serving as the group’s Co-President.

The Bandworld Legion of Honor was established in 1989 to honor, over the course of a year, eight of the finest band directors in our business.

Recipients have taught for at least fifteen years, have maintained a very high-quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.

Each is honored at the annual Sousa Foundation awards ceremony during the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

Chairman of the Legion of Honor Committee is Terry Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University.

When asked what factors do you consider most important in shaping your career, Tiffany states, “The mentoring that comes from connected musical relationships has been the most important factor in shaping my career. For as long as I can remember, I have been guided by teachers who helped me believe in possibility. They have encouraged me by word and action, telling me I was a capable musician before I even thought to believe that about myself. They have presented me with extraordinary musical opportunities, and at times created those opportunities. Their actions helped me experience how music education positively impacts a life and they shared their belief that I could help inspire the next generation of musicians. They set the foundation for my belief in myself and are the exemplar that guides my work as a teacher.

“In addition to formal mentors (i.e. my teachers), I am fortunate to be mentored by an incredible community of music teacher colleagues. These teachers allow me to observe their work, welcome my questioning, and engage in thoughtful and reflective conversations about our interactions with students and our goals as a profession. They watch me teach and they listen to my students. They share ideas and resources that they think will be beneficial to my growth and that of my students. And as they lean into the belief that we are all still learning and as they work to grow, they set an example that both inspires and motivates me. They demonstrate selflessness through leadership and service to our profession that prompts me to seek our ways to contribute. Most of all, while they support and encourage me, they also provide me with honest feedback about my work. Their honesty pushes me and is helping me grow into the most authentic version of myself, driving me to continue developing my effectiveness as an educator.”

Her professional philosophy statement is, “I am a student-centered educator who believes in music education as a means to educate the whole child and whose focus is on the development of self-efficacy in all students. An ardent team player, I know that students will best reach their potential when students, parents, teachers, and communities work together in collaborative teams. I believe it most effective to lead by example, and maintain positivity, preparation, perseverance and passion as examples for my students to emulate.

“I know that one of the most valuable gifts I can provide students is to help instill in them a growth mindset. I focus on helping students develop appropriate and scaffolded goals, and push them to celebrate every success along the learning path to those goals. I emphasize the practice of getting a little better each day and stress the need for perseverance and tenacity, while celebrating the learning that comes from making mistakes. I guide students to recognize and celebrate the humanity in each of us and emphasize a need for them to prioritize their growth as the best means to meet their goals. I work to foster a collaborative, supportive, and non-judgmental environment among my students as a means to encourage them to prioritize the effort that goes into learning and to help them develop their belief in themselves and in their possibilities.”