A beloved leader in music education retires

Last week I had an invigorating few days with 100 other Kindermusik educators from around the world. We celebrated the career of Carol Denning Penney, beloved leader of a community of over 5000 educators world wide.

Betsy Gurske with renowned leader in music education, Carol Penney

Betsy Gurske with renowned leader in music education, Carol Penney

Carol began one of her own personal Kindermusik programs at Queens College in 1992 and by some wonderful serendipity, hired me to teach for her. I was a novice and she trusted me instantly. For a year I had a front row seat, seeing her passion, love and talent with young children and her gift of helping parents be better parents. My Kindermusik educator colleagues will appreciate what a tremendous fortune I was dealt.

 Life took her away from Charlotte in ’94 and thank goodness for the children of the world  it did! I was honored to have been asked to take over her sweet program at Queens when Kindermusik International pulled her to Greensboro. Through her position there as Director of Education, she has has been a guru in early childhood music and movement. Leading curriculum development,  educator training and professional development, and  developing pioneer on line training, Carol’s work is the heart and soul of the over 35 year old company,  the world’s premier publisher  in music and movement education for young children.

My husband John and I are humbled that Carol’s work has continued in Charlotte as where more than 2500 children have participated over 23 years. We have recently expanded into 5 pre K classes in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools with Kindermusik’s literacy based curriculum ABC Music and Me, one of many curricula she has overseen. This, and an active bed side program at Hemby Children’s Hospital, are generously funded through the Charity League of Charlotte. has plans to begin an additional rock band class for emotionally disturbed teens in September through a partnership with Lutheran Family Services. We hope to spend our future years innovating through new channels and partnerships in Charlotte that can expand music education for children of all abilities.

We are indebted to you Carol, for helping us find our hearts!

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