ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Strings teacher Mona Rashad performs wilh her class at Ford Elementary School.
By PAUL HALLORAN
LYNN — When Mona Rashad joined the Lynn Public Schools music staff as a strings teacher in 2012, there were four students taking strings classes at Marshall Middle School. This year, Rashad has 70 students at Marshall who are among the approximately 500 Lynn students learning how to play violin, cello and viola.
In recognition for the work she has done not only in Lynn, but also with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program, Rashad was named Studio Teacher of the Year by the Massachusetts chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
“It’s always nice to recognized by your peers,” she said.
Rashad is one of three strings teachers in LPS. She covers seven elementary schools and Marshall. All students in grades 4-5 have the opportunity to take strings or band. For strings, they get a half-hour of instruction per week at the elementary level. In middle school, there is also a 45-minute weekly orchestra class.
A Houston native, Rashad has been an accomplished violinist since she was a child. At age 12 she traveled to Japan to play in an international festival. As a teenager she played Carnegie Hall and throughout Europe. She is currently a member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill, based in Littleton.
Prior to coming to Lynn, Rashad taught in Holyoke, Boston and Marlborough. She holds an undergraduate degree and master’s degrees in music education and violin performance from the New England Conservatory.
“Mona is an excellent strings teacher and extremely talented musician, and we are lucky to have her working with Lynn students,” said Patty Klibansky, assistant curriculum director for the arts.