T. Creswell Arts Magnet names Smith Teacher of the Year

Nita Modley Smith

Nita Modley Smith has been selected as Teacher of the Year at T. Creswell Arts Magnet School. She is a 21-year music veteran with Metro Nashville Public Schools. Nita currently teaches piano, choral, and general music at I. T. Creswell Arts Magnet Middle School. She also sponsors an after-school choral development program as the academic coordinator of the MET Academy at IT Creswell.

Smith received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a vocal concentration from the University of Tennessee in 1980, and the M.A.Ed. in Music Education from Tennessee State University in 1989. Having taught as an adjunct professor in the TSU Music Department over 10 years ago, Nita has returned to her alma mater and is presently pursuing her doctoral degree in Education at Tennessee State University.

Her colleagues at I. T. Creswell Arts Magnet Middle School recently voted Nita as Teacher of the Year. This is her second TOY recognition having received the same award at Hillsboro High School for the 2006-07 academic school year. Nita is a member of Mayor Karl Dean’s Inaugural Music Makes Us Teacher Advisory Council.  In April 2012, Nita was a clinician at the 2012 TMEA Professional Development Conference to music educators from across the state of Tennessee. Nita has served at every level of music education in the Davidson Country Public School System. She has taught music in elementary school and, prior to her current middle school position, was the director of the Hillsboro High School Sophisticates choral group. Under her direction, the Sophisticates won numerous awards in music competition throughout Middle Tennessee.

Nita continues to pursue musical opportunities outside of the classroom during the summer months.  During the summer of 2012, she was an instructor in the Lucie E. Campbell Music Workshop of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education in St. Louis, Mo. She has also appeared as a guest choral conductor for the Focus 2001, United Methodist Children’s Conference Choir, and adjudicator for Middle Tennessee Vocal Association, NAACP ACT-SO high school music competitions, and as a panelist representing the state of Tennessee for the Music Praxis Standard Setting Study at the Educational Testing Center in Princeton, New Jersey.

Nita’s professional memberships include National Association for Music Education (NAME); Middle Tennessee Vocal Association (MTVA); Tennessee Music Educators Association (TMEA); Middle Tennessee Chorister’s Guild and Sigma Alpha Iota International Women’s Music Fraternity, Nashville Alumnae Chapter.

Nita has been a member of Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, for 18 years. She has served as director and accompanist for the church in many areas: director of the young adult and youth choirs and assistant director of the sisterhood choir. Currently she serves as a music assistant and associate director for the sanctuary choir under the pastoral leadership of senior pastor, Rev. Dr. William F. Buchanan.

Nita has been an Artistic Associate Volunteer since 1998, with the MET Singers Honor Choir comprised of public, private, and home-school settings throughout middle Tennessee. Nita was one of the featured soloists with the MET Singers for the Nashville Symphony’s 2012 Let Freedom Sing concert. She also sings in the Nashville Choir and the Princely Players Theatre Troupe, a nationally known ensemble whose musical renditions were recorded on the Smithsonian and National Public Radio album Wade in the Water, Time-Life: The Civil War Music Album and Nashville Public Television’s Tennessee Civil War 150 Songs & Stories. Nita is married to Robert L. Smith, attorney. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Melissa and Elizabeth.