The passion Gavin Morris pours into his day-to-day teaching lifestyle as the Director of Bands at Excelsior Springs High School and Middle School has been evident for the past six years. He’s worked to develop a strong culture that his students can carry with them into the next chapters of their lives.
“Culture is everything to me,” said Morris. “I’m proud of the environment that we’ve created at Excelsior (Excelsior Springs High School & Middle School). Making music is what we do, but the way in which we do it makes me most proud.”
When Morris came into the role, he was given the freedom to teach his way and wasn’t confined to the style of past educators, which in turn has led to a very successful career at Excelsior Springs. Morris said this type of freedom gave him immediate confidence in his methods and strengthened the understanding of the rest of the administration of the power of the fluidity of his work.
At a young age, Morris was presented with a piece of advice that continues to motivate him daily. “No matter what content you teach, the most important thing is to remember that YOU are the reason some of these kids want to get out of bed in the morning and come to school,” said Morris. “They want to see YOU. They want to spend time with YOU."
As for his students, Morris consistently reminds them to be mindful of how they speak, and to be careful of the words they specifically choose to use. He says a person’s character, and who someone is, is far more important than any rating or personal achievement.
“Trophies and accolades are just by-products of what we do and how hard we work,” said Morris. “I would much rather have students who are coachable and want to work hard, than students who are simply ‘talented’.”
Morris says this type of approach makes it simple, and more enjoyable, for students to understand the concept of a team. He takes pride in the fact that his band isn’t defined by who sits in the first chair, but is recognized for its strength in all chairs.
Having lived in Kansas City for 30 years, Morris has a strong bond with Sporting Kansas City. He obtained his teaching degree from Missouri Western State University and is truly honored to be selected as a Blue KC Sporting Samaritan.
“To have (Excelsior Springs) staff members in my building recommend me for this truly shows how amazing our school is,” said Morris. “As a massive Sporting KC fan, this is a dream come true. To be able to see the locker room, the stadium, where the players prepare for matches, and, of course, walking out of the doors and onto the pitch—amazing!”
“Gavin works extremely hard for his students,” said Casey Kennedy, one of the four people who nominated Morris to be a Blue KC Sporting Samaritan. “He dedicates so much time to his students to make sure they have the best musical education they can get. Additionally, he leads worship at his church every Sunday and is constantly seeking new avenues to get his students involved and keep them excited about music.”
“As Gavin’s nominator mentions, he doesn’t settle for the bare minimum. He is always working to enhance the education and lives of those he teaches on a daily basis,” said Christa Dubill, Blue KC Chief Communications Officer. “Gavin is a key contributor in the development of our local high school and middle school children and we’re honored to recognize him as a Blue KC Sporting Samaritan and look forward to showcasing his accomplishments to the entire Kansas City community.”
Blue KC Sporting Samaritans will continue to be recognized monthly at Children’s Mercy Park during Sporting home games. Fans are encouraged to nominate teachers and students who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by using the form online at https://www.sportingkc.com/bluekc.