Laurie Zentz is the band director at Switzerland Point Middle School in Jacksonville,
Florida, part of the St. Johns County School District. She has been a music educator
since 1984 when she graduated magna cum laude from Valdosta State College (GA).
At Valdosta State she received the "Most Outstanding Bandswoman" award and
served as the first Drum Major of the Valdosta State "Blazin' Brigade" marching band.
She received her Masters Degree from Jacksonville University in 1993 summa cum
laude, and completed Orff Schulwerk Level III Certification in 1996. In 2005 she
achieved certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in
Early and Middle Childhood Music.
Laurie has taught all levels from Pre-K through the university level. She is a frequent
presenter at music education conferences and workshops throughout the country.
Most recently she presented sessions at music education conferences in
Pennsylvania and Virginia. She has also presented in California, Florida, New York
City, Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama. Her
school performing groups have performed twice at the Florida Music Educators
Conference - in 1996 and in 2009.
As an author, Laurie has been published in the leading journals for music education
and has authored four method books on elementary music techniques: Junior Jam
Session, Note Name Nonsense, Percussion Playalongs, and The Heart Chart. Her
Heart Chart Rhythm System has been sold all over the world and has been adopted
by several school districts as their primary music notation teaching tool.
As a performer, Laurie has been principal clarinetist for various orchestras, wind
ensembles, and pit orchestras for many musical productions. She is a clarinetist in the
First Coast Wind Ensemble, Jacksonville, FL.
Her professional affiliations are many, and in most of these organizations she has
served as an officer. She is currently the Past-President and webmaster for the North
Florida Orff Chapter. She has served as Chairman of her school's School Advisory
Council, and on the Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council.
Laurie has been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts and as a
semi-finalist for Duval County's (FL) Teacher of the Year. In 2002 she and a
colleague were named "Master Teacher Team of the Year" at the National Teacher
Training Institute for infusing technology and the arts in lessons teaching math and
science. In 2004 she was named the local "Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year". In 2005
she was selected as "Teacher of the Year" for Cunningham Creek Elementary. Her
biography appears in the 2007 edition of "Who's Who Among American Women" and
in the 2009 "Who's Who in the World". She received a $10,000 grant from the
Airborne Teacher Trust Fund for her "Musical Playground Project" at Cunningham
Creek Elementary. She was featured in the December 2012 issue of "School Band
and Orchestra" Magazine as one of "50 Directors Who Make A Difference". In 2015
she was named Switzerland Point's "Teacher of the Year" and in 2016 she became the
St Johns County District "Teacher of the Year" and a finalist for Florida's "Teacher of
Laurie and her husband Don have two children, Dani (clarinet) and Andi (flute) and
they enjoy playing golf together whenever they can.